to be known and, yet, LIKED.

A while back I wrote this post on being fully known and also loved at the same time. There is something so beautifully freeing about being able to let your hair down and let out an exhale and just be in the company of those who, even in your darkest moments, love you.

But what about being liked? That’s a completely different ball game.

This week, as we’ve finally let the craziness of Holy Week and Easter pass us by, three different sources in just as many days have all independently of each other communicated the same message to me: Jesus knows me. And of course he loves me. But maybe he even likes me, too.

That notion is worth celebrating, no doubt. Even outside of the context of my faith, the idea that I’m known by people and also liked is definitely a good thing. But it’s hard for me to believe right now, so I don’t really want to hear it. I don’t want to hear that anyone (let alone the savior of the world) knows me because, the way I see it, if you DO know me, you probably know that there isn’t much to like about me right now.

I can already see the stream of comments I’m going to get for this post. Relax. I’m fine. No need to talk me off the bridge (unless chocolate rivers are involved).

The thing is, though, my situation isn’t fine. In a little less (!!!) than a month, my family will be somewhere new. Somewhere foreign. We might have jobs or we might not. We might move back in with my mom or we might not. Whatever is on the other side of this is completely unknown to me. The only thing I do know right now is what I’m losing.

My faith community.

My friends.

My comfort zone. 

I am still Jonah. Through and through. I want to hide out on a boat and hope I’m not found out.

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that three independent sources have all sought me out to convey the message that I am known and also loved. It’s the thing I need to hear right now. But I hate hearing it because if I do, I can’t spend my days like this. Hanging out with me must be the pits lately. Sorry, guys.

Have you ever felt this way? Like, you might be loved but aren’t exactly likable at the moment? 

 

words to live by: beth stoddard.

Oh, snap. A WTLB by a good friend.

sunrise

I want to release this ridiculous notion that to be a successful feminist – or woman – or pastor – or friend – I must fix what is broken. I want my first response to be respect, born of love and listening and honor of every person’s journey. Learn to live in the midst of the mess. See the beauty in the broken…

Beth Stoddard

Embrace the mess, friends. Only in the midst of brokenness can we find true healing.  I can say that because I’ve seen it.

Have a messy weekend.

three things i learned from counseling.

I just left my last counseling appointment.

Mind you, this is only my last counseling appointment in this season of life with this particular counselor. My counseling journey isn’t over, by any means. But for now, as of 5PM today, this chapter of my journey has come to a close.

So. What did I glean from the past few months of counseling? A couple things. Let me share them with you! Sharing is caring, after all… especially when mental health is at stake.

1. I am not broken.

I’ve written about this before, but it deserves a second mention because it is so important. A lot of people associate counseling or therapy with the notion that you are in need of “fixing”. Sometimes, I guess that could be the case. But for me, it isn’t. And hasn’t been. I am not broken. I just need help processing things in a constructive and objective way.

2. I’m pretty well adjusted even though, by all accounts, I shouldn’t be.

According to my counselor, my upbringing should have yielded me a permanent residence within an insane asylum with my very own padded room and straight-jacket wardrobe. However, in the words of Dr. Maki, I’m “really put together”. Holla at your healthy boo.

3. Being open and honest about what struggles I have has been a huge asset.

I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again — no one, including you, benefits from you hiding your hurts. Opening up about the things I’ve dealt with, to not only counselors but also mentors and friends, has been more effective in my growth and health than anything else. And yes, that includes medicinal treatment.

So. I’ll say it again. If you are considering counseling but are afraid of any stigmas attached, take it from me: do it. See a counselor. Invite an unbiased professional into your life to help walk you through what you’re going through. See how it changes you for the better!

Have you ever gone to see a counselor? How did it work out for you?

a clarification.

Yo. Readers. Sup.

I get a lot of comments on my blog, both in the actual comments section and on Facebook, that are really encouraging. Stuff like, “OMG don’t feel bad about yourself! You are great! You are lovely! Don’t worry about pleasing other people!” And so on and so forth. Very uplifting, very sweet, and very much what I need to hear sometimes.

But I need you all to know something.

I don’t write this blog to fish for encouragement. That is not my intention at all.

At this point in my self-love journey, I get all the encouragement I need from my own self-talk, the people closest to me, mentors, my faith and prayer time, and all the bags of salt and vinegar chips I can get my hands on. Fear not! I am not lacking in that department at all. I write this blog because I want to normalize and talk about the very real insecurities a lot of us women have that, for whatever reason, we feel the need to cover up most of the time. I write to point out what is real and what is true so that everyone who stumbles across my little corner of the internet can heavily EXHALE and think, “Thank goodness I’m not the only one.”

That’s really it.

Don’t get me wrong — this is not to say that I don’t enjoy your comments. I really really do. They bring me life and joy and peace. So keep them coming if you so wish. I just don’t want you to think that if you don’t comment on my blog a rebuttal to every satirical self-deprecating post I write, I’ll jump off the nearest bridge. Don’t worry. I won’t.

Unless the nearest bridge crosses over a river of chocolate. In which case, well… I can’t make any promises.

creep

Mmmm. River of chocolateeeee…

 

trying to make it while trying to look like we’ve made it.

dax_7months

So. This happened last week.

Well. Uh. To be honest, the pictures were actually taken last night. But little Dax Arthur turned 7 months old on the 19th.

I know. I’m slacking a little bit. BUT WHATEVER, I WORK FULL TIME AND I’M A MOM OKAY? I’M SUPER BUSY, COME AT ME.

* shifty eyes *

My mom and I were talking the other day about how all of my friends, both from my childhood and my adulthood, keep popping out babies lately. Three of them came into the world in the past ten days. (Hi Joshua! Hi Parker! Hi Eleanor! You all are very cute! It’s nice to meet you! Sorry about all the rain!) A handful of friends are also pregnant right now, due to join the mommy club in the next few months. It’s quite exciting, but also sobering.

This revelation comes about a year away from my ten-year high school reunion. This is a bit scary. When did we all get here? When did we all become parents? Just yesterday we were (read: I was) waking up at 5:30 in the morning, even though school started two hours later, to flat iron our (my) unruly hair and apply copious amounts of makeup in order to look like we were (I was) the sole human(s) that weren’t affected by the awkwardness of adolescence. Just yesterday we were (I was) worried about whether or not our (my) skirts were short/long enough to make us (me) look older than we were (I was) but not too old. Just yesterday we were (I was) throwing shaving cream at each other in the senior class parking lot, pausing from all the fun to catch our (my) reflections in the side-view mirrors of random vehicles to ensure we (I) still looked “pretty”.  But today, we are (I am) leaving the house covered in pureed sweet potatoes and spit-up, furiously wiping ourselves (myself) down in the car on the way to work, scrambling to find babysitters so we can take our (my) husband(s) on a dang date.

How did we (I) get here?

Blah. I don’t know. But what I do know is that, based on the conversations I keep having and on the Facebook statuses I keep reading, one thing remains the same.

We’re all still trying to make it. But we’re all trying to make it look like we’ve already made it.

Last week, the Durrenbergers were in a funk. After letting Dan and I get used to long stretches of uninterrupted sleep at night, Dax was up several times wanting to nurse which, despite how cute he is, irritated us. Our exhaustion led to crankiness all over and it was like every word that shot out of Dan’s mouth was poison to my soul and every glance I gave him lit up all his insecurities.

All unintentional, of course. (Side note: Dax is officially cutting a tooth. I get it now.)

It was just a week. One, measly week in the almost five years of our relationship. But even still, it was enough to make me question everything.

Am I a good wife? 

Am I a good mother?

If I were either of those things, life wouldn’t be so hard right now.

All of a sudden I am reliving the days where I woke up at ZERO DARK THIRTY to literally burn my kinky hair into stick-straight submission before high school (shout out to all the flat irons that were manufactured before keeping your hair un-damaged was a legitimate concern). Just like back in my awkward teenage days, I just want to have it all together. But, more so than that, I just want to look like I have it all together.

I remember when I was still on maternity leave, a girl at church remarked about how put-together I looked. She was astonished that a new mom like myself could just effortlessly waltz into church on a Sunday, my newborn baby snugly sound asleep against my chest in my Maya Wrap, with the curls on my head falling into perfect place with just the right amount of makeup on to communicate, “Yeah, I made it here. And still look good. But whatever, I guess motherhood is just so easy. I don’t know what everyone is so upset about. We’re all sleeping great. And I just don’t have to try.”

The secret? I TRIED REALLY FREAKING HARD, OKAY? BECAUSE I AM INSANE SOMETIMES. I wasn’t back at work yet so if my kid fell asleep (notice I said IF) the first thing I’d do was curl my hair and put on makeup. Yes, even before I showered or took a nap of my own. Because  I wanted so badly to look like I’d made it already, despite the fact that my baby was only a few weeks old and only enjoyed two things — screaming and nursing. Not sleeping. Or like, smiling.

Just like on those days when I’d stroll into my first period class like, “What? This? Yeah, my hair is so gorgeously straight, just by nature. Nah, I don’t do anything really. I mean I have a flat iron but, whatever.”

That was almost ten years ago. Am I really no different?

I’d like to believe there are other people out there. Women who are planning their weddings and trying to effortlessly please everyone on the guest list. Dads who work two jobs to provide for their families and by the time they get home they have a strung-out wife and a crying baby to answer to. Girls who show up to their high school every day praying that the outfit they chose that morning doesn’t bring about the bullying accusations of thinner girls.

I’d like to believe there are more people than just me in this boat.

In the event that I’m right in assuming that so many of us are actually walking shells, imposters even, of our true selves, I’d like to challenge us all to just let ourselves be. 

Just. Be.

What does that look like for me to just be? At the moment, it means hitting the snooze button a few extra times in the morning instead of waking up at the first (way too early) alarm to style my unruly hair. It means not cringing at the thought of someone randomly coming over to my always-messy house before I get the chance to deep-clean it. It means not stressing over the fact that my baby ate non-organic bananas one time. It means taking Dax’s 7-month pictures when he’s actually 7 months and one week old. It means giving myself a freaking break.

Because despite what I think, I haven’t made it yet. And I might never make it. But I’d rather spend my days just living than trying to look like I’m living a certain way.

Ya feel me, homies?

failure: lies vs. truth.

Most of you know that my son is pastor’s kid (or a PK to those in the circle, WHADDUP CHURCH FOLK? HOLLA AT A GIIIIRL.). Whenever we’re at church, my kid is rarely in my arms. There is usually a line of eager baby-holders behind my kid so long it rivals those at communion tables. And I am usually pretty quick to hand him over because hello he’s adorable and I happen to find peace in the fact that he doesn’t cry when people in my community who didn’t have anything to do with him coming to exist love on him.

But this weekend, someone remarked on this phenomenon in such a way that lit up all the bulbs on my insecurity light board.

“Every time I see Dax, he’s with another woman. He’s going to grow up not knowing who his mother is.”

As offensive as that was, I assumed the person was joking because oh my word who actually says crap like that? Plus, I must say, this person is very dear to me and I know that my son and I are very dear to this person. So I chuckled to myself and made some incomprehensible comeback like, “Haha, yeah, he’s cute, people hold him, chunks, the face, he smells good, hahahahahaha snort.”

But it didn’t end there. The rest of the night, the person took it upon themselves to come to me and report whenever Dax was handed off.

“See? He’s with X person now. And now, he’s with Y person!”

Mmmmmkay. I thought. I get you. He’s a hot little potato right now. Okay. He’s the village bike or whatever.

The straw that broke the insecure mommy’s back, though, came later. My friend was holding Dax while I was standing there talking to her. When this person saw this, they jaunted over and bowed down to look my six-month-old baby in the eye and say, “See, Dax? Your mom is RIGHT THERE and still won’t hold you.”

It was about that time that I pryed Dax out of my sweet friend’s arms and bid the place adieu.

“Okay, y’all. That’s enough. That’s quite enough for me thanks. See you next week if I haven’t been turned in to DCF yet for neglect! lolololol”

Again, I must reiterate, I really adore this person and they adore my family. They are very nice. And probably not menacing in the least. But sometimes, people say things that are unintentionally hurtful.

Since then, I’ve been a walking wreck, questioning every move I make as a mom. And, because it’s just the way I am wired, it’s making me question my abilities everywhere else, too.

Am I sucking as a wife? A writer? A human being in general? Probably. No one has said such things but I bet it’s only a matter of time before someone barges into my house, looks my husband in the eye and says, “See, Dan? Your wife is RIGHT THERE and she’s not, like, cooking you dinner right this second or having some crazy monkey sex with you or WHATEVER I DON’T EVEN KNOW SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES, SO YOU BETTER REGULATE SONNNN.”

Ugh.

The past few nights I’ve been lamenting these fears to my poor husband (husband (n): the dude who is contractually obligated to lie next to me each night and listen to me complain about nonsense) and, while he’s been sweetly encouraging in the touchy-feely sense — “Lindsay, you are such a great wife because EXAMPLE and you’re such a great mom because EXAMPLE and blah blah blah” — he’s also been super helpful in the logistical sense.

“What you need to do,” he suggested last night as I lie awash in a sea of my own tears LOL HYPERBOLE IS THE BEST, “is write down all the things you think you’re failing at right now. Then, take a good, hard look at each of them and figure out why you think you’re failing. What about those thoughts are true? What about them are lies? Once you know what’s true and what’s a lie, you’ll feel better and know how to tackle them.”

Well. I guess that’s why I married him. That and the crazy monkey sex.

I’ve found that 99% of the crap I’m worried about is based on lies. Whether it’s a lie someone told me at church — this person may be right about seeing Dax with lots of women during the day but there’s only one woman he clings to in the middle of the night and early in the morning when he really wants to be comforted and feel safe — or a lie I’ve told myself a thousand times — you suck at everything because you’re not like someone else — it’s just a matter of bringing myself back to center to focus on the truth.

I’m a good mom because:

  • my kid is alive and, like, not sick. Or alone. Or afraid of other people. 
  • I change his diaper when he poops in it. That’s gotta get me some points.
  • basically that’s it.

I’m a good wife because:

  • I try to love my husband the way that makes sense to him.
  • when I don’t quite hit the mark, I try again the next day.
  • basically that’s it.

Everything else? Everything else is a lie. And lies are stupid.

While we’re on the topic of lies being stupid — blondes don’t have more fun, okay? They just have more blonde. I would know.

the worst lie i was ever made to believe.

“You’re so lucky you’re with me. No one else would ever put up with you.”

My high school boyfriend’s squinted green eyes were pointedly affixed on my sunken face when he said that. I burst into tears and lowered my head to the ground while I sobbed because, in my shame, I believed he was right.

He uttered the same message to me every day for two and a half years. Maybe not in the same words. Maybe not even with words at all. Maybe he’d just use his body to say those things. But, regardless, the message was clear.

Looking back at 15-year-old me who, for whatever sad, desperate reason, decided to give this guy a chance, I wish I could slap me. I must have been blind. This guy wasn’t attractive by any means. He was tall and awkwardly lanky, with unruly reddish-brown hair that was usually styled with heaps of goopy Pomade into some horrendous version of a mohawk. He had braces that held together a cluster of visibly decaying teeth and the gauges in his ears reeked so bad I couldn’t get close to him without wanting to vomit.

But he had a voice in my life. A voice that lied to me. A terribly influential voice that penetrated through to my malleable core.

I felt so trapped in that volatile relationship. I wanted so badly to leave, but I feared that, were I to muster up the courage to finally break free, I’d first get the snot beat out of me and then, ultimately, be alone forever. That’s what he made me believe — that I was unworthy of love and that he was doing me a favor by being with and abusing me daily. How noble.

I never actually broke up with him. He ended up breaking up with me because he slept with one of my friends (which was probably the best thing to ever happen to me, for real). And though the ties to him were severed, the emotional damage was done.

The lie he told me made its home within my fragile heart, a cancer that would eventually spread throughout the entirety of my spirit. It wasn’t until a year into my marriage that I learned that the lie I’d been told so long ago wasn’t true.

Every morning when I roll over and see my husband I am reminded that I am worthy of love. 

Every time my son reaches out to me begging to be nursed, I am reminded that I am needed. 

Every time my eyes fall upon Mark 1:11, I am reminded that I am God’s beloved, in whom He finds great joy.

These are truth. These are reality. 

These are the lifelines to which I hold tight, despite the atrocities of my past. These are the truths that have helped me overcome this lie. 

What lie do you need to overcome? Join us TONIGHT at 8PM Eastern for our Twitter party to celebrate the truth! You are loved. You are important. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Here’s a link for more information.

You can overcome the lie

overcome the lie.

A quick Google search tells me that the average person can see up to 5,000 advertisements a day. That’s a little more than 208 an hour.

Whoa.

That may seem unrealistic at first, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

In the morning, your alarm clock rouses you. You get up, take a shower, and get dressed. Already, you’ve seen the brand names of all your shampoos, body washes, and clothes you wear. While these products aren’t currently trying to sell themselves to you, you’ve already bought them. Your brand loyalty is being cultivated.

Then, you get into your car and drive to work. On your way, you pass billboards, signs, and placards all vying for your valuable consumer eye. Then you get to work, sit down at your cubicle, and open up your Internet browser to check your email. The page you’re blankly staring at recycles a handful of ads based on your past web experience.

At the end of the day, you get in your car and go back home and plop down on the couch to relax.  You flip on the television and scroll through channels while flickering ads quietly trigger the firing off of millions of synapses in your brain. You consume an hour or two (maybe) and then hit the hay, all to wake up the next day and start it all over again.

If the average person sees that many ads a day, how many lies do you think the average person is told a day?

Now, I’m a communication major. I have a lot of friends who, after graduating college with me, went off to be very successful advertisers. So I’m not about to bite the hand that feeds me. But if every coffee company claims to have the best coffee out there, like they all seem to say in their ads, at least one of them has to be lying, right?

We are told so many lies each day.

“Wear X brand so you’ll be sexy.”

“Buy Y makeup because it will make your skin flawless.”

“Your looks are the best part about you.”

“Your looks are the worst part about you.”

The truth? You are fearfully and wonderfully made just how you are. 

It would be so nice if we could get society to stop lying to us. To stop telling us that our worth is found in outward appearances and things we buy. But that will never happen; we live in a broken world.

But we can’t sit idly by as this happens. We’ve got to take action. It is our responsibility to overcome the lies we are told each day.

I’m asking you to join me, along with Lionhart (a non-profit organization I work with), and The Story Project, to OVERCOME THE LIE.

overcomelie2

Next week, we’ll be teaming up to encourage one another and women all around the globe through inspiring blogs, Facebook posts, and tweets and we want you to join us.

Check out the Facebook event for more information or The Story Project blog.

I’m so excited about the change that is about to happen in so many women’s lives. We, as women, have overcome so much throughout history. Now, it’s time to overcome the lie.

thanks, friday favorites!

Over the past couple months I’ve been doing this series, I’ve been challenged to look at myself each week, even when I really really RE-HE-HEALLY didn’t want to, and find one thing about myself that I appreciate and blog about it. From my hair to my outfit to my personality traits and likes and dislikes — things about me that are either physical, mental, internal, or external — I’ve been able to find at least one thing each week that I happen to enjoy. This practice has definitely been a necessary discipline for this season of my growth. 

I was struggling to write a Friday Favorite today, not because I couldn’t think of anything about which to write, but because I couldn’t pick just one thing.

That may seem narcissistic, and if it does, I apologize. Those who know me well know I am anything but a narcissist. But I think that this can only mean one thing.

The series worked. It ran its course and did its job.

I’m glad I stepped out in faith and did this for as long as I did. I think that, by doing this, I’ve gotten my spirit to a good place as far as my self-love journey goes.

And so, Friday Favorites, I bid you a fond farewell. You’ve been quite good to me.

NOW COME AT ME, THREE DAY WEEKEND!