My Spirit Stands Tall. Independence Day.


poem by Julia Schroeder

Nothing in life, nothing worth having comes without work, comes without some pain, comes without guts to make changes, comes without living courageously.

We will not do everything perfectly, although we’ll expect that from ourselves because we’re women and we’re programmed to believe we must be perfect.  We’ll spend our time, money and energy fixing imperfections like wrinkles and the extra 10lbs we gained while we ignore the inner parts that make us real, make us vulnerable.

Now and then we’ll read a book, or see a movie, or meet someone who makes us recognize our authentic selves and we’ll catch a glimpse of who we thought we could have always been, but it’s too much work to stay in that place, it makes us “feel” too much so we apply more eye cream, eat one less piece of chocolate.

Independence Day workout. Stand tall.

Try it. Hold your shoulders back, pull your chin up, deep breath in from your gut, let the air fill your chest, breathe out a breath of confidence, repeat. It’s the workout they forget to tell you to do in Cosmo and Vogue. Practice it, perfect it.

You have a spirit inside of you, and I in me that deserves to be embraced, noticed. Your family, friends, the world benefits from you letting that authentic spirit show. Wear it proudly like it’s your sexiest pair of heels or most comfortable pair of jeans. I have a friend that told me her mother used to tell her when she’s having a bad day put on your heels and lipstick and go dance. I always visualized that as her saying, when life kicks you in the ass, kick it back, just do it with style, do it with a little color and do it standing tall.

Be the woman you want to be. Endure the pain that comes along with that. It’s worth it. You’re worth the blisters and bruises.


Stop being so fixated on comfort.

Let’s face it, nothing about being a woman is comfortable. From puberty to menopause and all the pms in between. Uncomfortable.

Bras, heels, stockings… Uncomfortable
Honestly for most of us being in our own skin… Uncomfortable.

It’s no wonder we seek comfort in our lives and daily routines. But does that daily routine make you happy, or do you go through the motions everyday just accepting that’s the way it is?

Let’s talk about a different kind of comfort, the one we call our “comfort zone”. The one we hold on to with all our might and then proceed to complain how we don’t have what we want in our lives. The comfort zone that keeps us in dead end jobs and relationships. Keeps us in our proverbial rut.

Well, sorry to say but if you want things to be different for yourself then you’re going to have to get intentional about growth. Your going to have to leave that comfort zone behind.

We may have to deal with pms and menapouse as a fact of life, but so much more in our lives is up to us.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, always wanted to accomplish? Those “wish I could” moments are usually the result of us staying “comfortable and not exploring what’s outside that comfort zone.

Until 3 years ago, the idea of painting in front of people was terrifying to me. Alone in my studio, my comfort zone, that was just fine, but you couldn’t even sit in there with me while I paint, no less me set up an easel to entertain you so you could watch, or climb a wall to do a mural so you could see me possibly fail miserably. I could actually hear your voices in my head saying, “She doesn’t know what she’s doing”, “She’s really not that talented”. And why in the world at the age of 45 would I start doing things differently when it came to my art? I had been accepted as an artist and was doing well showing in galleries and around town. Why would I risk “looking bad”, when I was finally doing “it”. Being an artist.

Because I wanted more, because I had dreamed since I was a little kid about setting up an easel outside while music pulsed my veins and creating something, anything. I dreamt since I was a teenager of making a difference and sharing my work.

So, I did it. I accepted an invitation to paint with three other artists, live. Yes, in front of people. I was a nervous wreck and I was convinced my painting would be horrible and everyone would see me as a fraud. Instead I had fun, and created a piece I was actually proud of. What I took from that experience wasn’t that I had made a nice painting but that I did something that terrified me and I was ok. There was no reason for me not to be ok. Even if my painting wasn’t good. I showed up, and I did it. I would decide if I was ok, not the opinions of the people watching.

Isn’t that what typically holds us back? What we think other people will think? I’m starting to realize I’m not all that important to other people. They may have a fleeting opinion about me, but those who judge are too busy looking for the next person to judge to be worried about me and what I’m doing. Those that care about me will admire I took a chance and encourage me. I choose those people. Yes, I get to. I get to choose to surround myself with those people. And I get to make the decisions in my life that point me towards growth and acceptance. Acceptance of myself. Maybe then that skin I was talking about earlier will feel a little more comfortable.

Now I look for opportunities to paint live in front of people all the time, and it’s shaped my career as an artist. It’s one of the most fulfilling, spiritual things I do in my life. To think I may have never discovered that had I not been willing to get out of my own way.
What in your comfort zone holds you back? Who do you surround yourself with, critics or cheerleaders?

Take off your bra and let yourself get uncomfortable in the ways that matter.
Happy Monday.