We’re all just winging it

A few months ago I was asked by some friends to take part in a video series entitled “Transformed People, Transforming Our World.” I was a bit reluctant, primarily because I hate being on camera; I get jittery and awkward. While it’s hard enough for me to speak live, in front of an audience, at least when it’s done, it’s done and there is no chance of re-watching it. But with the belief that stories and lives are meant to be shared, I agreed.

I went in for what I thought was a brainstorming session, only to learn that we would in fact, be filming that day—they tricked me with the hope that I’d be less nervous and more candid. (I have sneaky smart friends.)

The interview itself went well enough—there were some rough patches indeed, but for the most part, while I found it uncomfortable talking about myself for an hour and a half, I had a good time.

Then I went home. And completely melted down. I am talking full panic heart-beating-out-of-my-chest-I-am-going-to-throw-up-all-the-tears kind of meltdown.

I felt like a liar. Because the truth is, I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, where I’m going and often, how I even got to where I am now. There has been no real method to my madness and much of this life I’ve been given always feels like a heartbeat away from disappearing. So to be praised for my efforts, deemed “transformed” or looked upon for answers as though I have any sort of handle on things feels like a big fat lie.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love my life. I consider myself lucky to get to do what I do—but some days all I can see are the mistakes of the past and question marks of the future and it’s terrifying to think that if dissected, people might see what a colossal mess I am.

I am fortunate to have great friends who helped talk me off the ledge that night and the following day…and the day after that. And while I wish at this point I could tell you I’ve come to some great resolve within myself, I haven’t. I still feel all those things I’ve mentioned above.

But instead of running from them or letting them run me, for now, I am choosing to identify these feelings and let them be used to push me toward compassion—for myself and for those around me.

Because I suspect I am not alone in this. Perhaps we all feel a bit fraudulent as we post and pose ourselves for others, knowing full well we’re actually fumbling our way through life, hoping and praying something good sticks.

In talking with others, I’ve found there seems to be two prominent responses to this feeling. The first is to apply the fake it ’til you make it method, relying on appearances of perfection to guide our self-worth. We exhaust ourselves, trying to appear as though we have it all together, until we break.

Which then seems to lead to the second; quieting down our victories, for fear the cracks in our facade will show. To confuse shame with humility and allow it to lead us into hiding.

Neither seem to work all that well.

Maybe instead, the answer is simply a little more honesty and a little more grace. Letting ourselves celebrate the good stuff, knowing full well it came through a whole lot of trial and error. Keeping the perspective that we are imperfect and unsure, while also capable and equipped to change our families, our communities and our world.

“We’re all winging it, Rachel,” one friend consoled me with, “None of us know really where we’re going. Doing something successfully, rarely means doing it perfectly and without error. The sooner you can accept that in yourself, the sooner you’ll be free to actually enjoy the process that is, well…life.”

Argh. Okay. That sounds hard, but I’ll try.

Now. If you promise to be gracious, you can watch the video linked below.

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Welcome back.

Hi. And welcome back. I suppose that welcome is as much for you as it for me—we’ve both been away from here for awhile.

I’ve missed you. In fact, I’ve missed me too. This last year has been a wild one. It’s spilled over with good and weird and very hard soul-searching. I wanted to write about it through out the process, but it seemed every attempt I made only ended in knots in my stomach and tears of frustration.

So I stopped and hid out for awhile. I made the conscious decision to leave this little site behind for a bit and dig a little deeper into what was leaving me so overwhelmed and heartsick. And as it seems is often the root when look further into my negative feelings, I found that I’d become afraid. Very, very afraid.

Being scared will make you do odd and silly things. It can paralyze you or make you act out in haste. It can make you pull out your sword and fight or leave you cowering in the corner. Quite frankly, it can make you feel like you’re losing your damn mind.

In this case, I found that a slow growing fear had taken over my voice, leaving me feeling stuck and quiet; afraid that my words would either be too much or watered down and insincere.

I became nervous that sharing my words would leave me too known or worse; not really known at all—not the real me at least, as I only offered a shell of who I really am and where I stand in this strange and confusing world.

But I am back now. And I am going to do my best. I’m coming out from my hiding place, with the hope that this site offers you the freedom to do the same.

Because the truth is, being a human is messy and hard and I think we need each other more than we may know.

Dear Mamas.

Dear Mamas,

I am not one of you, not at this point in my life, but I know you well. I’ve been watching and listening and while rarely do I feel it’s my space to jump in and speak on the subject, I have something important to say;

You’re doing a really good job.

You are tired. You got angry this morning. You fed your kid partially hydrogenated soybean oil. You wonder if Paw Patrol or Daniel the Tiger are nannying your little ones. Your toddler learned a bad word from you when you banged your head trying to buckle that mother f@*%#!!! car seat again. You’ve considered going rogue, moving to the Bahamas, starting over because this life just feels like too much handle.

That’s okay. You get to feel those things. You’re doing something very hard. Continue reading “Dear Mamas.”

Crawl if you need to.

My sweet friend,

You are brave, but life is hard.

I get that.

Somedays the walls that keep you safe will feel like prisons.

There will be days when the rain that cleanses your soul will threaten to drown you.

And yet others when the darkness that once brought distress, feels more like a cozy blanket, protecting you from the world you fear will devour you.

The heart is weird like that, full of dichotomies that menace even the most centered of souls.

But what if you’re not one of those? What if you always feel a little left of centered? What if you wonder when the scales will give way and tip altogether?

It’s a scary place, this world is, when you’ve spent years seeking answers that only seem to foster more questions, more fear.

It’s ok.

Keep asking questions. Continue reading “Crawl if you need to.”

We are whole.

 

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Some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Some days the world feels like too much. I am thankful for medication that helps with those days. Do I think America is often over-medicated? I do. But I also believe there’s a time and a place to let modern medicine fix what is broken. Also, a time and a place to be honest about it. #breakthestigma

Last week I woke up, rolled out of bed and posted the picture and caption above onto Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. To be honest, I didn’t think too much about it. (Which may be a glimpse into some of my poorer social media choices?) The sheer number of responses I received floored me.

“Thank you for sharing this, nobody in my family knows I take medication for depression.”

“I have been feeling suicidal lately, this encouraged me to tell my mom and get help.”

“My pastor told me if I just had a little more faith I wouldn’t struggle so much – but you have faith, don’t you?”

“Thank you for reminding me that I can fight to heal the broken, even if I feel broken sometimes.”

Continue reading “We are whole.”