Why am I qualified to host this site? The easiest answer is: I'm not. Well, no more or less qualified than any of you who are reading this and hopefully, decide to join us. I'm not a therapist or a counselor. But over the course of my life, I, like you, have experienced, battled, and survived many challenges.
My typical response to people who ask how I rise to a challenge, is that "I truly believe it's gonna be ok.” Then, I steer them, and the conversation, to another topic. Lately though, I've noticed that when I share even a small part of my story, women open up and begin to share the intimate details of what they have gone, or are currently going through.
These beautiful moments of connection have happened while standing in line at a grocery store, sitting on a plane waiting to take off, and walking to my car after a meeting. Once, as I finished a conversation with a friend regarding a family member's struggle with addiction, a stranger approached me in the parking lot. She apologized for eavesdropping and began to share her own similar story. She and I talked for almost 30 minutes after which she seemed unburdened for having spoken about something she hadn't yet shared with her closest friends.
I benefited from that encounter as well. Hearing her story helped me to feel less alone in what I was going through and I realized how far I had come in dealing with the same issue. As I walked away from the parking lot lady, I told her that it really was gonna be ok. Not only did I truly believe it, but the seed for a website was planted.
Since then I've spent a lot of time thinking about what my website would look like. I couldn't just sit down and start writing/blogging/sharing. What was my blog going to be about and where was I supposed to begin? I read at least fifty “how-to” articles and looked at dozens of websites geared toward women.
Would my site focus on my being the mother of two beautiful daughters, both of whom were adopted as infants from Russia ? What about the fact that I was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes during my first year of law school, or that I was 34 years old before I met and married my husband?
Where do I mention that I lived with Type 1 diabetes for 15 years before becoming the grateful recipient of a kidney/pancreas transplant? What about my open heart surgery eight years later? Do I want to focus on illness or on how successful each procedure was and how I continue to live a healthy and wonderfully full life?
Maybe, as I find myself once again preparing for another kidney transplant, I should focus on advocating for living organ donation. Where do I talk about my guardian angel, a total stranger with a beautiful soul who has offered to donate one of her healthy kidneys in order to save my life?
My website could be geared towards divorced middle-aged women. I'm certain many women have been as stunned as I was when my husband of 20 years suddenly told me that he wanted a divorce. I could share what it was like to find myself dating at the ripe “young” age of 54 - something I had never imagined doing again - let alone via computer! I knew I wanted this website to be different from the numerous sites already out there talking about this subject. Many of which empowered me as I found my way in my new life.
Where does my daughter's battle with addiction come in to all of this? How much do I share about my own struggle to grapple with my need to control and “help” her and to take life one day at a time.
Would women relate better if I share that I once had a successful career as a sex crimes prosecutor and then opened a solo practice, or that I chose to leave it all in order to stay home to raise my daughters and help my ex-husband build his career? Do I mention the month I volunteered in the Israeli army and the next five months I spent traveling around the Middle East and Africa by myself? I lived Eat, Love, Pray long before Elizabeth Gilbert and Julia Roberts.
I could focus on how I've always tried to “live my best life” and in spite of everything, I still believe in “The Secret” and the “law of attraction,” but I figure Oprah has that stuff pretty well covered. Sometimes though, bad stuff really does just happen to good people who struggle to deal with what the universe throws their way.
In the months I've been thinking about and preparing to launch this website, I've come to realize that it doesn't have to be about any one topic. Nor does it have to be “geared” toward any specific type of woman. The women and men who post on the "Share" page or stop by to read what others have posted, will help to shape the direction this website takes. I've discovered that by sharing even the smallest details of my life, not only do I feel more connected, but other people, especially women, feel comfortable enough to open up and share their stories and insights in return. That makes us all stronger.
© 2018 Deb Gill