The Crazy Dance Around Mental Illness

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Do not walk on eggshells around me. I am not fragile. (Ok, I am a little sensitive, but not fragile.) Do not look me up and down and try to guess if I do or do not have an eating disorder anymore, I don’t. Do not wonder if I take medication, I do. Do not wonder if you can ask, talk about, or inquire about my struggles. You can. 

I am not ashamed, I am not afraid of your questions, nor do I want to be the “elephant in the room”.

I need you. And your friends who are struggling, they need you. Let’s start talking. Let’s not be afraid to be REAL.

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*(How could you NOT love the honesty and rawness these two characters brought to this topic in the movie Silver Linings Playbook!)

If I had broken my leg, you wouldn’t hesitate asking questions. Easy peasy.

But when my brain broke, it was as if I had leprosy. Sometimes it still seems as such.

Granted, I wrote my story in a book so I have given the world permission to dive into my deepest and darkest muck.

I risked doing that (and was terrified to do so) because I want people to know that it is ok to talk about it!  I am not ashamed about it, and you shouldn’t be either. But sometimes people will treat me as if I should be ashamed.

And over and over again I meet people who need to whisper. Whisper things like, “I am an alcoholic”, “I had an eating disorder”, “and I struggle with depression.

“But shhh”, they whisper, “Don’t tell.”

Why? Why not tell? Why not yell from the mountaintops, “HEY. Newsflash… I am broken and that is ok.”

Oh, but I know why. Because people don’t understand mental illness and they say things like, “If you just knew Jesus you would be ok. Or, just pray and you will be healed!”  Or another one I heard recently, “don’t tell people that you are an AA, they might think you are weird.”

Mental Illness is not a scarlet letter.

It is not something that happens to the weak nor is it something that only happens to those less faithful.

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Mental illness happens in the church, in the workplace, in the home. It happens to the rich, the poor, those with beautiful childhoods and those with horrible ones.

It doesn’t wear a face. Or a label.

So why don’t we stop treating it as such?

Let’s change the dance, let’s do a new routine. One that offers freedom to be who we are… all broken and beautiful and loved by God.

Ok?

Xo

Lee

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That Naked Thing Called “Vulnerability”

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Do not be fooled.

Do not be fooled by the way I dress or how coiffed my hair is. Do not be fooled when I stand on stage and look as if I am confident and sure of myself…that I am. Do not be fooled that just because I have published a book my life is dandy and I have no other dreams beyond it. Do not be fooled in thinking I am not scared for you to read it.

What we present to the world is often not a pure reflection of what is going on inside.

I want it to be. I want to be true and vulnerable and real. I want to you to see me.

But, in seeing me you also see the very yucky parts of me and those parts are hard to show. Because you might reject me, judge me, or even tell me I am lying.

All these things have happened to me, and it hurts. It makes me want to hide.

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That me standing on stage looking confident? My knees were shaking, my stomach turned upside down, and my pits sweating like I was running a race in 100% humidity.

That me that shared about her boobs and made you laugh, that talked about vulnerability and God adoring you? That same me went home and cried her eyes out after being on stage. Because it was scary. Even if I have done it a million times, it is always scary.

Don’t be fooled.

It was hard. And sometimes being vulnerable can also make you feel very very naked. And I still get scared, frightened and think it is all just a stupid waste of time, this me thinking I have anything to say.

And after the tears dry, I want to quit. I say I am done. Done writing and speaking and sharing my naked self with the world.

Then I get up and do it again, because of one thing.

Hope.

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Hope in a God that pushes through all the noise in my head, the judgments and the mean jury telling me to stop. He tells me he does adore me. Mess and all. He adores my mess. He adores my tears. He adores my mistakes.

He does this for you too.  He adores you just as you are.

And so I will get up on that stage again, I will tell you my crap here on the page, and I will continue to strive to be congruent with the messy crazy passionate person that God made me to be. And you might not like it. And that is ok, I might cry, but it is ok.

And it is my hope in doing this, scary as it continually is, you will begin to let the walls come down too. That YOU will begin to also be the messy awesome and unique person God made you to be.

That is all.

Xo

Lee

How to Help Your Children Love Their Bodies

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

With back to school we are back to routine, and homework, and for some, the maze of making sure your child is eating the right food for optimum performance.

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Yet, I have many moms who call me in distress with stories like this:

“Mom, I don’t want to eat that food at school. My teacher says it is ‘bad’.”

“I don’t want to eat. The girl at school said I was fat.”

“Mom, I like the feeling when my tummy grumbles and it is empty in there.”

Many moms respond with wide eyes asking, “Will my daughter or son develop an eating disorder?!”
This is a reality.

42% of 1st -3rd grade girls want to be thinner.
81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.
46% of 9-11 year-olds are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets, and 82% of their families are “sometimes” or “very often” on diets.
(Source: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-facts-eating-disorders)

As parents we quickly jump into a place of fear when our children say things that could potentially be warning signs of something bigger. How can we not? With constant messages in the news about the obesity crisis and a push to make school lunches healthier, while our children live in a thinspiration society, how do we as parents find our way? What DO we feed our children? And how can we prevent our children from turning down the path of disordered eating and/or an eating disorder?

CLICK HERE to read the entire article.

xo

Lee

In-Between Your Next Big Thing – Reflections from #AGT

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

I love the show America’s Got Talent and can usually be found crying for the contestants as I sit with my boys who roll their eyes at me. I watched the finale three times. I know, obnoxious. But I so love it.

The singer Emily West and what she said before the winner was announced struck me.

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“I can taste it. I can see the dream in front of me.” She said to the diamond adorned Nick Cannon.

She was referring to the dream of winning. The dream of winning a million dollars and then headlining on the Vegas stage.

It struck me. I wanted to holler, “Hello, Emily. You are in Radio City Music Hall! You just sang with Cindy Lauper!”

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Watch here. It is beautiful!

She was adored by millions of fans and she was waiting for the dream?

Come on girlfriend…you are in the DREAM! The dream isn’t “one thing”.

The dream is in the in-between. The little moments that happen along the way.

You will miss The Dream if you don’t celebrate the in-between.

I am so guilty of this.

The in-between of the next big thing makes me crazy. I like the dramatic-big-life-changing-events; the day I got married, the births of my babies, the day I got the book contract, the big life changing moments are THE MOMENTS right? The in-between for me is always around 3:00 in the afternoon. It slays me. At 3:00 nothing ever happens. It is like when the kids were babies and we called it “the witching hour”. It is the in-between.

It is the after most of the day and before the evening.

Just like the in-between the big events. It makes me so uncomfortable.

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But there are sweet gifts in that space. If you are present enough to notice, which I often am not.

So I am trying.

Trying to find the gifts in that grey and drab place, that feels like nothing is happening. God is there too, not just in the life-changing moment. Gifts are there too.

If we spend our entire lives waiting for the next big thing, we will miss the sweet and small moments that actually make up the whole of our lives. I wish Emily West had noticed that, instead of waiting for the “dream”. (Of course this is only my interpretation of her words.)

Life is happening now. In this present moment.

I am going to try and “BE” not only in those moments of awe, wonder, and ecstatic joy, but in the 3:00 p.m. moments too.

Won’t you join me?

If you want to read a FANTASTIC book on this topic, check out Jeff Goins book so poignantly titled, “The In-Between – Embracing the Tension Between the Now and the Next Big Thing.”

Xo

Lee

To the Little Girl With the Red Cup. #MissAmerica

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

Miss New York Kira Kazantsev was crowned Miss America on Sunday night in Atlantic City.  - The Today Show 

I don’t claim to know much about pageants.

I grew up in Kansas where as young girls, most of us spent our time on the soccer field, not strutting down runways.

What I do know?

That the Miss America pageant exemplifies a lot of things that are wrong with our culture. Last night, I found it to be refreshingly different. Why? Because the woman who won stepped out of the box. She didn’t do the usual baton-twirling-opera-singing-snooze-fest-talent. (I did really like the ventriloquist though.) She sat down on that stage and sang a song while banging a little red cup. Was it spectacular? No. Was it courageous? Yes!

Watch Here.

I may not know much about #MissAmerica, but I do know that she stepped out of the lines of convention and expectation. She did what she wanted to do. I commend her for that.

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What disturbed me was the tweets that began to lambast her for her choice.

Here are just some of the tweets that instantly flooded our news feeds: ‏

Best talent on #missamerica was opera singer! This red cup chick who won is a joke & is indicative of how our country praises the talentless.”@djbrandigarcia  7h

Gah!!!”@ciera_nitkowski: All these parents spending all this $$$ on dance lessons when all they needed was a solo cup #missamerica ‏@MelissaSChapman 9h

Why do we as women do that?

We criticize and judge, we come at her because she did something different, something unique, and she stayed true to herself. We judge their every move and every word. I get it they are standing on stage asking to be judged, but why not celebrate them for their courage! Do you know how hard it is to stand on that stage and do what they did?

And yet, a young woman who has followed her passion, her dream, while also staying true to herself wins and we cut her down. She didn’t win simply because of that red cup.

She won because she spent hours upon hours focused in on a dream.

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Why criticize and judge? Women, we need to instead choose to celebrate and cheer.

Then we need to tell our daughters to sing their songs to their own melody to grab the red cup, to dance to their own music, and be who they want to be! And us grown women? Let us cheer our sisters on for following their passions and dreams.

You Go Girl! You stay TRUE to who you are!

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xo

Lee

Here is a  fantastic book that exemplifies exactly what I am talking about, And She Sparkled  by Joan Steffend.

*Images from Google Images

I Am Just Like Janay Rice, and Maybe You are Too? #whyIstayedwithed

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

“The haunting images from the controversial Ray Rice video of the Baltimore Ravens football star knocking out his then fiancée and now wife, Janay Rice, inside an Atlantic City casino elevator has triggered a national wake-up call.” – Good Morning America 

The video is shocking and the media is vigourously covering all sides of the horrific scene. It is almost impossible to not turn on the TV or scroll through a news feed and not see the video of Ray Rice beating Janay. *photo from Google Images.

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I watch and am shocked by the report that she stays. Why would anyone allow themselves to be abused to such degree and then stay with the man who clearly broke through any safe boundary within that relationship? The experts, the therapists, and the social workers all weigh in on why she stays.

We can judge and say what we would do. We can sit with our mouths gaping open, wondering how on earth she would stay. And we can say we would never do what she was doing.

But, we aren’t being honest are we?

Maybe there are few of you that don’t have any connection to what I am about to say. Good for you. But the rest of us? We have been there.

I haven’t been physically abused, but I have stayed in abuse.

Abuse that came from my eating disorder. Abuse that came from people who said nasty horrible things to me, that then turned into the voice of my abuser, Ed (eating disorder). Add in depression on top of the constant berating of these voices and you have a mind that is so difficult to exist in you only want to die, harm yourself, or numb out.

And people on the outside want to fix with phrases like; think positive, just stop, just eat, and just stop drinking! 

Or for Janay, just leave. 

It isn’t that simple. I wanted to leave the thoughts and the distorted voices in my head. But I couldn’t. Then many told me to pray it away. And it wouldn’t leave. And then a weird twist of thoughts told me I deserved it. I deserved to be shamed, cut, and starved. I deserved the abuse. And so I stayed and almost died from it.

Until I broke free. Until I left. (You can read about my path to recovery in my memoir, Table in the Darkness.) Finally, I walked away from what I thought in a haunting way was keeping me safe, keeping me in control, and keeping me where I belonged.

Yet, the abuse was stealing everything from my life.

Leaving was the hardest thing I have ever done. Leaving was being able to finally believe what God had been whispering to me all along, that I was loved.

That I deserved a full life, not because of anything I had done or not done but because the price had been paid for me on the cross.

And my life, was meant to be lived, not berated, mentally tormented and abused.

Your life too.

You deserve to eat, to be loved, to be cherished. You have a creator who adores you.

Why then, do you allow whatever it is abusing you to do that? I could be just the simple phrase, “I am not good enough” or maybe it is, “I will be better when…” or how about, “I can’t deal with my emotions, so I have to numb out.”

That is abuse. That is allowing yourself to be punched in the face.

No more. Break up. Run away. Get help.

Why? Because God is whispering to you and kissing you on the top of your head saying, “Oh dear child. I love you just as you are.”

You. Are. Adored! 

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Insted of judging Janay, look inside your own life. Maybe you aren’t being physically abused, but mentally? Maybe it is just the shame thoughts that keep you stuck? Or maybe it is an addiction or an eating disorder? You can break free. It is possible. Tell someone, ask for help, and speak your shame. It will be worth it because life is meant to be lived fully! 

Xo

Lee

Urban Outfitters and Pro-Anorexic Clothing

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

I see you. I see you running on the sidewalk and I know what is going on. You running so fast your face scrunched in anxiety, your size 0 running skirt barely hanging on your bony hips. I want to stop on my way to work, get out of the car, and hug you. Tell you that life is so much more than running yourself to the ground, than molding and shaping yourself to be just that right size.

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It is hard, I get it. I have been there. And to be honest, I am grateful I had an eating disorder before the internet bombarded us.

All I had was People magazine with an article about Tracy Gold and her eating disorder. But, you…you have images, and ideas, and pressures coming at you from every angle.

I have written about some of these obnoxious messages coming at you before. There was Lululemon with their yoga pants, there was JCrew with its baby sizes, and now we have Urban Outfitters promoting this:

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I mean really. You have to be kidding me. How do I even respond to this? With the statistics and the numbers of eating disorders rising, this article even reports

“The number of episodes in which pre-teen children have been treated by hospitals for eating disorders has tripled in four years, according to NHS figures.

The statistics emerged amid warnings that units are turning dangerously-ill cases away because they are “not thin enough”.

Experts said increasing numbers of children were struggling to cope with a celebrity culture which sexualizes childhood, glorifies size zero figures, and bombards them with images of unrealistically slim models.” - Read More Here 

You mean to tell me there really was some idiot sitting in a board room or a design room thinking, “Hey we should make a t-shirt that says ‘eat less’ because that sure would be funny.” Do you have a daughter or a son? Is this the message you want to tell them? Starve yourself honey. Because we don’t want you to get too big, because too big doesn’t fit in this culture.

The marketers are tapping into our fears. They know what they are doing, and it is dirty.

“54 perecent of women would rather be hit by a truck than be fat.” 

“If mannequins were women they would be too thin to bear children.”  -  WATCH THIS VIDEO 

I was first appalled by the Eat Less t-shirt on the young girl whose legs have CLEARLY been photo shopped to have a thigh gap too. And then I saw this:

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Have you not read the statistics?

  • 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.
  • In elementary school fewer than 25% of girls diet regularly. Yet those who do know what dieting involves and can talk about calorie restriction and food choices for weight loss fairly effectively.
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.National Eating Disorders Association 

I was very grateful to see that Sophia Bush was leading a revolt against this shaming and obnoxious retail fail. Thank you Sophia!

I am a woman. I will not shrink.

I will not deny my body of its cues. I will not demand, torment, and mold it to be the way society tells it to be.

I will not shrink and I for damn well sure won’t be shopping at Urban Outfitters.

Sweet girl with your frail body running down the street, I see you, you can get help. You can get better. You don’t have to run away. These stupid people telling you these things.

They are wrong.

Life is meant to be lived, full and without hiding who you really are! 

Go forward and LIVE while also filling your body with the food it needs and running far away from Urban Outfitters!

Xo

Lee

Do You Feel Alone?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

For his fourteenth birthday my son wanted the Duck Dynasty Devotional. Only months earlier I had scoffed at the excessive marketing of Duck Dynasty. The Bibles, the key chains, and even the Duck Dynasty Chia Pet.

I went to Barnes and Noble to purchase the devotional.

In a hurry, I rushed to the Christian section tucked back in the farthest corner of the store.

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I immediately spotted the devotional, grabbed it mindlessly and turned around. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a cover I recognized.

My own book.

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On the shelves staring at me.

My baby.

I thought back to the day (really hundreds of days) I couldn’t wait to see it on these shelves. The days I would browse Barnes and Noble and imagine my book there.

As I stood for a moment, the feeling wasn’t a joyful one, but more one of fear. Six copies of the book sat on the shelves.

Six!

I wanted to grab them, walk around the store and solicit them to the nearest reader browsing the bestseller table. “Buy this one! Please!” I wanted to yell. “Because if you don’t they will return them, and then I will receive a statement in the mail that tells me not only how many books I didn’t sell but how many were returned!” Then I imagined myself jumping up and down announcing, “Don’t you know how long this thing took. The sacrifice involved in sharing my story! Eight years people!”

I didn’t do any of this. I just stared at my book staring back at me and walked away.

And then, an image came to me that soothed and calmed my extremely anxious heart.

The image of God the potter, his hands dirty with clay, his arms straining to hold me center, and the pads of his fingers pressing into me. Holding me still.

Pottery Lesson

A few weeks ago we ended our summer at Young Life family camp with some of our most beloved friends. I was looking forward to the time where the speaker talks, inspires and encourages us parents as we close the summer and transition back to school. When the speaker came out night after night with a pottery wheel, I was super annoyed. In the world of Christian sermons my eyes usually roll when I hear yet another one about God pruning me like a garden or God as the potter.

Blah blah blah. I know this. I have heard this. I am being pruned. I am like clay. Yeah yeah. Come on, give me something more people. Don’t you know I am a stressed-out-working-mom-of-three-very-active-boys-and-married-to-one-super-adventerous-husband! Throw me a bone.

Night after night the speaker came out with his pottery wheel and simply made pots. Oh God in all His goodness knew exactly the message I needed.

The message that came to me suddenly while standing alone in Barnes and Noble.

God holding me, the clay, holding me tight.

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His hands filled with dirt, grime and crusty clay. Holding me and keeping me centered. I wiggle and spin and try to spill out over his hands and he keeps steady. Holding me safe.

He does the same for you.

Take this image and whatever you are going through, whatever is hurting your heart, it is TRUE and REAL.

God is holding you steady.

He has you in his grip. He has got this.

TRUST

“And I am certain that God who began the good work within you will continue his work utnil it is finally finished on the day when Jesus Christ returns.” – Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

Xo

Lee

Do You Have an Unfulfilled Dream or Passion?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

The ride up the elevator felt like a ride from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory. Surreal, as if I was being rocketed into a different world. I slowly stepped off the elevator breathing in the expansive space before me. The walls a dark grey and the Minneapolis night skyline picture perfect outside the expansive windows. The air felt different here with a sweet and fresh smell of hope.

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My sweaty hands held my bio and headshot, knowing most people here had stacks of headshots and acting resumes to choose from at home. Resumes with star studded roles bolded and highlighted. I hadn’t pulled an acting resume together in forever and the headshot was a silly photo taken on an I-phone. I imagined the judges sitting at the table oohing and ahhing at the amazing actors before them. Pondering how would they choose from this sea of professional and unique talent, until they saw mine, with its silly local commercials and roles as an extra. And where was the stage experience? Absent. Unless you count college, which was, um well…over 20 years ago.

I hesitated as I scanned the fresh young talent around me. Pairs of tall legs, hip outfits with just the right amount of skin, and cool SoHo style heels. I was sporting the black turtleneck and what I thought were cool jeans. I looked like a mom fresh out of the PTO.

I was finally auditioning for the Guthrie Theatre. This was an enormous irony really, and a step in my journey that really needed to be done. Because many years ago as I looked like these young theatre hopefuls with stars in their eyes and big roles on their resumes, I drove to Minnesota for one prize.

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The Guthrie. To act at the Guthrie. To perform on one of the most respected stages in the Midwest. A starry eyed Kansas girl in her white Toyota drove straight to downtown Minneapolis following the signs to the old Guthrie theater. I sat in my car with my new raw gift, hoping for a home at which to practice my craft.

Over nineteen years passed and I never stepped foot on that stage until this audition last summer.

I had a big dream. I was even in the town to pursue that dream. I loved acting. I loved the camaraderie of a show and the challenge of creating just the right character. Yet, I ended up living a five-minute drive away from the Guthrie, and I never made it there.

So what happened? When people have asked me I told them, “Life happened. I got married, had kids, and the lifestyle of a stage actress isn’t conducive to a family. I also struggled through depression and an eating disorder.”

That isn’t the truth. Not all of it.

The truth? Fear happened.

It wasn’t as if I didn’t work in the field. I did. I worked first at a casting agency and then as a model and talent agent. My job was to discover new talent. I frequented the theatre scene as an audience member. I kept saying I would try out, I would memorize a new monologue, and I would practice my craft.

But I didn’t.

I found myself stuck in the place of wanting something so desperately and being so afraid to pursue it.

I became comfortable in my discomfort. I didn’t put the time or the effort in. I left the dream in the clouds. As a twenty-two year old I had all the time in the world right? I would do it later. Later never really came.

So last summer when auditions came up for one of my favorite plays at the Guthrie, Pride and Prejudice, my husband encouraged me. “Do it! We support you 100%.”

So I took my 41-year-old body into that room and gave it a shot.

Until they made an announcement as we were sitting in the lobby, “This is a dance audition!” I almost ran out the door. (Since when did Pride and Prejudice have dancing in it?) Not to mention the guy teaching the dance sequence was some big wig from New York. I was in trouble. I am not a dancer. I learned that in my kitchen as a 13 year old when my sister kept trying to teach me the worm. My body does not know how to dance like a dancer. I can fake it with my jazz hands and stage smile, but that is as good as it gets.

That is exactly what I did. I stood in the line up (yes, exactly like they do in Chorus Line) and waved my hands frantically and smiled as wide as I could. I fumbled and faked it until the twenty-six count was over. Oh, and did I mention, everyone who was auditioning was also in the room watching. It was one step away from a disaster. Had I fallen, that would have been a disaster.

My name wasn’t called and I rode back down in that elevator with all of those who were cut. I started laughing, as I wasn’t sure what to do with all of us rejected actors packed into this fancy elevator. Some girls were crying and others just stared at me as I awkwardly giggled in the corner. I don’t know how to explain this moment of extreme awkwardness, except it was weird.

The issue for me wasn’t that I didn’t make it. I hadn’t paid my dues; I hadn’t worked hard taking any and every role I could get. I hadn’t done the work and I knew it. I knew I had talent, but that talent was honed and refined many years ago. Could it re-emerge? Sure…but it would take work, yes.

The issue was why did it take me so long?

Fear takes over. Fear steals dreams.

And if you don’t take a step out to pursue those dreams you will just sit on the sidelines and stare. You will say, I will try it later.

Later won’t come. Trust me in this.

My regret in all this isn’t gigantic, as I know I chose to pursue a different dream, to write a book, and that choice took me away from the stage. Little by little I chose not to do the work to pursue that dream. My choice to not clock the hours and instead leave the dream in my head. It is easier to sit by the sidelines and talk about your dream instead of taking action.

Take that next right step. My end goal was the Guthrie. I wanted to start at the Guthrie. Life doesn’t work that way. If your end goal is a book, you don’t start there. You start with a few words on a page. And you get up every day and you sit in that chair and write more. Take that dream and tackle it every day. Don’t wait nineteen years and just expect it to happen. It won’t.

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I walked in the door at my house, and the boys ran to me. “Mom! Mom! Did you make it? Did you get a role?” I felt a pit in my stomach. I didn’t want to tell them I didn’t make it.

“No.” I said.

And then my youngest came over and gave me a huge hug, “That’s ok Mom. It still is pretty cool that you went and tried!”

Don’t wait. The time is now.

Take that next right step and do that thing you are dreaming about! 

xo

Lee

A Daughter and Her Dad

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life
Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life

My dad is a respectable man of his word. A kind and caring man who is still so handsome in his collared shirts, crisp khaki shorts and smell of Old Spice.

But, there was great difficulty between us when I was growing up. A tension that felt like an invisible barricade neither of us could break through. As a young girl, I couldn’t define it; I just knew it was there. I knew I wanted so much more from him and I knew I wasn’t receiving it.

I wrote about our journey in my book Table In The Darkness.

As a teenager this barrier made me angry and bitter towards him. I retaliated by using him for money and placing little value on our relationship. Most of my issues with him were because he didn’t talk much and I held on to mean things he said to me as a child, late into my twenties. Used them as reason I wasn’t going to pursue a relationship and reasons why I was going to hold a grudge. That wall became thicker and thicker. I found myself jealous at how he would relate so effortlessly to my brother and sister, but not to me.

More bricks. More resentment.

I couldn’t comprehend he was actually human.

That wall didn’t help either of us.

My dad is quiet and introverted and had a child (me) with an exorbitant amount of energy and incessant need to talk. All. The. Time. We were opposites in every way. I wanted him to be like me, to talk and to ask questions and to dive deep into theological conversation. I don’t know what he wanted from me, except probably for me to be a little less quiet and hyper.

When my parents divorced and my Dad had his own condo, he started a ritual that began to fracture our wall. I am not sure why, but it did. Driving away from his place, he would stand in front of the garage. Alone. And wave. He wouldn’t go inside until I was out of view. And every time I would cry. Back then; it frustrated me that tears would come.

It was his silent way of telling me; he loved me and hated to see me go.

Now as a grown woman when I drive away from his home in Kansas, with my three boys and husband in the car, he does the same thing. His hair is grayer, his body aged, but those eyes. Those blue eyes and the wave still look at me and tell me, I love you. I am so proud of you. I sob every time. He, in his own way gives me exactly what I needed.

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He loved me and still loves me deeply. He didn’t show it with words, which is what I longed for, but showed it in his eyes. In his quiet presence. He showed it in the way that he always and still keeps his word. And now, as time and life trials have worn us both down we connect in our own way. I don’t wish for him to be someone other than he is anymore. I don’t hold memories of past mistakes and hurtful words, because as parent I am now making some of the same mistakes. What I know, deep in my heart is that he loves me, has always loved me, even if then I couldn’t quite see it.

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I know better now. I have greater insight now, and oh how I wish I would have had it then. My Dad did the absolute best he could.

I am writing this because today is a very big day for a dear friend of mine, Michelle Watson. A respected therapist, and a dear sweet friend. Today is the launch of her book, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You – A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart.

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It took me years to even understand what I needed from my Dad, and maybe years for him to be able to do the same. I don’t know for sure, but I know the learning curve would have been shorter for both of us, had a book like this been available.

There are so many helpful tips and quotes in this book.

“Every girl Needs to See Her Dad’s Eyes Light Up When He Sees Her.” -page 133

My Dad does this, every time I come home and I love it so much. I encourage you; buy this book for your husband. Your Dad. Your co-worker. The book launches today, a perfect day to go and buy it!

Xo

Lee