We are storytellers by nature. Our stories help us learn, grow and make meaning of the ups and downs of this life we are living. They connect us with one another… 

The best storytellers captivate us with tales of adventure, adversity, love, lessons and even loss.

So what makes a great story? Authenticity.

That’s easy right… to tell the truth, as you see it?

In comes shame, a tricky feeling that can block many of us from speaking authentically. Why? Because busting through shame requires vulnerability and courage. 

I’ve been waiting for the right words, the right day, or the right sign to give me the courage to share my written story.

Today is that day. On my way to surf, I saw my sign.

It came in the form of a license plate that came to me on another significant day in my healing journey… BE BRAVE in big bold letters.

Yes! I will be brave.

I choose authentic, bold vulnerability.

I release the fear, shame, and tendency I have to strive for perfection… to give voice to what I’ve learned.

This blog and website are where I’ll begin share. For some back story, visit my imperfect emerging website>

I’ll begin here…

And, like many stories of transformation, it starts with a broken heart. 

One-day decades ago my heart was shattered. I had no idea at that moment in my young life just how deeply my entire life would be affected.

The trauma I experienced as a young girl initiated a cascade effect of feeling unsafe, unworthy and unlovable. I felt like I did not belong. 

I’m happy to say that by facing myself and my deepest pain and shame, I found freedom and a sense of wholeness. I learned how to integrate the deepest layers of pain my heart had been carrying for me.

The result? I feel free. Light. More comfortable in my own skin than ever before in my life. I feel peace, hope, joy, and possibility.

At an incredibly difficult point in my healing, a therapist gave me these inspired words by Dr. Brene Brown that speak to the importance of storytelling… they feel poignant to me today, so I share.

Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted

There is no greater threat to the critics
and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise.

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home. Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.

It would be so easy to NOT choose vulnerability, but there is no cell in my body that feels that is the right thing to do.

So I will share because I know that by speaking about what I’ve learned through trauma, from this place of new-found wholeness, I’ll continue my healing… and I’ve been told, it will help others. 

With my heart open, I follow the sun and ride the waves in new ways.

I’d love for you to join me! 

Check out my website In2clarity.com for a little back story and if you feel moved, sign up to follow my journey.

Together we are stronger… Together we rise!

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Leanne is a local San Diegan committed to creating healthy community experiences that ignite authentic communication, self-discovery, friendship, and professional connections. She is a facilitator, speaker, and writer. Leanne is known for her ability to create safe spaces for small and large groups where truth, transformation, and connection happen. Her knowledge base includes emotional literacy, communication, leadership, mindfulness, grief, trauma, bereavement, surf therapy, PTSD, community, conflict resolution, and personal development. You can reach her at leannetibiatowski@gmail.com

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