Welcome to Velvet Moss! Get comfy. Kick off your heels, unbutton your jeans, and take a sip of something yummy. Let’s chat.
I’m forty-two. I write it like punishment on a chalk board: I said shit. I passed a note. I’m forty-two. But I have to tell you something. I am such a better woman at forty-two than I ever was in my twenties. That’s a fact I’m not ashamed to be typing. It’s a truth that’s taken work and humility and a fucking exorcism to arrive at.
In my younger days I was quick to judge others. I think it stemmed from insecurity and the innate instinct teenage girls have to tear each other to shreds in an effort to feel better about themselves. I fell victim to this screwed up logic and when someone showed up with a cute outfit or new lipstick or a great haircut, I was jealous. I wanted what they had.
But I grew up. I smartened up. And through practice and love and surrounding myself with brilliant, inspiring, generous and gentle women, I learned a huge lesson. An Oprah-worthy – what I know for sure – type epiphany. When I celebrated the successes of other women, I felt great. Fantastic, actually. A darkness lifted from my heart and was filled with light, and appreciation, and genuine admiration for the girls who were having their day. Their moment. Because the fact that the light was shining on them didn’t mean it wasn’t shining on me, too. There’s enough light for all of us. Just lift your gaze to the sky, ladies, and soak it in.
This was the beginning of a soul cleanse. I stopped pretending I was perfect. I admitted my faults – first in secret little whispers after too much wine. Later, screaming them to the world. I started writing a weekly column, filling page after page in newspapers and magazines with my mistakes and failures and embarrassing moments. And you know what? My stories were met with me too’s and thank you’s! Because we’re all in the same leaky boat, girls. We’re trying to be perfect at everything we’re doing. Wives and bosses and moms and friends and – oh yeah – looking hot and fit and put together and having great hair. And most of the time we’re kicking ass. But it’s okay to not have your best day, everyday, and to say so. Loudly. I promise that I won’t judge you. Because I’ve been there or I am there or I’ll be there tomorrow, sister. We’re in this shit together.
I have known the owner and brilliant visionary behind Velvet Moss for almost thirty years. Jenn Mouly has been a presence in my life since I first shaved my legs and drank Barbarian coolers and wanted a boyfriend. We’ve laughed and cried and lost friends and dated dickheads and now we are here. Supporting each other through our brave endeavours and intense vulnerability. We’ve failed. We’ve recovered. Jenn didn’t need the revelation I did to spread the love. She’s been cheering and encouraging her girlfriends since I’ve known her. She has a pure heart and genuine interest in you and your happiness. When you’re near her, you feel her light.
We all need that energy in our lives, and if you’re not lucky enough to be surrounded by it - yet - then know you deserve it. Search it out and don’t accept anything less. I am beyond proud to be the first person to welcome you to the virtual Velvet Moss. Shine bright, my friends. You’re fabulous.
Shelby Cain is a writer and musician living in Fernie, B.C. She’s a regular columnist for Fernie Fix and Kootenay Living magazines. Her first novel, Mountain Girl, is available at bookstores.