Yeah, I Felt Like That, Too

The music plays, the kids circle. I groan, mostly because these are five year-olds and I just know someone’s going to cry. Now, though, most are laughing, some are eyeing the chairs nervously, hoping to get one when the music stops. My daughter skips and flips her blonde ponytail and smiles at the girl behind her. The music stops and she slides her booty into the last chair with an exaggerated “whew” type of sigh. But the next round, she isn’t so lucky and doesn’t find an empty chair in time. She takes her place on the carpet to watch the rest of the game. The round after that, a little boy is out. He takes himself to the corner and puts his head in his hands, sad? embarrassed? angry? A mixture of all those things, probably. I watch my sweet girl walk up to this boy and put a hand on his shoulder and say, “Yeah, I felt like that, too.” My heart catches; she’s so brave. She doesn’t say anything else, but sits right next to him. He doesn’t even look at her, doesn’t realize the gift she’s given him, but he’s five and still in the throes of post-musical chairs angst, so I can’t blame him too much.

How many times are we tempted to fix a situation for someone who’s hurting? How many words of wisdom {read: unsolicited advice} do we want to give them? I admit, I am super guilty of this. If you and I are close, I’ve probably recommended a book that you didn’t ask for or a diet change you didn’t want to try or some kind of “at least…” statement. And for that, I am deeply sorry. I’m working on this.

I do think, for the record, that people (me) who do this have the best of intentions. It’s their way of showing love. But my little girl taught me that day that sometimes it’s best to just say, “I know how it feels” or really, if you don’t, to say, “It shouldn’t be like this, and I’m so sorry”.

fullsizeoutput_5c2

Don’t we all, at some deep level, just want to be seen and heard? We don’t need people to fix all the things. For one, some things just can’t be fixed, and some things take lots of time to fix and are not fixed by human effort alone. Sometimes we just need people to sit in our pain with us, to be a safe place to say things, even the ugly things we think, without judgment and without solutions.

It’s easy for us to see our world and our problems and our struggles as unique to us. That no one has ever gone through something like you have, that you might be weird or somehow abnormal. But that’s just a lie, one to keep you lonely and isolated from human connection. It can be so life-giving to hear someone say, “Yeah, I felt like that, too.”

I went through about a year of undiagnosed “secondary infertility” when we were trying to get pregnant with baby number two. Looking back, that year feels like such a small amount of time in the arc of our little family, but when I was in it, it felt like the longest year of my life. I had a friend who (bless you, my dear) received a text every. single. month. when I inevitably discovered I still was not pregnant. She also got to hear all the word vomit, the jealousy and bitterness when I would see yet another Facebook post of yet another friend announcing their pregnancy. She never once tried to fix me or told me I needed to chill. She’d been through it before and she knew. So she said things like, “Yep, it’s the worst” or “It’s okay; feel those feelings” or “I know exactly what you mean”. Honestly, those conversations kept me going and helped me feel the feelings without completely melting down. And now, I’m walking that road with another sweet friend, but this time I’m the one saying, “Yep, I know exactly how that feels.”

fullsizeoutput_620

Then, I went through some mild post-partum anxiety (more about that here) after the birth of our sweet boy and there were days that I felt like a legit crazy person. I could not make the worst-case scenario images and thoughts leave my head. I was convinced every day that my husband would die on his way home from work and leave me a single mother. I was convinced that something was medically wrong with me or one of the kids, almost all the time. I was terrified of the kids getting a stomach bug or even a fever. It felt very weird and very unlike me. And yet. Another good friend of mine had walked this road. She encouraged me to just write it all down to her via text whenever I thought or felt anything anxious. So I did. She read pages and pages of texts, my worst fears, my deepest insecurities. She never once tried to fix me or told me to chill. She just said, “Yep, I felt that, too. Yep, I thought that, too.” And I got through that time relatively unscathed.

It’s in the sharing that we find our comfort. It’s in the breaking down of those walls, the ones that tell us we need to be strong enough to handle it alone. We weren’t made to walk this life alone. As Brené Brown says, we are hardwired for connection. In her book, Gifts of Imperfection, she tells about a time she witnessed one mother show great kindness to another, simply by letting her know she had been there, too. She writes,

AAD090A6-56E0-4902-97E9-1215C0681D71“The moms who stopped and shared their stories of imperfection and vulnerability were practicing courage. They took the time to stop and say, ‘Here’s my story. You’re not alone.’… Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver. And our world could stand to be a little kinder and braver.”

I don’t know how I would’ve fared had those friends not shared their own stories with me. I do know that they gave me the strength to keep walking the journey until I made made it back into the light. I tell you all this to say: be brave enough to share your stories with each other, like one of my beautiful friends did here about her miscarriage. Your stories do not have to be public, but I promise you’ll find someone who needs to hear what you have to say, who needs to know that you came out on the other side, who needs to know that you see her and hear her. Just think: your most vulnerable moment might be the lifeline that a friend needs. Your “Yeah, I felt like that, too” could be what sustains them. So choose courage, friend. It wins everytime.

Currently Reading: Stay tuned for my upcoming end-of-year reading round-up. I’ll tell you all about the best books I read this year and my plans and goals for next year!

Currently Cooking: Grain-Free Brazilian Cheesy Rolls–I’ve been seriously obsessed with soup again this winter, and yes, my Instant Pot (fave recipe right here). But its always fun to have something carb-y to go with soup and these little rolls are perfect. If you’ve ever been to one of those Brazilian steakhouses, you know the ones where they bring skewers of meat and shave some off for you until you actually get the meat sweats and have to be rolled out of there, then you’ve had these little cheesy balls. My family LOVES them! Here‘s the recipe I use- they are so so easy.

Thanks for reading and until next time, peace and love from my household to yours.

Katie

One thought on “Yeah, I Felt Like That, Too

  1. Thank you dear Katie for sharing yourself with so many and for the honesty! I was so blessed b”y my granddaughter’s love for another! And “Yeah, I felt that way too” to both of you and granddaughter’s life’s situations. Again thank you for sharing…be blessed both of you! :}

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s