Words to Live and Write by

I am willing to fall Because I have learned how to rise.

I craft Love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure.

I am among the brave and brokenhearted, and I am rising strong.

(credit to Brene Brown)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I can See Clearly Now the Pain is Gone

Dearest friends,

My depression (MDD) seems to be lifting. (angel choirs sing) The past week and a few days has seen me slowly becoming happier and more productive and freer and just more ME. I cannot begin to express what joy this brings me, my husband, and our little family. I can identify some of the reasons behind this, but I know there are a lot more factors, and I'm just not stopping to analyze it all right now.
Right now I am focusing solely on, "I feel good!" (Well, except for nasty colds in our house, but that's something different.) Everyone knock on all the woods!!
And please, if you have been supporting me through this eternal bout of MDD lately, please don't stop doing what you've been doing yet. This is still a process. We don't know long this upswing will last or what another month or week or a single bad day will bring.
But right now I feel GREAT HOPE!


Thank you, thank you, to all who are helping. Rejoice with me!


Lots of Love,
Hannah & Family


Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Live a life filled with aliveness:

"When I started sharing the truth about who I really am, I could no longer present the mask to the world called "Hey, I'm fine!" and the numbness had nowhere to live anymore."

"What's your secret and how open and honest and real are you willing to be, if sharing it will bring you back to life?"



Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How "Frozen" Is my Depression Story

 Chances are you already know the story of Frozen. For the sake of analogy, here's a summary. And - spoiler alert! - I will ruin everything about the storyline for you.

  Elsa has something unique about her - an ability to create ice. When her parents fear her ability will harm those around her, they determine to teach her she must control and hide it, this thing that comes naturally to her. Meaning well, they teach her that she should fear it, because they fear it. So she spends her life in fear of being herself, learning to be "the good girl" she's supposed to be.The problem is, the harder she tries not to feel, the more she feels.
  THEN, there's this Incident. Suddenly, everyone knows what she is. Most just gasp and back away. The Duke of Weaseltown (and yes, I know it's "Weselton," but I think Weaseltown fits him better) gets very afraid and lets his fear become anger, hatred, and harsh accusations. Elsa, herself, doesn't know what to do, so she runs away. On her own, she realizes this power she has is actually something beautiful. She has a duckling-to-swan transformation when she believes she is beautiful. She decides it is better to live "alone and free" than captive to society's fears.
  However, Elsa has a sister, Anna - a sister who loves Elsa exactly the same before and after the Incident. Elsa can cut herself off from receiving peoples' love, but they will still give it. Anna seeks out Elsa with love and tries to reconcile. This is the point when Elsa learns she isn't a human island. What she does still affects others - she's unwittingly frozen an entire kingdom, which tortures her further. In the end, the most important thing to her is her sister's love, and what makes her most beautiful is embracing that love and being seen as her whole, fearless self.

  Okay, so not the best summary, I know. Watch the movie - it's got great songs. If you're a mom, you probably get to watch Frozen several times a week, so you know the story better than my pathetic description.
  Now for the analogy:

  I am Elsa. I have something society has taught me to fear - namely, depression, or as I like to think of it: I FEEL a LOT. That means when I feel badly, I feel really, really badly. And I turn that feeling inward. Society seems to be afraid of too much feeling or, put simply, vulnerability. We are supposed to be strong and in control of ourselves. So we are taught, from the time we are young and usually by well-meaning people, how to be "in control" of whatever makes us feel too much. Even when that something is beautiful, like dance or art or creativity, these things usually must conform to a "social norm" or form that people are comfortable with. Otherwise, well, it makes most people uncomfortable. (Think of how you love that painting of beautiful scenery, but sort of don't know what to make of that one "abstract" art piece.)
  So, you see, when I say "you don't know me" or "what you see in public is a lie," what I MEAN IS: I am like Elsa before the Incident. I'm struggling to "be the good girl" I'm supposed to be. I'm afraid you wouldn't love me if you saw what I'm hiding. But the more I try not to feel the more I FEEL.



  THEN, there's this Incident. My Incident was of my own creation: I simply came out and TOLD people, "This is what I've been hiding." And the reactions I got were a lot like the reactions Elsa got. Most people just sort of backed away from me, whether because they were afraid of what I said or they simply didn't know what to do with it. They distanced themselves from this whole messy Feeling business. One or two people displayed a lot of anger, I can only assume because they were afraid. Fear that I was destroying the image society needed me to preserve and that that was damaging me; fear that "losing control" of this thing would hurt those around me.

  With reactions like that, I wasn't sure I'd done the right thing at all. All these faces looking at me with apparent horror - I couldn't see poor Anna in the back, frantically waving her hands trying to get my attention. So, figuratively, I just ran away. I looked closely at myself and what I had just done. My emotions are truly best expressed in that overplayed (because let's face it, everyone relates to it) song, "Let It Go."



  Yes, here was this thing I'd been trying to hide. And "now they know." But I was tired of living in hiding, in fear of myself. I wanted to "turn away and slam the door" on all the naysayers. Because looking at this thing, this vulnerability of mine, I couldn't help seeing it was actually something worth keeping. I know that's a hard concept to grasp. WHY would I want to be depressed? Well, I don't like feeling depressed, but I DO like feeling, and with the good always comes the bad. Whenever I come back from feeling badly, feeling good always feels a hundred times better. I mean, how would I even know what good felt like if I didn't know what bad felt like? And how can I know what true JOY feels like if I can't endure what true absence of it feels like? It's okay if you can't wrap your head around it. I've begun to, and that's what counts. Focus, here. Let's get back to ME (said in Kuzco's voice, so you laugh instead of taking that the wrong way).



  So here's this thing I've decided makes me beautiful. But as far as I know, society thinks it makes me wrong. Therefore, isn't it better to be "alone and free" than be a slave to what society thinks forever? Wouldn't you rather be alone and loving yourself than accepted by a crowd and afraid of yourself? Well, I would.
  The problem with that philosophy is exactly what Elsa learned: I cannot be a human island. I can cut myself off emotionally, but my actions, even the action of cutting myself off, still affects others. Now I'm afraid again. Everything I do is wrong. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. Lost again.



  However, just like Elsa, I've found that I, too, have an Anna. More than one, in fact. People who love me exactly the same whether I struggle with depression or not, whether other people say it's okay or not. They don't care what other people say, they love me. And they understand, "Nobody wants to be alone." The trolls get it, too. "His isolation is confirmation of his desperation for healing hugs! ... Everyone's a bit of a fixer-upper; that's what it's all about! We need each other to raise us up and round us out."
  You mean, people can love me just the way I am, flaws and all? Yes, yes that's exactly what I mean. Wow. How do people do that? I don't know where that capacity to love comes from; it comes from people who've known me a long time as well as people who've just met me (same goes for the anger and fear), so it doesn't follow that ONLY my closest of friends can understand or deserve to see all of me.
  Now, I am like Elsa confronted with Anna's true love. Which sort of feels like being forced to rethink my entire existence. "Wait a minute... what I've been told is wrong? You actually agree with me about being vulnerable and beautiful? I can display all of me and that's OKAY? Well, WHAT DO I DO NOW?!"
  The answer, I think, is right there in the movie: accept the love, embrace my messy beautiful self, and let the rest go. So the Duke of Weaseltown and Hans want to destroy this new me? Fine, they can go back to their comfortable homes and ways of thinking; their problem, not mine. I can choose not to let them invade my personal space. All those other people, who don't know what to think? Well, they can either back away or choose to skate with me. If they back away, that's okay, I understand their fear because I was afraid of myself for a very long time. If they choose to skate - just imagine how beautiful that would be.
  Either way, what really matters is that I've found myself and my Anna. And by accepting that I am good and loved, I become the most beautiful I have ever been.
  The End. Well, of that particular story, at least.
  Ooh, there's a LOT more symbolism in the whole of the movie. For me and for others. Disney really hit a resounding note with this one.

Leave your thoughts and comments please!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What are you trying to accomplish?

I was just trying to be Brave.




 

I just wanted to come out of my Closet of Shame.



I just wanted to be Real.



I was only trying to Share my Stories.



"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one." - C.S. Lewis

And, once again, Glennon has already written my words for me:
"We're not often permitted to tell the truth in everyday life. There is a small set of words we are allowed to say, like, "I'm fine, and you?" But we are not supposed to say much of anything else, especially how we are really doing. We find out early that telling the whole truth makes people uncomfortable and is certainly not ladylike or likely to make us popular, so we learn to lie sweetly so that we can be loved. And when we figure out this system, we are split in two: the public self, who says the right things in order to belong, and the secret self, who thinks other things.
"Every little girl is told at some point that the world does not want to see the ugly, afraid, secret version of her. Sometimes the people who tell her this are advertisers, sometimes they're people close to her, and sometimes they're just her own demons.
"She must be taught that, in fact, some people WILL want and need to hear about her secret self ... because reading her truth will make them less afraid of their own secret selves. And she must be taught that telling her truth will make her less afraid, too.
"She must also be warned that her truth will undoubtedly make some people uneasy and angry, so she'll need to share it strategically, perhaps through art [including writing], which God offers as a safe way to express joy and madness. And she'll need a trusted person to help her find her medium, so she won't feel that she has to hide any longer."



 


Leave your thoughts and comments please!

2013 Family Pictures

They're finally up! Our family pictures from Dec. 2013.








Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Infinitely


Dear Lana,

Someday - ten, fifteen, twenty years from now - you will look at me, your mother, and actually have an opinion about how I fill that role. Chances are you will find many things I did wrong, things you wish I'd done differently. I'm pretty sure you'll just love your dad without complaint because he's like that. I hope you will find things I did well, too, and ways I was a good mother.

You don't know it yet, but I worry about mothering you. I've worried since the day you were born. Before, actually. While we were in the hospital for the month before you were born, they'd strap monitors around me twice a day, sometimes for up to an hour, so they could chart your heartbeat and movements. One day you must have wrapped your umbilical cord around your foot and pushed on it or something because your heartbeat dropped off the chart. In seconds, four nurses were sprinting into my room, pushing me, checking monitors, and saying, "Roll over! Now! We have to move the baby!!" Your heartbeat came back up, but sometimes when you moved it would drop again. I've seriously never seen nurses move so fast. I wore those monitor straps for twenty-four hours, staring at the screen that showed your heartbeat, holding my breath. Things got untwisted eventually, so we didn't have to deliver you before schedule.

That wasn't the first time I'd had to worry about you, but it was a memorable one. My precious daughter was in distress and there was nothing I could do to help. I know someday I will feel that way again, as I let you make choices, take risks, and sometimes fall or make mistakes. Honestly, that scares me. But most of those days are still far away. For now, I worry whether I'm reading enough books with you or letting you watch too many movies; if I'm helping you learn to express your emotions in a healthy way; if I'm being kind enough while setting enough limits; and how my battle with depression is affecting you.

Those concerns may seem silly to you, but they are real to me. I love you more than I've ever loved anything, and I always will. I want you to experience life with as much joy as possible. Right now, that means letting you climb up onto your headboard and leap with glee onto your bed, giggling, even though my heart skips a beat each time. You have a wild spirit, and I want you to appreciate all your glory.

In the end, no matter what I do or don't do, no matter what rights or wrongs you see in me, there is one thing I hope you learn with absolute certainty: I love you. I love you infinitely - that means no matter what, forever and always. Nothing you do can change that. I feel it would be impossible for me to love you any more, but maybe I'll learn that I can. One thing is sure: I can never, ever love you any less. My biggest worry is that you won't understand that. And my biggest hope is that you will.

Love,

Mom

Monday, April 7, 2014

If It Were Cancer

This mother's beautiful words are real, raw, and honest. I'm sharing them because she shared them with the world Glennon created. And The RULE for sharing there is this: you MUST be KIND.

It was amazing to me to see the real, honest picture of what those who care for me experience. What I suffer is real. What they suffer is real, too. And it's so, so hard to explain! It's so true, sometimes that we wish it were cancer, because then, at least, people could pretend to understand.

Here is her post (and a link to her blog; honor her bravery by visiting her blog!):

I don’t wish my child had cancer. It’s just that tonight it feels like it would be easier if he did. If it were cancer I don’t think I would be feeling angry with him that he is asleep on the couch after not having done anything all day like I am right now.  I imagine I would only have love and care and concern for him if he had some other disease like cancer.  But he doesn’t. And I’m fighting feelings of anger. At my son. Who is sick. And I hate it.  How can I feel angry when he is sick?  It’s not cancer. It’s anxiety and depression. And some days I just don’t have the patience or understanding to be a good mom of a depressed kid. Some days I just don’t have what it takes to help his panic disorder.  When I stop crying and throwing things and sit still long enough things, I realize it is grief I am feeling.  Grief for him and for me. He has so much potential; so smart and funny and so talented.  And the depression and anxiety rob him of all of it.  And rob me. Rob me of the joy in parenting. Rob me of watching my child achieve and perform and live and enjoy.  If it were cancer I wouldn’t feel the need to explain, or justify, or be tempted to lie about him.  I know better.  I know it is a brain illness and not a character weakness.  But tonight it feels like failure. Tonight it feels like something I haven’t done right.  Tonight it feels like it will never be any better.  The psychiatrists, the therapists, the medications. Tonight it feels like they are a forever thing. Tonight it just feels like it will never be any different.  And it makes me angry. And sad. And helpless. And tonight, a little hopeless.
I don’t want my child to have cancer. And most days I have accepted that this is a battle we will have to continue to fight. And we will. Continue to fight. But tonight I am angry.  And I feel like a terrible mother because I am angry with my sick child.  I guess the upside of the depression is that he is still asleep and he will never know his mother had a meltdown at his expense. It’s messy and beautiful. But tonight it’s mostly messy.  Tomorrow I will see the beautiful.
http://momastery.com/carry-on-warrior




http://splitpease.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/it-would-be-easier-if-it-were-cancer-my-messy-beautiful/#comment-244

Leave your thoughts and comments please!

The Dark Side and The Hope of Depression - My Messy, Beautiful

The DARK SIDE:

Depression has really been kicking my butt lately. It's been hounding me for a decade, but these past few weeks, or months if I'm honest, it has been knocking me down harder and harder than ever before. And it's brought its best friend Anxiety along to play, too. Those two keep ganging up on me, and my arsenal is empty.

Now before you start singing "Count Your Blessings," or saying "At least," or silver-lining me, just stop. Stop and listen.

I'm opening up here and it's scary and hard, and I'm not asking you to fix me, or even to understand me, I'm just asking you to love me. Love is all I need. Also, keep in mind that love translates into action, and I need that, too. The supportive kind of action: listening, empathizing, visiting to let me talk and/or cry, helping me do the things I cannot like playing with my toddler or washing the dishes, or volunteering to babysit so I can go to a therapist, or the temple, or take a nap or a walk. I need a lot of love. And here's why:

I am not okay.

I have some twisted self-preservation instinct that makes me answer otherwise. When you ask me, "How are you doing?" I will answer, "Fine," or "Hanging in there," or some such lie. And I will be very convincing because of one of two things: either you can see me or you can't see me. If you can see me, chances are it's at church or a social gathering (I make rare appearances), or at the store; and that means I'm out of bed, I'm dressed - if I'm at church I'm wearing make-up and heels and a smile - and I look fine. So when I say I'm fine you may look at me and think, "Yeah, she looks okay. If she were in really bad shape she wouldn't be smiling." On the other hand, if you can't see me, if for example you've written a note or an email or called on the phone, you can't see my wrinkled pajamas or puffy eyes and unwashed hair, and you won't hear me hyperventilating or crying or yelling because I can fake it long enough for a phone call.

But it's all one great big lie. I am not fine. And I'm afraid if you know the truth - well, I don't know what I'm afraid of. Maybe you'll think less of me. Maybe you'll back away because I'm too much of a mess for you to handle, especially when you have your own burdens, or you don't know how to help. Maybe I'll end up in a mental hospital, which is bad (in my mind) because it proves I'm a broken mess and that label will follow me forever and ever.

I am a broken mess, though.

Depression pounds me into the ground; it flattens me. I feel its weight physically pressing down on me. Depression is heavy. It takes all my energy and willpower just to keep breathing beneath all that pressure. That means I don't have enough energy left to care for and play with my child, to clean my home, to make or eat food, to pay attention to my husband, to walk my dog, to even want to do a hobby, or exercise, or read (fiction or scripture). I have nothing left in me to give but there are so many things and people that need me to give.

That's when Anxiety comes marching up and slaps me around. If Depression is heavy, Anxiety is loud. It screams in my head: Look at all the things you aren't doing. You are failing. Look at the dirty dishes, the dirty clothes, the dirty floors, your dirty hair - everywhere is a mess. Look at that pile of bills; how many of them are late yet, and why can't you manage your finances better, or at all, or come up with creative money-saving strategies so there's enough money to pay the bills? Your husband works hard to bring home paychecks, and what do you do but lie around feeling depressed? You're not contributing at all. See how you daughter has to entertain herself because you're too tired to play or set up play dates, as if that's any excuse. What do you think that's doing to her during these critical formative years? See how your husband feels used and ignored because you want him to help with the baby when he comes home so you can take a break even though you've done nothing all day. How long can your marriage handle the strain of being one-sided? Etc., etc., etc.

And the pressure and the noise and the guilt and the shame build and build and build. Until I snap or break. If I snap, I lash out, and then the guilt of that forces me to break. And to break... it's scary. I lose control. I cry and heave and sob and tense up and start hyperventilating and curl up on the floor. And it hurts, in every way a human can hurt. And I can't stop it. I can't pull myself back together. I quite literally cannot take a deep breath. I can't find perspective. I can't function - at all. I just can't. It's not that I don't want to - heaven knows I want to - but I can't. Which, in and of itself, is terrifying.

One of the worst parts is that I can see all this happening to me as if I were outside the situation. I see what a mess I am, and I know it's not me - like the broken woman is someone else entirely. But I have to live INSIDE her. I have to live in this broken body and mind, as if I were nailed in someone else's coffin, screaming and clawing inside where no one can hear me. "I'm here! I'm still in here! Someone save me!!"





The HOPE:
The Cracks Let The Light Shine Through
"Expansion" by Paige Bradley
 
I think know God has a bigger plan here. I am regaining just enough strength and perspective to see a few things.

First, this will pass. It is an episode, not a forever condition, although the physiological factors underlying it may be with me for life. But this dark and scary pit is one I will climb out of, as I have done before

Second, this experience will actually make me stronger. I don't buy the phrase "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger," because sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it leaves you weaker, damaged, and afraid, and the best (or worst) thing that can be said about it is that it didn't kill you. But this time is different. It's different because I am responding differently. Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, waiting to see the light ahead, I am taking a stand. I am shedding the shame and I am sharing, asking for and accepting help. New help - things I haven't tried before. I am determined to find a way to live my life so I am no longer walking along the edge of the precipice, liable to fall at the slightest push. I don't know how I'll do it, or how long it will take, or how hard it will be - but I will find a way. This time I am fighting back.

Third, God may actually have a purpose in this. It might not, in fact, be just the condition of my body, or just my life's trial to learn to live with, though it certainly is that. I'm starting to believe that God wants me to fight back, to learn how to be stronger, not for my sake alone but for others.

It's becoming clear to me that this trial might be similar to my struggles with infertility and pregnancy complications. When kept to myself, they are a heavy cross to bear. But when shared they become a conduit for empathy, for connection with other people in ways that would be impossible had I not experienced those things for myself.

Don't misunderstand me, this doesn't make my trial any easier, but it does give me hope and purpose, and those are powerful things. I may not be able to "beat" this, but I can come to understand it and let my broken-open heart fill with empathy and a greater capacity to love others.


“The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.” - Joanna Macy


Here's what God has to say on the matter: "The books on high will be opened and they will record the great messages that you have delivered, the charity that you have exhibited, the love you have shared, and the great things you have accomplished in this mortal life." And so on. (The rest is sacred and private to me.)

That has always seemed a tall order to fill, an impossible task really, to be the person He describes. But I'm beginning to see how He's making me that person. The process isn't easy; it requires me to go through some pretty hard stuff - I dare say some of life's hardest. 


But what if those "great messages" are really one-on-one conversations with a person in pain, when I can simply and honestly say, "I know what it's like, and you are not alone." What if the charity and love and "great things" I accomplish are not with the proverbial ninety and nine, but with one - one precious soul at a time, for each individual is precious beyond measure. 


To quote a hymn that's been on my mind, God sends blessings "through words and deeds of those who love." And true friends are His greatest gifts. What better friend can a person have than one who climbs into the pit with them and reassures, "You are not alone," while God does His work to help them find their way back into the light.


So all this breaking me - physically, mentally, and emotionally - may be for the express purpose that I know what it's like to be broken. After all, God asks us to lay at His altar a "broken heart and a contrite spirit" (see Isaiah 57:15 and Psalm 34:18). I'd always thought of these two things in relation to forgiveness. Contrite does mean remorseful or full of grief. But what if it can also mean something else? I'm a student of Latin, so I always search for meaning in the roots of words. Con means "with" or "together," and trite means "worn out" or "frequently used." Put the two together, and a contrite spirit may mean a spirit that is willing to be used by God, willing to submit to Him to the degree that we ourselves are so worn out that God is the One working. 

It occurs to me that when I break, if I offer up the pieces of myself willingly to God, He will put me back together as He wants me to be. I am like a broken vessel (see Psalm 31). And each time I get put back together there remain a few additional cracks for Light to shine through.

 


Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Final Word on Communication and Miscommunication

Let this be the Final Word on the matter. I've ignited the flame of miscommunication lately. I sat down on my kitchen floor (I was supposed to be making my husband's birthday cake) and sobbed through this talk. Every Single Word was precisely what my heart needed.




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Shaped into Something Different

  Well, now I really feel like a loner. I mean, I did before - I always have - but tonight really brought it out. (If any of the sweet ladies in my book group read this, please forgive me. I mean no offense. This is nothing about any of you personally. It's just another case of me feeling too much.)
   I chose to share Glennon's book "Carry On, Warrior" with my book club. If you are a Monkee, I think you will understand why I keep this book next to my bedside with my Bible. It is where I go when I need to feel understood or when I need encouragement. G gets me. She speaks my language. She speaks my truth. She is the woman who taught me that it is okay to be imperfect. I'd been TOLD that before, but she made me believe it because she SHOWED me. And not just that it's okay, but it's actually kind of beautiful. And despite all my flaws, I am still loved and worthy and good. As long as I "keep showing up and trying my best to be brave and kind" (her words) I am doing okay.
  So you can imagine how excited I was to share this marvelous creation with the only group of adult women I meet with. We discussed the book. I tried. Maybe I did it wrong. But my heart sank farther and farther as the comments went round and round the circle criticizing and ultimately invalidating Glennon's words. The words she somehow wrote straight out of my own heart. And no one agreed with them. Not one. These women, with the best of intentions, untknowingly invalidated my deepest, truest feelings.
  They don't understand the language of my heart. They don't understand me. I just watched a dozen women walk out my door and not a one of them knows me well enough to see my expression sink, my eyes well with tears, my smile become faker, my body curl tighter into the fetal position. They called Glennon inward-focused and self-centered, but which one of them looked outward tonight and really SAW me?
  This sounds meaner than I want. Please, please don't think I'm trying to be mean or accusatory. It's just that my heart is bruised and I feel more alone than ever. It was my own fault for choosing to share a book so personal to me. Of course everyone will see it differently. Of course some people won't like it. Of course some people will express opinions that oppose my own. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. That's the point of book clubs, is it not? Had it been "just a book" to me, I would have easily appreciated all the different opinions. The difference was, my first experience with a book club, I made the mistake of choosing not just a book but, in Glennon's own words I chose to "expose yourself, open yourself to the world, hold your fragile, bruised, bloody, beating heart in front of another person and say, 'do you see anything worth keeping here?'"
  What I came away with was the understanding that my language is not their language. My experiences have been different from theirs. My mind, sight, and heart are somehow different.
This looks like a sturdy, useful type of vessel.
So what the heck is this?
  God shapes people through experiences. We are clay in the hands of the Master potter. Each vessel is special and unique. But I look at my peers and can't help seeing, perhaps blindly, that they all resemble a similar mold. And I do not. The Potter is shaping me differently. I don't know what I will become yet, what my purpose is, but I am becoming more and more certain that I am being shaped into something ELSE.


 Let me share with you what is perhaps my MOST FAVORITE piece of Glennon's book. (I have many more favorites on her blog.) And, perhaps more importantly, let me add that these very words are the ones that re-center me and help me see the women who don't understand me as just as important and beautiful as me. Even though I am different, I can learn from them. And if I am brave enough, and they have open hearts, they can learn from me.

Glennon's words (pages 174-176):

"Spilling myself out like this, is it an act of humility or confidence? I share my faults and flaws, which seems humble - but doesn't the fact that I assume that others will care enough to read and maybe even find my flaws charming betray the confidence behind my humility? Writing, painting, acting, creating, living out loud: Are they acts of humility or confidence?
"Yes. They're both. That's what I've decided. Confidence and humility are two sides of the same coin. They are the character traits that stem from the two beliefs I hold most dear. I think most of our character traits are simply manifestations of what we believe to be true.
"I am confident because I believe that I am a child of God. I am humble because I believe that everyone else is too.
"They go hand in hand. They've got to.
"If I am humble but lack confidence, it is because I haven't yet accepted that there is a divine spark inside me. It means that I don't believe in the miracle that I was made by God for a purpose all my own, and so I am worthy of the space that I occupy on this earth. And that as a child of God, no one deserves more respect, joy, or peace than I. As a child of God, I have the right to speak, to feel, to think, and to believe what I believe. Those dreams in my heart, those ideas in my head, they are real and they have a divine origin, and so they are worth exploring. Just because I am a child of God. And thankfully, there is nothing I can add to that title to make it more impressive. There is also nothing I can do to lose that title. I am confident not because I am pretty or smart or athletic or talented or kind. Those things change and can be given and taken. I am confident simply because I am a child of God.
"That is why I am confident enough to write honestly. Not because I am a good writer. There will always be somebody better. I rely on the belief that I am a child of God, and as such, I have the right to speak my mind with love. This writing thing, it's one of my dreams. And I act on my dreams because I believe that God is not just with me but in me. I believe that he is the creator of my dreams. So if follows that when I act on them, magical things will happen. How could they not? Being a child of God is a free pass to be brave and bold and take great risks and spin around in circles with joy. If and when I fall, who cares? He will always be there to pick me up. That's his job. He's my Father. So if I seem noncompetitive, if I seem as if I don't care if I'm the "best" parent or housekeeper or dresser or whathaveyou, it's not because I don't care about being important. It's because I believe I am the most important thing on earth. Why would I care about competing in any other category when I am already a child of God? Why would I argue over a penny when I have already won the lottery?
"And.
"If I am confident but not humble, it is because I have not fully accepted that everyone has won the lottery. Because everyone has the same amount of God in her. If I am in the habit of turning my back on others, it is because I haven't learned that God approaches us in the disguise of other people. If I am confident but not humble, my mind is closed. if my mind is closed, my heart is closed. A closed heart is so sad. It is the end. A heart cannot grow any larger if it decides to let no more God in. There is always room for more. A heart expands exactly as much as her owner allows.
"Humility is how I survive praise and criticism of my writing, ideas, and beliefs. Because I remember that neither praise nor criticism is really about me. We are all just trying to find the truth. So I try to see different points of view not as reasons to step back further into my corner, but as opportunities to take baby steps toward the middle of the ring - if for no other reason than to see my opponent a little closer. That perspective change is usually all it takes to remember that I have no opponents other than my pride.
"I am a child of God, and so is everyone else. We are all on the same side. And so in each new person, I see an invitation to know a new side of God. There are as many sides of him as there are people walking the earth. I think that's why he keeps making people. he's not done telling us about himself yet. So I remember that each person I meet or hear from, even if she's not yet treating me the way I'd like to be treated, is the most important thing on earth. There is no hierarchy of importance, of brilliance. We are each infinity important. More brilliant than the sun. Because each of us is a child of God. So we better recognize.
"Those are the two sides of the golden coin I'd like each of my children to keep in her pocket forever:
"Be confident because you are child of God. Be humble because everyone else is too."


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