Radical Honesty

Authenticity, radical honesty, and simply put in the author’s own word: brutiful – Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior is sitting with a bookmark half way through it’s pages, begging me to finish it.

Seriously.

It is SO raw and honest. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. Reading this feels like when you stare directly into the sun. It’s piercing honesty will force you to set it down, simply to digest it before picking back up again. Her response of “how was your day” with 3 children left me open-mouthed, marveling at how brave she is to bare it all. It’s against the rules to say this stuff out loud. We are supposed to “cherish every moment” while raising our kids. Aren’t we?

B.S.

Not every moment is Instagrammable. Some of them down right suck.

“It was the best of times and the worst of times. I was both lonely and never alone. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed. I was saturated with touch – desperate to get the baby off of me and the second I put her down I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. This day required more than I’m physically and emotionally capable of, while requiring nothing from my brain. I had thoughts today, ideas, important things to say and no one to hear them.

I felt manic all day, alternating between love and fury. at least once an hour I looked at their faces and thought I might not survive the tenderness of my love for them. The next moment I was furious. I felt like a dormant volcano, steady on the outside but ready to explode and spew hot lava at any moment. And then I noticed that Amma’s foot doesn’t fit into her Onsie anymore, and I started to panic at the reminder that this will be over soon, that it’s fleeting-that this hardest time of my life is supposed to be the best time of my life. That this brutal time is also the most beautiful time. Am I enjoying it enough? Am I missing the best time of my life? Am I too tired to be properly in love? That fear and shame felt like adding a heavy, itchy blanket on top of all the hard.

But I’m not complaining, so please don’t try to fix it. I wouldn’t have my day or my life any other way. I’m just saying – it’s a hell of a hard thing to explain – an entire day with lots of babies. If’s far too much and not even close to enough.

But I’m too tired to say any of this. I’m a windup doll that’s run out. So I just say, ‘Our day was fine.'”

-Glennon Doyle Melton, from Love Warrior

How often do we respond with, “I’m fine”? And how often are we not fine at all?

While not all the specific parts of her life are necessarily universal, most are symptoms masking the truths which are; shame, vulnerability, worthiness, etc.

I am a huge fan of Brene Brown. What she discusses in terms of shame and vulnerability in an academic way from the viewpoint of a researcher, Glennon “does her research in the field”. If you have read Brown’s work or seen her TedTalk, you need to know Glennon Doyle Melton.

I’m going to go finish my copy while you go purchase yours!

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Shame Gremlins

Brene Brown discusses in her book Daring Greatly the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt is about feeling bad about something done, while shame is feeling bad about the self.

Being very goal-oriented this deployment, I’ve set my sights on getting my group training certification, my spin certification, as well as running in various races and mud runs. This idea of shame keeps creeping up…enter the shame gremlins. Dr. Brown also discusses the fact that for shame to sit and fester, one has to keep quiet and keep these things secret. To dissolve shame’s power, it has to be brought out into the open.

Here are what the gremlins are saying:

“Who do you think you are? You think YOU can be a fitness instructor?!”

“You don’t follow through anything. You won’t finish it.”

“Who is going to come to you? You don’t look like an instructor!”

“What if you don’t pass the test?”

And my personal favorite:

“You aren’t good enough.”

 

So how do I combat these shame gremlins? Well, I’m calling them out. Here. Right now. Speaking out and answering back:

“I AM doing it.”

“I have been heavy, I know how hard it is to struggle with weight, food, and exercise. That makes a person relatable.”

“I finished a marathon. The person that started that race was not the same person who crossed that finish line. I am not a quitter.”

“I’ll take the test again.”

“I am enough. Watch me.”

We all deal with shame and insecurities. It’s part of this whole being human thing. How do you shut up the shame gremlins?