Trish Rohr: Red Booter Profile

Get ready for real. Get ready for gritty. Get ready for joy. Get ready for language your mama might not like.

Trish Rohr is a Red Booter. She knew this before we did.

In her words:  TEDxCharlotte - 2011 - Risk Takers and Dream Makers. I am in the audience at my first TED event - totally over the moon about being there. Rohr Rockstars [you will read about this a bit later] is a baby and I have my freshly printed business cards ready to hand out. I also remember what I had on - red cowboy boots. No shit. I had on red cowboy boots.

As an aside - I had no idea who Molly Barker was and that the red boots were her thang....

She opened up the event - beautiful, truthful, loving. In red boots....

I had early on before the event started...shared my story with a man there, stranger really...and my vision for Rohr Rockstars (I might have been a little bit enthusiastic). When Molly was done he looked over at me and said, "I think women who wear red boots may just change this world. My prediction- you and your red boots will be up on that TED stage next year." I never ever forgot him, Molly or the fact that I was wearing red boots. Who wears red boots?????

Guess what? TEDxCharlotteEd rolled around in 2012...and there I was on stage - talking about Rohr Rockstars and the tumor. And what did I wear? A really cute shirt dress and my red cowboy boots.Trish on stage rockin' her Red Boots. 

So our friends. Get ready for Trish. Her story may make ya cry. It will definitely make you shout. And that's okay, because all o' that means you've tapped into something that is real. And all Red Booters know... is what Red Boot Leadership is all about. The real, the gritty, the loving... the offering of ALL of ourselves...the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful...every last bit of it.

So here goes...Trish Rohr: Red Booter Profile.

I have a clear cut dividing line in my life.

39 years on one side - 3 1/2 years on the other.

My husband's {inoperable and incurable} brain tumor was the greatest blessing I have ever received. Let me say it again - his brain tumor is my BLESSING. I know this with 100% certainty - I have never been so full of joy and happiness. Right here and right now. Oh, let me clear one thing up from the start. I am not in denial nor am I deluded. If you can let that suspicion go, the story means more.

We were sailing right along until....we weren't.

Trish and EricTwo amazing kids, happy and healthy, a ridiculously lovable yellow lab, a house on the best street in my favorite neighborhood, a career I loved, loads of friends and family - all that was missing was the proverbial white picket fence. Life was easy shmeasy. I didn't really realize what I had. Few do. There are always annoyances and challenges to consume our minds and to divert our attention. It's the rub for us all, isn't it? It takes a jolt to see what's right in front of us. I surely got mine.

I will never forget my pivotal moment - the one that woke me from my despair and truly brought more light into my life that I could ever have imagined. Sitting on our sofa together soon after the biopsy of the tumor, Eric and I had tears streaming down our faces (I am sure I had snot running down my chin, too- I am an ugly crier that surpasses all other ugly criers. Trust me. It would make you want to look away) we both were thinking the same thing....struggling to choke out the words....we are so blessed. We were beautifully overcome by gratitude for what we had. We had love and support and spiritual nourishment and physical nourishment and kindness and concern... We had it all, and we were finally able to see it.

Never again, not one moment, has it been about what we don't have.

The joy I have has taken three years to cultivate. I practice every single day. Every single minute. It is my job. (Or as my 12 year old son would say "I am happy like a BOSS" Awesome!)

It started as a strong desire to give back and repay the universe for our blessings. We have always been big check writers and believed fully in our commitment to the organizations we supported financially. No doubt people like us are important. My passion was growing beyond the dollar to a place where I could share the love and joy personally.

Rohr Rockstars

I knew I had gifts to give, particularly in the world of educating children. I began the arduous process of starting a nonprofit with a mission to support children who are unable to enjoy the joys of traditional school because of an extended illness they battle. Over the past three plus years Rohr Rockstars has supported children in our community of Charlotte, as well as in Pennsylvania where I grew up. We have partnered with amazing pediatric hospitals, schools and individual families. Rockstars have been given educational technology (e-readers and iPads) as well as private tutoring, educational testing and professional advice and counseling. It has been my mission, and the mission of Rohr Rockstars, to offer to the children we serve the opportunity to grow academically so they can walk confidently and optimistically through their journey as lifelong learners.

I have spoken about my nonprofit journey countless times in the past 3 years. It has been the most joyfully painful experience in my life. I have had to dig so deep on every level- the business side of this adventure alone had me cowered under my desk, reading Nonprofits for Dummies, during a break at my first official board meeting. I have taken looooooong breaks away from the all consuming world of RR, so long that people have asked if it still exists. I know my weaknesses have had spotlights shown upon them. I know I have made mistakes and failed in different ways. I also know all of it, every bit, is good. It is ok. In fact, it is all beautiful. Especially the failures.

Resilience (I actually love the word MOXIE.....)

I often hear "I don't know how you and Eric are doing it. If I were facing what you are facing, I'd be under the covers or in the corner sucking my thumb." Actually, I probably would have said the same things at other points in my life. I could not have imagined what I needed to not just survive, but thrive, over the past three and a half years. In the future I will need even more of this intangible thing called MOXIE. I know I have it, and it isn't because anyone has told me, or given me a trophy or a pat on the back. It is because I have fallen down and been able to get back up again. Resilience is learned.

If I am being totally honest, the seeds for change were there for me for years. I simply didn't know what to do with this deep down voice that kept telling me my place was someplace different, someplace bigger. I never thought I needed to be BRAVE. No one ever told me to be BRAVE. I am ambitious, smart, hard working, positive, successful, enthusiastic blah blah blah. But brave? Not yet - but certainly getting there.

We handle the fucking brain tumor (I thought it best to get to know each other a little bit before I really start bringing the full MOXIE. It is exactly, perfectly what it is - a fucking brain tumor. FGlioma has become our mantra) as the most trivial and meaningless aspect of our life. It doesn't have power over us - in fact we have sapped it of all of its power by laughing at it, ridiculing it, using it for change and good and happiness..... it is weak and we are strong. I need my children to know that life is beautiful in the face of adversity and, no matter what, we get up.

Eric's fave T-shirt. 

Inspiration - emotional, spiritual, intellectual - is a really essential part of a full life. It is why we love the human interest stories from the Olympics in many ways more than the Olympics themselves. We want inspiration, and we need inspiration. Hell, it is why I write and talk - to inspire on some level. We want and need to know there is more to be had than rolling out the garbage cans, trolling kids' Instagram accounts for racy selfies, and swiffering the crumbs after breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and bedtime snack. If you read my blog (shameless plug, I you will see I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I absolutely hate how much I love it. One of my 2674 boards is a monstrosity of a collection of quotes. A sucker for a good inspirational message, I have accrued hundreds upon hundreds of snappy little message in cool fonts with great aesthetic appeal.

There is an ugly side to resilience. Too often we want to tell ourselves, and others, about how ok it will be...eventually. And it will. But before that, before you start drying the tears and pulling on your RED BOOTS, drop to your knees and be a beautiful disaster. I did. When life hits you with a left hook out of nowhere, what do you do? You get back up. (Please refer to my Quotes board on Pinterest for the appropriate inspirational messages). But before you do, do me one favor. Fall down.

Don't let Pinterest be as far as you get in finding your light. Don't just read it. Don't just pin it. You MUST live it.

I have to ask you, now that we know each other little bit better....What is your brain tumor? Is there something in your life you can minimize through passion and service and laughter? Can you put it in its place and declare that it will not impact the life you choose to lead?

Stop giving a shit about the brain tumor on your life. I did. I have never been happier.