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  • Cynthia Coupe

Laid Bare

Updated: Dec 3, 2022

I think it’s only fair to keep taking you, dear readers, along for the ride I started when I began this blog.


Currently, it’s about my business, but it started with my husband's death.


What a year, 2022. My goodness. The lowest of lows, and some incredible highs too…its sustained me, ripped my heart out, laid me bare, flogged my skin while pouring salt into my wounds and then cradlled me gently with the kindest words and best hugs. just before screaming in my ear.


Perhaps this is life, or at least it is my life.


There is still no way “out” per se from my current predicament, but I am certainly beginning to see a way up. I am looking at everything the way I do with profound loss…eyes wide open and everything taken apart. Every crevice looked deeply into, every dream carried out to its fullest fantastical end and every worst-case scenario played out in full.


To center, I’ve been asking myself questions such as: Where do I find joy? What drives me? What follows any kind of throughline with my life? What is mine vs somebody else's, and how can I communicate with deep honesty, clarity and integrity as I bring all these pieces together?


Of course, this recent ruin I talk about is my beloved business, OARS, which my late husband and I started. Please read the blog post previous to this one if you need context (and if you want to check out the website which is badly in need of updating, it is www.OARSInc.com).


It’s taken me a solid month to wrap my mind around any kind of movement forward, though I believe I am finally getting there…my brain is able to actually devise some next steps, and I am able to complete things on my to-do list. Heck, I’m able to MAKE a to-do list. This in and of itself feels like a huge win.


To begin with, OARS was never really my dream. It was never something I was passionate about. It was the result of my husband’s passion and my degree…together we were able to create something we could both stand behind, but the hope and idea was that OARS would sustain us while I went out on my own. The dream was that Frank would manage the business and oversee the day-to-day, while I went out and did things like disrupt the current educational and corporate structures in favor of neurodiversity education. This dream barely hit the ground before Frank died, and I was left to be a manager and solo business owner, while running around educating corporations and schools about neurodiversity. That was never my dream. How could I do all those things? I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to be in the day-to-day of our business, I didn’t want to be a manager…I believed deeply in the work we were doing, and I was proud of what we created…but I wanted something bigger. Sometimes Frank thought I was being too grandiose, that I wasn’t focusing on the positive change we were making in our small town. I saw what he celebrated, and I celebrated it too, but it wasn’t my calling.


So…I plugged along as best I could once he died, and it went really well, to be honest. Frank’s dream was flying high and I was traveling the country giving keynotes about neurodiversity to corporate America while making headway in terms of neurodiversity and DEI.


Then, it tanked.


The structure of the business wasn’t solid. We had been misinformed on some critical information when we set the business up, and in my early grief, I neglected some important paperwork. Together these things shut OARS down…perhaps not for good, but at least for now.


I froze.

But I’m thawing.

I’m focusing on energy. Where do I want to direct my energy, and what for? What feels good…what doesn’t, what seems like a good return on energetic investment, and what if I moved forward in a direction that didn’t involve my degree?

These have been some very big thoughts, and I’m beginning to feel EXCITED about possible outcomes. Thank goodness! I didn’t like being shell-shocked Cynthia for a second time this year,, but behind that was some serious processing, and I am grateful.


So here’s what I’m feeling in to:


If my manager of OARS chooses to, they get to run the business. I will set them up for a win in terms of structure and whatnot, but the day-to-day, programming, client contact, corporate contact, all of that is on them. If they chose not to take it, we close. I love OARS and stand behind what we are doing and who we are doing it for, but I don’t want to be part of the operations. Passing the baton will include running the nonprofit, which has yet to do anything, in fact, I will combine OARS (the for profit) and Dandelion (the nonprofit) so there is better funding availability.

I will begin to teach Sex Education for the intellectually disabled (ID) and neurodivergent (ND) population…all levels…from those that need a lot of support in their lives to those that don’t need much at all. This could be anywhere from 1:1 coaching to groups to weekend retreats…depending on the clientele and the interest…I don’t have to figure it all out now, but that’s the direction I’m heading...to be a coach for sexual expression and identity for the neurodivergent population. (Are you interested? Curious? Want more info? Hit me up!!!)


I will keep on with my neurodiversity and DEI work and give more speeches and training in this context. I will continue to educate the current educational structures in favor of something that is more inclusive and representative of the neuro-unique needs of the students.


If needed I will take on speech clients on a case-by-case basis.


These plans feel true to Cynthia. True to me, my interests and my expertise. True to who I am now because of where I’ve been. True to elements that have always been there, but I haven't always paid attention to.


These plans also include other people but I’m not sharing them or our ideas because this is all new and too early for that…


I’m beginning to feel hopeful. I feel like this whole year has been the ultimate disintegration and reintegration of myself. I fell apart when Frank died. I fell apart when my business died. Somewhere following each of these monumental shifts I learned who I was, and I’m committed to staying true to who I am. I’m finally integrating my whole self into the world.


It only took a seismic shift or two to get out of my own way. I must have a stubborn streak...

And you know what? It feels great to see this possibility. It feels great to see who I am and what I can offer…and I hope that this time, it takes. I’m building a solid foundation, for once, and I think I stand a pretty good chance. The world needs me, it needs all of us. It needs each one of us who is brave enough to be laid bare in the face of pain and stand true to who we are in hopes of creating something better for those of us who are around once we’re gone.


And, if you don’t have the opportunity to be laid bare in your lifetime, then lucky you. The world still needs you, BTW. It needs you to show up as the best version of yourself you can be, no matter the circumstances.


I’m in. Wanna join me?




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