FierceCon 2018 – what a great experience! Two weeks ago Andy and I hopped in the car and drove to Redondo Beach for the second meet-up of the women of the Forever Fierce Revolution. Our 4 1/2-hour drive stretched into 7 1/2 non-stop hours, thanks to Friday rush-hour traffic. I wanted to arrive early enough to help with the conference setup. Alas, that goal evaporated amidst thousands of commuters trying to get home and would you believe this? A plane on the freeway! I’ve gone to both Forever Fierce events, and there was a plane crash on the freeway BOTH times! I am completely serious. Fortunately those involved survived in both cases, but what are the chances? I lived in Southern California close to 20 years without seeing anything like it. But I’m totally off topic now.
The Forever Fierce Revolution is an ever-growing group of heart-centered women who lift up and support each other. Members post photos, proud moments, heart-breaking revelations, requests for help. Other members jump in with comments of love and support, advice and empathy. It’s a great group of people who value collaboration over competition.
I could go into the history of how Forever Fierce got started, but where it’s been isn’t as important as where it’s going. What is was is eclipsed by what it is, and what it’s becoming. This is a place for women to find acceptance and discover they are loved and worthy as they are right now. With the exception perhaps of church, where else can you find that, especially among women? It’s been my experience that although I’m my own toughest critic, there is no shortage of women offering their own jabs, although it’s often behind my back. It’s been that way since grade school. You may have felt the same thing.
Flip that situation 180 degrees and you have FierceCon 2018. Here you have women supporting each other. We had a couple panels of women talking about the challenges they’d overcome, such as cancer, depression, inability to be hired due to age, an overall feeling of helplessness and obsolescence. These circumstances were all represented, and so many more. Every women in the audience found at least one story with which they connected. Knowing the circumstances had been overcome by others gave them hope.
Those were big moments, but there were so many more. So many of us have insecurities or less-than-perfect life situations we work so hard to hide. We want to project perfect lives when we feel we’re telling perfect lies. Some of those walls came down during the FierceCon weekend. We’ve continued to hear about them now, almost two weeks out. Especially those of us on the FierceCon Admin Team. We’ve started talking about #shieldsdown, our offort to remove the walls we build to protect ourselves from the judgment of others. The walls we build to hide reality while we try to project those beautiful, perfect lives.
My life is hardly perfect. I have imperfection on top of imperfection. One of my biggest issues in body image. I still feel as though I’m always fighting my weight, or at least monitoring the hell out of it. I remember someone once calling me “pleasingly plump,” and the sting of that comment still sits in my subconscience. Would you believe that comment was made when I was in junior high??? There was a brief period in high school where I got so busy I often forgot to eat. I was looking slim and feeling pretty good about myself. My dad was sure I was heading toward anorexia, and suddenly I felt I couldn’t win for trying. I mean seriously, where is that magic spot where a healthy weight and a good figure meet? It’s as elusive to me as the fountain of youth.
Another issue is finances. I’m no where close to where I want to be at this stage of my life. If I had to retire tomorrow I’d be screwed. That circumstance almost caused me to abandon my quest to become a financial planner because I felt like such an epic failure. At times I feel like a major hypocrite, but I’ve taken a step back and realized as I continue to push toward my goal I can speak from experience as I help others in similar situations succeed. My weakness can become my strength.
And that’s the beauty of #shieldsdown. If we allow ourselves to be vunerable we become more relatable. We also help others realize they, too, can succeed.
What’s my biggest takeaway from the FierceCon weekend? I have a few. This year like last, I value the friendships I’ve made. I was so happy to see women I met at the last event. It was great to see the rest of the Admin Team in person. We’ve been working to make the Forever Fierce Revolution Community and the FierceCon event places where women can feel valued and find their voice. We have weekly video chats to conference and plan, but nothing beats live interaction. We did our best to bring the event to the rest of the Community through live streaming, but there is nothing like being there. Whether it’s a hug, the great food, beach photos or a morning meditation with David Ji, you have to be there to really appreciate it.
Social media is great, live streaming is cool, but nothing beats in person, face-to-face communication. That’s why we held FierceCon 2018. We said it wasn’t a conference, it was a connection, but even we on the Admin Team were surprised by the way the weekend unfolded. Women hugged, cried, broke through barriers and found joy. Some were overcome by a sense of unconditional love they hadn’t felt before. It’s hard to describe. At the risk of sounding cliche’, you had to be there. I hope you’ll consider it next year.
Here’s your Forever Fierce Revolution Admin Team! We’ll be working hard again next year to make FierceCon 2019 even better. I hope you’ll make plans to join us!