This is only my third official post and I’m already struggling with how to start it. I realized after the fact I started the first two with some variation of “hey, friends!” Then my overthinking, perfectionist tendencies took over…can I call you friends? Do I need to like ask permission before doing that? Am I imposing my hopes and impressions on you? Does it come across as inauthentic? I can’t really start it with “hey to everyone reading who I genuinely hope to connect with in some way whether it is just by a shared solidarity, nodding along, a comment or like, or whatever…hi and welcome…” Friends just seems easier…
I shared about what has pulled me back to writing and how I landed on starting this blog. If you haven’t had a chance to read them yet, please do. But today, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about why I’m doing this right now.
My life right now is messy. I’m guessing yours is too because is there anyone in existence right now who isn’t dealing with a little bit of chaos? Molly is still battling leukemia. She has four months left in her active therapy. We are very much still “in this.” Jack has adjusted back to being in person at school, but he continues to struggle with everyday anxiety. Dan is still juggling working from home and at the hospital, parenting a sick child and navigating those boundaries that are now so gray, and trying to advance his career while feeling so tethered here. And I am doing my best to hold us all together and keep all the plates in the air. Oh, and we are going into year three of a global pandemic. There’s a whole laundry list of reasons why the timing of “right now” is complicated. And yet…here I am.
I’m going to talk like I’m not the only person who does this and please don’t correct me if I’m wrong. But, you know how we often know exactly what we need to do to feel better and take care of ourselves? But we just don’t do it. I know my anxiety is better controlled if I wake up early and move my body before my kids are awake. I know I feel better if I eat well. I know I focus better if I limit my caffeine intake (and my chest doesn’t feel like it could explode which is also a plus). I know my mood is better if I turn on some music. I know I need 8+ hours of sleep. I know I feel more grounded when I write regularly. Etc. Etc. Etc. But I was doing exactly zero of those things. And I felt like junk.
The whole philosophy “why put off until tomorrow what could be done today…” Well…because I was too damn tired. That’s the place I was stuck. I knew I needed more. I knew I was feeling unsettled. I knew I had these whispers and nudges coming from different directions. But I was so freaking tired. I would find myself dreaming about someday as if there would ever be a day when I was less tired.
And on the off chance I didn’t feel whatever is beyond exhausted… well then I just didn’t have time. If I were to carve out time to write then something else wouldn’t get done. The thought of that created so much guilt deep inside my chest that I wouldn’t even let myself consider it. Turns out the constant guilt is exhausting so it’s a really nasty and vicious cycle.
One day in therapy I was talking about exactly that and how I am never not feeling guilt. Like ever. And also how so many of us, moms especially, have just accepted that this is how life is supposed to be. My therapist said to me, “what if you didn’t subscribe to that?” And I said, “excuse me? What?”
I have created such a narrative in my head around what it means to be a woman and a mom. Too much of that narrative is centered in guilt. Too much of that narrative doesn’t allow me any room to be an actual human being with wants and needs. Too much of that narrative is not working for me.
So this blog, this is me unsubscribing. I will always have too many balls to keep in the air. I will always be holding us together. And that is exactly why I need to do this now. Because I shouldn’t have to live another day so entrenched in the guilt that I am convinced I don’t deserve to do the things that make me feel and that wake me up. Since being more intentional about writing I have also made other shifts (and I’ll talk about all those later). It has snowballed into a collection of positive decisions for myself and for my family. And you know what, I’m less tired and more energized than I’ve been in a long time.
Listen, I don’t know what this space will come to be, if anything. I don’t know if anyone will read these posts. I don’t know if this vision in my head will translate to you all. But I do know that I need to be writing. And I need to be doing it today. And for now that’s as good a reason as any to do this.
Consider this your nudge (or kick to the pants) if you’re sitting exactly where I was and just waiting…waiting to be less tired, waiting to have more time, waiting for your kids to be older, waiting for the guilt to lessen…what if you unsubscribed to the narrative you’ve created that is keeping you from doing what you want and need?
I would love it if you’ll come follow me on Instagram (@abigbravelife) or send this to someone you think may connect with what I’m talking about here. Let’s hold each other accountable to taking some brave steps towards reclaiming our wants and needs and humanity.
Be brave. Be you. Be human.
With so much love and gratitude,
*Originally published March 2022 and republished July 2023.
(Reminder: this is an old post that has been republished- Molly finished chemotherapy in June 2022!)