Get Naked.

Every week I debate what to write here. I have a long list of topics, but often struggle to choose one, to find one that just flows. I leave it til the last minute hoping that inspiration will strike. Some weeks I spend hours crafting a whole post, only to scrap it at all and start again. That’s what happened this week. This is me starting again.

The fact that I have SO many stories and ideas to share and yet never feel it’s the “right time” for any of them drives me nuts. I put a ton of pressure on myself to come up with something insightful, well written, and hopefully inspiring or helpful or at least entertaining in some way. I often get caught in the idea of “being a life coach,” as if that’s supposed to mean I have it all figured out. Spoiler alert: I don’t.

Most often, the topic I choose for the week is actually the one that I need the most. I’ve learned a lot over the very transformative past few years, but still need constant reminding and outside perspective to stay on track. I write these posts, then force my sister to read them, then stay up late editing them, finding the perfect photos and quotes to match. I get up early and make final tweaks over breakfast every Thursday morning, until, finally, it’s time to go to work and I have no choice but to just hit send. Every time I take a big breath; every time I second-guess everything. But then there’s no more editing, there’s no more chance to change my mind, this thing I created is just out in the world for everyone to see, to judge, to form an opinion on.

I spend the rest of the day eager to see if I’ve gotten any feedback. Usually by lunchtime I cave and text my sister and my best friend (and sometimes another friend or two) to just ask directly what they thought of the post this week. By the end of the day I am reassured that my words resonated with at least a few people, and feel proud of my work once again. And relieved, another newsletter out, and at least a few more days til I have to think about the next one. This is why Thursday night is pizza night; with the newsletter out and my yoga classes taught, I kick back and treat myself for getting through another week.

It seems like no coincidence that not one but two tarot card readers told me to let myself be vulnerable this year. While I’ve always been such an open book, eager and pleased to tell anyone and everyone my stories, I realize that’s not true vulnerability; that’s selective. To be truly vulnerable is to let everyone see the parts of me that I feel less sure of. The parts I might typically try to hide, even from myself. The places I grow a tough exterior, say I don’t care, or try to laugh off.

I’ve always felt a need to hold it all together by myself; it’s extremely difficult for me to ask for help. Somewhere along the lines I was programmed to feel like a burden for unloading my shit on someone else. (That's not to say I've never done it, just that I always feel kinda bad about it.) I'm afraid that if I'm not holding it together so that others can lean on me, then I might not be enough; I mean, what else do I have to offer? I know, that's kinda fucked up. But, I have a sneaking suspicion I'm not the only one that feels this way.

This is exactly what the second tarot card reader told me: let your community support you. They want to, she said.  At first I thought, well, there’s nothing I can delegate to them. I’m super busy and not gonna ask my friends to run my errands!? How am I supposed to ask for help when there’s nothing anyone can help me with?

And then I realized, this is not about delegating tasks, this is about not holding it all in. It’s about reaching out, letting myself be seen, imperfections and all. It’s admitting that something hurt me, or that I’m totally scared, or that maybe I’ve got no idea what I’m doing here. It’s confessing that sometimes my faith wavers; sometimes I want to give up completely, sometimes I want to curl up into a ball and just hit “pause” on life for a while. It's trying despite risk of failure or embarrassment, because living in the "someday I'm gonna..." is real easy, and not vulnerable, and also not rewarding. 

So I’ve been trying to do this more lately. I’ve reached out to friends, I've let myself lean on others a little bit more. By asking for help, I allow my friends to share their gifts; I allow them to be there for me, which is something people like to do. It's makes them feel good to help, and I’ll tell you, if feels pretty freakin good to just let it all hang out sometimes. Because, as Brene Brown points out, “you can’t selectively numb emotions,” if you numb vulnerability and shame and grief, you numb joy and gratitude and happiness, too. By opening up to the "bad" stuff, you also let all the good stuff back in. I suspect I've been depriving myself of some of this good stuff, for fear of the bad stuff.

In the same vein, I’ve been trying to get more honest and “real” with my blog and social media posts. That feels good, too. And not just because I can connect to more people by being relatable (although that’s awesome), but also because I feel like I’ve been re-discovering who I am a little bit. I’ve just followed my instincts and stopped second-guessing and just put stuff out there. Who cares if it fits perfectly into my business plan, or matches my instagram feed, or is what a life coach/yoga instructor “should” post about? It’s me. I don’t fit in a box (literally or metaphorically).

And now, even scarier still, I’ve added a comment section to my blog. I conveniently “couldn’t figure out how” to do this before, but cracked the code this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to interact and hear your thoughts and understand your challenges and find more ways to help more people, but it also opens up the flood gates. It makes me more vulnerable because presumably not everyone will always love everything I have to say, and there are some mean people that lurk in comments sections! But alas, it’s worth the trade off. I hope you’ll comment, I hope you’ll tell me when you relate to a post, or (I guess) when you don’t, or what challenges you face, or what solutions you’ve found to work for yourself that maybe others can benefit from. The comments section can be a fantastic place for connection, for helping each other out. So there it is, just below, have at it. Because it’s super late and I can’t start all over again and I’ve come to that point where I just. have. to. hit. send.