I was talking to my therapist last week about how I’m stuck on this idea of “getting my life back” after my car accident. Like I’m spending all of this energy trying to go back to a time in my life that that never happened. Back to the smiling girl in this photo. And while this girl was very happy, she didn’t know the blessings that would come with the tragedy six months after this photo was taken. She would become a person that felt broken, but it would give her an opportunity to ask for help, which she never knew how to do before. She would feel lost and alone, and it would give an opportunity for her village to love on her in ways she never knew. It would make her face her deepest fears, and she would survive them. As much as we don’t want to be in those dark places, sometimes it’s those places that we need to be to become better people. There is no going back to who are in the past, because that person doesn’t exist anymore. And my loves, that’s a GOOD thing.
“Do you want me to just trim your hair? Or do you want to do something totally different?…” . “what do you have in mind?” . “I think it could be really cute if we go a lot shorter” . … and then I felt the blood drain from my face. NO. Nope. Absolutely not. I just came in to color my hair, I had zero intention of a spontaneous total makeover… But then I paused. I’ve had my long hair for maybe 10 years or so… why am I so attached to it, especially when I love shorter hair on other people so much? But then I remembered when I was a young mom in my early 20’s and I had cut my hair to my chin, which people later told me was not my finest hair moment (in a “THANK GOD YOUR HAIR IS LONG, it looks SOOO much better” kind of way). And from then on, I equated my long hair to feeling attractive, and short hair to “mom hair” and poor choices. If I decided to cut it off, would I no longer feel sexy? And then I decided that was the perfect reason to go for it. Just like my body, my hair does not define me and my self worth. 7 inches of hair lopped off, and I looked at my reflection and loved what I saw… and then panicked… and then loved what I saw… and then panicked again. This morning I woke up feeling so grateful for an unexpected change. So cheers, my friends, to doing things that scare us for the sake of growth. . And I need to give a special shoutout to my girl @christinecstyling who sat with me in what was basically a therapy session. She encouraged me to have some fun with my hair again, and as always, I leave her chair feeling like a new woman. I’m so thankful for you, friend. You are not only beyond talented, but I feel like you make me a better person.
Oh my friends, the amount of DM’s, texts, and phone calls I’ve received since my post about anxiety regarding your own battles with it has been overwhelming and heartbreaking. The sheer number of people willing to open up about their story is courageous, and yet I can’t help but think of the amount of people who are maybe reading this and don’t have a voice yet. I talked a bit on the instastories today about my car accident and what the road to emotional recovery has been like, and it made me think about the scars that we bear. There are times since my accident that I feel so frustrated that I didn’t walk away with scars that showed on the outside. A signal to people of “look, I got hurt” and they could more easily understand. Instead, I hold them all internally- scars of physical pain of muscular and nerve damage. Scars of anxiety. Scars of anger. Scars of depression. You could look at me on most days and I would look fine, but I could tell you that there were a lot of days that my face hurt so bad I could hardly think, and days I couldn’t get out of bed, and days that I found myself glued with my face to the floor, unable to breathe due to a panic attack. I know that I’m not alone. We all bear invisible scars. Scars of our childhood. Scars of our relationships. Scars of our battles with addiction. We all wrestle internally on a regular basis. And yet we can all look at each other and assume the other is okay because they put pants on today. And when asked how we’re doing, we automatically respond with “I’m fine.” It’s okay to not be fine. But what’s not okay is to sit with it for a really long time and keep your fingers crossed that it’s going to get better without doing anything about it. Healing requires work. It requires getting uncomfortable. It requires the scary step of reaching out and telling someone “I’m not okay, and I need help”. But you can do it. WE can do it. The scars that will linger long after you get through this will be a gentle reminder that you, dear friend, are capable of big things.
Ahhh, the season where all of our financial goals go out the window for the perfectly decorated fall front door. Buckle-up pocketbook. Let’s go.
My name is Melissa, and my anxiety makes me anxious. I’ve had around 20 panic attacks in the past few months, and my doctor recommended that I try drinking more alcohol to deal with it (WTF?! And alsooooo... don’t mind if I do?). The crazy thing is that there are some days that I don’t experience anxiety at all, and then other days that I wake up with my heart racing and the feeling of being unable to breathe. My doctor said he gets the most after-hour calls from people in their 30’s with anxiety problems. If this is such a thing, why are we not talking about it?! Am I the only one?
When I started Brazen Mae, my vision was to empower women through fashion. To encourage every body type to search within themselves to find the freedom to dress like their true selves. And while that vision is still very much alive, I have realized through my own personal growth and journey, it’s bigger than that. ▪️ This past year has been the wildest roller coaster for me. A major car accident, 8 months of physical therapy and I’m finally starting to feel like myself, an inability to work and finding myself the most financially stressed that I have ever been, having to learn that strength isn’t about being strong and “handling it”, it can also be about asking for help when you just can’t do it any more. It’s been so dark, full of so many tears.. and panic attacks, and wondering if I will ever find my way out of it. But it’s also been full of so much love, growth, patience, and community. ▪️ And I’ve had a hard time posting on social media regularly through all of it, not because I didn’t believe it was worth sharing, but because it didn’t fit the “fashion mold” that I had started this whole dream with. For the past 8 months I’ve been trying to get my life back to what it used to be. In the medical world, getting your body back to pre-accident means you’ve been successful in treatment. But I’ll never go back there. I’ll never be that girl. So it’s time to stop fighting with the past and embrace the idea that I may just have a new purpose. ▪️ I still want to talk about fashion and empowerment, but I also want to talk about anxiety and the shitshow of parenthood. I want to talk about relationships and how even though they are wonderful, they are HARD. I want to talk about real life. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has been to hell and back (or maybe you’re still on vacation down there). ▪️ My friends, we all need each other in real ways. Not in instagram perfect ways. But in “Life is beating the shit out of me, and I’m trying to talk myself out of drinking at 10am on a Tuesday” kind of ways. So instead of continuing to try and fight the mold that I have created for myself, I’m going to start talking. ▪️ Because I'm Brazen, and I do what I want.
Headed back to our home away from home next week. New York City, you better start stretching. We’re coming for ya.
What’s that, Monday? You wanna fight?