"My life is going to happen, with me or without me."

THe hardest, and best, thing in the world is living as yourself.

She was the first of four kids born to the Senator and his wife, and the world always seemed to watch her as a reflection of her parents. Pretty. Well-dressed. Great grades. Socially gracious. Good school. Right major. Good husband. Big church. A photogenic family of her own. Absolutely no right to complain.

Except that she'd never been clear on the difference between who she was supposed to be, and who she actually was. She'd spent her life being governed by glances and indirect critiques, and after so many years of silent compliance, she was at a complete loss in terms of what her own voice actually sounded like. All she knew for sure was that something inside needed to come out, and that she didn't want to fall into the stereotype of the rebellious brat ... if she could help it.

At first, all she wanted was to figure out a plan for herself. She didn't have to work outside the home, but she was frustrated that the things she'd engaged – including a non-profit organization she created – failed to hold her attention. She wanted to find something that would stick.

It took her three months of reading, conversation, journaling, assignments, and writing her story (because telling it in person make her feel radically impolite and ungrateful) to admit she was angry. Once that happened, it took another month before the chaos she felt raging between her practiced gratitude and her stifled real self lightened enough that she could talk about it without panicking. 

And then she clicked in. She grieved her part in silencing herself. She gave herself "permission to be a bitch when that's what I need to be." She forgave herself and her parents for thinking she had to protect her siblings from the Senator and his wife. She found a name for the god of her family, for the altar upon which she'd made sacrifices of herself and her desires, and she declared war on that god in the lives of her children. 

Her husband agreed with most of her conclusions, but there were others she had to decide to own alone. There were pieces she could share with her parents and siblings, but it didn't take her long to realize it wasn't her place to change them so much as it was her duty to know where she stood, and to stand there in any case.


  • Principal interviews
  • Recurring calls
  • Reading assignments
  • Guided process
  • Vision articulation
  • Plan refinement
  • Book production 
  • Reminder gift
  • Honoring event / experience
  • 5-12 month total engagement time

Please think of this as an abbreviated list of variations from which we can build the engagement.

For her, it came down to makeup. The metaphor for looking right and applying a highly intimate mask that morphs with situations, seasons, fashions, and roles in life. In addition to a personal, private document covering her private and public beliefs, vision, strategy and game plan for being true to herself, she created a short creative insight book of advice entitled How to Wear Makeup. She shared that with her parents, and gives copies to friends. She also gives presentations on the topic from time to time.

She also created a book for her kids around the same idea of being themselves in authentic ways, rather than in ways that are just about getting a particular sort of response. 

Knowing that her children are growing up as the grandchildren of a Senator, and that she still has tendencies to parent "less from my heart than from my heritage," she's also created threshold books for her kids' first day of school, big sports or academic losses, and general middle school experiences. She says creating the books helps her say what she wants to say with greater intention, and that they help her remember her own experiences so she can continue to uncover her own voice.