Sunday, 20 March 2016

Conversations We Can't Afford to Miss

I was inspired yesterday by a group of women who I am beyond proud to know.

I coach a horse riding team of young girls (aged 11-28 or so and their families).  I have known them all for different lengths of time.  Two years, six years, ten years.  I've also gotten to know their families and their struggles.

And they know mine.

Watching them grow and become women has been such an honor and has been truly awesome. Yesterday morning a few of us got chatting.  One of the gals began sharing about a speaker she had recently seen who talked about mental health, success, and expectations especially when you have baggage or a rough family history (which I'm pretty sure most people do to some extent).

It ended up unfolding into a few hours of conversation about how life as a teenager is hard.  Some of the moms were there and we talked about how life as a mom is hard.  We shared stories, advice and the things we've learned so far in this life.  And we laughed a lot about how we all seem to face the same struggles (dark, raw and real struggles).

We talked a lot about how we don't talk enough.  Why, when these are the things that matter, do we keep so quiet?

Depression, anxiety and many other resulting health issues are rampant today.  We live in a society that tells you that you can have it all.  And so we push and grind and try to get it, and when we don't we wonder what is wrong with us.

And there is further confusion because after all, how dare we feel so bad when we have so much? So much more than most of the world in fact.  And yet it never seems we are (or we have) enough.

Never enough time. Money. Talent. Patience. Skills.  Awards. Success. Achievements. Likes and shares. Retweets.

The attitude of scarcity (or "never enough") runs in direct contrast to a culture where we have more than we could ever use or need. Still we struggle, strive and generally feel very alone.

And yet, in the midst of this, here is this group of women leaning in.  Talking about the tough spots. The things we all think about and yet never really put out in the open.

Depression.  Conflict. Addiction. Coping. Suicide. And real success.

I am overwhelmed with how blessed I am to have these people in my life.

One of the gals made a comment about how she wishes she had a bigger platform.  She questioned how a person could get a springboard to help more people and get more of these issues out in the open.

Here's the thing.  We already have one.

I have very little doubt that any of the group of us who stood talking yesterday went home and forgot about the conversation.  And once you've put it out there once, you'll be far more likely to do it again. We all had a little more brave in our step, I'd say.

We have to stick together. Be on the same team. Disregard who might "over hear" and who might judge.  The cool thing is, we all struggle.

Standing there saying "Being a mom is so hard.  Harder than anything I've ever done.  And not always hard in a good way. Sometimes it feels so brutal, unfair and like it's too much to handle" and hearing another mom say, "I totally know what you mean.  We do give up a lot".

And then hearing her teenage daughter talk about her own struggles.

Laughing, sharing, contemplating, reflecting.  Leaning in.  Not running away, making uncomfortable attempts to escape the conversation or change the subject.

And the moral of the story?  We are enough. Each one of us, with all our flaws and struggles and stories.  We belong here.

But we need to tell each other that.

This is what it's going to take to raise up a brave new generation. And to keep us who are already into crazy, busy and complicated lives moving forward with courage, empathy, authenticity and humanity.

We have a platform.

It's all around us.  We just have to be courageous enough to use it.

I'm so thankful that yesterday someone shared. We all walked away a little lighter because of it.  And what a gift that truly is in what sometimes seems like a heavy, dark world.

You are all so amazing. And loved. And enough.

Bravely forth my friends, 

Jac :)

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