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I used to be the first in line to sign up for new online communities, mastermind groups and networking organizations, writer workshops and dance parties. I used to meet weekly with three other women entrepreneurs, “Superfriends” who coached one another through creative and business challenges. These were places I shared my truth, where I listened and supported others, where I felt both heard and validated. Being in the same room, whether virtual or physical, with my “tribes” brought a sense of belonging.

I settled in, comfortably.

In time, I sought to explore more vulnerable conversations, ask tougher questions, steer things in directions the others did not want to be led. I soon found myself bored with what seemed mundane and over-analyzed topics. Had I not given enough of myself, or had I been too much? Then suddenly, there would be the turn of a cold shoulder, a light-hearted debate would become fiery, a metaphorical glass thrown across the table. Had I become too easily distracted, self-centered, negative? …

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My daughter is a watercolor artist, and a pretty damn good one if I might add. …

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A former boss once said those words to me. I still feel their sting when plans don’t go my way, when my bank account plunges, when my relationships sour. I look at myself in the mirror and say the two harshest words I know…

And I remind myself…

You are solely responsible for making every decision.
You are NOT confused, undisciplined nor a victim of circumstance.

You are solely responsible for keeping up.
You are NOT lazy nor incapable.

You are solely responsible for saying NO.
You are NOT obliged to go along with the status quo.

You are solely responsible for the people you let in your life.
You are NOT a doormat for the deficient, drunken or debaucherous. …

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