What the OMHG Community Taught Me This Summer

The cure for anything is saltwater; sweat, tears or the sea ~Isak Dinesen, oh my handmade

This summer I learned the most important lessons from the most unexpected and surprising place-the amazing women (and occasional brave man) of the Oh My Handmade community and allowing myself to be a part of the weekly #OMHG chats.

My learning came from people I might never have connected with if it hadn’t been for Jessika taking charge of my twitter account for five minutes one evening as we sat on her porch. “Okay mom, you need to follow…” People like Bernardo of Your Great Life TV and Jenn at Roots of She who have impacted me in different (lovely) ways.

It’s been hearing and listening to the OMHG community that has, in part, given me what I’ve needed to slowly begin crawling out of the darkest, deepest place I have ever been in.

I’ve learned something precious listening to these women who share their joys, delights and excitements as well as frustrations, fears and vulnerabilities as they make their way through their work, families, communities and just through living loudly and openly. Rooting each other on, cheering each other’s successes, and commiserating over things that don’t work out with genuine compassion, caring and humanity has been helping me return to myself.

Not the ME I always thought I knew – mostly fearless, mostly a social justice fighter, mostly a writer and mostly a character writ large.

I’m bringing myself back to who I am now – slightly broken, but putting the pieces back together again one shard at a time. Slightly (okay a lot) more fearful than before but trying to breathe through it. Slightly less sure of my voice, especially my written voice than I ever thought possible, but reading what other people have to say about going through that place and the process when words don’t seem to come and taking baby steps of my own.

The other day, instead of wallowing in doubt and recriminations of the goals and work that I wasn’t accomplishing, I took myself out of the house and down to the beach. I carried Susannah Conway’s book “this I know”, that I am working through because I have an idea for a post on diversity and grieving inspired by this reading.

Instead of settling in on the first part of the beach like I always do, I walked across the bridge. I kept going the whole way to the last beach and beyond. I took my camera with me and didn’t care whether the pictures would make sense or would be good (whatever that means) pictures, I just took the images I wanted to take.

Then I sat out on the beach and wrote this with the strength of me, of you, but most joyously…of us.

stephanie douglas, oh my handmade, overcoming  struggle with community support

What have you been struggling with that the support of a loving community could help you overcome? Who are you thankful for when things are tough?