I have been in dark places and light places and in between places. I have self sabotaged, and felt sorry for myself... I have ugly cried in the car over a lunch hour, working through an embarrassing panic attack onset in my office building. I have stretched friendships and relationships, pushing the limits of leaning on people, people who love me but say “this may be too much for me right now”... feeling like I would literally crumble if I couldn’t grasp onto anything to ground me. I have also not taken care of myself, not protected or even respectfully acknowledged my heart and my mind. I have pushed aside the obvious need to stop, to slow down, to sit with it all and recognize the real needs. I have experienced not being gentle with my mind or my body... stumbling to the breaking point, but not knowing what that point looks or feels like. 

I have birthed babies and cried for months after, wondering why I am not happier, more hopeful, and more optimistic. I have put on the face, I have recited more times than I would like, “I am fine”, convincing myself if I faked it, it would come - the relief, the wash of light, the ability to feel in control of my emotions, my body, my mind, my spirit.

I have looked at myself in the mirror and cried at the reflection, “this is enough, Nattie.” I have availed myself to needing help, to lifting my sadness off of loved ones who carried me for so long, and I sought help. I took control. Honesty. Authenticity. Vulnerability. I began to find strength in saying “I am a shit show”, maybe a little self-deprecating, hiding behind humor until I could distinguish the real root of worry, anxiety, stress... I have also stumbled through “being a hot mess all the time”. 

And even still, I stumble. I struggle to find myself in our new normal. Some days, I literally feel like I can’t keep my head above the water, gasping for air, for a moment of peace. And then a friend calls, my husband rubs my back, my kids give me one of those heart-melting smiles, and I remember. I remember why it is so hard, and that we aren’t alone in it all. I remember that it’s ok to not have it together, and recognizing the fear, the worry, the stress is a step in the right direction - the “up direction”... ya know, where the air is. 

Have you felt lonely? Overwhelmed? At the point of literally saying, “I am going to run away?”. Me too. And, I think it’s ok and more importantly, necessary, that we say this out loud. That we cry, and stumble, and worry, and get angry. That we say “this is really, really hard right now” without the need to find a solution right away. 

If you feel like you are circling the drain, pile driving your loved ones on the way down, like it is all too much, that running away sounds like a pretty awesome alternative...if you feel like you are constantly battling yourself, I am telling you, you are not alone. 

I promise you, you aren’t alone. 

Need a hand to hold walking into the first therapy appointment? You aren’t alone. Need someone to sit in a car, rubbing your back reminding you to breathe, that you are alright? You are not alone. Do you need someone to love you hard? The kind of love that pushes you, stretches you, and challenges you? You are not alone. Vulnerability creates the space for others to realize we are all in this together and we don’t have to do this by ourselves. 

I am eternally grateful for my fierce tribe of women who have held my hand, sometimes letting go and saying “figure this out, Nattie”, but are never far behind me. My hope is that I can be this for you, for them, and for all the other women who may be sitting at home, in silent tears, because life feels really hard right now. We are enough. Vulnerable and authentic, we are enough. 


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