In September I received a book contract for my second book. When I answered the call from the calm voice on the other end telling me the publishing house loved and wanted to publish this book, I sat in my car in the parking lot of Marshall’s wondering if they had made a mistake.
Had they called the wrong person?
Don’t you want Jen Hatmaker or Glennon Melton?
Were they really offering me a book contract for a book that had not even been written? Did they not know who they were calling? Didn’t they see in my proposal that my first book was never listed on the New York Times Bestseller list, or that it never hit any sort of top charts.
I wanted to ask them, are you sure you really want to do this? Are you sure you want to invest in my story?
I didn’t say these things, I just played it off as a confident author who got calls from publishers all the time asking for my work.
Inside I was trembling with excitement and an overwhelming fear.
How on earth would I do this?
It is now June and the book is done. Completed. WHOOHOOO!!
We are still working on final edits but somehow by the Grace of God, a very supportive family and community, I was able to write this book.
Let me pause to tell you something else. My oldest son has been playing hockey since he was five. Most of our winters are spent in ice rinks, in cold Northern Minnesota towns, and bundled up in our long down winter coats. I love watching hockey! These past two years have been so fun since the boys are old enough to “check” and throw each other against the boards. It is a full on adrenaline sport, for the fans. And yes, I have been known to be that mom in the stands. One time this year, Chris, told me to take a “time out” in the lobby because I was getting a little out of hand.
So when hockey ended he told us he wanted to play Ultimate Frisbee. We took a step back in confusion. “A frisbee? Is that actually a sport?” We asked him.
And friends not only is it a sport, but one with the sweetest touches of kindness. At first I wasn’t too interested in attending his all-day tournaments as I longed for the high-impact adrenaline-pumping-hockey. Until I finally saw it with my own eyes.
I sat on the sidelines in my chair and watched what actually is a very physical and demanding sport. There are chants and language and rules I know nothing about, but it is actually intriguing and fun to watch.
It is what happens at the end of the game, when these fifteen-year-old boys are done, is what moves me the most. Instead of the usual line up and shake each other’s hands at the end of the game, these boys wrap their long arms around each other in a circle.
They chant and yell and intertwine their arms like brothers. And the winning team? They choose one boy on the losing team as the “player of the game!”
They cheer and yell and hold him up with esteem and love.
When I saw this I wanted to stand up and yell, “YES! YES!”
This is what I long for more of in this world, this is what this next book of mine, this is what it is about.
Us as women, stopping the competitive game of throwing insults and judgement at each other, but looking deep into each other’s eyes and looking past the outer appearance into each other’s heart.
Letting go of the masks and realizing that every one of us is fighting some sort of battle.
That every one of us struggles in some way. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose, and most of the time that isn’t what matters. What matters is that we really begin to see each other.
I want to see women instead of jealousy and gossip, lifting each other up like these teenage boys do and carrying each other on our shoulders.
Because women…we need each other.
And what I realized as I interviewed woman after woman is that none of us feel brave in the moment. Very rarely do we feel beautiful. And most of the time we feel like I did when I received that call, that I will be found out, that someone will realize I am not all that great.
When I began to write and interview and look underneath the masks I saw some of the bravest and most beautiful women I have ever met. This book is their stories.
It is your stories. It is my story. It is what happens when we stop the comparing game and look deeper.
And when we do this, we see each other. We hurt with each other. And most importantly we lift each other up on our shoulders and cheer each other on. We say YES. You ARE BRAVE. Yes. You are Beautiful.
Brave is the New Beautiful – The Courage to Be the Real You will release in March of 2017.
My gift and offering to all of the women in this world who need encouragement, and hope, and a cheering section.
Because that is all of us.
Yes. All of us. You and Me.
You are more powerful than you know; you are beautiful just as you are.” — Melissa Etheridge