Over the last few weeks, I have been open about the internal doubts and crisis of confidence that brought me to my knees. For all I know you are tired of hearing about it. And that’s totally fine.
But I’m going to keep talking about it for two reasons. The first, and entirely selfish reason, is that, as previously noted, I am a talker. I say what I am feeling the moment I feel it. And as this is my space, the one place where I get to make all the decisions, well, I get to talk.
The second, and more important reason, is that I have learned over the last few weeks that so many of you have faced the same questions. And that has given me great comfort.
But what has been troubling me is how many people are scared to give a voice to their own struggles. How many people wrote or called and said they too had questioned their self-worth, had wondered if the path they were putting their children on was the right one, had had someone make them feel like they were lesser and how good it felt to finally realize they were not alone.
Some told me they were reticent to admit that not everything in their life was perfect.
Some said they didn’t feel like they had anyone to talk to who would understand.
Some were afraid that by opening the flood gates they wouldn’t be able to close them.
But here’s the thing friends. If we don’t start the conversation, then we will never be able to find the answers. If we don’t acknowledge what’s wrong, there is no chance of it getting better.
So to those of you who doubt, who wonder, who question, who slump down to the kitchen floor in tears because you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, I say this:
We are supposed to feel all of those things.
We are human beings. We are messy and complicated, passionate and apathetic, confident and confused, good and bad – and sometimes we are all those things all at the same time.
And we have to stop only talking about the parts of life that are pretty and safe and uncomplicated. Those things are good but they are only part of us. We need to start talking about everything. We cannot be afraid to tell the truth. Each of our truths.
The heaviness comes, not just from the problems we all face, but from holding it all in. The heaviness comes from thinking we have to figure all of it out on our own, all at once.
Instead of viewing all of those doubts and insecurities and emotions as weaknesses that should be hidden, we need to stop worrying about making other people uncomfortable – about making ourselves uncomfortable – and start having the conversation.
With our family, our friends, ourselves, anyone who will listen. And if you don’t have any of those things, then call me.
Most of all, we need to stay close to the things that make us glad we’re alive. The people and places and things that fill our hearts with love until we remember how to love ourselves as much.
Thank you to the friends and strangers who have stayed close. Thank you to those of you who have asked questions and provided answers. Thank you for your candor, your support, and, most of all, your willingness to join the conversation.
The other night I had a dream about my dad. I opened a door and there he was, just standing in front of me. Unlike the dream I had six months ago, I didn’t waste any time looking for a pair of missing keys.
This time, I flung my arms around him, buried my face in his chest and cried. We didn’t speak. We didn’t need to. We just held each other close.
I woke up the next morning not with the hiccuping gasps of tears and aches of loneliness that accompanied the last dream. I awoke feeling…relieved. Relieved that even in dreamland, I had known what was important and I had held onto it.
I am better than I was. I will be better than I am. And I am staying close to the things that make me glad I am alive.