One of my favorite bits of inspiration comes from Sam Haskell, former William Morris agent to many strong female actors and author of Promises I Made My Mother: “Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.”
B.L. (before lyme), my path in life was editing and marketing. To feel inspired, I’d geek out and imagine Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” playing as I dramatically raised my hand and pigtailed out unnecessary words. Triumphant!
But then I got bit by a tick while training on my mountain bike, and the battle for my health started. The ensuing lyme disease crept up with fiery joint pain, misfiring nerves and handfuls of lost hair.
It wasn’t until those little buggers found my brain that the real vertigo began. Some days I couldn’t remember where I lived, and a word as simple as backpack became “that thing- you know that carries books and pens and stuff– what the freak is that thing right in front of my face?!”
My mom, a high school English teacher, taught me so many of those deliciously fun, but disappearing words. I headed off to kindergarten “ecstatic” and later thought “asinine” was a wonderfully naughty word. She showed me the power of words to help you
become who you’re meant to be, to find your true voice.
And in finding my voice, my mom and I never really used the word feminist growing up. But then again, Ms. Magazine showed up in the living room as naturally as any other magazine, as did “Free to Be You and Me” on my record player. (Thank you, Marlo Thomas!)
I saw a strong mom who worked toward her masters in English and was recognized as one of the Top 10 Educators in Ohio, all while raising three kids and encouraging her daughter to run loose with words to find herself. I have a front row seat to learn from a mom who believes the written word is as powerful as you want it to be and that women raise other women up.
But what to do when corporate America looks at you as a medical liability and could care less about your faltering written voice? Luckily, I happened upon screenwriting and jumped in, to find all those lost words and take my mind off the not-so-pleasant lyme treatment. When one day I wondered what my main quirky character would wear, I happened to remember a small LOVE ring my mom gave me growing up (a ring I adored!) and an idea started to form.
How about strong, four-letter words for other women going through life’s unexpected ups and downs? In that spirit, BITS OF LOVE jewelry was born with reminder rings of LOVE, HOPE and BOLD, to inspire women to get out there and kick ass. Inspiration to find your voice and win whatever battle you’re fighting… big or small, quiet or loud.
And I can’t wait for more inspired words to come to life- like ROCK to add intensity to any word and BOOB to raise breast cancer awareness and research funds. Plus, I’d love BITS OF LOVE to grow into a cascade of delicious, fun, soulful words on more rings and bracelets, to jumpstart conversations on what women really want out of life. There are so many powerful stories waiting for women to create and so many powerful words in which to tell them and inspire others.
Cheryl is an owner and designer of BITS OF LOVE jewelry. The Other Side of Lucky, the script that inspired the LOVE ring, rallied to earn Top 10% in the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship, so she hopes some day to see her film and jewelry sparkle on the big screen together. And she admits to a Thank You card addiction, because you can never say please and thank you enough. You can follow her posts on Twitter @bitsoflovestyle.