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“I don't know what I think until I write it down.” – Joan Didion, American Author

What Didion once said is absolutely true of me, a mama and former Manhattan Mad Woman-turned-writer, marketing and communications consultant and aspiring photographer. I find clarity in expressing myself and my experience through writing.

Every woman has a journey. A moment (plural, sometimes) where she finds herself face down in the arena, as Brené Brown puts it. I say, 'face down in the ashes.' Either way, it's the moment when you pick yourself up, shake your head, and look around wondering, "What just happened? And did it really just happen to me?"

But women, every single one of us, are resilient. We rise and fall in some of the most unexpected, and often undesirable, ways in order to grow into stronger, more compassionate and loving, patient people. Wounds sometimes heal us.

I found myself face-down-in-the-ashes in 2014 after deep and callous betrayal ended my relationship with my daughter’s father.

Writing soothed me as I processed my pain. Sharing my honest truth allowed me to let go of the heavy, heavy emotional load I was carrying. 

Once I let go, I began to rise. I have emerged on the other side a wiser, stronger, more focused and more powerful woman than before. 

I chose (and continue to choose) to view the next chapter of my life as an opportunity to design a life I love. It required swallowing my pride to ask for, and accept, a lot of help with a grateful and humble heart. It also required steps to the side and steps backwards, in order to push forward and grow.

Rising from the ashes is not a direct ascent; there are detours and roadblocks and broken wings. But as long as we resilient women continue to pick ourselves up and climb, we are always ascending.

The purpose of rise. and Phoenix Mom Rising is to connect with fellow mamas and other women along their paths, whether they are face down in the ashes or wings spread on the rise. Let each of us — wherever we are along the path — employ empathy to empower and encourage each other.

Rising from the ashes as stronger, happier, healthier mother and woman than ever seemed possible is the definition of a Phoenix Mom Rising. And this blog captures just one such woman's journey. Mine.