The Dirt Road Home

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I’m at home and winding down with my glass of red wine after a Canadian going away party that gave me a gift I wasn’t expecting.

You always think … “I hope I meet someone fun … or, I hope it’s a good group of peeps” … or maybe I’m the only one that thinks that and if so, then maybe be careful if you invite me to your party in the future for fear of my expectations .. LOL.

But alas, my honest self is here to reveal that those expectations are always on my mind … That I meet someone or I learn something that I can apply in my life and become a better person because of.

So tonight …. I’m happy to say that the evening exceeded my expectations. And sometimes my expectations are high (which don’t judge, isn’t a bad thing) … but sometimes they truly are as grass roots as the farm that I grew up on.

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This is today’s view from the road to my “home” where I grew up and where I learnt so many lessons that I’m still applying to my life today.

Why?

Well tonight I met someone who grew up similar to me … on a farm … who made it from nowhere to somewhere … and who now looks at life from the same viewpoint as me.   Yes, one side is capitalism …. no shame there, but also from a perspective of purpose, planet and people.  And, my God, it was refreshing.  Just the whole conversation and perspective blew my mind and inspired my thinking.

And yet I can’t help but find it fascinating that you can meet someone at a party for people that you know (relatively) very little, and you can connect with a random stranger in a profound way, even though you’re from completely (and I mean completely) different subsets of the world.  But (and here’s the good part) with a glass of wine (or two) and LOADS of curiosity … you can uncover that your simplistic upbringing has created a similar mindset and belief system that, unbeknownst to you, is probably a reason why you’re sitting across from each other talking about a subject that would bore the rest of the guests in attendance.

But for me … what I loved, is that I could talk for hours and feel so grateful for the random encounter that somehow, now, seemed perfectly curated.

Because no matter if you’re 33 … or 46 … married with two kids … or twice married and no kids … from East Germany or Northern Alberta … Communist or Capitalist …. it is really amazing how much we can feel and learn and appreciate in a short period of time, and with absolutely no reason whatsoever, feel an amazing bond of energy that lifts your soul and makes you take a pause in life … if only for a moment.

And the icing on the cake is when you can share a story about the long road “home” … that only had two left turns after 5,6, 8 hours of driving …. before you reached a vast farmland that seemed to offer so little, but in the end gave you everything you needed in life …. then I’ll call that a hell of a win for a Saturday night.

Beyond grateful … for where I grew up … and for where I am today.

Standing Beside Integrity

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integrity or ethics concept

I am sure that I am not alone when I say that I’ve experienced my share of heartbreak, both personally and professionally.

While we might call it by another name in business, the impact and result is very similar – hurt, anger, maybe even shame, or the feeling of being treated unfairly and not having a voice to stand up for you. Pretty hard stuff to get through when it happens.

What’s even more difficult is hearing “well, maybe it was the best thing to happen to you”.  Ugh. really? Who wants to hear that?  Or, is it a belief that we should embrace and believe to move on unscathed?

I’ve recently heard from friends, colleagues and people that I’ve met for the first time, of their experiences of being severely let down; “creative differences”; and heartbreak that left them standing alone to figure out what’s next. My heart goes out to them, but more importantly I want to pass along my strength. I have all the time in the world to listen to the pain — or shock — or anger, and be there as they get through it the only way they know how. And I hope they will apply the Pay it Forward model when their time comes to listen. After all, chances are we’re going to experience something similar in our lifetime, and probably more than once.

One of the best things that we can all do during this time is live with integrity. I believe we need to do this regardless if we end up swimming in the same swimming pool, share DNA, or have to encounter the situation on a regular basis. We also have to remember to not let it take all the goodness out of us.

We can’t stop trusting. We can’t stop ourselves from falling in love. We shouldn’t ever stop dreaming.

We just have to do it with a little more wisdom and maybe a little more cautious optimism.

Years back I let someone else’s lack of integrity disrupt my world. Interrupt my passion. Stop my path to success.  And it really sucked. For a long time.  It took years of unhappiness, relentless pursuit of something that I couldn’t quite define (and therefore attract), and I built a running commentary in my brain that “I wasn’t good enough or I didn’t deserve to find and live my passion again”.

And then I did find it! And I lived it!

And then it happened again.

Wait, what? Again?  Hum … Like I said before .. we’ll probably all suffer pain way more than once in our lifetime.

The difference is that I learnt the only way to get back on my feet was through the pain. Through the shame. Through the disappointment. Through the running commentary in my head that I wasn’t good enough — until I arrived at the point that I believed I was good enough. Because we ALL are good enough … and MORE.

Everyone close to me – and even those not – told me that giving up was not an option. Moving forward was the only path. And I had to go through all of the messiness in order to find a clear path. And I had to do it with my integrity in tact. I had to trust that it was the only way for me to move past it and continue on my own path to greatness.

The other day I heard ‘there are three sides to every story’. And I guess that is the truth. But deep down, we know what’s right and what isn’t. If it’s not obvious on the onset, then it becomes clear and sometimes it’s that moment that can really define who you are as a human being.

And just the other day a friend told me that she received an apology from a girl that bullied when she was a kid. And you know … 30 years later, it helps. It heals.

So whatever side you’re on when it comes to hurt, disappointment, failure … Live with integrity. While the ‘best thing to happen to you’ is sometimes a long game … there is truth to it.

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in·teg·ri·ty 

inˈteɡrədē/

noun

the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

 

Authenticity

I recently read that authenticity is “the choice to let our true selves be seen”.

Hum ….

Good thing? Bad thing?

I read in a blog post that authenticity essentially equates to brutal honesty .. like the total unfiltered kind. Like, “hey, I saw your new baby and he isn’t so cute” kind of “authenticity“.  That is NOT what I’m writing about today.

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I’m writing about being the best version of yourself, authentic. Being the kind of person that people aspire to be like.  The way you wish you were after you say something stupid and realize that it hurt someone in a way you didn’t intend.

Authenticity that encompasses caring and concern … and when that happens without it benefiting yourself. Just being human. Being kind. Giving for the sake of giving. Knowing that, of course, sometimes you’ll get rewarded for your kindness, but not doing it BECAUSE of the reward.

It’s a lofty ask.  I meet very few people that probably fit the bill. And honestly, I’m not sure I’m always that person myself. But I think about it all.of.the.time. Because it’s sort of my north star I believe. And my stomach turns upside down when I meet someone who shows me they are just in it for themselves. Yuck.

True story. A few years back I was at an event and there were some pretty “important” people.  I was a “nobody” and I felt it, but I held my head high and worked the room – being myself – showing interest in others — because I’m genuinely curious about other people and who they are – but no doubt, I didn’t “fit in”.

So this is how it went … I’d meet someone – they’d look at my name tag (and my company) and quickly decide whether I was worth engaging with or not … whether I was somebody important to them — meaningful — helpful — you get the drift.  More often than not – I was not deemed high enough on their value table and they quickly found somewhere else to be. It was humiliating but I’m a big girl and recognized it’s part of the real world – part of the business world.  Sigh.

During that evening I spent, I don’t know, probably 30 minutes talking to one guy about his Burning Man experience. Others came into the conversation. There were iPhone photos shared. I asked many questions. People laughed and we had a nice chat. I had no idea who the guy was.  I showed my honest enthusiasm to learn more about him, or others that came into the conversation and nothing more.  And when the evening ended and I went back home, I reached out on LinkedIn to the people that I met (and actually met / had conversations with and where I felt comfortable that we had connected) — because that is what we do – we extend an invitation and say how great it was to connect …  And you can guess the results. …. Crickets.

Fast forward about six months and I’m applying for the job to run the organization that held the event. I know, seriously, right? Well, that story is for another blog post.  Anyway …  I’m about to meet the person that I had the 30-minute conversation with … for an interview! Do you think he remembered me?  … yeah, no.

Even better … once I got the job (and yes, I did get the job) … I spent the next few years going to events where every time I met someone, it was like my wedding .. “Oh … SO great to meet you!! How wonderful … blah blah blah”.  Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to judge or criticize (at least not opening in my blog post LOL) … because those were people trying to be nice.  And I do appreciate that they were being .. well, nice.  I know most were being authentic.  But what I never forgot is that their enthusiasm was all because of my title and not because of who I was as a person.

Maybe I’m living in a fantasy world because I want people to see me … and I don’t know, maybe I’m okay with living with that as my fantasy.  True, people disappoint me all of the time because I want to see the goodness in people first and it’s often not always there … but I don’t want to lose faith and go through life with a glass half full approach … or worse, feeling like people are self serving and nothing more. So I’ll take the hits. I’ll wear the battle scars with pride. I’ll keep on wishing and wanting and hoping and dreaming … Because when I meet someone, I know that I am curious about who they are … not what they can do for me.  And when I go to sleep at night, I’m grateful for the people in my life that know the difference.

 

 

 

 

My Tribe

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A few years ago I read an article in a running magazine about the concept of a “Tribe”.  As soon as I read the words, they resonated … and I smiled knowing that I understood.

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Like anything in life, we can take a concept and create whatever we want from it. For me .. the concept of a Tribe has always been an evolution.  A decade ago I was introduced to the mindset of a personal “Board of Directors” …which I applied for many years until I read about the concept of a Tribe, which I liked much better than Board of Directors —- because it implied people are there beside you versus there above you.

So what … who … is a Tribe? 

Sometimes … your Tribe is your group of childhood friends that remember you as the geeky, not-so-polished, perhaps a little awkward kid … who wanted to hang out with you because he/she was just as geeky, with as much room for improvement as you!

Sometimes … your Tribe is a group of people that share your passion – for the things you love and support  … be it a sports team, a political movement or a personal commitment to a cause that extends beyond your individual capacity to make a difference.

Sometimes .. your Tribe is your morning run group … the men and women that are there at “O’dark hundred hours”, who keep you company as you wake up and face your greatest fears … or celebrate your smallest of successes.

Sometimes … your Tribe is simply your friend(s) that have your back. Period. They are there for you no matter what —- and they call, and text, and they show up like no one else ever could. Now those are good people.

Sometimes …  your Tribe can be a surprise — A person that you just met, that you share an amazing connection with and have endless amounts of things in common … Or it could be a new idea that takes shape and leads you into directions you didn’t know existed.   It could simply be something that thing makes you go …  huh?! … I like that … I want to be a part of that … I want to shape that … Perhaps I want to lead it.  Or maybe following is perfect too – but I want to make sure I’m not missing it!!

I believe your TRIBE is exactly what — and who — and how you want it to be … you might have to go looking for it … or it might fall into your lap. Either way works …. beautifully.

We can do a lot on our own, but with a Tribe, we are unstoppable.

Thanks to my Tribe. The concept is a growing evolution but you are all a constant rock of stability in my life. >> You all know who you are. 

Who is your TRIBE?

behind every successful women Tribe

 

 

The Art of Giving too Much

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It’s been awhile since I added a blog post. It hasn’t been for lack of events or excitement or disappointment … quite the opposite. It’s been because of all of those things that life has kept me busy and experiences have kept me humble.

But now … it’s time to write … about giving.

to do more for the world

I’m a big fan. Like huge!! Those that know me well, know that I can give.  And I give without conditions – it’s what my mom and dad both taught me.  But giving without conditions doesn’t mean that we don’t give and feel disappointment. And giving doesn’t mean that we’re perfect or that we meet the expectations of others.  But it does mean we have the capacity to give and that we use that capacity for good.

Today though, instead of just gripping about how much I gave and how poorly I feel I was treated in return … I’m going to give some suggestions for how you (and me!!) can do the former without receiving the latter.

  1. Let’s lower our expectations people … seriously – if we just take a moment to really analyze the situation and ask ourselves what is really possible (what can the other person / entity give, why would they be so inclined, what’s in it for them) … then we will understand the more realistic feeling we’ll receive, if for example, we severely miscalculate how much we should have given.
  2. Benefit / cost analysis … well, they do it in business school, why can’t it apply to real life??   Had I done this six months ago I might have seen that the potential costs would far outweigh the benefits and maybe (and only maybe, let’s me honest) .. smarter thoughts would have prevailed. And if not – then at least I would have given myself a fighting chance to duck out before diving in.
  3. Everyone else is not you … we give because we have empathy … excitement … trust … vision. But everyone else doesn’t necessarily view it from the same lens.  So you have to get on the same page — (which has the added benefit of highlighting the disparity – but that is good because it’s best to make an informed mistake than be blindsided and lose all faith).
  4. Listen to your friends … You rely on them for a reason!!  You call and text when life is good AND when it isn’t — precisely because you trust them. So trust them to see more clearly than you and then do exactly what they say — because in that moment – they are seriously 1000x smarter than you.

you will never regret being kind

After all is said and done … I have no regrets. I can stand tall and be proud of what I gave. If people choose to not show respect or have appreciation … if they are so caught up in what is most important to them – and they lack empathy and the “doing the right thing” gene … then there isn’t anything I can do.

Now, karma might have another say in the story – and I’ll be okay with that. 🙂

 

suddenly you know

 

 

Why I love the CMAs

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For years now (actually it’s been, like, almost two decades!!) I’ve had a special love for the country music award shows. I grab a bottle of wine and I turn on the TV and I just sit. And listen.

I had a friend I used to watch the CMA and ACM awards with … and we’d watch it a year after they aired (obviously, a big “thank goodness for the dawn of the DVR”!!). Other years I would watch well within the annual time period (my guess is that those were the “boring years” – LOL) … And then there have been nights like tonight when, I’m watching it live.

Over the year’s I’ve watched the shows with friends that enjoy the music as deeply as I do … and then other times I’ve tried to share my passion with those that feigned interest (yeah, not so much). But dare I commit that I’ve almost always had a text message convo with my sister, who, without a doubt, loves the music as much as I do (thank goodness or I’m not sure how the sisterhood would continue – j/k).

Every year it’s different. And that is what makes it so special.

Tonight as I sat, with my glass of wine, for a moment I thought – wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the night with someone special?  … You know, like the opposite sex special. Someone with whom I could really share my passion with … someone that enjoyed the music as much as I  .. someone who “got” me. And then I thought – maybe not.

Because sometimes having “someone” beside you isn’t that fulfilling. Actually, mostly, it’s about the opposite of fulfilling.  Finding that “right” person has so far eluded me, even though I “think” I know what it looks like.  I am in awe of the friends in my life that have found their “person” … like Fiona and John …. Kate and Mark …. Jodee and Brent. Now, I don’t know if they like the same music or where they “fit” … but they definitely have a fit that I know works for them.

CMA award night 2015{sorry I have to interrupt this little blog post to say that it’s super crazy when the CMAs say they are respecting female artists in one breath, and then they bring on Miss America and the Sports Illustrated 2015 cover model !!! … in low cut tops … short (like beyond short!) skirts .. and dresses with a slit up to their waist!! Seriously – is that what “respect for women” looks like in America?  Yep .. apparently so. #Sad}

Back to regularly scheduled programming – sorry for that rant.

And, … with that .. it’s a wrap. I’m still sitting here with my glass (okay, maybe now it’s a bottle) of wine … breathing in my passion of country music … enjoying life just as it is.  Because even though Meredith on Grey’s Anatomy made us all want “that person”  … sometimes we have to just be OK with a bottle of wine and the CMAs.

Reba

Thanks for always being there on the side of the CMAs Trish. xox

{We Meet} Family

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Family.

It describes our history … where we are from … why we are how we are … what “features” we have.

It defines us today … those whom we’ve chosen to live with … grow with … start our own family with.

And it brings us pause when we think about the future … who will be with us … for how long … and how our own world will look as the years ahead turn into our reality.

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And no matter how old we are … we all have stories to tell about our families. Some good stories. Some sad ones. Others that make us laugh out loud. And some that we really want to forget.  Family is sort of a universal topic because we all have one or two … and if you’re lucky, you’ll have family under various definitions of the word.

But there is no denying it … family is family, period. And sometimes, it is up to us to make those relationships what we want them to be.

Twice this month I got to spend some time with my family and my extended family: Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Second cousins. Old. Young. … Sometimes the conversation was easy.  Other times you had to work at it. Sometimes the topic was deep and introspective. Other times it was surface level, like you just ran into an acquaintance at the grocery store.  But you know, I think that is OK. Family is like a kaleidoscope, or sometimes, maybe like the Northern Lights. Always changing. Beautiful.

So hard to capture but managed to get this shot of our magical Northern Lights. So glad we all decided to look up last night!

So hard to capture, but I managed to get this shot of our magical Northern Lights. So glad we all decided to look up last night!

So for just a moment, I’m going to talk about my family. Because I’m so proud of them. So glad I have them … So happy I get to call them my own.

I think what I like most is that my family is interested in my life. I don’t live close so I miss the chance to meet up for the little things and experience some of the big things … Hold little babies in your own arms … watch them grow into toddlers … and then into little human beings … Watch romances begin … turn into wedding bliss … and sometimes, be there when life doesn’t turn out as planned.

I remember having family reunions when I was little.  My parents were younger than I am today when they started.  But some of them stopped … or there was a longer break between them … or you were left in charge of organizing the next one and you didn’t get around to it (one of my life’s regrets).  But if I hadn’t had those early year experiences, I’m not sure I would be so keen to go to one nowadays.

But two weeks ago I went to a reunion on my mom’s side, which is held every two years. Sadly, I haven’t attended one previously. I’m not even sure when they started! But I know I haven’t attended one since moving away 16 years ago. Usually I’m the person that says I will drive for endless hours or across endless miles to see someone that is important to me .. but I missed these in the past. And after joining this one, you can bet I’ll have the future ones on my calendar for the years ahead.

And this past weekend we held our third annual “We Meet” family reunion on my dad’s side. It started just three years ago after we lost my aunt suddenly and both of my grandparents within one year.  All of grandparents lived LONG and healthy lives and I can only hope I have their genes! But they were here on this earth and with us for a long, long time and they taught us all so much that when we gather together, we can’t help but tell story after story about them. And you realize just how much their wisdom and their traditions have shaped all of our lives and how, now, the responsibility is on us.

So now WE are the ones that must take the torch and carry on with the family reunion tradition. To organize, and attend, and bring together the families. So cousins can get to know each other … gain invaluable memories that will no doubt, include a simpler time, … so we all remember how important it is to take a moment to listen, laugh and learn about what is happening in the lives of our important family members. …. The good news. The sad news. The laugh out loud stories from the past. The smiles when we first see each other. And the precious hugs we give to each family member until the next time {we meet}.

These weekends are not always convenient.  They are inevitably with conflicting calendars and invitations elsewhere … especially in today’s crazy busy world. They are also time consuming. A five-hour drive each way for most families  … and over eight hours for another family.  But, no one complains because we are all there because we choose to be. And that in-and-of-itself, is amazing. Because when you think about all of the pressures we have — you realize that everyone showed up was because it was their choice. And for that – I know how lucky I am and how special my family is.

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Little cousin M. Sitting around the campfire that just the evening before, had everyone laughing and sharing stories. With a tear in her precious little eye and I know a hole in her heart, she didn’t want the weekend to end. And neither did I. Until next time I see you little miss M. 

So until next year.

Will the same people come? Will more? I can’t wait to see the kids one year older! I can’t wait to catch up with some family members that I really just got to know this summer. I can’t wait to spend five hours in the car with my mom, dad and sister … really.  I can’t wait to hear about what everyone has been up to. To laugh together. To cry if needed. And to give everyone a big smile and say – hey there family, I’ve missed you .. how are you?  And to embrace each and every one of them as we say our good-byes with the best hug I can give, until {we meet} again.

My Life Plan

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Recently I had the pleasure of spending time with some really cool people … some really accomplished people … and some really humble people.  I felt out of my league for most of the time … confidently in charge for some of the time  … and perfectly at home for one brief moment.

That moment was when I heard about one person’s “Life Plan” …. And by Life Plan, I don’t mean this airy fairy, like I really want to be “x” or accomplish “y” … but an actual Life Plan that has been detailed out (and followed!) for 30 years. Yep. Thirty – 30 – years.

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Now, I start a lot of things. And I mean, A.LOT! … Especially at the beginning of the year. I LOVE planning … But I have learned (and I’m not bragging about this in any way) … but I have learned that I am better at planning than at following through.

That sucks, right?!?!

Yep. It does. But then again, “realizing you have a problem is the first step” right? Well, at least that is what “they” say .. And right now, I am going to agree w/ that principle because it means I might have some hope after all.

So I started to write.

Write down the things I wanted to accomplish — To be known for — To experience — And I started thinking about the moments — and the memories — and yes, I even went so far as to think about what would be positively life altering — because I think I actually want something WAY more than what I have!

And I realized that while I initially thought that planning your life with a graph, and dot’s, and lines, year after year … month after month … and quite possibly week after week, might be a little obsessive (and yes, actually it really might be obsessive) … nonetheless, I realized that it is probably one really good way to make sure that you accomplish those goals – those dreams – those ambitions that make you smile and put in that little extra effort needed.

Oh, and I also realized that I really didn’t want to get to the end of my life and wish that I had done more with it. Because that makes me feel sad today – never mind how I will feel once my life really is over and all those years have passed by without a focus on what my heart really wants to experience.

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While I actually expect this little exercise to be quite hard … because c’mon … it’s so easy to dream and so much harder to put the effort into making it a reality … there are enough things happening in my life that tell me it’s worth every ounce of effort I can possibly find. Because I’ve always said – I want to live the length — and width — of my life.

So maybe with this new Life Plan … I will make that a reality.

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Thanks to the universe for the moment and experience that brought up this conversation. Dare I say thank goodness for girl fires, country music, wine (of course!), motor off and moonlit night … and new, but albeit, uncomfortable situations.

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#BeerWithJesus #TakeYourTime

One Year Ago

One year ago … there I was, boarding Caltrain on a seemingly uneventful Thursday afternoon … a serendipitous encounter created all because of my home town.

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Thank goodness I tell everyone where I am from so that people (specifically, those that are intrigued by that point of reference) recognize the name while attending a trade show of absolute no connection to me whatsoever. 

But … I digress.

One year ago … I was running on one of my favorite Bay Area trails … thankful to be in better shape than the first time I showed my running buddy the route. I was content with the conversation as two strangers caught up on the few months that had passed since meeting over coffee.

And one year ago … I was about to embark on the most exciting journey of my life. I knew it was possible but the real beauty is that I didn’t even have a clue as to what was ahead.

A lot happens in a year …

… friends find lovers.  They move away.  They learn they will become first-time parents. And you find new ways to stay connected across time zones and course adjustments.

… family members go through ups and downs.  Sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but never ever complaining. Always grateful for the one step of progress.

… strangers become someone you can’t wait to speak with every day … whom you look forward to exploring new adventures with … where you uncover fun that you realize has been missing in you life … and oddly enough, who can break your heart when you didn’t realize it was strong enough to be invited to the party!!

… and work can turn into your passion.  It can consume your life. Bring life to your life!  And at the same time, take away hours and days without you realizing anything has happened.

do what you love

But today is the real reason to reflect on One Year Ago … because today is when I remember the 365 days that have just passed and all the moments that have made me strong.  Oh … it hasn’t been the “best year of my life” … but it’s a far, far cry from being the worst one.  I am reminded that “life”, with all of its challenges and struggles, really does help us prepare for the untold story, and it gives us the courage to reach higher and look ahead (and of course, always tell people where you are from).

I will always be a work in progress … but because of those amazing … and crazy … and sometimes overwhelming … and “I’m about to break” moments … I am better prepared today, for tomorrow, because of one year ago.

love today

 

#HighLevel girl

What I Wouldn’t Do …

Have you ever said … “what I wouldn’t do for … or to have … or to experience …” ?

Yeah, well, thankfully, we all have.

And I say “thankfully” because while I don’t know about you, for me … it makes me feel human. Because we all have flaws, as well as “features”, and it’s only natural to sometimes want more.

There is no doubt that we all take simple things for granted … And we’ve accomplished so much that we now live a “really busy” life to enjoy the simple yet amazing pleasures around us… Yet, we all realize (at some point) that “what we wouldn’t do for” is often not what matters at all.

Because when all is said and done — at the beginning and the end of the day —sometimes just taking a moment to remember the gifts that are in our lives (our “very” busy lives no doubt); regardless how we make it through the day … with whatever support or encouragement or challenges, when you place your head on the pillow and fall asleep, with love in your heart and faith in your soul, maybe it wasn’t such a bad day after all.

Maybe, you wouldn’t do anything different at all … and all that you have, is exactly what you need.

#12yoGirlsAreAmazing