This week was a struggle. Everything that could have gone wrong did. Within the tangled mess of struggle I felt really down. I've been feeling really affected by the weather this winter on top of it all. The fog really settled in this week. I've always been a pretty guarded person. For lots of reasons. But ultimately I like holding things together and being strong. One quality I love about myself is that I am really strong. I'm good at taking care of things for myself and carrying things for others if they need it. I've got my game face on 99% of the time. I'm steady, and capable, and truthfully pretty uncomfortable about getting emotional. To give you an example, almost two years ago to the day we were in a pretty bad car accident. As in, our vehicle flipped and landed on the passenger side, our truck was totalled. Thank God we were ok. There was this moment of coming to after the accident happened and being terrified that I'd find James and Finn really badly injured. But somehow, we all walked away without a scratch. After that we spent a few days just being in bed and home together. Aside from reaching out to my parents once we were pulled from the vehicle and sitting on the boulevard we didn't really want to bother anyone, or test the limits of relationship by being vulnerable and really shaken. Eventually people found out but we wouldn't have just reached out. In the last two years I've been learning a lot about being open and what a powerful thing it is to be open. Open hearted, open minded, open to opportunity, open to sharing, open to connection, open. And in allowing myself to open up it's meant a lot of uncomfortable things. It's meant that things don't need to look or be perfect all the time. It's meant saying what I have to say regardless in order to be heard. It's meant stepping way out of my comfort zone in order to find deep connection and community with people. It's meant being honest. It's meant talking myself down when I feel like I'm getting my back up. Breaking habits, letting people in, trusting people, being humbled, speaking my truth, feeling emotional at times. Breaking open you could say. But in the tangled fog that was this week I saw in action how beautiful being open can be. There were things that I took away from this week that wouldn't have otherwise spoke so deeply. I reached out to some of my nearest and dearest, which is something that I wouldn't have necessarily found necessary before this opening process. In doing so I felt cared for, and loved in the place I was at. I was reminded that we all struggle. That even the people around me that I admire and love dearly walk through shit. And sometimes feel really shitty while they're doing it. It's pretty powerful to know you aren't alone. Whatever depth you're walking through and navigating, you're not alone. Let me be the first to let you know that I'm in this with you. I think going through this week also taught me a deeper empathy. I thought about people sharing something dark they were going through at that moment and while I know I listened and felt "bad for them" did I realize how real that struggle was for them in that moment? That sometimes even in sharing, people are reaching out. Sometimes the only comfort that can be offered is knowing and feeling that the person you're sharing with hears and feels what you're going through - empathy. This week on Instagram I shared a photo and in the caption mentioned feeling the winter blues this season. That photo got more comments than maybe any of my other photos ever. People sharing in the struggle, resonating, needing to connect because they felt the same, wanting to encourage. Ultimately just beautiful connection. I felt oddly comforted. Not only were those near and dear empathizing and pouring out love but even those I've never met in person, only through social media, felt the honesty and shared in the need for connection. Openness. One of my dearest friends who knew what was going on and also going through her own thing texted me this week to ask what my favourite memory/moment from the last month was. It instantly made me smile. Because even with everything that feels like its accumulated to amount to it all going wrong there are really big things that I feel grateful for. I just needed to be reminded. Even as I'm writing this, I don't feel like the struggle is over, like I'm out of everything that's going on. BUT, the things I'm hanging onto coming out of this hard week is this: I'm not alone. Struggle is happening everyday. When I'm out of this place (because it's always darkest before the dawn right?) I'm going to be more empathetic. People are reaching out, willing to be vulnerable in order to be heard. And I want for the people who share with me to know they are deeply heard and are not alone. And finally, I'm still being broken open. And there are beautiful and deep encounters and reminders that happen every day as a result.
P.S. I feel like as you're reading this you should listen to Welcome Home by Joy Williams. It's what I'm listening to as I write this and it feels appropriate. Have a good weekend - wherever you're at. Xx
Photo by: my friend Blair