What's in an arrow?

Often people notice the arrow necklace I always have around my neck, the arrow tattoo on my ribcage, the random arrows decorating my house or my website and ask... so, what's the deal with that? Why are you so obsessed with arrows?

No, I am not a huntress (no animals were harmed in the writing of this blog). But the arrow is a HUGE symbol for me in my life and business for many reasons.  Here's the long version:

For part of my junior year and all of my senior year in college, I shared a room with a very special woman who grew to become one of my closest friends and cheerleaders. When we both returned from being abroad for the spring semester of our junior year, the University of Richmond housing office randomly threw us together... and for that I will forever be grateful.

This lady has always had the most incredible style. I would watch her get dressed in the morning and try to mimic her chic outfits and minimalist accessories and end up looking like a cross between a showgirl and a goth queen. (Minimalist and chic were never two words to describe my wardrobe and style.) But she was so generous and would often let me borrow her necklaces, perfume, and other little dresser-top delights. One of my favorites was a long necklace with a heart and arrow, two separate adornments that laid one-atop-the-other just perfectly. I guess she noted that this piece was often missing from her jewelry box because in an incredibly generous act, she purchased me the matching earrings for Christmas during our senior year.

Those earrings became a staple in my wardrobe, and when I moved to the Dominican Republic after graduation, I often wore them to remind me of my friend and to bring back that warm feeling of being home. On one particular day I was wearing the earrings when a horrible event ocurred: I was kidnapped in a public transportation vehicle. (Don't fret over the details here-- this whole story will definitely be told in a future blog post.) My kidnappers were stripping me of my accessories, purse, the works, when a surge of bravery (or some sort of out-of-body force) came through me and I politely requested that they return the earrings. "They are not made of solid gold," I said. "You won't fetch a price for them." 

So the man in the back seat next to me removed the knife he was holding to my neck to cut into the earrings to ensure that what I was saying was true-- cutting grooves in the gold veneer of one of the arrow points. When he was satisfied that I was correct, he handed the earrings back over.

Obviously I made it out ok, and those earrings turned into not only a special symbol of my friendship with my roommate, but one of strength, survival, perserverence, and faith. As I struggled with post-traumatic stress symptoms in the wake of this and some other incidents, I stumbled across a quote about the arrow: "An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it's going to launch you into something great." As I contemplated this quote, I took stock of my life and realized it was true: all of my darkest times preceded seasons of bliss, purpose, and happiness. Life pulls you backward to prepare you to fly. We go through times of darkness in order to soar into the light.

A few years ago I was suffering from yet another broken heart, I was being wildly mistreated in my job, I lost my passion and purpose, and I felt like the world was caving in. On a whim, I grabbed that earring and took it to the tattoo parlor, where I promptly had it tattooed  knife grooves and all  on my ribcage, on the left side underneath my heart, pointing it forever forward.

And within just a few weeks, I began to fly. 

Now the arrow symbolizes not only me and my life, but that of my business team as well. These are ladies with some serious wings, and I love that we can link arms and lead people out of their darkness into a bright, beautiful new world. I am so happy that it is what I have decided to do with my life every single day.