I read an article recently where a woman was apologizing for being crabby, snappy and grumpy at a time where life was so incredibly demanding it was impossible to put on a happy face. And you know what? I’m tired.
I’m tired of women feeling like they need smile through the pain. We are not decorations. We are not characters from Leave it to Beaver. We’re women. And that’s a complex project. So many of us end up shouldering burdens people don’t even know are a thing. We think ahead, think behind, carry heavy boxes (both metaphorically and literally) and it’s hard. Fucking hard.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful.
This messy mess, this anger you feel right now… this is growth. It’s always darkest before dawn, you have to break some eggs to make an omelet, things will get harder before they get easier. You’re growing, learning and building a new life and that shit isn’t easy. Nor will it be comparable to what you might pull out of a Jell-O mold if you are skilled enough to pull that kind of thing off. Perfection won’t be the way you describe it… in fact, it’s likely that you’ll understand the beauty of that imperfection only as you come out of the valley of seeming darkness.
Your kids will forgive you for snapping at them, but they won’t forgive you for not growing. For not being able to stand tall in your own skin and claim joy in a way that will be remarkable. That’s when they’ll stop looking at you, hearing you. Not acknowledging and honoring the pain and frustration you feel will render you disingenuous. Quiet. Possibly invisible.
OWN IT. Grab it, look it in the eyes and say, “I hear you! I’m learning!” Muck about it in as if it’s a mud bath. Get it all over yourself so that you can see what you really look like when you own what you’re feeling.
Be your own witness.
I’m not saying that you should mistreat your family, don’t misunderstand. We need to right wrongs, but we also need to offer some transparency into the difficulties. We need to be honest with the people in our lives to show them that things get hard. Then we need to show them that it gets better and there are ways to sail through those rough seas.
But, for all that is good and right in the world, let’s all stop apologizing for being a human being.
So, the comment I left on that article and the advice I’m giving to myself and all of the messy messes out there is this:
Apologize for nothing. We are humans. We deserve grace.
Make right on wrongs but do not apologize for becoming the woman you need to be in order to care for your family. It will not always be pretty. It can be stern and frustrated and ugly, but this also means that you’re finding your limits, building new boundaries and stretching old ones.
You are becoming even more badass than you were before.
And sometimes that shit is messy.