Mamas, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

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Emotions and Gray Hairs

Those pesky gray hairs. My daily reminder that I am growing. Older yes, but also more wise and reflective. My stylist covers them, yet they resurface way too quickly. Can you feel me? Still there under the surface, just masked by color. All is well in the world again when I leave the salon. Or is it? Gray hairs and emotions have much in common.  Both relentless, unexpected, bold, and pop up without warning. Like a game of whack a mole, taming them is impossible. What if we could just age with grace? What if we could be who we are without fear? What if we let others into our mess? Everything is okay. Maybe that is your story and you are sticking to it. We are not created to be perfect.  True growth happens when you are in authentic relationships. We are humans with big emotions, scars that tell our stories, and we need to check-in on one another. It’s okay to not be okay. 

Big Emotions

We feel big. We love hard. We fail constantly. We grieve. We cry big ugly tears. We have a history of mistakes. We worry and then worry some more. We smile through pain and fear. We portray perfection. We avoid conflict. We have too many “mom failures” to count. We judge. We feel isolated. We are control freaks. We neglect our mental health. We put on our “positive pants” when our tired body craves curling up in a ball in our comfy yoga pants. We compare lives to what we see on social media.  I am here to tell you that we are all complex and messy.  Not sure why it has taken gray hairs and 42 years in this world to make this connection.  And to think I could just hide what’s in my heart and bury emotions. That is far from healthy emotionally, physically, or spiritually.  Breast cancer changed my soul. It was the pivotal moment when I was a true mess and needed other mamas in my corner. I was not okay emotionally or physically. My heart saw the value in letting people in when I wanted to run away. Mamas checking-in became my lifeline. My story was out there and the impact it has made for other women gives me chills. It was the first time in my life that I let it all out. Big crocodile tears and finding joy in the moments that were once dismissed. The small things become big and precious. When your fate is tested, you evolve and emerge. 

Be Bold and Dig Deep

Time to quit playing it safe. Be bold and curious. How many times have you walked by another mama and said, “how are you?” How many times have you been given a raw answer in return? Do you think you were given the authentic truth? Not likely. Not to mention, we ask that question often in passing. No time to connect and be raw. My heart swells when someone digs deep. Connecting requires curiosity and an interest in another mama. Sure it may overwhelm the person or better yet, it may just be the start of a connection. We are not all okay and that’s okay.  Instead of playing it safe, I am being more intentional. This requires listening, patience, and a genuine desire to connect. Loving on others is easy for me to a certain extent.  Relationships require balance. If you are always giving, you are missing out on being loved well. You have a story…we all do. We learn from being real.

Asking Hard Questions

How has your past shaped your heart? As mamas, we often tuck our stories in the depths of our souls. It can be hard to dig deep and talk about it. Our baggage is heavy and so much easier to keep closed tightly. I have so many bags that are not just closed, but locked. Fear of others’ perception takes hold and I retract into my shell. My safe place. Luckily, I have a core group of mamas that won’t settle when I say, “I’m fine.” Brave souls that want to dig deep into my heart. That is gutsy. I am a thick onion with thin layers. Am I too much? Investing in me is hard work. Then I remind myself that we are human. They are just as messy as me and push me, hard. They ask the tough questions. How is your heart? What do you need from me? How are you growing? Is your marriage healthy? Are you adjusting well to your anxiety meds? What are your goals? What hurts are you feeling? How is life without your dad?  What is your latest mom failure? You know, the tough ones that require vulnerability. What would I do without them? My heart needs those moments of love and connection. Being pushed to be me is huge. Why? It is simply easier to put on a facade. Giving me the space to not be okay is essential. What if you were that someone for another mama? One question…that can lead to endless connection.  

The Hard Truth

If we are willing to dig deep, brace ourselves for the big emotions, and ask hard questions life is likely to become more complex. We are wired that way. If you want it easy, you miss out on the beauty of connection. Life is not made to be easy. We grow when we connect and get real with ourselves. Not easy for sure and something I could not do alone. Therapy is monumental and ongoing. Never assume that another mama is okay. Check-in and take a risk. Messy, yes, but a risk worth taking. We are not meant to do life alone. 

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