Why I Go to Counseling: My Messy Beautiful

I’ve never shared this in a public forum before, but here goes: I go to counseling twice a month.

The stigma of seeking support is lifting – in fact, April is Counseling Awareness month – but it still takes courage to admit it. Why? Because when you say you’re going to counseling, what you’re really saying is, “I am someone who needs a little help. And that can be a very uncomfortable statement to make.

Personally, I prefer to pretend that I have it all together, that I can handle this crazy thing called life just fine. But there are times in which I reach the limits of my own capacity. In such times, I’m blind to possibility; I need someone trustworthy to point out vistas I could never have seen on my own.

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The Momastery Guest Post (Seriously, Bring Champagne)

This is a big day. My guest post, What We Have Left: A Letter, is live at Momastery.

It’s a break out the kazoos, call a babysitter, and uncork the champagne!!! kind of day. (Or it would be if I had kazoos, or children, or champagne on hand … )

What We Have Left, friendsMomastery, created by Glennon Melton, “is where we practice living bigger, bolder, and truer on this earth. Where we remember what we already know: We can do hard things, love wins, and we belong to each other.”

How do Momastery readers (“Monkees”) do this? Through sharing stories, telling truths, and helping others. A recent Momastery Love Flash Mob raised over $120,000 for families in need … in 10 hours.

When I tried to explain this whole guest post on Momastery to my Mom, I said, “You play tennis; you have been playing for years, because you love it.

One day, you walk out onto your humble, everyday court, and Martina Navratilova walks over and says, “Hi! I got your invitation, and I saw you play. I love your style. Want to rally?”

After which you hyperventilate, because things like that don’t happen in real life … except when they do. G (aka Martina), thank you for inviting me to be a part of the beautiful community you’ve created.

Writing this post broke my heart, and made me whole.

It’s hard to share it, because it’s so personal, and it’s easy to share it, because it’s not about me. The post is about a beautiful friend I was privileged to know and will always, always miss.

The post is live here: What We Have Left: A Letter

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Greetings, fellow Monkees!

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Tempted to Throw in the Towel? Read This.

I love hearing about the times they almost gave up.

Field of Dream(ers), 2013

And by ‘they,’ I mean our heroes. You have your own examples: how Albert Einstein was considered a slow learner in grade school, how Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. As a writer, I take heart every time I hear about a literary great who almost threw in the towel.

I love reading about how the Bronte sisters almost didn’t submit their novels for publication (or claim authorship after they were published under male pseudonyms), or how Madeleine L’Engle tried to give up writing on her fortieth birthday, after a decade of rejection slips  and just before A Wrinkle In Time was published.

And one of my favorite posts on Glennon Melton’s phenomenally successful and beloved Momastery is an obscure one from back in 2010, in which Glennon admits to thoughts of giving up writing online, “… because I’m really, really scared that I’m going to start sucking and [readers aren’t] going to like me anymore.”

Can you imagine? Can you imagine what the world would look like if these women had given up?

All right, I admit it, my world would be rocked more than most, because they are among my favorite writers and my bookcase would be barren without their work. But our heroes don’t have to be famous to matter. Far from it.

I often wonder, in an It’s A Wonderful Life sort of way, “Where would I be without my friend Tammy’s encouragement? Would I ever have learned to drive a stick-shift or self-published two books if she hadn’t believed in me? And what about my friend Brooke? Where would I be if she hadn’t been brave enough to follow her dream of going to Vassar? How would I carry on, stay sane, and keep the faith without my husband, my family, every beloved friend?”

We owe so much to the courage of others.

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All this is on my mind today because I’ve been waiting on some (potentially big) things in my writing life to move forward. After flying through a series of green lights, I’ve been waiting at a long yellow one.

I need to speak in metaphor for now; I promise to give details when (and if) things come together. But I tell you this to say that, if you’re discouraged and down about your dream, I get it. It is hard to keep the faith. It is hard to wait and work and hope for a dream that might never come true.

But what I’ve come to realize in this season of waiting is that nothing is wasted. I’m coming to see that, even if what I hope for never comes to pass, I will still be so thankful to have tried. I will not regret telling my stories, because — regardless of outcome — telling stories is what I was meant to do.

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Here’s the thing: we can give up on our calling. We can quit 50 times a day if that’s what we need to do, if that’s how scared we are. But even so, our callings will NOT give up on us.

Whoever it is you’re supposed to be, whatever it is you’re supposed to do? It follows you around. They don’t call it a ‘calling’ for nothing — it does have a voice. A really, really persistent one.

So for all of you who sense a calling — be it to parent or sing or write or build or teach — please, don’t give up. We need you. We need your specific contribution. You may not see how or why, and that’s okay. Just stay faithful. Just keep on. Just for today.

Because even if it’s just one person that needs what you have to offer … well, that’s everything. Giving hope to one person is more than enough. And you know this already, don’t you? You’ve seen it happen. When you put your heart on the line and one person is moved, everything changes.

In that instant — when someone looks at you through tear-filled eyes after hearing you speak, seeing you dance, or listening to your song — you see that your dream wasn’t really even ABOUT you at all. Instead, it was about that one person who needed you to be exactly who you are.

The value of your gift was never measured by whether or not you had your name in lights. It was always about the people who would have been bereft without it, without you. And when you realize that?

You’re home free.

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Tempted to give up on a dream? Join the conversation in the comments!

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