Me and My Shadow

Several months ago, I developed a habit of getting up early in the morning and walking. I take the same route every day – just a little over 2 miles around and through my neighborhood – and usually start and finish the walk at approximately the same time each day. In other words, there is a predictable pattern to my walk, that has really only been modified by how much daylight there is, or isn’t, depending on the time of year.

This morning, I was awake earlier than normal. My husband had an early flight out for a business trip, and since I could not fall back to sleep after his alarm went off, I decided to get out of bed and walk earlier than normal. I walked my same route, but because of the earlier time it was still quite dark for most of the walk. My walk was lit by the streetlights, instead of by the new light of the morning like it is normally.

About half way through my route, I turned a corner and was startled by a shadow on the sidewalk in front of me. It was my own shadow, cast by a streetlight. But I wasn’t expecting it, and for a second I truly was scared by my own shadow. I quickly realized what it was and had a little chuckle at myself. But then I began thinking about what it really means to be scared by your own shadow.

What if the “shadow” is the part of each of us that we dislike the most? What if the “shadow” is the circumstance that may be beyond our control, but still shapes us? What if the “shadow” is the thing we can’t change?

The shadows are the things that follow us around, no matter how hard we try to either get rid of them, or ignore their existence.  The things that are always there,  because whether we want to admit it or not, those things are a part of who we are. And those things we don’t want to acknowledge, or name, or bring into the light are as much a part of who we are as the things we do acknowledge, name and shine a light upon. Those things are our shadows, and our shadows are connected to us.

We all have shadows. Mine are a self doubt that is deep and wide,  and the exhaustion (both physical and emotional) that comes from living with Fibromyalgia. That’s all a part of who I am. Those are my shadows.

But in order for there to be a shadow, there must first be light.

 

 

 

Thankful for Us

It is the day before Thanksgiving 2016. This time last year, I probably thought we had hit our lowest lows with our son. I would have been wrong.

There have been some incredibly dark days in this year, but there have also been moments of incredible light and love. This year has given us answers and direction, and along with that has come hope and respite. This year has split us apart and then drawn us back together, stronger than before. This year has shown us that even in our brokenness, there is beauty.

There may still be dark days to come, but we’ll have each other. I am thankful for us…

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It’s Okay to Cry

We’re in Philadelphia for a few days. As we walked around near Independence Hall today, we spotted this…


As my son walked past it he said, “Sometimes you have to cry. It’s okay to cry”

Yes it is. 

Grace and Respect

I did not have a candidate in this election. Not from the beginning. Not in either major political party, and not in any of the 3rd party options. So I was never going to feel “great” waking up on this day. What I do feel is confused, and concerned, and a little bit sad. Because while I did not have a candidate in this election, there is no world in which I would have ever made a choice that a slim majority of our country did make yesterday. But this isn’t about me and my feelings, this is about my children and what they can learn from where we do find ourselves today.

We are privileged to live in a country where there is a democratic process. That process may not be perfect, and we will not always agree with the outcome, but there are people all over the world who don’t even get a voice. We may not understand how we got here. We may not agree with the outcome. But it happened, and as in anything it is not the circumstance that defines us, it is how we choose to respond to the circumstance that shows the world who we are.

So how do we respond?

We respond with grace and respect.

Each and every day, I tell my kids to go out into the world being the best version of themselves and to do good all the good they can. Each and every day that is what I tell them. What happened in the election does not change that, if anything it makes it more important.

We live with grace and respect. For all people. In all situations. That was true yesterday. That is true today. That is an eternal truth.

We live with grace and respect, and we move forward. And we show the world who we are.

OUR FAMILY. Real. Raw. Broken. Beautiful.

When I started We’re All A Little Broken, I was intentional about not using pictures or names of my family. Even though I am telling our story, I also know that this story could be that of so many other families. So I was intentional about not using our names or pictures.

Now half a year has gone by. I have started contributing for The Mighty and they do use my picture there. The words I write have been shared by people we know in real life with their own wider circles of family and friends, and sometimes they will reference knowing my husband or me. So while I tried to be mostly anonymous, it really isn’t that way any longer.

I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks. Do I do more good safely in the shadows of my anonymity? Or do I do more good fully stepping into the light and putting a face on my words? Clearly, it is the latter. But even once I had acknowledged that fact, I still was lurking in the shadows.

Recently we had our annual family pictures taken. When the proofs came back, I kept returning to two specific  images. They are both beautiful pictures, but neither one is my favorite. So what was it that kept drawing me back? It was when I realized the answer to that question, that I realized it was also truly time to step out of the shadows.

So here are those pictures…

And what kept drawing me back to these specific images?

In the first one, notice our hands. We are all connected. We are a unit. We are one. Facing the world together.

In the second one, notice our focus. We are fully focused on each other. We are a unit. We are one. Turning to each other, where we can seek solace from the world.

So what kept drawing me back. Plain and simple – these images are truly the us we try to be even as we navigate through the struggles of this life. These images are OUR FAMILY. Real. Raw. Broken. Beautiful. And I can’t fully tell our story without these images.

Photo credit to my AMAZINGLY TALENTED friend Nguyet Thomas of Full Moon Photography!