My eyes are leaking and I just can’t stop….

When I was 12 years old, just 56 days shy of my 13th birthday and that illustrious time of crossing into my teen years and never having to order from the ‘kids” menu again, my grandmother died. I remember her death like it was yesterday. I remember where I was when my father told me she was gone and can still see him walking up those wooden attic pull down stairs to break the news I knew before he could utter the words…your grandmother died this morning.

That moment was the last time I would cry for a very long time. I remember preparing for her funeral and the odd excitement of getting my first pair of high heels (I know many of you are laughing right now thinking of me in high heels)! I recall selecting the brown pair of Candies who’s heel would eventually sink into the ground as I walked across the grassy cemetery to my grandmother’s burial plot. But what I remember more than that, was choking back tears by biting my lower lip. I believed and felt like I had to be the strong one, after all my mother only 36 at the time, had just lost her mother.

I bought into this idea that showing no emotions was strength and to be strong I had to choke back my tears and play the part while my mother fell apart. I carried that belief for a long time, until the backed up tears created a dam that could no longer be contained. And I began to cry.

Cry at the movies, cry at commercials, cry when I was inspired, cry when I was overwhelmed with gratitude, cry when I felt loved beyond what I felt I deserved. I began to cry and to feel everything I’d stuffed inside for a decade or more.

I think that’s one of the things I love so much about PFO and the teens. They make me cry, and the tears that flow from my eyes are tears that speak volumes to the way I feel inside in their presence.

So how do I feel? Often times it’s hard to put into words and articulate just how proud and honored I am to know them, how inspired I am by their courage, and how fortunate I feel to witness their willingness to grow, expand and take vulnerable and courageously bold leaps.

This weekend and next, they will be taking more of those bold, vulnerable and courageous leaps as they stand on a stage in front of 100’s of people and allow themselves to be seen and heard. Something I could have never done at their age and sometimes even have challenges doing today.

When I invite you to a PFO show, I’m not inviting you to an afternoon or evening of entertainment. You can get that anywhere. I’m inviting you into a journey of inspiration, witnessing boldness, genius, courage and compassion. I’m offering an opportunity that if you open your heart just a little, will crack it wide open and change you. You can’t be around this much courage and inspiration and not be changed.

If you sit next to me, be warned because you will hear me cheer and cheer loudly. I am cheering because I have the profound honor of seeing these teens grow, skip, jump and leap into places in themselves they didn’t know existed. I’m cheering because I am inspired and I love, admire and respect each one of them for teaching me the power, courage and willingness to be seen and heard.

And if you sit next to me, have a tissue ready because my eyes will definitely be leaking, I won’t be able to stop and I’ll need that tissue because I gave up on biting my lip some time ago.