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A few years after gaining my first sibling, I learned quickly I was going to have to exist differently within my family.  I learned being responsible meant being seen.  I learned becoming a people person earned me time and hard work got me recognition.  I learned to be loud, but not too loud.

These skills gained me access to success within college, graduate school and most definitely as a new business owner.  I could shake hands, make eye contact and have something to show for it all when meeting new business contacts.  I could put in the endless hours of work and learning knowing, as it did so many times before, it would eventually pay off.  There was hope that once again I would be seen.  I would once again earn time and recognition. 

Then I had another moment of growth halfway into my journey of being the boss at Healing Tree.  Whether the years of being a therapist had set in, or being a boss started to show, I started to learn what it could look like to exist in a smaller quieter way.  Notes of encouragement on computers.  Making sure I had time to sit, quietly listening to my employees, family and friends.  I did a deep dive into how I always knew my grandfather was present, even though he may not have said a word-just shot a glance and cracked a smile.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love being the loud spunky Laura that dances while cooking.   I still love working hard and well, I couldn’t get rid of the responsible bones in my body if I tried.  But what I also love is the newfound stillness I can also bring to the table.  The ability to create safe comfortable spaces for people to exist-laughing, crying and everything in between.  I love silently watching my friends, family and even better strangers connect over food.  Now it can be less about being seen and making sure others are seen.  Now it’s less about prestige and acknowledgment and more about the quieter moments.  It’s comfort in your own skin knowing eyes can be on or off you and your worth doesn’t change.

Find new ways of existing.  Create new places to exist.  Allow room for others to exist with you.