Spike Gillespie holds true to all of her interests and passions.
By Monica Godinez, Photos by Kevin Dick
Spike Gillespie is a zealous woman, mother and entrepreneur. (In fact, she identifies as a “serial entrepreneur.”) For over a decade, Gillespie’s various interests have allowed her to become an author, journalist, blogger and wedding officiant. She is a woman “who takes no shit” from anyone and now fully understands the importance of being true to herself and her passions.
Following her career as a writer in 2006, Gillespie embarked on a journey to become a wedding officiant. She wanted to bridge the gap for couples who were searching for officiants who performed nontraditional weddings. She discovered a newfound love for providing this service for couples who sought ceremonies that best aligned with their values. To date, she has performed over a thousand ceremonies, each one unique. After years of presiding over thousands of services—from massive weddings to “secret elopements”—Gillespie has decided to retire from her role as a wedding officiant. She made this decision as a result of the tumultuous year both she and her clients have undergone due to the ongoing pandemic.
“I learned as I went, and what I learned is to find your confidence,” Gillespie says. “Be confident in your confidence. I tell women of all ages that they do not need to put up with anyone’s shit. There is so much conditioning, in every generation, and I feel like women spend so much time buying into the [idea]that they can’t do what they want for whatever reason.” During the first lockdown, Gillespie felt “forced to rest” in the best way possible. “If I could, I’d tell my 16-year-old self, ‘Here is this stuff I learned. If you could apply it, that would be great,’” Gillespie jokes.
Put your feet down.
Years ago, I saved a child from drowning. I tell this story because at the time I couldn’t swim; however, I was able to save the child because we were in shallow water. If the child had stopped and just put their feet down, they would have realized that they were okay. Yet they let the panic take over and were unable to get their bearings. [Similarly] to other situations of panic, it is important to put your feet down (literally and metaphorically) and assess the situation. This is grounding in stressful moments.
Ask for help.
Asking for help is one of the best practices a person can learn. I grew up very traumatized, after suffering abuse by my violent father and asking for help wasn’t an option. It was after decades of therapy that I learned that my [inability]to ask for help [stemmed]from this previous trauma. I [often]thought I had so much pride. I later realized it wasn’t pride, but fear. With the help of therapy, friends and myself I was able to learn that asking others for help was nothing to be afraid of. When I started asking for help, I saw just how willing others were to help me. Today, I ask others for help as much as I help others.
This lesson may be a hard one for women. From a young age, we are trained to care and tend to everyone else first: our children, partners, parents, etc. We are taught that focusing/putting yourself first is selfish. It wasn’t until I was older and after my relationship with a narcissist abuser that I thought to myself, “I have to stop. What can I do to prevent myself from getting back into this situation?” So, I began reading articles on self-care. At first, I thought the idea of self-care was bullshit, but every single article recommended it, and I really wanted to heal. So, I slowly began incorporating small forms of self-care into my routine. I began eating healthier, doing yoga and I [really]started focusing on myself. I learned to have self-compassion and self-empathy. We are human, we make mistakes. We are constantly evolving.
Don’t look at obstacles as obstacles; look at them as interesting challenges.
For example, I was looking at properties out of state. The properties would be investment properties where I could provide people with affordable housing. I connected with the seller, and I explained my financial situation to her. Despite my untraditional financial [circumstances]she was still interested in working with me. I would have never thought she would still be interested in working with me, but I realized the significance of asking for help. It’s so important for you to ask and talk to those around you. You never know until you try. Remember, it starts with having that confidence in yourself.It is going to be okay because it is already okay.
I don’t mean this in an insensitive or cheesy manner. As someone who has PTSD, I have trained myself to literally look in front of myself. I put both feet on the floor and focus on the room instead of spiraling. Remembering that I am okay helps me understand that I will be okay in any situation and at any moment.
Above all, Spike Gillespie wants everyone to remember, “There is so much out there to enjoy. Go out and do everything. Don’t let anything hold you back or get in the way of following what you want.”