One of my very good friends, Emma, saved an iceberg size chunk of my soul this week.
She didn’t know it, of course. She’s just a visionary CEO who had this insanely amazing idea for her brand Wildfang to tell a story about badass young female athletes showing their “game face” as we head into the Women’s World Cup, and she asked me to be the photographic arm of her operation.
So I said yes. I was nervous. I’m not that photographer that sets up lights and filters and backdrops and tries to get the perfect aperture or shutter speed or anything. I’ve never taken a course on photography, studied the art, or bought anything than a really really really nice camera (truth be told, my husband bought it for me as a gift because he’s awesome). I don’t have a studio. I use my bathroom or living room wall, or the wood and concrete that make up the external frame of our home.
I just believe I know what makes a great, unique photo. And I go, instinctively, from there.
Fast forward… the blog was published, and instantly picked up by the media. Media I follow obsessively that was suddenly telling this story. The feeling of that was akin to being drafted by the pro’s. I think. I’m not sure, because I’ve never actually been drafted onto a professional team, but I’d like to think it would produce a similar reaction of goosebumps, chills, and a “holy shit I cannot believe this is happening” factor.
And then it hit me hard. Last night, as I was texting with my cohort, I realized my mom wasn’t here to see this… to witness my humble hobby turn into something just a bit more. She would have been SO proud. She’d have said something like, “way to go, honey.” or “wow, I’m so proud of you. Women athletes need all the exposure we can give them. Good for you.” Because, you see, she was just the HUGEST supporter of young women athletes and made SO MUCH happen on their behalf in the past decade.
And then Trevor died Friday of brain cancer. A young man I met twice, both times at the Huntsman Cancer Institute while there with my mom. We bonded in our love for sneakers :). I wrote about what he meant to me in our few brief connecting moments. I have befriended (via internet) his most amazing and powerfully strong and beautiful wife Chelsi and their two young children.
So i’ve just read Sheryl Sandberg’s post on Facebook. I wasn’t planning on posting any sort of blog tonight.
And she wrote about plan B. And I was so PROFOUNDLY thankful that someone had so beautifully articulated exactly how i’ve been feeling the last two months since my mother died of cancer, that I leapt off the couch and just started writing.
I needed to execute, immediately, a Plan B action, because I miss plan A so very much.
So I need your help. If you are reading this, I really am asking you, unapologetically, to help.
Not me. I want to pay this plan B forward, because it’s what mom would wish for me to do.
Here’s the backstory. As I was sitting with her while she slept in her final days, I saw on social media a simple knit hat with the words “Cancer Sucks” on it. I posted to the internets that I would love to have one, but I was angry, and I need the message to be much more aggressive. I needed cancer to know where it stood with me.
And 2 days later, one was in the mail to me. It said “F&CK CANCER.” It came from my aunt Laura.
I would like to pay this plan B forward to my aunt Laura, my mother’s younger sister, who my momma loved deeply. Laura has a great talent, yet does not have the network to spread the word about what she has done that has helped me cope with plan B. Helping her helps her pay each bill, helps her make ends meet each week. Here is the link to her etsy site, whatnotsbylaura, and below are some of her hats.
So that is it for tonight. That’s what my heart and my brain and my sympathetic nervous system needed to get out.
To Chelsi, I have so many words for you that are bottled inside… they are coming.
To Aunt Laura, you deserve the goosebumps I’ve felt the last couple days in having something you love to do be appreciated by others. I hope this helps.
And finally, Emma… my friend, idol, and in my humble opinion the most talented female CEO on the planet, i’ve said it to you privately and i’ll say it again now… thank you deeply and profusely for giving me my happiest day since my saddest day.
Pay it forward, people. We’re all we’ve got.