Dear Uncomfortable Feelings

Before I move on to the “posty” part of this post, a couple matters of business.  First of all, thanks to you, the Be Your Tee campaign met its 2-week goal in just 24 hours.  You all swept up 626 shirts in less than a day!  What does that mean?  It means the $5 per shirt donation to the NDSS increases now. Shirts are still on sale throughout the end of next week, so please continue to share.  We’re nearing 1,000 shirts sold.  This is awesome.  You are awesome.

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To answer a few questions:

* If you have questions about sizing, a Youth Small is a 6-8, a Youth Medium is 10-12 and a Youth Large is 14-16.  In the photos, Lainey is wearing a Youth Small.  Nella was wearing a onesie, but I think the 2T tee fits her better. Please direct any specific t-shirt and ordering questions to the NDSS at info@ndss.org.

* I am told that international shipping is available for shirts.  See Teespring site for details.

* All shirts will be shipped once the campaign ends (September 30).  The NDSS receives at least $5 per shirt (given to them by Teespring when the campaign is over), and the rest of the $15 goes to Teespring to cover the cost of supplies, production and shipping.   

*Many of you asked about shirts in larger sizes.  As far as teen and adult shirts, I plan to work with the NDSS again with new kids’ designs as well as stuff for teens and adults.  So patience, grasshoppers. 

Proceeding with business, if you’re interested, I’m over at All Parenting this week with How to Create a Book-Loving Home and at BabyZone with Please Don’t Tell my Son to Man Up!

Okay.  Moving on.  After Dash woke up in the middle of the night last night, I couldn’t go back to sleep.  So I wrote today’s post at 4 in the morning and then crawled back to bed when I finished.  I woke up the second time this morning feeling motivated, grateful and at peace.  Plus, it’s Book Fair day at Lainey’s school today, and who doesn’t love Book Fair?  They sell sparkly pencils at the check-out.

The posty part of today’s post:

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Dear Uncomfortable Feelings

Sometimes, when things are fine and good and there’s no good reason to explain it, I find myself stuck in my head, and when I’m up there instead of out here, it’s not pretty. I’ve felt that way a little bit the past few days, and while we have all these names for it—I’m in the cave, on a funk, Debby Downin’, emotionally jagging—it can only be described as a mudslide of thoughts. What started as “I can’t believe I did that, what was I thinking?” suddenly snowballs into a nice brew of self-loathing poison. I didn’t e-mail her back. I’m so irresponsible. I should be a better school mom. I can’t believe I haven’t cleaned my bathroom in two weeks. God, how long is it going to take me to finish this? I can’t write. I’m messy. I think too much. I care too much. I don’t know what I believe about God. I’m too loud. Why can’t I be more like her? And if I’m not careful, it can end with a deafening, paralyzing I SUCK. And the worst part of it is that I’ve read enough self-awareness books to know that “I SUCK” isn’t a good place to be, and sometimes I’m silly enough to think I’m bigger than that—that I should be beyond “I suck” days—so then I feel doubly horrible for feeling horrible in the first place if that makes any sense. In equation talk, this is like Horrible2 x Horrible2 = All sorts of Horrible x Pi. Actually, I just wanted to say Pi because it makes me feel math-y, something I’ve never been—and oh yeah, I wish I was more mathy. See. More horrible.

I have certain proven remedies for specific feelings of mine. For example, if I miss my family and I’m feeling uninspired? Remedy: Watch You’ve Got Mail and bake cookies with Heidi. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with projects and don’t know where to begin? Remedy: Make a prioritized list and cross things off one by one with a fat red marker. If my house is messy and I can’t find my mojo to clean it? Remedy: Watch five minutes of a Hoarders episode, and I’m not only feeling pretty good about my house, but I’m gloving up to scrub my floors.

“I suck” is a tough one though. You can’t just say to yourself “shut up, you do not” because the latter voice tends to be more David compared to the Goliath of “I suck.” There are slingshots and stones though, and I find one of them in my bathtub books—a collection of books I keep stacked next to my tub. There’s Pema Chodron and Mary Oliver, Brene Brown and Chopra, The Alchemist, The Power of Now and only recently a dusty twenty-year-old Bible—a book I’m trying to reestablish a relationship with after some previous fall-outs, so we’re starting on the basis that it’s full of beautiful poetry. Yesterday though, I pulled Pema and attempted an old Bible trick we used to pull when we wanted God to speak to us. We forced him to by opening our Bible and randomly pointing to a verse with our eyes closed, convincing ourselves that God was leading us to the exact words we needed to hear—like the game we used to play where we’d spin a globe and drag our finger along it until it stopped—and that’s where we’d live when we grew up.

“Speak to me, God,” I’d say. And then I’d open my eyes and read the great words of God meant just for me. And 99.9% of the time, it would be cryptic and unrelated, like “The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.” And then I’d be all, “Um, okay God. That makes perfect sense.” (note to self: try to aim at least for the New Testament with this one because Leviticus might leave you confused)

The cool thing about Pema is that when you randomly open to any page and point to a sentence, there’s a good chance it will actually be exactly what you need to hear (no offense, Bible). So I tried it yesterday, and you’re never going to believe where my finger landed. Page 58: “We have an unfortunate tendency to emphasize our failures.” She goes on to say that when we “lose it,” we should ask ourselves what it is in us that sees that we lost it. “Isn’t it our own wisdom, our own insight, our own natural intelligence?” And when we recognize that, we should celebrate that very fact as proof that we SO don’t suck. Hooray! Put your yellow shoes on, buy a balloon, kick up a dance and feel awesome for self-awareness, for the “Start here” space in the game of Being Better. For being HUMAN.

Heidi and I often bond over funny self-deprecating stories, and we’ve been known to clink beer bottles over tales of “I blew it, how funny is that?” But we’ve been talking about the danger of too much “I blew it, I suck, how funny is that?” and making sure it’s balanced with “How am I going to move towards being better?” Among healthy banter the other night—with a balanced mix of “I blew it,” “I nailed it,” and “I’m working on it”—I brought up a quote from Lainey’s school counselor who, just a couple of weeks ago at a volunteer orientation meeting, reminded parents of what the school aims to teach the kids—that you are only in control of yourself. Your kids, your husband, your friends, the world around you—you can affect them, but you cannot control them. But you can control yourself. So I’m going to take that one thing I can actually control, and I’m running with it. Balls to the walls. What can I do right now to feel better, to be productive, to take charge? I can do the next right thing. And then after that, the next right thing again. One by one. That’s doable. I most certainly don’t have to figure out everything right now, and feeling a little insecure or unsure is not necessarily something that has to be fixed right now. The next right thing might be doing something nice for someone (a great way to get out of your head!) or going for a walk or coloring with your kids or cleaning one room or making the decision not to tell that gossip or maybe opening up a Pema book to play the “point to the wisdom I need” game.

And since I wrote this, I already feel so much better. Sometimes for me, writing is hugging my feelings. Write it, say it, scream it, kick it, sing it, dance it, release it, kiss it goodbye and thank those feelings, however uncomfortable they may be, for bringing you insight.

And because I’m trying to be better about thank-you notes (but not feeling like I suck for writing them, stamping them and finding them on my dresser two months after I intended to send them), I’ll start with a little thank you to my feelings. If it works for Jimmy Fallon, it will work for me.

Dear Uncomfortable Feelings of Insecurity and Ickiness,

I just wanted to send you a quick thank you note for stopping by this week. I guess I have to commend you for your consistency because your occasional arrival patterns have proven you to be a reliable emotion. I noticed your steel-toe boots. Even though you used them to kick me around this week (and honestly, you need to see somebody about why you feel the need to do that), they were still nice boots. I’m looking into upgrading my own boots so I can more efficiently kick you back (I kid, I kid). You know, to be honest, I used to hate you. But I think my hate was really more that I didn’t understand you. Don’t get me wrong—you’re completely unpleasant to be around, and when I’m with you I’m usually only thinking about how long it is before you leave. But every feeling has value, and if I really think about it, you have helped me grow and know myself more. I’ve learned a lot about you too—what feeds you, what quiets you, what stories from the past have made you who you are—and learning more about you makes your occasional presence more bearable. Jumping too quickly to shoo you out the door when you arrive isn’t the kindest reaction now, is it? Sorry about that. Maybe we can work out a relationship—with boundaries, of course—where we help each other more. I had a teacher once who made every student stand up and say something nice about every other student in the classroom, and it was really hard to do for some of the students who weren’t very nice. But I think the teacher knew that the exercise was most important for those kids and for the students who were challenged to find the good in them. It changed our perspective. So, if I had to do that about you I’d say that you’re really good at helping me be vulnerable. And you are a good motivator. Maybe you could be a motivational speaker someday. Or one of those boxing coaches who screams at people that their punch is weak.
Anyway, I’m blubbering. I guess just…thank you for helping me grow.

Sincerely,

Me


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I like pictures and ending with happy little things.

So happy little thing #1:  Dash is working on his downward dog:

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And happy little thing #2: Dude, look at his long legs:

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Peaceful, happy, loving day to you and you and you. Adieu.

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Comments

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  1. Everyone struggles, but I love how you always make them positive.

  2. i was the last t-shirt to be sold to reach the goal! was excited :) LOVE your family.

  3. Dear Kelle, Thank you for your post today! It made my day!
    Your friend,
    Megan

  4. You always turn a struggle into something great. You are an inspiration to a lot of moms. And even my 20 year old is inspired by you. Can not wait to meet you next week.

  5. Totally needed this today. Thank you Kelle! I will bookmark this and come back to it next time I’m feeling this way. Great stuff. :)

  6. Thank you for being a constant inspiration

  7. Oh, The Bible. Sometimes I feel like it’s just no help. Especially after the New Testament. I mean, come on. Makes my head feel like it weighs fifty pounds and is about to roll right off of my neck.

    It’s true though. At least you think about these things. At least you’re self-aware enough to think “I suck” thoughts. Obviously it’s all about the balance but, like you said, it’s all part of a healthy process. You’re wonderful!

  8. I can totally relate to the breathless litany of thoughts that *seem* reasonable, but are really all your hopes and fears and dreams rolled into a big ball or mess. Sometimes it seems we just need to let it pass, knowing it will, and working it out at the same time. I found this encouraging as I currently feel much the same as my own mind twirls it’s own ball of mess. We’ll wait and work it out together.

  9. This post is beyond awesome. Thank you for being vulerable with us and sharing your heart. Love you for it :)

  10. Loved this. I am 8 days out from having my 5th baby and while I’m in the land of love and awe, those yucky, crazy hormones are making me feel at moment sad and selfish and unproductive. It feels good to know that sometimes life is not all unicorns and rainbows for everybody else too. But it will be again soon I’m sure. Sorry you are feeling down. You’ve got mail usually makes everything better for me too, that or tomato soup and lots of Zesta crackers.

  11. You always know JUST how to express ‘it.’ I’ve been feeling much the same lately, and hearing it expressed the way you did here, is oddly helpful. :) Thanks, Kelle.

    http://sarahstapley.blogspot.com/2013/09/poetry-submission-contest.html

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  13. Fellow readers, is it not the best feeling ever when Kelle speaks DIRECTLY to what you are feeling?!

    Kelle, you are my Pema today. My, “speak to me, God” moment came with reading this post. Thank you for reminding me of things that I know are true – I am only in control of myself!

    I’ve been trying to accept that everything isn’t black & white, and although sometimes that might be an easier world, there is BEAUTY & GROWTH in the DISCOMFORT of grey.

  14. ~Hayley, yes!! 😀

    I was working through the ick thoughts on the blog this week too. :) Even if it doesn’t change that the thoughts still come, it feels happier to have thought about coping strategy.

    So glad you’re still giving God a chance. He never gives up on us!

    Your boy is a doll! A very boy doll, but…well, you know what I mean. :)

    Thanks for the post!!!

  15. So well written! NEVER think you can’t write! And so true, everyone feels sucky at least once a day…it keeps us humble lol. But I’ve actually had success with the Bible – not the “open randomly and point your finger” kind, but as a great reminder that life has a purpose. I mean, if the creator of the universe thinks I’m awesome, who am I to disagree, right? :) The thing with the Bible is that it’s mostly a book of stories, so in order to understand you can’t just read stuff out of context. That’s the problem with most people who read one crazy verse and then discard the whole thing. So for beginners, I recommend skipping the whole often confusing Old Testament and just starting at the New one (with the book of Matthew). And you know, I don’t believe God is like a Magic 8 ball that gives us answers on demand, but actually a person who wants a relationship with us. Like every relationship, it takes time and effort, but is SO worth it! He’s the one who gave you these awesome gifts to express yourself, your beautiful family and this great blog, so why not get to know Him :).

  16. Maybe if you tried “baby steps” and a different way then you are familiar with in connecting with God. I too once thought the Bible was impossible…can’t get me enough now! Have you tried a devotional to maybe help you along? I love Streams in the Dessert Devotional and Utmost for His Highest (oswald chambers…deep stuff!). Hope you believe in the Love He has for You :-) I hate funks and you explained it perfectly!

  17. This is exactly what I needed today…Thank You.

  18. “Your kids, your husband, your friends, the world around you—you can affect them, but you cannot control them. But you can control yourself.”

    Yes! I love this and I really needed to read it even though I already know it!

  19. Kelle, I never comment but just needed to say how much this post spoke to me today. I’m in a transitional period (job ended, lease ended, currently staying with my boyfriend while I apply to medical school and look for jobs) and I get stuck in the whole “I’m not qualified enough for this… the longer I wait to apply, the worse of a candidate I’ll be and I’ve already shot myself in the foot…” and yet I keep putting it off. WHY DO I DO THAT? Oh wait, I guess we all face stuff like that.

    Your example of bucking up against the self-doubts is inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing.

  20. I think everyone, but especially mothers, can relate to that feeling of getting more and more overwhelmed by something and how quickly that can build and get out of control if you don’t get a lock on it! I am grateful for posts like this on those days!

  21. I think my beliefs are pretty damn parallel to yours.

    I grew up in the church and then one day my brother did some drugs and thought he was Jesus for a year. I visited him all throughout high school in a mental institute. People laughed, and I told strangers he was dead (it felt like it). I tell you this because you were brave enough to tell us about your story and why you questioned the religion you were taught to believe… (I read your book).

    And because I know “people” and how they might respond here.

    I wish people didn’t look at me like some lost soul… I think questioning the norm, makes you exceptional.

    God doesn’t want us to be sheep, and God knows our heart… and sometimes Buddism makes a whole hell of lot sense and that’s not wrong.

    I’m starting to understand myself and that I believe in all paths to God.

    If we’re honest with ourselves, really honest… we’d know that the religion we were brought up to believe and the culture we were taught to embrace is very much dependent on a point on a map.

    Sorry for the rambles.

    Only recently has the Bible been put back on the shelf. I respect the religion I was raised with, but I am not a Christian.

    Oh and I’m working hardcore on what I think and making it positive, for some reason a comment above about “baby steps” and God kind of rubbed me wrong, and not that she did anything wrong… but the idea that you’re doing something wrong made me twitch with resentment. Because I’m like you. Least I think I’m like you, but you’re more unicorns and rainbows, lol.

    I wonder how many people will read this… I basically wrong a book, you get that for free world! :)

  22. I SO needed to read this today! I’ve been “in a funk” for a couple of weeks now due to various situations/feelings/thoughts/mistakes/etc and have been trying to break out of it. I really like how you said we need to focus on the one right thing, then the next right thing. It really puts into perspective that, even when it feels like everything is going wrong, there are some things that can go right simply if we put the effort into making them go so.

  23. The counsellor’s comment about controlling yourself reminded me of one of my dad’s favorite quotes…”your response is your responsibility”… Love your posts Kelle… So grateful for them…
    Here’s another piece of fatherly wisdom when you are feeling overwhelmed.
    “Need to do- nice to do-nuts to do”… Figure out where each item on the list falls- and it becomes more manageable

  24. I love the letter you wrote your feelings!!! Such a great therapy tool. I can see myself trying that for sure.
    I find that those feelings rear their ugly little heads a lot in the 3rd trimester of a pregnancy.

    I am a “failure” because…

    I have no energy
    My husband has to LIT’rally do everything around the house
    I don’t do enough OT with my girl
    I don’t do enough PT with my girl
    Oh and then speech as well
    I don’t rest enough for the growing baby girl in my belly

    Ughhhh…you get the idea

    Anyway, I love that you share with us. Always a reminder that we are battling the same battles, we bare the same crosses and keeps the compassion for other humans in my life on the front burner.

    Thanks…

  25. I’ve read your blog for years (I think I discovered it in spring 2010 and it was just what I needed then) but never commented, just lurked like the creepy lurker I am. :)

    This might be one of my favorite posts you’ve written, because it’s so timely and needed. I’ve felt strange and off and stuck in my head lately, and I’m not used to it and I don’t like it. Thank you for providing some perspective, for being what Madeleine L’Engle calls a “reference point,” so I can gauge my own feelings. It is helpful to know someone else feels slightly the same way.

  26. thank you for this post…so often i’ve gone to your blog for its beauty, inspiration and sometimes leave feeling like i’m a mess, bad mom or other “you suck” labels because truthfully the image you present is so lovely its hard to imagine your life as anything else. but you are human and feel bad about yourself at times too. wow! such an honest post and i really needed to hear it today.

  27. Hey, longtime reader (since Feb. 2010.) but first comment! Anyway, I am also figuring things out about God and was struck that the book I am currently reading is so relevant to this post. It’s called The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller. Love your writing…thanks for sharing!

  28. Oh how I love the Bible…however; no matter what you believe it isn’t a book for a quick read. It has to be studied….and that ain’t easy all the time. However, the Book of Psalms is a wonderful go to. David does get to our level. Different eras of living but some problems never change. We all have times like this….

  29. Thank you for being my “point to the wisdom I need” game today!! :)

  30. Three things come to mind as I am reading this.

    1. Thank you.

    2. You (and all of us!) were made whole, complete and perfect. You ARE whole, complete and perfect.

    3. Rumi’s The Guest House. Have you read it? http://allpoetry.com/poem/8534703-The_Guest_House-by-Mewlana_Jalaluddin_Rumi

  31. So glad I read this, because after being away from home for a week and arriving before the kids get home from school…I have just sat on my butt, at half a Hershey bar dipped in peanut butter and then hid the other half in my sock drawer so the kids won’t know I took it from the s’more supplies, and made half a list of things that I need to do. Then I sat down and checked mail again. Plus, the house smells funny, and now I wonder if it always smells like this or if the kids just never changed their socks while I was gone. But I read your letter to your feelings with a smile and I felt good, because I like you, and if those feeling can take you down occasionally, then I’m in good company. And now I’ve decided to sit on my butt here until they walk in, because the thing they want most is for me to yell, “Yay I’m home! Come hug me!”, they obviously don’t care about the stinky house and the obvious indent in my chair. <3 peace and love

  32. Ditto to what Jaime said, absolutely & completely!
    Always thankful for your blog Kelle~
    Tejas hugs,
    Melissa

  33. Hi Kelle,

    I really needed to read this, this week. I often get into I suck mode. Not good. Thanks for the reminder to look to those who have inspired me in the past — they always lead me back to motivation.

    – Erin

  34. I’ve been having one of those weeks too. Trying to ‘talk myself out of’ the yucks. I absolutely loved your ‘letter’! Brilliant!

  35. Olivia ( And Kelle, of course) – count me among your numbers! I was also raised in a wonderful Christian family, and attended a church that I loved growing up. We were very involved in the community there, and my parents still are. Then life happened, and the small doubts I had always had grew bigger. One of my sisters died of cancer and the other became a drug dealing lesbian whose girlfriend does porn. Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you think they should. (Not that I have a problem with the lesbian part – more the drugs and career choices).

    I was so anti-church and anti-religion for so long that it seemed like that’s the way I always would be, but recently I find myself more open to the idea of God again, for a number of reasons. I’m not at the point of opening a bible, and I don’t think I’ll ever be a Christian again, but I’m open. I’m still learning. I’ve even agreed to have my upcoming wedding at my parents church, which shocked and elated my mom.

    So thanks. This was rambly, but really I just wanted to say I’m there with you on this journey and I’m glad to know there are others like me who were brought up to believe one thing and find that they still have a lot to figure out.

  36. I propose that many of the world’s problems can be put pushed aside for 2 hours while viewing You’ve Got Mail and baking cookies. Amen?

    And speaking in Biblical terms…start with the Gospel of John. The message is pure love.

  37. I recently read Mindset by Carol Dwerk and loved it. It was helpful to me as a person and as a parent.

    One of the things she suggests is talking to our kids about how we failed and overcame that day or what mistake we made and what learned from. I loved that suggestion and we do it at dinnertime at our house now.

    Some days, it’s certainly easier than others to come up with a “fail.” But we are only limited to mentioning only one!

  38. I have been slacking on reading the Kelle blogs…I mean REALLY slacking. It was good to visit you again and I must add that your lil guy looks just like you.

  39. I absolutely love this post, Kelle – you are such a funny, interesting and brilliant person! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  40. “We have an unfortunate tendency to emphasize our failures.” — I love that line and it feels like I needed to read this today. I get this. I think, many of us get this. And your words always resonate with me. I’m going to look up that book now and put it in my Kindle cue.

  41. uff! Perfect timing to hear these words!

  42. This is one I’ll have to come back to again and again- one of those proven remedies when the insecurity and self-loathing start breathing fire down my neck.

  43. Thanks for this. It’s been an epic ‘I suck’ week. Reckon I’ll need some help to get the kicking-back-boots, but I’ll get there. Sometime.

  44. Thanks for your post today, makes me feel so much better to know that I am not alone in the world with my crazy ‘I suck’ feelings! I don’t know if I should be worried though or thankful that we are all crazy as each other 😉
    Thank you for for-going sleep and sending this post out into blog world! xxx
    Ps your wee man is just too cute for words!

  45. I’ve been reading you for a while & I love you being always positive, even about all this ‘I suck’ thing.
    For me, as well, writing is *the way*.

    And Kelle, if you could do a post on your favorite children’s books it would be so wonderful! (just read your article at All Parenting & I am actually doing the same: buying books for my future kids)

  46. Oh Kelle, you are just awesome. I was taught to “go to the Word” and open the Bible for a magic verse to answer my questions too. I knew of 3 lady friends of my mom’s who all thought they were marrying the same man in our church because God had told them so through the scriptures. I wonder what God thought about that, (and the man didn’t choose any of them, instead he settled down with the piano player, little hussy : }- ).
    I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out what I believe. I’ve been really helped by a new translation of the Bible, called the Voice. It’s more modern language and written to feel more like a story. And I think I will always believe this line from C.S. Lewis’ “The Last Battle,”: “Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long or so truly. For all find what they truly seek.”

  47. I freaking LOVE the way you write. And as a bonus, your kids are so cute, I want to jump through the screen and kiss their cheeks.

    -your creepy blog reader 😉

  48. Thank you! I feel like I did absolutely NOTHING right today and I so needed to hear this.

  49. You are great writer. Your vulnerability makes you greater.
    I am grateful every time I sit with you for the time and care you take in your life, to live it and to share it with others.
    Take care. You deserve it.
    (Ps. I’d better get back to that blossoming disagreement between siblings happening in the other room…)

  50. Apparently a lot of women are struggling with the sucky feelings right now. I have been for a few weeks.
    I wonder if it’s because this time of year we put a lot of ‘things’ on hold while we try and get kids ready for school, and then adjusted to school and homework. And finally a couple weeks later when you feel like you have time to breathe, you realize, ‘Holy Crap! Look at the pile of stuff I have pushed and pushed for weeks…how on earth will I do it all?!!!’
    The past few days I have just taken a breather and realized its all good if my bathroom doesn’t get cleaned for awhile, or my laundry not folded. I will get to it tomorrow or someday after that.
    And when I woke up this morning, instead of panic, I had this incredible feeling of, ‘I got this.’
    Reading your post just solidified my feelings. Thank you!

  51. Yup…know those feelings well. I honestly think they are part of life, friend. Don’t dwell on them. Use them to be better and you’ll grow. (That’s what I tell myself.)

  52. Well said, friend…when I’m bashing myself for not breaking the time-space continuum, my husband will often say, “I’d love to meet your internal auditor. And take him out at the kneecaps.” True, right? It’s like we audit ourselves against this spreadsheet that doesn’t exist, and it’s easy to check the fail column when it’s utter bullshit to start with. A close friend taught me her mantra: “Do your best. No more. No less. Fuck the rest.” xo

  53. I so needed this today. Thank you for your honesty, always.

  54. I so needed this today. Thank you for your honesty, always.

  55. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts and this post today. I often times have those “I suck” moments, and it is most certainly a vortex hard to get out from! Its nice knowing I am not alone with that. And as if your reassuring words did not make me feel better on their own, you had to go and add some great photographs of 2 of your adorable kids! Love your babe doing the downward dog :)
    Take care,
    ellieliz

  56. Kelle….
    Hey, I wrote a Blog post during ungodly hours recently–my creative Brain Juices seemingly come alive when I’m supposed to be sleeping–I had been fighting chest cold germs and was rudely awoken by an asthma attack!! 😉
    I’ve been there. We all have from time to time. Trust me on that one. 😉
    “I most certainly don’t have to figure out everything right now, and feeling a little insecure or unsure is not necessarily something that has to be fixed right now.”. Patience is a virtue!! 😉
    “Sometimes for me, writing is hugging my feelings. Write it, say it, scream it, kick it, sing it, dance it, release it, kiss it goodbye and thank those feelings, however uncomfortable they may be, for bringing you insight.”. As a fellow writer, I can’t but agree!! 😉
    I loved the closing thank-you letter!! 😉
    –Raelyn

  57. Thank you so much, this post met me right where I was – stuck in a world of impatience, feeling stuck in a place of not feeling like I am reaching my potential. Just tired. I appreciate how you can put into words what I need to hear. Bless you

  58. Thank you for writing. Made me think of this
    http://butiwillrejoice.blogspot.com/2013/08/being-fighter.html

    it actually helped.

  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. I dont need to play the finger in a book game now (yes I used to do that with a bible too) because this post did the job instead. I too have been hanging out with self loathing and boy we’ve been having a party. I cant tell you why either. But as is often the case with your blog you made me feel better. Thank you Kelle xxx

  61. You hit the nail on the head, Kelle. Thank you so much for your words, they came at a time when I needed them. Those feelings were arriving at my door just this week :) And I’m so with you on the beautiful poetry on the Bible, I too have had a lot of ups and downs and that’s great perpesctive. Thank you!!

  62. Okay third times a charm…have no idea where my last two comments went:/

    I know you’ve been hurt by the church. It’s a sad fact that many “Christians” actually push people from Christ. I so wish we could just curl up, coffee in hand, and share faith experiences, talk truth, and love…pray it all out. Oh that would be amazing.

    The fact is I’m a flawed mess and the ONLY thing that makes me whole is His grace, mercy and forgiveness. It doesn’t make sense. It’s too much for my small human mind to completely understand, but that’s where childlike faith comes in. It’s something you are just drawn to. Praying for you as you search for answers girl. Love you.

  63. I hear you.

    http://jivenjavas.blogspot.com

    And cheers to the next right thing. *clink*

  64. Kelle
    You super don’t suck. Even if it’s just my small perspective as a fan. But here’s the truth about the reason you don’t suck… You were wonderfully created in His image. He loves you in an unspeakable unfathomable kind of away. (But I think you already know that). You super don’t suck because you are a princess. A daughter of the king.

  65. Dear Kelle,

    Even when you are in a funk, you are uplifting… I love you for that.

    You are so many wonderful things.

    Thank you.

    Kristen

  66. I needed to read this today. Thank you, thank you.

  67. You have inspired me for several years, Kelle. I found a treasure last week that begs me to send it to you… I bought it for you and would love an address so it finds its new loving home with you! My email is margie.mclaughlin1@gmail.com Many thanks!

  68. Thank you for your honesty. I needed to read this today. :)

  69. I’m reading Enjoying Where You Are on the Way to Where You Are Going: Learning How to Live a Joyful Spirit-Led Life by Meyer, Joyce and it really speaks to similar emotions. I’m really enjoying it.

  70. Love. This.

  71. This post was exactly what I needed to read. I have been in a slump and found your words comforting. Thanks.

  72. I just loved the honesty in this post. I just wrote about having a terrible morning with my kids yesterday http://www.beautifullifemadeseasy.blogspot.cand realized afterwards, from the facebook comments that I received, that when you write about struggles it somehow makes everyone else feel better–shows us that we all connect somehow. Thanks Kelle for this!!

  73. Your blog is usually relatable or inspiring but this one is going to strike some major chords. We all deeply want to be “happy” all the time but it’s just not possible and that’s as okay. It’s as normal as the changing of seasons for a woman (especially in our culture) to have down days. I often have to put the “beat down” on thoughts of being a failure. Having a game plan for that normal happening is just good sense. Stock up wood for the winter, set aside joyful things for the down times. Thoughts, books, beliefs, special outdoor locations and people are all go to resources for me.

    The Bible is full of Paradoxes- two things that do not seem to be able to exist together yet do. Weirdly that appeals to me on some crazy level.

  74. ” Your kids, your husband, your friends, the world around you—you can affect them, but you cannot control them. But you can control yourself.”
    I so needed this today. Thank you so much. And thank you for always opening up to us and letting us know that everyone struggles. We all feel down, we all feel pain. It’s how we pick ourselves up and go that makes it worthwhile.

  75. Thank you for your words! I’ve done the same game with the bible and often have the same experience. But I know there is wisdom and love and truth in it and in The Book of Mormon, also a beautiful book of scripture. Thank you for your thoughts!

  76. You’re just awesome. I’m on the same page, and apparently so many others are too.

  77. You: Do Not Suck

    :)
    Xo

  78. Wow! I thought I was the only one who receives unwelcome visits from the black dog as I like to call my own icky days, I too have struggledd this week, illness, stresses from the outside world, next time I shall invite him in and offer him some doggy treats maybe he just is cold and wants some love!

    Any how just want to say your blog is inspirational, I have followed you for only a short while but truly find your words honest, open and motivational, keep going you are doing just fine!

    Maria

  79. Thank you for this post. I had a complete meltdown yesterday over the phone with my husband. He was so sweet and was trying hard to understand what set me off. The problem was I didn’t even know what was really setting me off…I just was having a moment in my head which turned into me having guilt over not volunteering more of my time at the elemenatary school, upset over the fact that I blew off my co-workers for lunch the other day, etc, etc. Your post made me feel less alone and MORE understood. Thank you for putting it out there….

  80. Love this inspirational post. I, as well as many others here, have been feeling this way recently. I’m curious what Pema Chodron book you are referring too? I would love to have that on hand for these weeks.

    Thanks,
    Melissa

  81. I understand that you are possibly having hard feelings toward God and I don’t blame you. Everyone gets that feeling at some point where you sit there and ask “God, why have you picked this life for me?” I ask him that all the time. But please don’t go criticizing and putting labels on Christians, it’s kind of offensive. We are not all like that.

  82. I so wish I could write as well as you, but…..I can enjoy your thoughts and be inspired by them…We are all so unique, and I am learning to value my uniqueness even while “wishing just a bit” that I had some of the qualities I see in others. Every word you write speaks to my soul. Thanks!

  83. Kelle, thank you for sharing your perspective on this. I believe we all feel these moments and at the time, it feels impossible to bring ourselves out of it. I like the way you approached this. Thanks for your inspiration!
    gloria

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Dear Uncomfortable Feelings

Before I move on to the “posty” part of this post, a couple matters of business.  First of all, thanks to you, the Be Your Tee campaign met its 2-week goal in just 24 hours.  You all swept up 626 shirts in less than a day!  What does that mean?  It means the $5 per shirt donation to the NDSS increases now. Shirts are still on sale throughout the end of next week, so please continue to share.  We’re nearing 1,000 shirts sold.  This is awesome.  You are awesome.

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To answer a few questions:

* If you have questions about sizing, a Youth Small is a 6-8, a Youth Medium is 10-12 and a Youth Large is 14-16.  In the photos, Lainey is wearing a Youth Small.  Nella was wearing a onesie, but I think the 2T tee fits her better. Please direct any specific t-shirt and ordering questions to the NDSS at info@ndss.org.

* I am told that international shipping is available for shirts.  See Teespring site for details.

* All shirts will be shipped once the campaign ends (September 30).  The NDSS receives at least $5 per shirt (given to them by Teespring when the campaign is over), and the rest of the $15 goes to Teespring to cover the cost of supplies, production and shipping.   

*Many of you asked about shirts in larger sizes.  As far as teen and adult shirts, I plan to work with the NDSS again with new kids’ designs as well as stuff for teens and adults.  So patience, grasshoppers. 

Proceeding with business, if you’re interested, I’m over at All Parenting this week with How to Create a Book-Loving Home and at BabyZone with Please Don’t Tell my Son to Man Up!

Okay.  Moving on.  After Dash woke up in the middle of the night last night, I couldn’t go back to sleep.  So I wrote today’s post at 4 in the morning and then crawled back to bed when I finished.  I woke up the second time this morning feeling motivated, grateful and at peace.  Plus, it’s Book Fair day at Lainey’s school today, and who doesn’t love Book Fair?  They sell sparkly pencils at the check-out.

The posty part of today’s post:

************

Dear Uncomfortable Feelings

Sometimes, when things are fine and good and there’s no good reason to explain it, I find myself stuck in my head, and when I’m up there instead of out here, it’s not pretty. I’ve felt that way a little bit the past few days, and while we have all these names for it—I’m in the cave, on a funk, Debby Downin’, emotionally jagging—it can only be described as a mudslide of thoughts. What started as “I can’t believe I did that, what was I thinking?” suddenly snowballs into a nice brew of self-loathing poison. I didn’t e-mail her back. I’m so irresponsible. I should be a better school mom. I can’t believe I haven’t cleaned my bathroom in two weeks. God, how long is it going to take me to finish this? I can’t write. I’m messy. I think too much. I care too much. I don’t know what I believe about God. I’m too loud. Why can’t I be more like her? And if I’m not careful, it can end with a deafening, paralyzing I SUCK. And the worst part of it is that I’ve read enough self-awareness books to know that “I SUCK” isn’t a good place to be, and sometimes I’m silly enough to think I’m bigger than that—that I should be beyond “I suck” days—so then I feel doubly horrible for feeling horrible in the first place if that makes any sense. In equation talk, this is like Horrible2 x Horrible2 = All sorts of Horrible x Pi. Actually, I just wanted to say Pi because it makes me feel math-y, something I’ve never been—and oh yeah, I wish I was more mathy. See. More horrible.

I have certain proven remedies for specific feelings of mine. For example, if I miss my family and I’m feeling uninspired? Remedy: Watch You’ve Got Mail and bake cookies with Heidi. If I’m feeling overwhelmed with projects and don’t know where to begin? Remedy: Make a prioritized list and cross things off one by one with a fat red marker. If my house is messy and I can’t find my mojo to clean it? Remedy: Watch five minutes of a Hoarders episode, and I’m not only feeling pretty good about my house, but I’m gloving up to scrub my floors.

“I suck” is a tough one though. You can’t just say to yourself “shut up, you do not” because the latter voice tends to be more David compared to the Goliath of “I suck.” There are slingshots and stones though, and I find one of them in my bathtub books—a collection of books I keep stacked next to my tub. There’s Pema Chodron and Mary Oliver, Brene Brown and Chopra, The Alchemist, The Power of Now and only recently a dusty twenty-year-old Bible—a book I’m trying to reestablish a relationship with after some previous fall-outs, so we’re starting on the basis that it’s full of beautiful poetry. Yesterday though, I pulled Pema and attempted an old Bible trick we used to pull when we wanted God to speak to us. We forced him to by opening our Bible and randomly pointing to a verse with our eyes closed, convincing ourselves that God was leading us to the exact words we needed to hear—like the game we used to play where we’d spin a globe and drag our finger along it until it stopped—and that’s where we’d live when we grew up.

“Speak to me, God,” I’d say. And then I’d open my eyes and read the great words of God meant just for me. And 99.9% of the time, it would be cryptic and unrelated, like “The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.” And then I’d be all, “Um, okay God. That makes perfect sense.” (note to self: try to aim at least for the New Testament with this one because Leviticus might leave you confused)

The cool thing about Pema is that when you randomly open to any page and point to a sentence, there’s a good chance it will actually be exactly what you need to hear (no offense, Bible). So I tried it yesterday, and you’re never going to believe where my finger landed. Page 58: “We have an unfortunate tendency to emphasize our failures.” She goes on to say that when we “lose it,” we should ask ourselves what it is in us that sees that we lost it. “Isn’t it our own wisdom, our own insight, our own natural intelligence?” And when we recognize that, we should celebrate that very fact as proof that we SO don’t suck. Hooray! Put your yellow shoes on, buy a balloon, kick up a dance and feel awesome for self-awareness, for the “Start here” space in the game of Being Better. For being HUMAN.

Heidi and I often bond over funny self-deprecating stories, and we’ve been known to clink beer bottles over tales of “I blew it, how funny is that?” But we’ve been talking about the danger of too much “I blew it, I suck, how funny is that?” and making sure it’s balanced with “How am I going to move towards being better?” Among healthy banter the other night—with a balanced mix of “I blew it,” “I nailed it,” and “I’m working on it”—I brought up a quote from Lainey’s school counselor who, just a couple of weeks ago at a volunteer orientation meeting, reminded parents of what the school aims to teach the kids—that you are only in control of yourself. Your kids, your husband, your friends, the world around you—you can affect them, but you cannot control them. But you can control yourself. So I’m going to take that one thing I can actually control, and I’m running with it. Balls to the walls. What can I do right now to feel better, to be productive, to take charge? I can do the next right thing. And then after that, the next right thing again. One by one. That’s doable. I most certainly don’t have to figure out everything right now, and feeling a little insecure or unsure is not necessarily something that has to be fixed right now. The next right thing might be doing something nice for someone (a great way to get out of your head!) or going for a walk or coloring with your kids or cleaning one room or making the decision not to tell that gossip or maybe opening up a Pema book to play the “point to the wisdom I need” game.

And since I wrote this, I already feel so much better. Sometimes for me, writing is hugging my feelings. Write it, say it, scream it, kick it, sing it, dance it, release it, kiss it goodbye and thank those feelings, however uncomfortable they may be, for bringing you insight.

And because I’m trying to be better about thank-you notes (but not feeling like I suck for writing them, stamping them and finding them on my dresser two months after I intended to send them), I’ll start with a little thank you to my feelings. If it works for Jimmy Fallon, it will work for me.

Dear Uncomfortable Feelings of Insecurity and Ickiness,

I just wanted to send you a quick thank you note for stopping by this week. I guess I have to commend you for your consistency because your occasional arrival patterns have proven you to be a reliable emotion. I noticed your steel-toe boots. Even though you used them to kick me around this week (and honestly, you need to see somebody about why you feel the need to do that), they were still nice boots. I’m looking into upgrading my own boots so I can more efficiently kick you back (I kid, I kid). You know, to be honest, I used to hate you. But I think my hate was really more that I didn’t understand you. Don’t get me wrong—you’re completely unpleasant to be around, and when I’m with you I’m usually only thinking about how long it is before you leave. But every feeling has value, and if I really think about it, you have helped me grow and know myself more. I’ve learned a lot about you too—what feeds you, what quiets you, what stories from the past have made you who you are—and learning more about you makes your occasional presence more bearable. Jumping too quickly to shoo you out the door when you arrive isn’t the kindest reaction now, is it? Sorry about that. Maybe we can work out a relationship—with boundaries, of course—where we help each other more. I had a teacher once who made every student stand up and say something nice about every other student in the classroom, and it was really hard to do for some of the students who weren’t very nice. But I think the teacher knew that the exercise was most important for those kids and for the students who were challenged to find the good in them. It changed our perspective. So, if I had to do that about you I’d say that you’re really good at helping me be vulnerable. And you are a good motivator. Maybe you could be a motivational speaker someday. Or one of those boxing coaches who screams at people that their punch is weak.
Anyway, I’m blubbering. I guess just…thank you for helping me grow.

Sincerely,

Me


************

I like pictures and ending with happy little things.

So happy little thing #1:  Dash is working on his downward dog:

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And happy little thing #2: Dude, look at his long legs:

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Peaceful, happy, loving day to you and you and you. Adieu.

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