“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” ~ Aristotle
Today, I am so excited and humbled to be a part of The Accessory Junkie “Pieces of Me” campaign. When co-founders, and my dear friends, Michelle Reeves and Andrea Siegel, invited me to participate based on my work in being one of 5 founders of the Help Feed the Frontline LA Fighting Covid-19 fundraising initiative, I was both surprised but so thrilled to participate. The campaign which is based on “Real Women doing really amazing things,” is an important piece of their mission and who they are, which is why I said, YES! Annnnd, also, THESE EARRINGS!)
I have a foundational belief that we are all the sum of our parts. It’s the pieces which make up our whole, that truly make us who we are and what make each of us special in our own way. We all have pieces of us that are strong, wounded, inspired, fearful, content, curious, driven, and so much more. They are formed from our unique experiences growing up and evolving in this world, from our relationships with others, from our trials and our triumphs, from our hopes, heartbreaks and joyful moments. It’s all these pieces that when put together make us, us, some of which we share with the world and some which we hold close to protect. No matter what the pieces, they are what make up our whole.
Even the pieces of this experience were so fun for me. Not only did I get to do this photo shoot in my home with the incredible photographer Liz, with all of the beautiful pieces of this jewelry collection, curated from incredible artisans from around the world, I also, got to write! The ladies asked me to put together some answers to a list of their question prompts (The Piece of me that…fill in blank), which were so thought-provoking, I wanted to share them here as well, as part of my own way back to this place and piece of me that gives me so much joy and peace.
The PIECES OF ME: Shannon Pruitt for The Accessory Junkie
The piece of me that wants to work..MY CURIOSITY.
Being curious drives so much of my professional and personal growth and happiness. I love to listen and learn about people, I seek new experiences and places, and I love to discover deeper connections with people, information, things, or activities I might have already known but not totally understood. I also believe that my curious nature has made me resilient and adaptable in life, so that I can quickly prioritize where I need or want to spend my energy and attention and what’s a crisis and what’s not. Curiosity, and the will to act on it, has fundamentally given me so much in my life that I am thankful for and makes my life more full, makes me less afraid to fail, and gives me new ways to connect and spend time with my children and people I care about, no matter what is happening around me. Covid, has been an especially interesting time, as it has given me a natural slow down, where I have been able to make more time to explore my interests, like discover new recipes, to start the Help Feed the Frontline LA Fundraiser, to learn to surf with my son, to re-take up tennis with my kids, to write, to take a new job and several Masterclasses, to go on a couple of road trips with my minis and to try learn the piano, which, so far isn’t going that well, but I am having fun! 🙂
The piece of me that wants to create…MY SPIRIT.
The week before we went into lockdown as the spread of Covid 19 took over the airwaves, my dad’s sister, my Aunt Willa, passed away. I flew up to San Francisco to meet my dad and my Aunt Bonnie, to attend her funeral and see family that I hadn’t seen in years. As her son John took the pulpit to give the eulogy in front of her other children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, siblings, nieces and all her friends, his voice wavered ever so slightly as started his tribute. Willa, my fiery, strong, caring and compassionate aunt who raised not only her own children, but in many ways, also her younger brothers and sisters including my own dad who sat next to me with tears in his eyes and my Aunt Bonnie who sat just on the other side of me next to her own daughter. He first talked about how they all called Willa, who was 4 ft 10in tall in heels, the General. She had had a hard life growing up and she raised her children with discipline and structure. He went on to talk about how she had stayed alive to care for her loving husband Steve who had suffered from Parkinson’s and died on his birthday 4 months after he passed, and he talked about how their life together had impacted everyone there in the church that day. And then he said, what will stay with me forever: “my mother created love.” SHE created love. I looked at my Dad’s face and saw the mother-like figure who had fought for him and Bonnie, and their siblings Kathy and Janet, when their parents couldn’t be all that needed to be. I saw the faces of the family she had created on the other side of the church as they nodded and tears flowed freely. Willa created love. As a mom, as a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and person, the piece of me that wants to create, is the one where one of my own minis might stand up one day, and maybe even before I am gone, and they will say, “MY MOM CREATES LOVE.”
The piece of me that wants to build…MY PASSION.
I grew up inventing. Not things, but stories. I would read and escape into books, I loved movies and TV shows, and records that had well known fairytales. I would write pages and pages of lined notebook paper about anything that came to my mind. I still love building stories. I do it in my work today. I help brands to do it. I still write my own stories, when I started my blog mynewfavoriteday 9.5 years ago, it was so I could share stories and people would share their stories with me. I am lucky to have found many amazing creators, storytellers, storymakers and like-minded people along these various paths in all walks of life, and with them I have gotten and still get so much joy from batting around an idea because great ideas come from everywhere, building on ideas, thoughts, concepts all in the spirit of architecting, refining, or reengineering entirely to make it better for whoever the audience is that would get value from that idea told through the right story. Whether it is personally or professionally, listening for what someone really wants, and then helping them with the solution is what I love to build or support as I continue to build the best version of me in this world, and try to continue to figure out how to live and share that story.
The piece of me that’s cozy… MY SOUL
As I have grown in this journey, I have realized the things that give me joy are simple experiences , these are the things I crave. A hug from my children, finding a like minded heart and spirit, the smell of rain, holding hands with someone I love, lying under a blanket to watch a movie, the feel of my body as I run, trying new things, barely getting up on my surfboard, being near the water, or in the woods, the smell of a homecooked meal, singing in the car, laughing, laying my head on a pillow at night, going for a walk, and so many other very simple things. I am also simply very very grateful for the stability that I have had that allows me to appreciate those moments, those simple things that give me joy that make each day “mynewfavoriteday.”
The piece of me that’s complicated…MY MOST INNER SELF.
It might be that I am a Cancer, a water sign, whose symbol is the Crab. A hard shell, but a soft center. I am relentlessly optimistic and share that optimism and perspective on life widely and liberally. This is my shell, some might say my shield. However, the perception being that I have it all together, when at times I am the struggling just like everyone else is the true reality. As a mom of 3, one with special needs, who is closely and amicably co-parenting with my ex, working from home, homeschooling, and trying to find and continue to write the chapters of my future based on what I know, and have experienced in the chapters leading up to this point, my most inner self is where all the pieces come together. Both resilient and vulnerable. Firm, but loving as I try to be generous with my optimism, warmth and perspective, but with wisdom gained on this journey, I have come to also know that I need to cherish this part of me and take care of it. It’s my touchstone for how I care for myself and the others in my life.
The piece of me I love most….MY ENERGY.
I am often asked how I can do all that I do, and I truly believe that my positive energy is my superpower. The thing I was given, because I would need it to live this one and only life to the fullest and show my minis what it can mean to be on this earth if you dedicate your energy to the right people and experiences. It allows me to be all the things I need to be, for how I need and also how I want to show up for those I care for, my work, my personal passions, my advocacy work, and everything and everyone else who may cross my path and I decide I want to spend the energy. This gives me flexibility in truly seeing who is and what’s possible to make the most of this gift of life.
The piece of me I give to others…MY WARMTH.
I am warm and affectionate by nature. I like listening to people and their experiences. I have had so many different types and sometimes painful life experiences, that I can take in what others are experiencing or choosing without judgement and often enjoy helping people process what they are experiencing. It’s also this warmth that gives the ability to feel true joy and using positive energy bringing that joy into other’s lives. I think warmth shows up in how you show up. I don’t always get it right every time, but I try. From supporting my son in starting his fundraiser to find a cure for his twin and my daughter Emma, or the Covid 19 Help Feed the Frontlines LA fundraiser, to a thinking of you moment and hugs and kisses for my minis on a daily basis, warmth makes people feel safe, feel loved, and feel meaningful in your life and what a better way to live. It’s the little light and I believe it’s important to let it shine!
The piece of me I keep for myself…my magical thinking. I have always been a hopeful and optimistic person with a foundational belief that everything happens for a reason and works out the way it is supposed to. In the past 11 years, and really my whole life, this has been my guiding light. It shows me how to wake up grateful everyday for the things that often can be taken for granted and to imagine the experiences I still wish for with the ability to believe anything is possible. With everything happening around us changing so fast and the constant of change, this is something I protect fiercely by taking the time for self-care that I need, choosing my relationships wisely, and fueling my passions and interests with my time and energ
I’m holding onto the piece of me that….keeps me sane…CHEAT WARNING! 2 ANSWERS – MY SENSE OF HUMOR AND MY VILLAGE
1. With all that is happening all around me, and us as a family, and a society every day, laughter, or maintaining my ability to laugh is very important for me and for my family! 2. My Village: A big piece of me, is my relationships with my family, friends, support network of colleagues, and all the other kind souls who help me make sense of this world. I can not be in this life in the way I want to live, show up, enjoy, explore, learn, discover, fail, and grow without the people who assume these various roles in the lives of my family. I am thankful everyday for these people even when we aren’t connecting routinely, I always know they are there and when we connect it fills my soul.
I believe, as Maya Angelou famously said, that people will you show you who they are. It’s often our pieces that we most often bring forward, not the sum of our parts that make us the whole version of ourselves. Each day, I wake up and look out the window, take a deep breath, close my eyes and quietly say thank you for waking up that morning, for my babies, for my family who I love so much and probably fail most often in my connections, for my friends, for my job that let’s me have comfort and securities, and for other pieces of me that shall remain for me.
Today, I am so thankful to be included in this spectacular group of women on www.theaccessoryjunkie.com and to Michelle and Andrea for including and for their continued mission to lift up, inspire and empower women, artisans, and entrepreneurs, and eachother. There have been days, where I have had to dress the part of the piece I want to feel, and putting on one of these beautiful pieces does just the trick. Whether it’s a white T-shirt and jeans or my power jumpsuit, these pieces give me a little extra boost of confidence and sometimes that ‘s just what I need to get through the day and make me feel a little more whole!
I hope today you can all celebrate and appreciate your own pieces and that simple act of appreciating one small thing, attribute, element, trait, whatever, will make today, ‘anewfavoriteday.’
You can go to https://theaccessoryjunkie.com/pages/Shannon-Pruitt to see all the pieces I wore in the shoot and shop the limited collection!