The Art of Being Human

We are LEAVING TONIGHT to complete Project Bike Love’s first official project in Paraguay and I don’t even know how I feel. Of course I am excited. We are all excited. Belen and I have worked through a year of excitement and worry and love and frustration and sadness and happiness. We are of course so happy to have volunteers like Amy who are willing to make the effort and come to Paraguay to support the PBL mission and for all the donors and friends and family that have supported us in so many ways. I don’t think there is a minute that goes by that doesn’t involve overwhelming gratitude.

When I took on starting a non-profit I took on having to be someone who started a non-profit, which a little over a year ago was not at all who I was. I took on our mission, vision and values into my daily life. I wasn’t just going to be this person who was Project Bike Love on stage and then behind the scene was someone else. My life needed to reflect my passion and my purpose. So I took it on 100%. I live and breathe Project Bike Love, and empowerment, and giving and kindness. When I see myself not being that way in an area, I figured out why and I transform that area. Running a non-profit has been just as much a transformation of my own life as it has been and will be for all our beneficiaries. I know that I have to be someone with a ridiculous amount of integrity if I want to empower and impact women around the world.

So here I am, three days from Paraguay and I don’t feel all the excitement and joy and fulfillment I think I “should” be feeling. Everyone else is feeling it, why not me? After a day of reflection and a great late night chat with a good friend, I discovered something extraordinary. I am human. Holy shit right?! Who would have thought? It seems so basic but in all my focus on whom I need to be I forgot to let myself be human. Not only did I forget, I didn’t allow myself. When the frustration and fears came, I shut them down and worked through them until they were gone. When hurt or anger came, I shut it out and told myself there was no time for such petty feelings. I remember once my coach telling me he didn’t think I was putting myself out there enough because I wasn’t having any breakdowns, and I thought “are you freaking kidding me? I am living on the constant verge of breakdown” but I realized I never shared that with anyone.

How could I impact the world if I showed weakness and fear? I’m sure it seems ridiculous and I would agree, it is, but that’s what happens when I live in my head. The thing is, no matter how hard I try to not be human, I still am. I just make my life harder when I try to hide it. So here I am three days away from seeing what was just a silly little idea come to life right in front of my eyes and I feel like it’s all business. It’s marketing and management and logistics and fundraising; it’s looking for what’s missing and what’s needed; it’s all business.  

One of the greatest gifts in my life has been self-awareness. When I can see what’s happening it means I can own it and change it if I need to, so today I get to change this, I get to allow myself to be human. I get to take a minute and be overwhelmed with emotion that this is happening. That dreams do come true. That someone who once doubted herself so much is now three days away from getting on a plane and watching a dream come to life. I can’t wait to meet the beneficiaries. To tell them I love them and to let them know about the global community that has joined together to make an impact on their lives. 

Love, Erin