No, I’m not announcing that I’m a man trapped in a woman’s body. Not that kind of lie.

This phrase actually came up at a writing retreat I attended this past weekend. It’s all the little lies we live on a daily basis. We promote the good, the happy, the “perfect” things in our lives, and hide the sad, the dark, the scary.

I learned so much at this retreat, and the most profound was how much pain we all carry around with us.

And we don’t talk about it.

We bury it under mounds of proclamations of “love” and “favorites”, and gourmet meals we’ve cooked, and beautiful seasonal tablescapes, and plastered smiles, and our “squads” (trust me I’m not judging you; I’m squading over here, too). It all looks so perfect.

Because that’s what everyone wants to see…right?

But what I learned at my writing retreat was how wrong that actually is.

We kept marveling at how close we felt with each other after only spending a few days together. We had raw and honest conversations about the hard stuff we were going through, or have been through. The trauma, the broken relationships, the fears we all live with. It can be difficult to acknowledge these feelings. I’m such a devoutly positive person that I’ve discovered I sometimes allow myself to deny their existence altogether. I’m the worst offender of what I’m talking about here.

Don’t get me wrong, the world would be a drab place if we all just walked around unloading everything painful and sad in our lives on each other. Positivity is necessary for balance.

But it was so refreshing to be a part of a group of women writing and sharing so bravely and authentically with each other.

Authenticity. It was a big topic (in my head) this weekend. It’s what we all crave – in ourselves, in our relationships, in our vocations. As a mom. I want so badly for my kids to live in a purely authentic way, to feel comfortable in their skin. It’s challenging to have authentic relationships when judgment is involved. That was what was so great about this weekend – it was truly a safe place. And so we all shared. And we applauded each other for our bravery – to leave our kids and families for four days, to believe in the importance of self-care, especially as caregivers. And we wrote and we shared, and shared and wrote. I wish I had shared more. I wish I had five more days of this “retreat therapy” as I’ve dubbed it; but alas, real life calls.

I’m back home with my kids, my husband. Trying to figure out how I can live more richly, authentically and “magically” (thank you, Kelle and Claire, for making me see this word in a new way and incorporate it into my daily life).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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