By Kate Kole
When I lived in Houston, my favorite radio station had a weekly prank call segment where the DJ would regularly repeat the phrase, “honey, we all got problems,” with a thick southern drawl. It was like listening to a scene from SNL and I’d often laugh so hard that I cried, hearing the outrageous personal issues she’d list in detail to the stranger on the other end of the line.
Her voice and that expression have stayed with me over the years and I’ll often find myself replaying some variation of those words in my mind. They’re my reassuring reminder that none of us is without insecurities, imperfections, or self-doubt. That regardless of how confident, poised, and put together our lives may seem from the outside looking in, we’re all dealing with something, or more accurately, some things.
And we keep those things hidden for a whole slew of reasons. Because they’re embarrassing, shameful, uncomfortable, and isolating. They feel wrong and we feel wrong because of them. So, it becomes this well curated and categorized game of what to show to the world and what to hide deep inside.
New job? Show. Disordered eating? Hide. Happy relationship? Show. Depression? Hide. Passion? Show. Uncertainty? Hide.
The game works. And, it sucks. It is the most unfulfilling, exhausting, soul draining game I’ve ever played. It’s left me feeling lonely, fake, and less than more times than I can count.
Upon writing that zero-star review, I’ve decided to officially quit the game.
Here’s the new one I’m proposing we play instead: Show up and be honest. Even if it feels like it might make you different. Even if your secrets seem too scary to admit out loud. Even if you’re worried what other people might think. Show up and be honest, still.
Honestly, on the verge of becoming a new mom, I’m scared out of my mind. Of giving birth and of having a baby, because I’ve never really been a ‘baby person’. As a woman, that seems gasp worthy. I can practically hear other women raising their eyebrows, shrugging their shoulders, and whispering, “well, you know, she’s never really been a ‘baby person’. I’m scared of breastfeeding, bonding, and how my body will look and feel. I’m scared of hormones, change, and what will happen to my marriage. I’m scared that I won’t have what it takes, that I won’t be what our son needs, that I will fail.
And in the midst of all that fear, I’m also more excited than I’ve ever been. To expand our family. To become a mom. To see my husband become a dad. To hold the baby I’ve prayed for and imagined in my mind. To start new traditions. To open my heart to a new kind of love.
I am scared. I am excited. I am both.
Life is both.
Honey, we all got problems…and we all got blessings.
We feel lost…and we’re where we are meant to be.
We feel alone…and we have each other.
We’re imperfect…and we’re enough as we are.
We are both.
featured image via pexels