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Maria Thomas Women For One Truthteller Tour

Scroll down to watch my Women For One Truthteller Tour video.

You might remember I invited you to the Women For One inaugural Truthteller Tour in Boulder where I was invited to read my work as a local truthteller. This, by far, is the bravest (and scariest) thing I’ve ever done. The video I’m sharing with you below is the story I shared that night. It has nothing to do with hyperhidrosis, although I was worried about my excessive sweating getting in the way of such an important night.

Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes. ~Megan Kuhn

When I submitted my writing to Women For One to be considered for this live event, I was compelled to do so. I found this amazing organization “accidentally” on Facebook (probably not if you ask the Universe). When I read about what founder Kelly McNelis was doing, I immediately felt a rush of energy come up from behind me, wrapping my shoulders and pushing me toward the keys on my computer to submit my story. I blocked everything else out and submitted Just Stay for consideration.

This was the second time I was terrified to talk about this dark night of the soul I experienced in 2016. I was worried about what people would think. Would they label me as unstable? Mentally ill? Self-centered and seeking attention? Glorifying suicide?

Don’t Let Fear Be Your Decision Maker

All those thoughts ran rampant in my head after I clicked submit and before I got up on the stage. But I did my best to prepare. And really, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do – our best? I’m not perfect, and I get things wrong a lot of the time.

But I did do a few things right. I taped my essay to the wall and read it aloud at least 20 times, practicing gestures and voice inflections. Each time it got a little bit easier. In the days leading up to the event, I heard songs on the radio that spoke to me directly. I saw signs all around me nudging me into this courageous and vulnerable moment.

Women For One Truthtellers holding hands

Holding hands (mine were actually dry in this moment!) with the women of the inaugural Women For One Truthteller Tour

Know Your Intention

I kept returning to my intention whenever I got nervous or scared and doubted myself: to help others by sharing my truth. If even one person felt better or supported or seen and heard after hearing my story, then that is success in my book. I didn’t write this story, or speak it aloud on stage, to make it about me. It’s not. My pain and my mess is my message to others. I think that’s why I was able to do this, because my intention was, and is, to serve others.

Maria Thomas and Kelly McNelis

Women For One Founder Kelly McNelis and her new book Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman

Release Your Guilt and Shame

For two years, I carried shame and guilt around like an overstuffed carry-on that refused to fit under the seat. But that baggage has been checked.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”

– Brene Brown

I’ve carried survivor’s guilt about my story, especially after someone I know experienced a death from suicide in their own family. The first time I shared what happened to me was just a few days after meeting this person. A few days after that, they experienced a devastating loss.

It was then that I knew I had to share my Just Stay story publicly. In a roundabout way, the world’s loss of this amazing, inspiring and caring person inspired me to be vulnerable and speak my truth in the hopes that it would help others. I don’t know if I ever would have shared my story had it not been for the life events I experienced last year that brought me to this moment.

I still struggle with what to say to this person and their family, and right now I’m being quiet. I  reached out once but didn’t get a return phone call. I think about this person and their family often, and I’m sending them my love.

When I took the stage that night in Boulder, I let go of all the guilt and shame I’ve carried about my story. It no longer serves me. Now, I am practicing self-love and self-care and listening to my body. There is triumph over darkness. You just have to take a few steps forward and shine the light that is within you. Dig deep. It’s always there.

Here’s My Brave

My hyperhidrosis did make an appearance as soon as I walked up to the podium to speak. Kelly’s phone was laying there, and I was terrified I’d drip sweat all over it as I held my essay (which was in a plastic sheet protector because we sweaters think of everything ahead of time). I did leave my mark behind, but thankfully my puddles didn’t land on her phone.

(You can also watch my Truthteller Tour video on YouTube.)

Don’t Apologize For Your Success

Don’t apologize for your success. While there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, don’t shrink so that others can feel better about themselves. Some people might like you better when you’re broken, but for me those days are over.

I got a second chance, and I now have what Brendon Burchard calls “mortality motivation.” I’m proud of myself for doing the work and – like a Phoenix – rising from the ashes.

“Even to me the issue of ‘stay small, sweet, quiet, and modest’ sounds like an outdated problem, but the truth is that women still run into those demands whenever we find and use our voices.” – Brene Brown

Part of me is still scared to post this, but I’m doing it anyway because my word for 2018 is FEARLESS.

hyperhidrosis kindness rocks

The kindness rocks I brought with me were inspired by my friend Megan (pronounced Mee-gehn) Murphy, founder of The Kindness Rocks Project

Talk to Someone

If you need help, please reach out. You matter.

Crisis Text Line

If you are in crisis, reach out for help. Text REASON to 741741.

http://www.crisistextline.org

Free, 24/7, confidential.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

DIAL: 1-800-273-8255

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org