How A Trip To Disney Brought Me Full Circle
Don’t you wish life came with a roadmap and a legend? At least then we’d know where we’re headed and what the signs meant. Alas, it’s not that way; instead, it’s full of uncertainty, and we navigate the bumpy terrain in the dark, hoping to wind up where we are supposed to be. On Friday, in front of 200 women (and a few men) I realized where I was supposed to be.
Those of you who know me and follow this site, know what the last four years of my life have been like and though I have been fairly certain I was on the right track, sometimes when you work alone, from your ‘closet’, it’s easy for self-doubt to creep in. A while back, the folks at Disney invited me to be a featured speaker at their Social Media Moms Celebration, which was held this past weekend. I labored for weeks, wondering what I, something of a baby blogger, would tell these women that they didn’t already know about social media?
So I did the only thing I know how to do, which is to be me. To tell my story, complete with a few highs and unfortunately more than a few lows. To talk about how I not only survived but also thrived. As I took the stage, ready to condense the last four years of my life into 25 minutes, a funny thing happened; I felt like THIS is what all of that past madness had been leading up to! The clarity of that moment was intoxicating.
I won’t lie; initially I was nervous because not only were these women listening to me but they were live blogging and tweeting my speech! That’s akin to an actor performing live on Broadway versus a movie where multiple takes are the norm. But the more I paced the stage, sharing photos and stories from the colorful chapters of my life of late, I felt like, “Oh, THIS is why I had to go through all that!”
Think about it. How boring would it have been if I stood up there and talked about leading a charmed life, never having to face hardship or illness, never having money woes, insecurity and uncertainty? Yuck, I would have walked out on a speech that boring and dry. Instead, I spoke about losing my job and then two weeks later, my breasts. I talked about losing my hair after an illness but in losing all of those things, finding who I am and my voice that no one can take from me. Every so often I would tear up (oh you KNOW I’m a big baby) and I would look out at the crowd and catch someone dabbing her eyes momentarily before heading back to her keyboard.
In an afternoon filled with really cool stuff – want to hear one of the coolest? I told you that the women were tweeting my speech. Well, they were tweeting and retweeting so much of what I said that they made me a world wide trending topic! Then people not in the room but out in the Twitterverse, would tweet, wanting to know who Rene Syler was and why was she a trending topic. If that didn’t underscore the power of the women at the convention and social media in general, I don’t know what does. The absolute icing on the cake was the standing ovation they gave me at the end of my remarks.
It was my hope that by sharing tips on how to guard against toxic people and that good enough is just perfect, that I might provide, if not a road map, at least a marker along the path of this journey called motherhood. But like life itself, in the giving we also receive and that’s what happened to me. Those women welcomed me, enveloped me and made me one of their own. And while they may not have gone through the exact hardships I had, they no doubt, had battle scars of their own.
So I want to take this time to say thanks, to my friends at Walt Disney World, who in turn introduced me to a whole new crop of friends. Women just like me, trying to do the best they can for themselves and their families. Women who know perfection is a completely unattainable goal. There are no points for being perfect, only in playing well the hand you’re dealt. I feel like I can now say I’ve done just that.
To my Disney Social Media Moms, thank you for restoring my soul. You have healed me more than you could ever know.