Being vulnerable is never easy. There is risk involved – risk that we will be misunderstood, judged or rejected.
When I first started blogging I didn’t plan on being vulnerable, or sharing my struggles. I had planned to share my creativity, my ideas… my “best bits”.
But fairly early on I felt challenged to share the other side. The twisting road, the stumbling journey through the deep dark woods of depression and anxiety.
You might think that would be odd on a blog called “Greatfun4kids” whose speciality was party ideas, but somehow it was strangely appropriate.
After all, how many times do we look at other mothers and think, Well that’s OK for her. She’s got it all together. We look other people’s strengths and compare them to our weaknesses. We disqualify ourselves from having something to offer because we think we don’t measure up.
There was no way I wanted people to read my blog and get the wrong idea, thinking I was some kind of expert, or a Supermom who had it all together. How could I keep up a façade like that, long term?
I decided to actually share my struggles along with my strengths, so that others could say, Hey, she struggles with the same stuff I do. If she can do it, I can do it.
I stepped out. I took a risk. I made myself vulnerable and wrote a post about my journey.
The feedback was tremendous. Emails and messages from women all around the world – even some from my own family – sharing how what I’d written had let them know they were not alone.
Since then I have continued to share the journey in all its twists and turns right alongside the fun and the parties. I’ve collected all those posts on an index page – thie things I struggle with, the things I’ve learned and the things that help me.
I continue to hear from other mothers who stumble across my page or who have been quietly reading me for years.
They thank me for sharing and let me know that the risks I take in being vulnerable are worth it.
There is no shame in struggling; there is power in sharing. In taking the risk to be vulnerable we find solidarity, community and encouragement.
My husband still worries that one day someone will send me a nasty email which will hurt me, in my still-mending state, but the only feedback I get are messages like this:
“Thank you Simone. What an honest and heart-felt blog. So many of us have had similar experiences in many ways throughout our life, but not everyone feels able to share them…”
“Boy this struck a chord with me. I’ve been there. Humbled to need medication, struggling spiritually. There are no heroes when you deny depression. The day you snap no one knows the years you held it together. You’re just a mum who yelled at her kids. Thanks for your honest writing with this.”
“Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s amazing how knowing other people have been there too can really help!”
“Thank you for this Simone. I am in tears after reading it, to know that someone can describe how I feel is comforting. In the past I was led to believe I should keep my “crap” to myself. After a few years with a good, Christian counselor, I no longer try to hide the pain!”
There has never been any judgment.
By sharing my vulnerability, the very thing which has been a huge source of pain and weakness for me, has become something which can encourage others.
The irritating grit in my oyster-soul is becoming a pearl of great price.
It has been my privilege to share some of my “pearls” with you here on Mothering from Scratch. Each and every nuggest is hard-won, earned with blood, sweat and tears in the trenches of motherhood as I continue to navigate my way out of the deep, dark woods.
I look forward to sharing more in the years ahead – Happy Blogiversary Melinda and Kathy! Thanks for having me.
P.S. If you are struggling through these same dark woods, please come by and visit my page: http://www.greatfun4kidsblog.com/p/depression-me.html
Simone lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her British husband, her three noisy kids and their female cat, Dave. She’s not out of the woods yet but she is finally on the path and can see the light through the trees. She blogs at http://greatfun4kidsblog.com