A Look Back at 2018: Learning to “Roar”

Last January, I shared that my word for 2018 was “roar.” Oh, how little I understood at the time what learning to roar would actually look like. Thankfully, I was open to what it could teach me:

  • Learning to roar does not mean being loud, but rather being very quiet.

  • Learning to roar does not mean making big moves, but rather being very still.

  • Learning to roar is not a strut, but rather a bow of reverence.

  • Learning to roar is not powerful in the usual sense, but rather the giving up of power, of the urge to control the world around me so that I become more in control of myself.

  • Learning to roar does not mean making myself big, but rather making myself small. To roar means total and utter surrender.

Learning to roar meant quiet and stillness, because that is where I broke through the distractions - anxiety, depression, discord with a friend - which are all merely paperwork. Busywork that you will become buried under if you allow yourself. Learning to roar meant confronting and dealing with the latent pain, so that the underlying issues that were causing the distractions could come to light. To roar meant being brave enough to do so.

Learning to roar meant building a firm foundation that can withstand life’s storms. It meant getting my identity straight, learning who I really am, so that I no longer believe the lies when they come. It is actually, I found - the most powerful thing you can be. It is a quiet type of power, a different definition than what typically comes to mind, but “roar” is a great word to describe it.

Almost seven years ago I went through a crisis - or rather, three crisis at the same time - that almost took my life. If you would’ve asked me if those things were still affecting me, if I was “over it,” I would’ve been completely confident that I was. What being brought to my knees in 2018 taught me is that while yes - the worst had passed, and in some ways, I had moved on - I was no longer in crisis mode, I was functioning again and no one would have ever suspected anything was wrong (myself included!). But from time to time, the pain that I had not dealt with came leaking through, in destructive and heartbreaking ways. (If you are reading this and my leakage ever affected you in any way, please know that I am so, so sorry and it had nothing to do with you, it was purely my own pain.)

When I got brave enough to address the trauma from years ago I realized that in some ways, I was still the person who wanted an apology. I was the person who wanted someone else to take responsibility for all the terrible things that happened to me. I was the person who wanted to be left alone. I certainly wasn’t in the mood to be inconvenienced or troubled by doing something for others that I thought could hurt myself in the process.

And a person like that… is not good for much. A person like that certainly will not be helpful or even pleasant to be around, and what you produce will rarely be good if you’re too busy thinking of yourself and how it might be received by others, or how it might affect you.

In last year’s blog post, I defined roar as: “being ‘brave’ and a time in life when I've never been so pumped about possibility, and the willingness to dream really big.”

As we go into 2019, the timing of those words could not be sweeter, as we (Joshua & I) embark on several amazing adventures in the new year. We are opening a new business (a brick & mortar in downtown Orlando), and I am launching a new book/project (not sure what to call it yet!) that I have been excitedly working on the past few months.

It is not lost on me how perfectly aligned all of those activities are with “dreaming really big,” and how much greater “possibility” can be now that I have gone through the fire and come out the other side.

I am so full of gratitude for what this past year taught me. And I am ever-grateful for the annihilation of self, of learning how to “roar.”

xoxo, J.

ps. Thank you for your patience during my hiatus from outfit posts! I have been so grateful for this blogging break. I will be back with business details and more outfits soon. Perhaps one of the greatest take-aways of 2018 is the overwhelming sense of peace that I do not need to “perform” in order to be valuable, and that I am a human being, not a human “doing.” This time off has been a much-needed and much-appreciated exercise of that particular truth!