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She couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. So she lit that bitch up herself!

An essay brought to you in honor of World Mental Health Day.


I don't know enough about destiny to have a hard fast opinion. I can't say for sure about karma, or purpose, or the meaning of life. But damn, the suffering and pain of yesteryear, not too unlike the pitiful woes I vomited all over the web in this post here, sure does make this feel like I'm coming full circle.

I've had an out of this world, defying all logic, logistical nightmare, big bold audacious dream for years now. I could see the vision in my head so clearly... I can smell the wafting aromas of yogi sage, taste the flavors of home cooked brunch, hear a humming buzz of women laughing and chatting away....

My dream is to bring the vision of Solo Girl Squad, a sisterhood that's been dubbed the Tinder of friend-making, around the world to 30 new cities.


Not next month, or next year, or any time that seems perfect enough. NOW. And not just in celebration of our Solo Girl Squad two year anniversary, which I shockingly came to remember is this month, but also in honor of my 30th birthday. A birthday I wasn't quite sure I would even make it to. Here I stand though, more eager than ever and confident in this mission. 

30 cities. 


One year of my life dedicated to it. 


Hundreds of women making new friends. 


I honestly cannot think of a better way to have a party that celebrates life. Can you?

To celebrate these two huge milestones, along with my badass team, I'm bringing a 30-city tour around the world called the 30x30 Girl Squad Friendship Tour. In each city, we will host our entire lineup of signature friend-making event experiences, connecting women with best friends they haven't met yet, and benefiting the extraordinary work of Heads Together by the Royal Family Hope for Depression Research Foundation + Postpartum Support International. At this point, I can almost feel your heartbeat and see that eyebrow raising. You're wondering why anyone with a life would ever drop everything to go off and bring friendship to women around the world like a preaching gypsy! Trust me girlfriend, I have my reasons. And one of them may or may not be that I lost my life to begin with...


The Career Junkies Who Never Quit


Most days, I be tripping. Like for real though. Why? Let's just say that when every woken moment of your life revolves around your calendar notifications for an overflowing to-do list, including everything from launch that new product, to write twenty articles by month's end and oh yeah, remember to do that yoga move you hate so much but supposedly cures XYZ, there isn't enough Zanax, meditation, or Ghandi quotes in the world to tame the stress and overall "oh shit" factor that envelopes every hour of the day. And its a trap! Because even when you want to relax or indulge in a social life again, you feel completely guilty since striving to reach that success peak at the top or clobbering for a promotion or even the slightest inkling of recognition and validation at work should be all encompassing; with elbows so far in the grease that you practically bathe in it. Right? That's the only way to win at life. Then again, the guilt wanes rather quickly, don't get me wrong, because I am actually always wanting to be feverishly doing something. Not working every second in the beginning stages of any project makes me feel I didn't do everything I possibly could to have results that were as close to perfect as humanly possible. Hashtag that shit: UNREALISTIC.

I know myself. I know what it takes to get me in a dark place, just as much as I know what might instantly snap me out of it. It has always been business. I am so obsessed with business, that if it were tangible in all senses, I would marry it. Funny enough, many would say I am married to my work so it's perfectly fitting. And I found that to be okay, crazy enough. Being in a long-term relationship, or only ever being in long-term relationships, welcomed a cloud of guilt and complacency to hover over me because I rather work sometimes than pay attention to a significant other. Whereas in a contradictory turn of events, the part of me that vaguely believes in Astronomy knew that my Libra tendencies absolutely detested being alone. So taking for granted romantic or platonic relationships that I beloved is prettyyyy counterproductive.

When working toward crushing your dream goals, every day seems like its the most important day. People will tell you to calm the hell down, and you'll not a second later roll your eyes. Healthy living magazine issues will tell you to feng shui your office and you toss that crap in recycling. You'll forget you used to do yoga - back when you actually enjoyed it. You'll forget to eat and pee. You might even begin to consider a diaper for the sake of staying glued to your chair and answering emails or tweaking a webpage, or best of all, scrolling through Facebook insesesintly for the pure ache of filling any whole in yourself that's devoid of genuine connections. You know, the #IRL kind.

I know all about it. I was there. Catch me on an off day, and sometimes I still am.

But then I discovered community...tribes...sisterhood, and women with the same story as me. As much as we wallow in shame, we are never ever alone in the way we feel. There is another woman, just like you, somewhere in the universe, feeling and thinking the same exact thing. That's why I have woven quotes of real life women throughout this essay who have come across my path. You may recognize yourself in them. The wisdom that emerges seems pretty slap-in-your-face apparent to me: do what you have to do without killing yourself and altering your brain chemistry for the worse. Know the difference between exhaustion and being spent, between obligation and passion, between extremism and acute focus on details. Don't start on sleeping pills to aid you, don't think energy drinks is a cure for poor time management. I wouldn't endorse being batshit insane versus innate energy to cross the finish line. Know yourself and what's right. The rest will follow.

For me, I had to take a real long hard look in the mirror. Success and boys are not everything, as it turns out! I started to have real life pit-in-my-belly questions and needed answers. Fast. Like what is minimalism and what does it mean to have a home. What makes for a healthy relationship with a partner we expect to be our everything. When I let denial of the obvious become a comfortable place, that's when my depression reared its ugly head again, and again, until a sluggish, lifeless, depleted me started questioning the purpose of living and if I should even go on at all. Because unfortunately, you don't have the choice to be born, which in and of itself is a supreme gift, but its becoming so easy to take one's own life; as is the case with some of our heroes like Robin Williams and Chester Bennington.

So let's be clear. Accomplishments are only as difficult to execute as you make them. I will not stand here and say I have mastered the art of simplifying my life or making every aspect of my goals come to fruition with as little friction and resistance from the world as possible, but I am a scrappy little bugger, and by God, will I make shit happen. If the mind can conceive, it can achieve as they say. It's just that, unfortunately, it took me 30 damn years to realize that denying yourself of community, people who will shower you with kindness and rub the joy back into your solo journey, is the whole friggin point of life. What is an uphill climb to the top if no one is there to jump up and down with you. I mean really.

Do NOT try to skip the journey. Your life IS the journey. It's like wanting to eat at a Chinese buffet and hoping to skip the part where you take a huge dump hours later. Get over it, life doesn't happen like that. People to share life with is the journey. Friendships make the highs and lows of every inch of the journey worth taking. And according to science, they do a whole lot to combat the ugly shit that eats us up from the inside out. Suffering in silence is absolutely your choice. You can whine, kick and scream, but where you are right now in your journey is where you chose to be. I learned that the hard way which is why I have no problem finally admitting to myself, and now to the world. And I am absolutely no longer ashamed or fearful to tell my evolving story, because I am still human. I have human emotions, pitfalls, and rises. The stigma of mental health no longer scares me. You can see my smiling face - those who come across it in the flesh see a normal person looking back at them ready to be their friend. Stigma can see the door.

So this is my battle cry to get all women to start refocusing that lens girls, because if you wait too long, it will all be a blur.





I'm the same, find it so hard to meet girls around my age... they are all either party girls out all weekend every weekend or have kids. I'm in a committed long term relationship and work full time so do not want to be partying every weekend. The few close friends I did have all got into relationships and after having a shockingly bad year I've come out the over side to realise I've not got anyone now (obviously they weren't very good friend to start with).

Is it bad I think the same too, if I got married would I have a hen [bachelorette] party? Meet tons of girls, got the pics on FB, but not many that stay in touch ...only if they need something or want they remember you. It is rather depressing off FB, I can safely say I've 4 decent girls who I can meet and chat with with regular and not care what they think of me. Wow self pity much lol!! My career is too much of a focus which I'm now about to make a massive pay cut so I can have a social life and make some decent friendships again - it is really needed!

THE FRIENDSHIP TOUR OF HAPPY ENDINGS

If I find the courage and time, I'll soon be launching a crowdfunding campaign to support this initiative, but it will be happening no matter what. Infact, I'll be heading to the UK in two weeks for our first stop that kicks off in London this month, the week of my birthday. Luckily, I'm not alone in thinking that breaking a sweat and staying active is not just an inevitable mood booster, but an incredibly easy way to make like-minded friends.

One would have to admit - this friendship tour is bordering on selfish. I want to personally meet all the women who have shared their journey and story with me over the years. The ones I always felt were too out of reach to help. Or who seemed impossibly cool and girl crush-worthy that I would befriend them in a heartbeat had I lived in their town. Or the women who sometimes struggle with self worth; bouncing around the idea that maybe not having the friends they so desire in life is a sign that something is wrong with them. Well, not anymore. I'm bringing happy endings all across the globe, and as cheeky as that sounds, I think I know quite a few women who have been waiting for this their whole adult lives.

FULL TOUR MAP COMING TOMORROW!


It's hard to make new friends past the college years. Especially when you work independently (i.e. no co-workers to build friendships with) AND if you relocate somewhere new...that just makes it even harder. It truly is about finding the right fit, meeting people who are open to new friendships (and not just acquaintance level). It's been 7 years since I relocated to a new state/city, and I was starting my solo design biz at the same time. Hindsight, I kinda made it harder on myself by doing that. Although, I've found that people who are born/raised in the city where I moved are pretty closed off to new friendships. I mostly connect with other people who relocated here. And it's taken til the last couple years to really feel like I have close friendships with any women here. Still hoping to connect with a true BFF!

I travelled with my bf for a year but he left 10 months ago to Seattle to get a job. So that's rough. I don't want to go back and settle down. But he does try to convince me. Feels lonely on the road sometimes. I'm not great with making long and deep friendships. People are nice passing through but never heard from them after a few msg or emails when they move on.

I just moved to a new city a few months ago and it's super weird. just trying to go to things I'm interested in and make genuine connections!

After my first husband died 8 years ago I realized I only had acquaintances not friends. Still living rural and still no friends...with very limited opportunities to meet new ones.

I have been feeling the same way: I had such strong female friendships in childhood, and now at age 35 I find it really difficult to make new friends. I've noticed that all my adult-acquired friendships actually began as colleagues, people I became close with because we worked together and then we stayed friends. I tried that Bumble BFF app and it was ok... it was strange to treat friendships like dating, so it made me a bit uncomfortable. So... how does everyone make & keep friends as adults?



Now of course I wouldn't want to instill the FOMO for anyone residing in a city not listed on our tour map, so don't fret one bit. This is a day to celebrate uplifting one another! If your 'hood is not currently one of our tour stops, please reach out! I'd be thrilled to spread this mission as far and wide as possible, so I am totally open to wherever the journey leads up. Even if that's your backyard!

7 comments

  1. Giiiiirl, you're speaking to me on so many levels!
    (And happy early birthday! As an almost mid-30's gal, I've been loving it.)

    It took me yeeears to "get out of my own way", but since I have, it's like the floodgates have opened. I'm up at 4 or 5AM writing like a fiend. One thing that has helped me maintain a healthy balance is this idea I learned from my yoga practice. 100% effort to 100% relaxation in half a second.

    In my yoga practice it looks like 100% effort in a posture (whatever THAT is for that day) and going into savasana (100% relaxation) as soon as the posture is over. In my life that looks like the getting up super early to write, but also being 100% present at meals with my husband, 100% no guilt when taking a netflix or instagram break. Because I know when I'm back on, I'm ON BABY. I don't have the time or energy to waste feeling guilty about my IRL savasanas! And if my body says, girl you need to sleep in an extra hour today, I'm like, aiiite cool, zzzzz. Then when I do get up, I'm even better prepared to GSD. That's not to say I don't have that little voice that creeps in with the doubt and guilt, but my yoga/mindfulness practice has helped me squish it like a bug that it is every time it decides to rear its little head.

    Also, have you heard of PineappleDC? It's a fab women-in-food group in DC that partners with all kinds of women chefs, food writers, photographers, creatives to host some fantastic, tasty events. Just a thought to help bring you here bc I'd love to meet you IRL!

    SO excited for your 30x30 Girl Squad Friendship Tour!! Can't wait to see where you'll be going!!

    Marsha

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  2. You are reading my mind!! Get out of my head!! ;)

    As someone at the beginning of my freelance/potential business journey, I can already feel the stress of "oh, I have to do this, and this, AND this, and this, and..." and it takes me a minute to stop and say, "okay what is one thing I can do today to alleviate this?". It's all about the little steps.

    It would be awesome for you to come to Chicago!! (Try to plan for the spring, though. It may get a little brisk this winter. Lol) Would love to get some face time. Can't wait to see your journey!

    Happy early birthday!! <3

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  3. This post is LITERALLY like you hopped into my head and had a coffee date with my brain!! The struggle is so real, even when you're trying to take care of yourself! I laughed, I cried, I gathered my edges!

    I don't know if I signed up for your list after reading your post about needing a squad but I definitely signed up after reading this post! You're a woman after my own heart speaking my language. I hope there's a midwest stop (or two) on your list because I want to be there and I'm bringing whoever will go with me!

    Seriously, thank you for this. We NEED NEED NEED a girl squad as online entrepreneurs and this is an amazing (and socially conscious - hollerrrrrr) way to build community together. #praisehands

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  4. I love this project. It's just the kind of project I'd love to do in my life. If Seattle is one of your stops, do say 'hello'!

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  5. Happy Birthday Letitia! What a beautiful celebration of life and friendships. Have a fabulous tour.

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  6. Letitia this had be almost crying and definitely giggling so many times! I used to forget to pee! How does one forget TO PEE? Or eat? Sleep? Yep, been there too! You are reading our minds...right?! You’re such an inspiration and I so much appreciate your honesty and just putting yourself out there, truly brave! I love this project soooooo much and can’t wait to meet you!

    I’m so thankful that you’ve made it this far, I know exactly what you mean about almost not being here! I’ve been there too and it’s incredibly scary and lonely.

    Thank you for what you’re doing!! xoxoxo

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  7. I continue to love this idea. And bringing women together is not at all selfish! If you stop in Philly, I'll be here to support you!

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