A friend recently said to me, “I really want what you have“
She is not happy in her marriage and wants out. I told her to be careful what she wishes for.
Am I finally at peace in my life? Yes! Did I fight like hell to get here into this place? Hell yes! Do I work hard every day to maintain my sanity and peace? Yes! It’s not an easy task. And there are plenty of pitfalls.
I hear all the time “You are so strong!“ “You are such an inspiration!“ “I do not know how you do it!” along with all sorts of other similar platitudes. And all of that is great. But I still get lonely.
Would I rather be alone and lonely then in a loveless marriage and feeling alone? Hell yes! Would I rather be alone and lonely than surrounded by people that make me feel alone? No question!
There are plenty of people that are angry about where I am now. There are plenty of people that are jealous of where I am now. There are plenty of people that are envious of where I am now. None of that matters to me. Not one little bit.
What matters is that there are things that I miss. I miss the little things…the family events that didn’t take so much work or planning. The holidays that were not shared with so many different families. The dinners with other couples….to name a few. However, what I have gained and the daily sense of grounded peace I feel…I would not trade that for the world. That is what matters to me most of all.


Visual representations of times, places, people. Images can be real, imagined or manufactured. Images capture a single moment in time but not the context. While we spend time looking sometimes enviously at others photos of holiday and other family celebrations, we know not the daily struggles behind those smiles. Every picture tells a story. Sometimes the story is one we tell ourselves and sometimes it is a fairy tale others want us to believe.
This years holiday gifts in my family were those of photos. My children were gifted photos of childhoods long gone and gifted me with photos of who they are now. Each photo carried a story that was told as we turned the pages of the books and our lives. Memories were shared and new ones created together.
As I sat alone at the end of the night in the glow of the Christmas tree, I scrolled social media. I looked at the images that family and friends had posted. I saw more than the surface in many of those photos. In some I could see strained smiles and sad eyes. In some I could see body language that most would not recognize unless they had lived similar lives. I looked at the often highly curated settings of many photos and saw what many would miss. Most people would just hit the ‘like’ button and keep scrolling but not me. Perhaps it is because in the past I had been the one posting those “impression management” photos to cover for the inadequacies, deep pain and heartache I felt. Perhaps it is because some of those posting the photos had privately shared their struggles with me or because I just knew the reality of their lives.
We all want others to believe that our lives are perfect and without strife or struggle. We see the ‘picture’ that others present and think “why not me?’ or “what is wrong with me?” We step into that place of lack…that feeling that we are somehow inadequate….that feeling that somehow we are not and do not have enough.
STOP THAT! STOP right now!
Life is real and messy and imperfect…and so are we. Which is why I shared the stories behind the photos my kids had in front of them. I shared joyful, happy memories as well as pain-filled moments as we looked at the photos. I owned moments of grief and anger as well as moments when my heart overflowed with love and pride for each/all of them.
The more that we are authentic and real with one another, the more grace we offer each other, the kinder we are……the more love is created. Accept yourself for who you are and love the person looking back at you in the mirror. Accept one another, and yourself, for who they are and love the person…not the image. Every picture tells a story…own your truth and tell your story.