If I were writing this post to you at any other time my words would be very different.
Perhaps they would be more gentle or guarded; they would be more measured and
manicured. But this is now… and so these are my words for this season.
Recently, my family and I were talking about failures. We went around the table sharing
our greatest failures and how they have shaped us or prepared us for where we are now.
Everything from failed classes to being fired, projects at work, and relationships… within
the safety of family, my failures seem laughable.
That evening, I sat alone in my apartment with a new book and a glass of red wine. I must
have read the same first two pages seven times; I couldn’t stop thinking about my failures.
And not in a “look how far I’ve come” sort of way.
Actually it was quite the opposite. It was a quiet conviction; my failures have made me fine
instead of forgiving. I pride myself on getting back up, on keeping on keeping on. And I
expect others to do the same. Sure you’re allowed to struggle or hurt… just learn
something anecdotal from it quickly and get on to the next thing.
I’ve been wrestling with this truth for the past few weeks:
being fine doesn’t make you strong it makes you lonely.
I used to think being A Girl Like Me was having the courage to share your story. But it’s so
much more than coffee and conviction and lessons learned.
I am A Girl Like me and I’m sitting with my failures right now.
Grieving them and allowing them to hang around for a while…
Not because I like to wallow, or the way my eyes look after days of crying-
But because being distracted and numb is no way to live.
I can’t continue to craft my story into something worth sharing; manipulating it to appear
vulnerable- all the while praying you don’t ask too many questions.
The company who fired me from my first job out of college now has television commercials.
When I was first fired, I flew home spent two days packing and moved to Nashville. I
laughed with my friends about how ridiculous the whole situation was, and badmouthed
the company and a coworker. I stuffed the feelings of shame so far down while upholding
the outside appearance of everything being “fine”-
But four years later, whenever a television commercial of theirs comes on I feel as though I
am going to throw up and I’m just as alone as I was on the plane ride home.
I’ve known others who have been fired since I was. I’ve listened to them lament their loss
and patted them on the back assuring them it’ll be okay. “There are other companies, other
opportunities… look how great I’m doing!” I’ve shared my prescription of detachment to
anyone suffering, with promises of painless days to come.
Replicate that scenario for a hundred different failures and you end up here.
In the throws of a season of not liking yourself very much and trying to find your way back
Sweet girls, my prayer for you today is that you have grace for yourself and others. Allow
your failures to fill you with so much compassion for others it becomes what you are
known for. Be a “me too-er” with gentleness not expectation. Feel all the feelings, even the
uncomfortable ones. Do the work it takes to be A Girl Like Me.
The hard, time consuming, work of self-care and honesty
The sometimes-painful work of vulnerability
The counterintuitive work of staying when leaving is easier
The habitual work of confession
The courageous work of being more than fine.
***Steph currently lives in Huntsville, AL and is pursuing her graduate degree in Social Work with the desire to be an advocate for refugees in the US. She currently writes on her personal blog