A little mood music for this story, this is my theme song for the weekend.
I did it, y’all! I packed my bags, got on a plane, and flew my li’l self down to Texas for the Noonday Collection annual Ambassador conference called Shine! I was so excited getting ready to go, I love meeting new people and all of the Noonday girls I have met online are AWESOME! I went to a conference last year where I met a bunch of people in person who I knew really well online and that was a blast and a success- and that time I had to give a SPEECH! So this should be a walk in the park, right? Plus my GIRL, y’all! My girl Kristina, my total soul sister who knows me inside and out and, bless her heart, loves me anyway. She was gonna be there, sleeping in the very same bad with me! I can’t lose this weekend, it’s gonna be LEGEN-wait for it-DARY!!!!
I had forgotten one thing, however. Two, actually. The first is that I still had some pretty deep insecurities surrounding my Noonday journey that I hadn’t really overcome. I’ve been really brave and have been working in spite of them, but I hadn’t really gotten past any of them. The other thing is that spiritual warfare is at its fiercest when we are doing good, brave things and are trying our hardest to follow God. So, while the weekend was fun and encouraging, it was also hard, HARD work and I was fighting a battle with my worst thoughts about myself the whole time.
When I started Noonday, it felt like such an un-Tori-like thing to do, it flew in the very face of many things I believed whole-heartedly were true about me: I was not fashionable and my attempts at fashion and accessorizing were always awkward and often bordered on embarrassing. I could not work in sales, I’m a teacher and that’s what I do. I’ve never even worked in retail. This HAD to be a disaster in the making, I was going to fail. And it wasn’t even the failure I was scared of, it was having those truths reinforced, it was feeling like I was ridiculous for even trying and going forward with wounds, even more scared to dare and to try. THAT is what I was really afraid of.
And that enemy of our souls, he is smart, y’all. Thursday morning when I came downstairs and stood in that lobby and looked around at the arriving Ambassadors- whooooeee! All of my excitement for the weekend came crashing down around me as I felt all of those insecurities take over and I saw them reinforced all around me- because let’s face it, when our insecurities take over, we are going to see everything through that lens and we find exactly what we are looking for. These Ambassadors were every bit as FABULOUS in person as I had envisioned and even feared. And everything about them REEKED of their success to eyes that were clouded by my own perceived unworthiness. They all knew each other from artisan trips that they had earned because of their stellar sales, they all wore LAYERS of pieces that I didn’t have yet because I hadn’t sold enough to be able to afford to buy them. I felt about thisbig (picture my fingers showing a really teeny little itty bitty bit) and also my Old, Worn-Out Shoe complex was kicking in big time, feeling like an old sneaker next to a shiny new brand-name stiletto. And of course, because they were ACTUALLY nice and amazing people, they were so friendly and gracious and welcoming- but let’s be real, when we are seeing through the lens of our insecurities, it all feels like “Yeah, you say you’re glad to meet me but you don’t know that I’m actually nobody. If you knew how little I had sold and that I have only one trunk show on the books right now you wouldn’t feel like it was good to meet me…”
And it got even worse than that, y’all. At one point I was SO uncomfortable that I thought to myself, “Wait, this is supposed to be my THING! I love meeting people! Maybe I was WRONG about myself! Maybe I’m not that good of a people-meeter, maybe I’ve been fooling myself…” Bad, right? Total spiritual warfare.
But guess what? It didn’t ruin my weekend because y’all, I fought back. HARD. I fought really hard, I’m exhausted from it. I’m not going to tell you that I won any sort of rousing victory, I didn’t come away with an entirely new image of myself and zero fears about my business going forward. I came away with a good feeling about the weekend, an increased closeness to God and a bit more of a vision for how He wants me to be working right now, and a resolve to keep fighting the good fights- all of them. FIGHTALLTHEGOODFIGHTS!!!
During her very first speech to us, our founder Jessica Honneger talked about the need to interrupt the negative stories we’ve been going along believing are our REAL stories for. The negative “truths” about ourselves we have accepted which are actually lies told to us by the world around us and probably in no small part by the aforementioned enemy of our souls who wants to keep us down. She didn’t go quite so far as to put such a spiritual spin on it, although she’s definitely a believer so she may have been thinking it, I don’t know. She was speaking to a group of which she was the leader and not all of whom believed as she did, I don’t know what direction she would have taken things in a different context. But *I* believe whole-heartedly that these lies and negative stories are exactly what the enemy uses to keep us down and the greatest and most powerful thing we can do it to FIGHT! BACK! Fight back, y’all. Don’t stand for it.
And so that’s what I did. I tried my flipping hardest not to stand for it. I didn’t come away with this newfound sense of self, I also didn’t come home and start discovering all of these business leads that I’d been overlooking. I’m still on the struggle bus in soooooo many respects. But I did come away with NOTHING but happy memories of the weekend, and THAT right there is a gift from God. Because I did struggle, I posted in my precious Mommy Group and told them all about it and they saw one of those darker moments for me so they can vouch for it. But in spite of all that, I feel GREAT about the weekend and I am SO proud of myself for going and for being there and I LOVE the people I met and I would go back next weekend if I could. Seriously. I have all these new fashion ideas to try out and try to start being brave and even *GASP* having FUN with style! I’m buying the biggest goshdarned spring sample bundle they’ve got and I’m hitting up ALL the people I can possibly think of who might love Noonday and be inspired by the story and want to get involved. So far it has yielded exactly zero sales or leads, but it’s only Wednesday (BAHAHAHA, talk to me in six months and see if it’s yielded anything). I’m doing it, I’m showing up, and I’m giving it all I’ve got because God has shown me that He will protect me if I do.
And that is my big take-away from the weekend, I guess. I need to show up, to do the work, to “interrupt my story” as Jessica called it, to shrug off the mantles I’ve been wearing that just ARE NOT ME, to put it all out there and go for it and God will take care of the rest. I might not win. I might fail. I might embarrass myself. I’m not guaranteed success. But I can trust that my Father who loves me will take care of me and I will come away feeling good about it. I will come away stronger than I went in and if His is the voice I’m listening to, I won’t hear anything that hurts me.
^^^This is me beginning my journey, seriously annoyed by the traffic…Three of my fellow Portland area Ambassadors and I managed to score seats together on our flight!
^^^The moment I was waiting for, Kristina and me reunited. Dinner Wednesday night, I loved these ladies.^^^^^It’s official^^^^Our Emcee, Jamie Ivey, with Jen Hatmaker. JEN FLIPPING HATMAKER!!! Seriously…Karen Gibbs talking with Ana, Jalia, and Cherry, three of our amazing #GirlBoss Artisan Partners.
Me with Jalia, Noonday’s original artisan partner from Uganda. Oh man, is she gorgeous and gracious in person. She just oozes grace and love.
Our founder Jessica with Glennon Melton. GLENNON FLIPPING MELTON!
Kristina and me with Her Majesty, Queen Jessica of Fabulousness and Authenticity. When you speak to this woman she makes you feel like you are the only person in the room and like you actually matter to her and she’s actually glad that EVEN YOU have chosen to be a part of Noonday. Pretty much my goal in life is to be able to make people feel how she made me feel when I talked to her.All the heart eyes right here ^^^^^This is Julia, Kristina, Martha, Devan and Jaime. They were pretty much the chief executives in charge of fun and laughter for the weekend.JAMIE FLIPPING IVEY took a stick selfie with us with my selfie stick. I have started listening to her podcast and she doesn’t know it, but she’s my new best friend. The view from our ROOM!!! Can you even?!?!?!?