Friday, December 11, 2015

We Don't Know

There's often this meme that floats around on social media about how we can't know the unseen battles others fight. I would have to say that is probably the biggest thing my blogging journey has taught me. My parents raised us to not just be independent but I would say tough. They never babied us, and in the many studies I've had to do for graduate and undergraduate work on child development and psychology one of the other most fascinating things to me and Nate as he's done a lot of studying on this topic too is how we encourage emotional suppression in boys more than girls. However, I think this applies to not just boys but both genders. We see being emotional or crying as a weakness. I think girls and women in today's society feel just as much of a need to be tough. The majority of women I know are some damn tough ladies let me tell you. I see them in my aunts, in my grandmothers, my own mother, my sister, my cousins, my in laws, my friends, and the women I've worked with. They're all around me, and I'm sure they're all around you.

So you know what we do? I know what I've done to deal with my emotions. I know what I've seen others I know do too. And maybe you do it too. We deflect. I think at high points of emotional conflict I got really good at this. I attack, physically and verbally as a child, and now as an adult verbally in sometimes very condescending and rude ways. It's not that I don't ever get upset and cry but rarely in front of people. And the funny part is when I do it's over something simple and petty that is just the icing on the cake of the pile of everything that's emotionally draining me. I deflect with anger. I've seen others deflect with constant negativity. I imagine there are a million other ways we deflect and avoid dealing with our emotions. Because to put our emotions, our internal struggles out there is a vulnerable thing. Especially in our digital social media world where everyone's life appears picture perfect.

Even though I bounce around on this blog from stories about my kids, to my personal journey as a mother, reflections on marriage and relationships, to experiences in the classroom, to voicing my opinion on politics, and advocating for the things I believe in the one thing I've consistently tried to do is stay open and honest on here. Some days that's raving about how great my life is because it is a blessed life and honestly we all need to take moments to celebrate the life we've been given with the people that we share it with. My life is just as imperfect and flawed as the next person's, but we don't always need to focus on that. I know sometimes people get tired of hearing how great someone's life is, but I think it's so important to take time to recognize what is great in our lives. Otherwise imagine how lost we'd feel in our lives.

If you know me personally or followed me on here long enough you know it's not always unicorns and rainbows in my life though. On the flip side I've shared my struggles with finding balance in motherhood and my marriage, the battle of money and financial stability,  my struggles with this thyroid disorder that lead to my year long depression and then two miscarriages, my doubts about my career and raising my kids so far from my family, and now my constant fear and anxiety with this third pregnancy/baby boy. I could have easily suppressed all of this; never sharing any of it. To this day I still avoid talking about what scares me or upsets me face to face with my husband and even my sisters. I'm not to a place yet where I can let myself be that vulnerable, but deflecting those emotions in anger was going to destroy my relationships if I didn't change something.

So I allow myself to be vulnerable here. This is where I come back to the meme from the beginning of this post. As I've shared stories and I've shared struggles women of all ages and walks of life have come to me to share their stories and struggles. We don't know everything that goes on behind the pictures and posts we see online or what internal battles people are fighting that they keep locked away safely to cry over in the shower or on the quiet long drive to work alone. We see their money, their nice thin body or good looks, their awesome job, or their cute family, or whatever we think would make life better if we had that and assume they have an easy life, but we don't know what battles were fought that we don't see.

We see the tough woman who balances work and motherhood like she's a graceful trapeze artist, we see the woman who beats cancer and still goes about her every day life like nothing has changed, we see the girl who watched her father lose his battle to cancer and lives her life today with a smile on her face, we see the woman who dedicates herself to her fitness and dreams and being the best version of herself, we see the girl who suddenly and unexpectedly lost her sister but to this day still gives so much more of herself than she ever expects in return, we see the woman that handles the hospital tests, visits, and challenges her son must face with a dignity and grace we admire.  We see their amazingness in what they do every day, in their accomplishments, in their attitudes, and in the way they love and live life. But we don't know their fears, their never ending grief, their self doubt, their lack of confidence or self esteem, what keeps them awake at night, what brings the tears when no one is watching. We are not on their journey, but it doesn't mean that theirs is or has been as easy as it appears.

I'm incredibly thankful to the women that have supported my struggles and to the women that have come to me with their own struggles. I try my best to reach out when I see others' struggles because I know how helpful just hearing encouraging words can be. If sharing my experiences helps anyone with getting through their own internal battles then it gives everything I do on here a greater purpose than I ever thought my writing journey could be. We don't know the details of everyone's journey or battles but we can be kind to one another. Be a friend. Be a listening ear. Offer thoughts and words of encouragement and prayer. Even when we don't know what to say; I've found saying something is better than saying nothing. Be one another's ally and thanks for being mine. We all just need to know others are there and care.


No comments:

Post a Comment