On November 14, 2016, I was in a horrific car accident that changed my life forever. I was driving to work on the same route, at the same time, as every other day before. I was stopped at a red light and hit from behind by a truck at approximately 55mph. I never saw it coming. There were no noises, no screeching tires, nothing to prepare me until a truck was wedged against my backseat. He never even tried to stop.
Over the next few weeks, the realization that the impact had damaged my brain, almost as deeply as it had damaged my car, became very real. I received the diagnosis of a moderate traumatic brain injury. My “just like every other day” routine was turned upside down. Upon examination and several hospital stays, I was told that I may not drive, think, run, jump, read, play games, grocery shop, or look at screens for any reason. The only suggestion of what I was able to do was to sit in a dark room and color in a coloring book for one hour a day. Quite the challenge for a single mother of a nine-year old girl.
The most menial tasks were impossible and/or exhausting. I now had a stutter and lost word recognition. I understood that someone might be siting on a chair, but I just didn’t know what it was called. I lost most of my memories. My writing was illegible; letters were backwards where numbers belonged. Multi-tasking was impossible, which made normal tasks such as driving so dangerous. Imagine, if I was talking to you, I could not also hold a cup, or I would drop it and break it.
Shortly after, I lost my job because I was a public speaker for living and it was clear that I would never be able to do what I deeply loved – ever again. I lost everything. There was no way out and I wasn’t getting better. The professionals were losing hope.
Approximately 6 months into therapy, a doctor told me that I was now just going to be “average” and I needed to accept it. She said that continuing to push myself would only slow my progress. I was told that “banging your head into the wall will only give you a headache, not breakthrough to the other side.” At that point, I realized that I was on my own and no one was going to do this for me. Healing was solely my responsibility. So, I told the doctors what was going to happen next; and they told me I was “BOSSY.”
At that moment, I realized my life’s purpose. I realized that there were so many women who have been called bossy – just like I was. Men are never called bossy; women are called bossy. Women are called bossy when they are leaders with purpose. Whether intentional or not, the word bossy suppresses our assertiveness. Subconsciously, when someone wants to take your power away, all they have to do is to use the word bossy; and the next time you voice your opinion, you will likely be a bit more careful, possibly even silent.
I went to bed that night and awoke with a moment of clarity. Even though so much of what I believed was important had fallen away, I STILL woke up! I still had a chance. What a gift! In that moment, I was able to see all that was given to me, instead of all that was taken away. I was provided the opportunity to be grateful for the smallest things. I was grateful most of all for my voice… and the voices of all the women around me that had not been heard. If we are breathing, owning all of our power is possible!
My mission and movement became redefining the word bossy. I am changing the current negative connotation to embrace the word and the new definition of “COURAGEOUS LOVE IN ACTION.” Just think for a moment – have you ever been called bossy? Was it your goal to get ahead on the backs of others? Or were you leading and doing the right thing, passionately, the best way you knew how? Often, it is the latter; not the former.
So, what does being bossy mean for you? Your power is available and waiting for you. The journey to owning it is not easy, but it is worth it! Start with taking a long look in the mirror. I mean it, really look. Being bossy starts with understanding who you are, and why you are. You will only find it there. Get raw, get real. Whatever that is for you is absolutely perfect!
While the journey begins alone in that mirror, it must not end there. You are not alone in this journey. Others are discovering their own authenticity and learning to live love out loud. Walk together. Join arms. Join the movement.