Voices are rusty.
unused and unsure
a cacophony of croaking, spoken words that sound a little bit like freedom and a lot like finally.
Rising up from the fire, women everywhere are confirming what we've known all along.
Your mom's best friend. Me, too.
Your soccer coach, your sorority sister. Me, too.
The girl down the street, the girl in the grocery store, the woman you see every morning at work.
Like some kind of tidal wave that bludgeons entire generations and entire suppositions, this force - this chant - has driven out the darkness for so many women.
A platform was built by all of the women who have come before - who have endured in the before - and who will hold them up with warm, unflappable hands, as they stand there and as they point their fingers and call out
Wildly hesitant. Wildly true.
[Is it too true? Too much? Too hard to watch women untie the mask that's been covering their faces for decades, days, weeks, seconds? Too hard to see the resolve settle behind their green irises, their teeth clench, and their deep, cleansing breaths? Is it just too much truth?]
It is not a broken record, it is not a forever refrain, and it is not
Where have all the good men gone is not a cliche; it's an actual question.
Because give us the men that have respect and honor in their mouths, on their tongues, in their eyes, and in their hands. Give us the men that ask first.
Give us the men that listen in their bones to the answer.
Give us the men that respond with
I see you.
I see you.
I see you reach down into the bags and boxes of your life's memories, and I see you pull up snapshots of calamity written down on some kind of worn clipboard and I will watch as you start crossing things off.
I see you, the good ones will whisper.
Holding a pencil with trembling hands, they will see you look down at the sheet of paper titled, "Me, too," and they will watch as you take a deep breath and call out -
Kick it with that.
Knock one out.
You will cross these violent things off of your list, while whispering inaudibly to yourself about rape culture.
Being a man does not automatically make you a hunter or a breaker, a beater or a leaver.
And being a woman doesn't automatically mean that you are gasoline.
Being a woman does not automatically mean
that you are here solely
to light someone's fire.
So when you hear a woman softly, defiantly say,
"Me, too" -
You are hearing her say that
she doesn't take up too much space
she doesn't need to be tamed, tamped
she doesn't need you to tell her to smile, pretty girl
she doesn't need you.
He feels like Sundays. He feels like the warm sunshine in fall slipping through the heavy wooden blinds. He feels like relaxation in your bones, and he feels easy. You whisper to him at night when his eyes are closed and his breath is long and slow. You ask him where the stars in his eyes came from. You ask him who made him so perfect. You ask him about the winters that stretch out in front of the two of you. You ask him if he'll always be there when the wind is cold and the trees are free from their leaves.
He feels warm, like Saturday nights with friends from forever ago and laughter that floats up through the air. He feels like long conversations that last six days and he feels like fleece blankets. He feels like every maybe you've ever wondered about, he feels like every hopeful pause you've ever taken, and he feels like every single deep breath you've ever needed.
He feels a little bit like all of your tomorrows, and he kind of feels like the best puzzle piece you've ever lost come back to you. He feels like maybe you could jump in with both feet - not just the toes you've been leaping with. He feels like you could really wrap up your entire heart, put it on a platter, and hand it off to him. Even though you're not quite sure how it's supposed to work, and even though you're not really quite sure if this is how it's all supposed to be, you still offer yourself to him. All of you.
It's all quite terrifying. You'll be scared. He'll be scared. And you'll walk through the weeds with one eye closed and the other half open. You'll step gingerly over old land mines and past heartaches and sad stories. His hand will be warm in yours and you'll sort of think that maybe - just maybe - as long as you can feel his hand wrapped around yours, maybe you'll make it.
Days will shuffle past like cards in a deck, and deeper, and deeper, you'll fall. Your prayers will float up through the darkness and you will beg for time to slow. You will give thanks for him. The sheets next to you will be warm and it will feel like finally -
After years and years of searching -
After years of looking just past the light -
After years of feeling defeated and not good enough and broken -
It will feel like you have finally ...
Hi friends. Just a Friday night check in over here from the trenches. I've been doing some thinking this week. Some heavy, heavy thinking. Can you just hang with me for a sec? I'll be all over the map tonight.
I've been listening to Jen Hatmaker's podcast, For the Love, all week and it's been blowing my dang mind. I love her hard, you guys. I think we could be real life friends if she'd just quit Austin and move here. It's been ... filling ... this listening. Like it was the right thing for me to hear at exactly the right time.
1) The first podcast I listened to was Glennon Doyle - my spirit animal in all things except politics. I forgot my purse in Craig's car on Sunday night. He texted me from IOWA at seven p.m. and so I got in my car, and I met him half way. And then, under the lights of some storage facility, I rolled my window down and there was The Boyfriend. I was tired from a long weekend and weary from an unexpected three hour trip. I rested my head on his shirt - the one that still sort of smelled like my house - and took a hot second. Leaving is just ... hard. And after you gear yourself up for a goodbye and then have to do another one in one day - it's exhausting.
In an effort to quit the whirling in my head on Sunday night, I turned on Jen and Glennon. And it was so good. Here are a few things that Glennon preached about:
- Take social media off of your phone. The incessant scrolling, and scrolling, and watching, and reading, and scrolling - it's all taking away from your work. And I don't mean your 9-5 job. I mean your boots on the ground, loving, witnessing, and hearing work. I mean the gritty, I see you, work.
- This one was my favorite thing. When the podcast was over, I shut off my radio and just ... meditated on this for a second. I let it marinate. I let it simmer in my heart and I've gone back to it over and over this week.
She and her friend Liz Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) often check in with the John Steinbeck quote, "Now that you do not have to be perfect, you can be good." And I love it, too. Because now that you realize that you don't have to live up to expectations that society, or your spouse, or your friends, or your parents place on you - you can be good. You can live your own life. Except. These women take it a step farther.
Now that you do not have to be perfect, you can be good. Now that you do not have to be good, you can be free.
You can be free.
She says that her twenties and her thirties were full of grabbing at things and pulling them close to her. Yes. Mom. Sign me up for that. Yep - perfect Christian. I'll do that. Definitely yes to leading bible studies, and PTA, and sending soccer snacks every Saturday morning. Yes to being the best wife, and yes to all of the holidays at my house. Yes to the perfect house that we probs can't afford, and yes to the fancy car, and yes to all of the things.
And then she says that her forties was a time of casting off that good and that perfect. And that's where she found herself.
In the freedom.
And maybe in that freedom space, you see that you're not what you always thought you were going to be. You'll realize though, that you're happier than you've ever, ever been.
2) On Tuesday, I listened to Jen and Shauna Niequist and just. UGH. She talked so, so much about gathering your people around a table, and feeding them, and loving them, and creating space for them in your lives and yes.
I am so thankful that my parents made it a priority to eat around the dining room table. Some of my best, clearest, most perfect memories come from that stupid table. When I think about the dining room at the farm, all I can think of is love.
And it just doesn't happen anymore, you guys. We're busy. So busy. But something is so pure and so good and so right about gathering your people and feeding them and talking to them and receiving and loving them.
It sort of made me want to cook (not really) and invite all of my friends over. But what REALLY made me happy about this is that every night, The Gen and I eat dinner together at the table in the kitchen. And then he sits at the table while I do the dishes and we count, or sing, or he plays and I listen. It is precious, and real, and it is sustaining.
3) Today. This week, you guys. When Tuck and I got to today, it was such a relief. And it was raining and I took a deep breath on the way to work and thought just one more day. I flipped on my radio.
And then there was Shasta Nelson. Jen really pulled out some heavy hitters and I'm so glad. Shasta - I love saying her name - is a relationships expert. I listened to about 15 minutes this morning and emailed Bestie Betsy and was like LISTEN TO ME TALK FOR A SECOND BECAUSE MY MIND IS BLOWN.
A couple of important takeaways --
- The feeling of loneliness is as hard on a person as 15 cigarettes A DAY. A freaking DAY, you guys. A DAY.
- After one rude, mean, derogatory remark from a spouse, it takes FIVE MORE positive comments to right the ship. FIVE. Freaking FIVE.
- Doctors that she's interviewed say that if they have an obese, alcoholic, lonely person, the first thing they'll do is find a tribe for them. Because THAT is the thing that will be most beneficial.
- Stress without a buffer of friendship or relationships will literally do to your body what alcoholism does.
- Those people that are all, "I hate humans," are off their rockers because we are WIRED to need others.
- Friendships boost your immune system.
1 out of every 2 of us? Have no one besides an immediate family member to confide in.
1 out of every 4 of us feel like we have NO ONE to confide in.
And 66% of us are dissatisfied with our current friendships.
Every legitimate friendship - one that will last beyond the seven year mark (when most women reset their friend list for some reason) - have the following three important things: positivity, consistency, and vulnerability.
I had to stop listening and just breathe for a second. There was so much. I'll probably listen to it again next week.
Okay. I promise to not summarize every single podcast I listen to, but ugh. This stuff is so important to me. Like on a basic, basic level.
I sat in one of my new work friend's room this afternoon and it was raining outside. She was vulnerable for a hot second, and I listened, and in turn, I told her a few personal things. Another new friend came in, and we laughed about some things, talked about our kids. We shared cupcakes, and I thought to myself the entire time - yes.
Yes. This is what life is all about.
Connections. Watching out for each other. Wading through the scary, the tricky, the important, the real, the hard - together. Think of how awesome and perfect this world would be if we all had someone to help us out of the weeds.
Women helping women will always be such a real, powerful thing for me. My tribe of girlfriends is wildly important to me. They come from all walks of life and span states. It was all just so good. And I was about to burst this week and I felt like I had to tell someone. I'm so sorry that it's all over the grid, but damn. It's good stuff.
Before she signs off, Jen asks three questions to whomever she's interviewing. The last question is, "What is saving you this week?"
I asked a few people today - their answers were interesting. The rain. My babies. Beer. My group message.
For me this week, it was Jen.
Hi friends. :)
People have got some opinions this week, huh? I've been reading Facebook and Twitter lately with one eye half open. We need to just ... be nicer to each other. You know?
I have a few favs this week, and as usual, they cover the spectrum.
1) Treats for class parties. Why....whyyyyyyy. Come Lord Jesus. Why. I don't take delight in making cute bags, I'm not a fan of hand lettering tags for four-year-olds, and listen: I am not baking for them, either. #partyscrooge
Last year for Halloween, I ordered THESE bags from Etsy. And since The Gen is going to a different school this year, I went ahead and reordered them for this year. They're from Graceful Greeting Company, and they're the perfect size for a few snack size candy bars. And I didn't have to make them.
2) While we're on the Etsy train:
4) While we're on the subject of my favorite poets, meet Amy Turn Sharp. I love all of her. All of her.
5) And the last thing on my list today is that I signed up for a 12 week strength class at the Jesus Gym. Because obvi queso for dinner every night is not helping my pants fit better.
But the queso. It's soooooo gooooooood.
Okay. That's it. Love each other a little louder this week. Show each other a little more grace. It's the end of September and the leaves are changing and the seasons are changing, and maybe?
Maybe we are, too.
Ohhhhh, good golly. This might ruffle some feathers. I feel like a disclaimer is in order. Normally, I toss in a disclaimer at the end because I sometimes feel that it takes away from what I'm actually trying to say.
Eeeeeesh. This one though. This one.
Before we start here, I'd just like to make a few notes --
there are some
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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