…and so I stood there. In that normal place. The place I had been expected to stay, the place I truly thought I wanted to be, the place where I was supposed to end, but probably not the place I was supposed to “middle”. The place I was terrified to leave.
Walking is as easy as staying…leaving as hard as being still. …
There’s more to this piece of a poem that I wrote for my soul alone. But it’s mine, part of a chapter from the book of me that I don’t read out loud. I can’t help but fear that if I share it, the words will suddenly lose their meaning. I want to hold tight to the words, to the emotion that pours out of them even still when I reread them to myself.
I’ve been learning about friends lately, going deeper into who they are, not satisfied with the how that they are. It seems that we are all the same, our own unique version of the same kind of crazy. While we’re broken, many of us have put ourselves back together in such a way that makes us more beautiful because of the cracks.
You know how you find yourself in a situation and you’re not sure how everything spiraled to this certain place? You feel alone. “No one else could be going through what I am going through!”, you shout to the cosmos. I want to offer a simple reassurance this day; you are wrong. Even if the ones you know aren’t telling you, even if their social media shares are filtered through a vibrant shade of rose, even if you feel completely alone in this place you are. You Are Wrong. Almost all of the women I am close with struggle in a similar way, and the ones who don’t? It is likely they will one day.
When I went through the brokenness of my first marriage ending, the joy of building a life I could love, even the struggles and joys of living this life, I thought I was alone. But you know what? I was wrong. I didn’t know it then, but I wish I had. I am this woman today because I went through all of the shit without any women to share it with. My mother, my sisters, my dearest friends claimed they either did not understand, or said they could relate, but remained judge-y and worse, cruel. I know now that a lot of those women were afraid, they didn’t feel safe sharing the darkest parts of their own story. Some of them hadn’t gone through any difficulties yet. Knowing that allows me to forgive them, but it doesn’t make the time I spent frightened (of judgement) and alone (without the emotional support of friends) any easier. Where was the truth back then?!
I know that I may have been the first in my circle to do something hard, to walk toward my own truest self. Life has led me down winding paths and I have a mostly different circle now, but these women are the same as the friends I have lost. They are afraid too, if only in a different way. They don’t want too many people to know about the hard places in their marriages, the emptiness that is their normal, the ache that consumes them. They don’t want you to think less of them, to think that they are failing, or not strong enough even to hold together the family that they chose in their innocence. They don’t want you to know the secrets they keep because they don’t want you to judge them and leave. We are all afraid of something.
This morning I simply want my friends to know that they are not alone. I want you to know that you are not alone. Whatever it is in your life that you keep on hiding, whatever pages you don’t read aloud, whatever thing you think is too scary to share…Someone needs to hear your truth. I never really believed that until recently, but it is so true. We need to know that we are not alone, that our fear is less when we are brave enough to share our hearts. I’m thankful to the women who have spoken this to me, to the ones who have shared what they’ve gone through and to the women who have asked me to walk through their hard with them. I am fortunate to have these women beside me, I know.
While I’ve known for awhile now that all I have lived in my life has been leading me to here, I hadn’t really realized how all that I’ve lived would help me to be a better friend in this place. I guess I assumed that my difficulties and successes were to grow me into the best version of myself. I’ve been wondering for a little while now though if those same trials that I felt were deeply personal, were also meant to help someone else? To allow a woman to learn or know without having to walk the roughest portions of the path herself? Let me tell you that it is intimidating to think that the pieces of my life that were the deepest, the most felt moments, that those are the parts that someone, maybe you, need to hear.
I’m not ready this morning. Or at least not on this platform. I’ve been holding this fragile piece of my heart for a long while and I’m not ready to break it open in front of everyone just yet. But I am closer. I am less afraid to share my life with you than I was, because now I can see that my dark may be the light you need to get out of yours.
It is important for me to note here that I have been fortunate to walk the last several years of my story with a man whom I love deeply. Without him reminding me of the love of my Savior, without his own intense love for me, I would not have survived my own story. I know that I am extremely lucky to have him. He knows me and “gets me” and doesn’t try to change me. These are things I’ve needed my whole, entire life. I am more unapologetically myself because he gives me a loving place to be just that. Love and life are hard, but with him they are both easier. He is my proof that taking the hard path is ofttimes the best path…as long as you have a hand to hold along the way.
Friends, I’ll leave you with a few more lines I wrote to myself, which are sort of a compilation of a ton of different quotes that I’ve read over time pertaining to my life, all modge-podged together, made to be just what I needed to hear at some of lowest points;
…Daring Girl, if you get one life, how many Summers will you waste?
If you only get one chance to live, why aren’t you doing the thing that is truest to you?
Why did you settle for okay?
Why did you allow a tether to be a lifeline?
Brave girl, if you find yourself in the wrong story, trust that you can leave.
It is possible to change direction, but stay on the same journey.
Sweet girl, this life is yours, you owe it to no one but yourself. …
These words have been mine. They have been for me for a long time now. But maybe? Maybe they’re for you too? I don’t know. We all have to choose our own yesses, our own no’s. Each of has to know where the middle of our own story should take place, we only get one book after all…there is no sequel to this life of mine, of yours. While my choices can’t be yours, I’ll be hoping that you can write the story that you want to read, craft the life that you want to live.
I’m here working on mine right now, and while there are certainly a few chapters back there that are difficult to read aloud, I know that books have the power to change us…if we’ll just open them up. I hope to do more of that, opening up, I mean. If not here in this place at least while in the presence of those who need to hear a few lines from my life.