I knew that the day would come when Brittany would ask me to share my story.  Honestly, I was super hesitant and did not want to because I had no clue where to even begin with “my story,” but I am a big people pleaser and advocate for getting out of your comfort zone, so here it is. I prefer not to be in the spotlight.  I tend to be a perfectionist and over analyze everything.  I try really hard to come across as a chill and go with the flow kind of girl (and I am in many aspects of my life) but when it comes to being vulnerable sharing something about myself, I would rather just run the other way.  I struggle with what people think of me more than I would like to admit and don’t want people to think I’m crazy.  I logically know these are self-defeating thoughts.  After all, I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and have heard many stories before and if anything, I feel more connected to a person when they are at their most vulnerable times in their life.  In fact, I honor it.  I admire it.  So why is it so difficult for me to do the same with others?  I’m human and have acknowledged that I struggle with fear and anxiety. 

Becoming a mother almost 12 years ago, really threw a curve ball at me.  When my oldest two were toddlers, I remember feeling like this would never end and my life was doomed to just cleaning up messes every. single. day.  I always knew that I really wanted to stay home with my kids to raise them and not have to work outside the home.  However, there were many days I wanted to just escape and run away.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe at times.  I do work from home teaching online courses which I thought was way harder for me since what would take me two hours working outside the home literally took me all day long.  I was so overwhelmed.  I knew some action had to be taken.  I finally decided to send them to daycare for a few hours a couple of times a week and I felt so guilty at first that I couldn’t just take on the world and had to ask for help.  Asking for help is definitely not my strong suit.  I knew that I needed this and my kids needed it too.  I became so stressed that I would be on edge all the time and yell at them way too much.  I even tried to work outside the home full-time a few years ago.  I really enjoyed some parts of it, but it was too much at the time.  I respect working moms so much.  Over the years, I have learned that self-compassion is so essential to life and especially in my role as a mother.  We are so quick to lay on the mom guilt that can become an overwhelming shame that lies deep within us.  I have been so grateful for women that have come into my life where I have been able to open up with and connect.  It has been a saving grace for me.  I am a strong, independent woman and often feel like I should be able to get through things on my own.  I quickly am reminded that it takes strength to ask for help and realize that you need other people in your life.  When I struggled through two miscarriages, great women beside me helped me through those difficult losses.  When I was losing my hair to an autoimmune disease, alopecia areata, so many friends were there for me.  I was fortunate to find out that I had celiac which keeps my alopecia at bay for now and I have my hair.  While I don’t like to be in the spotlight and center of attention, we all want to be seen.  I’m so grateful for good people that see me.  Bottom line, women need women. We are better together.  I know I would feel guilty at first when I would get together with my girlfriends and that it was taking away quality time with my husband and kids.  I have since learned that it is so essential for my emotional and mental health to give myself this gift to connect with other women.  This is where I can recharge and come back a stronger and better person, wife, and mother. 

I first heard about GOTG from a Facebook post that an old college friend Laura shared about the cowgirl retreat.  My curiosity peaked and I thought this sounds fun and at such an affordable price.  I went back and forth on it and finally told my husband and he told me to go ahead and just do it.  I then found myself signing up for it still not quite so sure about this.  I legitimately thought that it was possibly a scam.  I knew nothing about this company or group. I am super shy and reserved, but I am so glad that I went out of my comfort zone and went.  I really thought most girls there would really be like riding horses their whole life and I would feel so out of place.  While there were a few amazing riders, everyone there was so nice and never felt like I did not belong.  I love my time there being able to stretch myself in ways I haven’t before.  The snowmobile retreat was a similar experience and don’t regret going on either one.  These experiences have enriched my life. Thank you Brittany for all the good work you do and the amazing women I have met.  

Kim and her friend Laura hiking on the Cowgirl Retreat