Thank you. Thank you for loving me from the third grade, until the day I said, "I do". You were my first soul mate. You loved me through the darkest times of my life; from divorced parents, boyfriends, daddy issues... all of it. We held hands and protected each other for years. September 26, 2015 was the last day we were together. I missed you for a long time, and I wondered if you ever missed me. I walked away from our friendship because I felt us growing into our own as different women. I know you did the same. I still check in on you from time to time via social media, I always say hello when I see your mom. I'm proud of the person you have grown up to be. I also need to say thank you for teaching me who to accept in my life to fill your shoes.
The friendships that I have cultivated now, are friendships that I will have for the rest of my life. And I have you to thank for that in a way. I know that there were ways I could have been a better friend, and I know that there were times that I deserved better treatment in our friendship. Because of that, I do everything I can do be the best person for the two girls that I am so lucky to lean on now. They love me, like really love me. They accept that I can be loud and sometimes speak out of turn. Their husbands accept me with open arms, there is never a time that they have to choose one or the other. I've been a part of births, weddings, puppies, new homes, everything I thought we would do together. But looking at these two girls, I couldn't imagen doing this life with anyone but them.
You taught me how to be a friend, I'd like to think I had a hand in teaching you as well. Heather and Haley are two of the most amazing women I have ever met. That doesn't take away from what we were... but that has been over for many years now. So I say again, thank you. Thank you for all that you taught me about me. Thank you for leaving the void for them to fill. I'll forever be grateful.
Maybe you got married young. Maybe you had your first baby when you were still in high school. Maybe you didn't go away to college or didn't go at all.
Everyone does life a little differently, who is to dictate what is right versus what is wrong? We all know what the easier path is. It is engrained in most of is at a young age.
You go to high school, make good grades. Apply to colleges, make some more good grades. Get a good job, meet a nice boy, and get married. After that, you can then have babies. But life doesn't always happen like that now does it. I know mine sure as hell didn't. And yours probably didn't either. Life isn't about meeting expectations laid out on a timeline that others mapped out for you. Life is about doing things that are meant for you, when they are meant for you. If you look at where you are now, and don't see room for improvement, you are missing my point. But if you look at yourself now and see growth, with opportunity for so much more... you are smelling what I'm stepping in.
When you look back on what you have accomplished so far, I am sure there are things you would change. But would you change them at the cost of not being where you are now? We get one go around on this Earth, make it count. You cannot compare your journey to Courtney next door. She didn't have the same cards dealt to her as you did. And you don't always know what happens behind those perfect Instagram posts on her feed. So what if you don't decide until 24 what you want to be when you grow up? What if you didn't end up with a boy at all!? So what if you are entering your second marriage before 30? Who cares if you never went to school at all and are a stay at home mom?! As long as you are happy with your choices, that is all you need to worry your pretty little head about. At the end of the day, when it is all said and done, you are your only critic... so give yourself a 5-star Yelp review dammit!
“I like to say it’s an attitude of not just thinking outside the box, but not even seeing the box.”― Safra A. Catz
I used to think that venturing outside of the box is what makes one successful, however I am beginning to realize that I was incorrect. What makes one successful is surviving. It is being tired and mentally drained & still fighting. Last year in September I made the decision to leave my career in Corporate America and step out on my own. I began building a company that was literally starting from the ground up.
As I have walked this path, I have received more support than I could have ever dreamed. I have also received many questions surrounding "why". Now, to fill you in a bit, I started a transportation and logistics company- meaning, I bought 18-wheelers and hired truck drivers to drive them and deliver the freight all over South Carolina. The reason behind the question of "why" typically goes like this: "What made you decide to do that, you don't see a lot of women in that type of business?".
My response is always the same: "Why do you think that is?". It is in my opinion that although we are in 2021, we still find ourselves categorizing jobs as male vs. female. Not to say that we haven't moved past the whole "you aren't allowed to do that", but we are all guilty of assuming someone's career based on their gender. It is typically a subconscious thought- not meant to cause any harm whatsoever. I personally do not take offence to anyone asking me why I got into this business.
Stepping into the uncomfortable is what makes you have to grow personally. You cannot fall into the victim mindset of "They don't like/trust/respect me because I am a *insert gender*". When you begin telling yourself those things, you are limiting yourself. No one can is thinking about what is between your legs as much as you are, I can promise you that.
If anything, when you step out and do something that is out of the norm, 9 out of 10 times, people will find that to be brave or inspiring. Stop looking at something as basic as your gender as a defining thing. Your gender does not make you more or less successful. YOU make YOU a success. YOU make YOUR business a success. You hold all of the power when it comes to your own growth. You decide when you pause, speed up, and when to hit the cruise control button. You.
You are powerful, you are brave, you have the world at your fingertips. Do what makes you scared and excited all at the same time. Do what makes you feel whole, regardless of what the stigma may be. When you let go of the internal dialog, you will realize that the person who doubts your ability the most... is also you. Only you can place limits on yourself. We get one life, and one shot at being happy- take full advantage of it, and do not apologize for it.
- Harley, Founder and CEO of Kingsmen Transportation