MDB Goes to Utah!


A few weeks ago, we traveled to Utah to take part in The Alison Show’s “Build and Be Awesome” branding workshop. Like a neurotic hawk, I stared at three computer screens the morning the tickets went on sale hoping to get Katie and me a spot in the room of Alison’s (clam) stage where she rained experienced wisdom and other-worldly energy on us all day long. She also shared her friends with us (Susan Peterson with Freshly Picked and Kevin Auernig with Sodalicious), which was amazing. It felt excessive and surreal to get to go–I’m so thankful that we (and Milk Drunk Blog) took a lagniappe opportunity like this to explore.

Alison was everything I hoped she’d be, as if she jumped right out of my phone screen with every ounce of enthusiasm and authenticity captured in her Instagram stories. She was lively, hospitable, strategic, smart. We met and hugged, of all places, in the bathroom at Alison’s Party Palace where Katie and I sneaked off to nervous-pee before the session started. She gushed about our willingness to travel from Louisiana, and we let the door close on the other side of her before squealing a little.
I’ve followed Alison for a couple of years now having first found her online by way of the #alisonspregnantladydanceoff. She was a bright spot in my postpartum days and I’ve loved her zest for life (and straight up lunacy) ever since.
The workshop experience was fantastic–beautiful (HELLO Utah snow), tasty (HELLO Utah BLT), and challenging. Alison shared her story, her passion, and her tools. Most significantly, she shared with us the need for brands and endeavors to “know their why.” But why…but why…why do you do what you do? It’s through that lens, we learned, that the rest of the branding process flows (but you’ll have to sign up for an upcoming workshop to get those deets in full *wink*).

Katie and I had never gone to that lower level of evaluation, specifically for MDB, before. Why were we doing this? Why did we start? 
We separated ourselves from the group and plopped down on the salmon colored couch in the party palace’s foyer. Mulling over stories from the beginning of our friendship (we found each other in our last trimesters) and the beginning of the blog, we recalled the panic, loneliness, cluelessness of early parenthood. We recalled depression and sleepless months and questions hollered into the early morning hours of how to fix or juggle or calm. We talked about connecting through our honesty, our hacks, and our humor…how that gave us hope. And hope, during motherhood, was then what we wanted to share. Hope (through connection) was our Why.
I thought about hope a lot over the rest of our trip. It was the end of January so it felt like everyone’s on-edgeness–their pain and their fears and their defenses about our country–was just starting to really hammer down through all the outlets around them. People were (are) hurting, and here we were, sipping our Sodalicious diet cokes in mountains that we arrived at with tickets we could afford–taking advantage of the privilege it is to even talk about hope.

It’s odd to travel, to grow something, when you’re dipping in and out of the grieving process that the news or Facebook bring about. It’s uncomfortable to allow yourself any time to focus or invest in other things without feeling like you are unrealistically compartmentalizing, checking out of the all consuming tension to “pretend like life is normal or good.”
It’s hard to birth…anything…when you’re sad. Or more so, maybe, when you’re scared.
But one thing I remembered during this workshop weekend is that: we do it anyway. On the plane ride home, I thought of the vulnerable things Alison has been sharing through her new “Awesome with Alison” podcast, the changes and pain she is experiencing in her own life, and how grateful I am that she is still sharing…anyway. Resilience is just that: we keep going.

We are audacious enough to birth babies, and go back to school, and fly in planes, and start businesses, and make art, and bake celebratory cakes that take time and care. We are stubborn and brave enough to keep living, keep hoping, keep planting flowers despite pain, or fear, or fear of pain.
To plan a vacation and eat street food and keep working and looking into the eyes of your kids when you’ve gotten a terminal diagnoses. To raise kind children in a world where we may be tempted to believe that they need to be defensive and brutal to survive. To paint murals in dying cities. To attempt conception even though the last three times have ended in so much loss. To push a child…an effort…a writing piece out into a world that is unpredictable and hurting.

And to believe, that though the cards are stacked, as Parker Palmer says, “…to hold hope, in these days, is to be a rebel.” We keep going against the grain, bringing life to places where it seems the ship is already sinking. We keep building families, planting seeds, making art, bringing hope. Because, though risky, that is the only way we may have a chance at patching the boat’s holes, at having a new generation, and flowers, and beauty. This is how we ask pain to scooch on over and make room on the bench for joy.

I still can’t believe we got to step out of our 80-degree North LA life for three days to drive around powdery Provo, eat Kilaches and learn how to go deeper and reflect on what fuels the contributions we are making in this world. It was special, indeed.
Thank you, Alison, for having us. What a dream.
[If you’d like to help us cultivate hope by guest writing a piece that helps us connect through resources, vulnerably, or humor, email us a pitch to milkdrunkblog@gmail.com! For more information about Alison’s future workshops, visit thealisonshow.com]
Britney Lee
About me

Hi there! My name is Britney, and I’m a C+ student in the art of “trusting my momma instincts”—just so we all are aware of the spot from which I’ll be writing. I’m in holy matrimony with Luke, and we’re in sweet holy chaos with Bridger—who came into the world no smaller than a Volvo early June 2015. I get really into social justice issues, British TV series, and not working out. I’m an ENFP, 7w8 who believes that isolated lives can be dangerous when we’re all trying to make it through hard stuff and stay sane. I hope that Katie and I can create a place here where we can get close and get real and laugh a little. My solemn vow to you is that I will never clean my house before taking a MDB pic of it for instagram. Neither of us have energy for that. Welcome to Milk Drunk Blog!

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