This project is both an experiment and the fulfillment of a very deep wish.
My name is Sue Braiden. I’m kind of the adventure Den Mom here. A decade ago, after losing my own mum to breast cancer, I found myself utterly empty of hope and joy. It felt like a betrayal to laugh, to move on, and yet I knew it was a great disrespect to the legacy that was my mother’s truest gift: living with great passion and zest. I sat down with a cup of tea made from the very last chocolate mint leaves she had grown in her garden, and considered the part of my mother that lived on through me. She was, after all, a great Adventure Diva, and relished the art of turning ordinary things into the most extraordinary adventures. I gathered up a handful of books, and movies and music that conjured her up, and after feasting hungrily on the pleasures of joy again, I sat down to write a note to share these treasures with others. It was an epiphany for me, and I closed it like this:
“If I was going to fight affluence — flesh and words and schedules and sorrows — I would have to cultivate an underground railroad of allies to show me the way out. I gathered them up, these women, these sage and wisened conscripts, and went to war …”
❧ I was flooded with notes from other women …
with whom my “thinking out loud” had resonated, and that unexpected surge of sisterhood felt like taking the first deep breath after being under water for a very long time. And it was there that the Estrogen Army was born.
Perhaps this will show that I’ve had a lot of time to think about this. The downside of that is that it never felt “ready.” After more than a decade of hand-wringing and false starts, I decided that this year I would give myself a gift for my birthday: I would get this darned thing off the ground, ready or not, and invite my sister adventure divas to put their elbows on a shared — albeit digital — kitchen table, to imagineer the groundwork of great adventures.
❧ I asked myself what I would need.
A journal to start dreaming out loud in; tools to help me discover other ordinary women like me who had gone on to have extraordinary adventures; resources to help me plan and hang great things on the scant scaffolding of a shoestring budget; people to trade ideas with; and a space that allowed us to celebrate what would surely be our abundant successes 😉
I did tell you a moment ago that I had a lot of false starts. A lot of money wasted on fancy tools. A lot of hand-wringing over things that never quite fit. Of course there was that inevitable “Aha!” moment where I sat myself down and said “Simple is best. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just find a place to start.”
You’re immersed right now in a cobbled together digital house, whose heart is here at this virtual kitchen table where I hope to spend a lot of happy days and nights listening to -YOUR- dreams and imaginings. As you are about to embark on great adventures of your own, what do you need? What will make it easier for us to connect? easier for you to discover other natural allies? easier to discover cool ideas to embrace yourself? ways of surviving the almighty buck (or lack thereof) and still go on to have amazing adventures?
❧ So get your elbows on the table, girl, and let’s talk!