The “Can’t Also” Crisis and Sorting Out Identity Issues at 35 Years Old: also known as A Great Many Things, Part 2

When I was fifteen years old, my then stepdad reprimanded me once for listening to Kenny G. My stepdad was a kind man and was only following the trends of our church, but even so, I was pissed.  “It’s too worldly” was his case, perhaps justified by the fact that Peabo Bryson had to pop in to the Breathless album and sin up a perfectly good instrumental song with the lusty lyrics “Let’s take a slow and easy ride, just lay back and let love take us over.”

But still—Kenny G, worldly?! He’s like Jesus with a saxophone—a wholesome alternative to the lasciviousness other kids my age were listening to. And yes, we casually used that word to describe Top 40 Hits.

The Kenny G Kibosh left me with Steve Green, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir—my mom’s favorite—and Amy Grant, but only the El Shaddai years before she slid over to The Other Side.  The bottom line was Girls Who Love God can’t also love secular music. 

So begins the Can’t Also Crisis.
Also known as:  Why I Struggle with Identity Issues at 35.

It’s not just Faith vs. Sexy Tunes.  It’s Everything.  I often pigeonhole myself into categories, as if a woman who wants to change the world can’t also love cute shoes.  Or a mom who sings of the joys of holding a sleeping baby can’t also want to learn more about business.  Or an advocate for a cause of great importance can’t also advocate for a cause of little importance like wearing lipstick or buying art or making crafts.

This little crisis has followed me my entire life, so much that when the Spice Girls hit stardom, I actually stressed out about who I would want to be if I had to be a spice.  I loved Posh’s style, but some days you just need tennis shoes, you know?  Sporty Spice is fun.  And Baby Spice?  I love babies!  And then there’s the bold, can’t-mess-with-me badassness of Scary Spice.  I wanted to be them all.  Which probably explains why I love Allspice so much—Mmmm.  Hot wassail.  I digress.

Who said Posh can’t also be Sporty?  We intersect areas of interest in a million different ways all the time, and that’s fantastic.  We certainly don’t have to be everything (and trying to be is a whole ‘nother story), but if we want to explore a little bit of everything, that’s okay.

So why in my mind, even after thinking and writing about this so many times, do I still treat my loves and areas of interest like people who can’t let their food touch on a plate?  Motherhood and business and fashion and faith and family and world-changing and creativity and community awareness and activism and advocacy and home decorating and politics and having fun should all be able to be cooked up in a tasty casserole that isn’t nitpicked by my own need to compartmentalize all these passions that a woman might have.

I think a little bit of analysis is good—it makes us contemplate our beliefs and ascribe some accountability to our choices.  My sister and I recently got into a discussion about the ways we teach and model to our children what we believe about beauty.  “I teach my kids that what’s most important is inward beauty—that it doesn’t matter what they look like on the outside, and yet,” I argued, “I went to the MAC store twice this week because I’m hung up on the fact that the orange tones in the red lipstick I just bought make my teeth look yellow.”

Maybe it has nothing to do with what I think and more to do with what other people think because, listen—I care what other people think.  I just do, even though I’m learning not to so much.  Trained as a child in the religious world to analyze and reanalyze every action and thought to make sure every dot connected and lined up perfectly to God, I find myself still struggling to painstakingly find equilibrium with every choice I make today.  Make sure everything adds up, aligns, checks out with what you believe. It’s like I’m looking for errors and contradictions in my own life, and there’s a word for people who do that in other people’s lives:  Assholes.  I’m being an asshole to my own self, and I need to quit.

Do I live in a way that contradicts what I preach?  Maybe in some ways I do, and that’s okay.  Everything doesn’t have to line up perfectly.  Things will align eventually.

I started reading How to Live late last year (haven’t finished it; it’s a slow but good read), a biography on the essayist, Montaigne.  On page seven, I highlighted in yellow crayon (because I couldn’t find a marker) this paragraph about contradiction that resonated deeply with me:

“Mantaigne lets his material pour out, and never worries if he has said one thing on one page and the opposite overleaf, or even in the next sentence.  He could have taken as his motto Walt Whitman’s lines:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes)

…Even when his thoughts are most irrational and dreamlike, his writing follows them.  “I cannot keep my subject still,” he says.  “It goes along befuddled and staggering, with a natural drunkenness.”  Anyone is free to go with him as far as seems desirable, and let him meander off by himself if it doesn’t…(and here’s the clincher)…sooner or later, your paths will cross again.” (Sarah Bakewell)

I’ve come back to that phrase—“sooner or later, your paths will cross again”—so many times.  Shielding, defending, purposely preventing natural human contradictions just to make sure our identity lines up perfectly outwardly is exhausting and, frankly, a waste of energy that could be poured into our loves of life.  When we truly let go and love what we love, without worrying if all of those loves line up, the contradictions will eventually cancel each other out, and our paths will cross again.

Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful…and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.” -Zadie Smith, On Beauty

If I’m normally inclined to keep the food on my plate separated, then this weekend I made one helluva casserole with all that I love.  Amid Googling “mint green loafers,” searching for a DJ for the Naples Buddy Walk this year and swaying my baby to sleep under the moon in a precious motherhood moment, I discovered Makers.com, a collection of powerful women’s stories where female clothing designers, global activists, youth empowerment organizers, authors, CEOs, educators, entrepreneurs, architects, comedians, actresses, musicians, athletes and scientists are all recognized in one place for making an impact—for affecting the female human race.  Talk about Kenny G meeting Jesus.  All of these areas of interest that I normally exhaust myself in trying to connect the dots to dissolve contradictions?  They’re having an Empowerment Potluck together, and I’m only invited when I let go of my shit.

Here’s the thing:  when you stop trying so goddamn hard to make the dots connect, they’ll connect.

Be who you are.  Love what you love.

As my friend Wylie said just today: “When you’re not being who you really are because you’re trying to make sure you’re being real, then you’re denying who you are—that, in turn, is phony.”

Don’t try to be good; be good. Don’t try to impact the world; impact the world. Don’t try to connect the dots or dissolve the contradictions or explain what it is you love and why. Just do your thing. Be your good.  Love your loves.  The dots will connect, and a beautiful picture you’ll create.

As I started writing this post this morning, I checked into Instagram and landed upon this update from an international blogger I follow, @soynuriaperez–a redeeming confirmation that social media, when assembled appropriately and even when luring you away from what you need to be doing at the present, can hold truth and beauty and exactly what you need to hear:

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 “The simplicity that you obtain as a result of controlling your complexity is most satisfying.” Steve Jobs

How do we control that complexity?  All those loves, those interests, those contradictions?  We stop trying to control them.  We invite them all to a party and trust that they’ll get along with each other and find connections naturally, without our micromanaging.

Fashion, meet Faith.  I think you two might find something in common.  Motherhood, meet Wants to Change the World. You two are totally going to hit it off.”

Play Pharrell’s “Happy” because that will get everybody dancing.
Order a glass of wine–just one–and sip it slowly.
Stand back.  Quietly take it in.
Don’t freak out if not everyone is choosing to act crazy on the dance floor.
Let all those people, all those areas, all those loves, all those parts of you come alive on their own time, in their own way.

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A charismatic dancer can also sit quietly and watch from the sidelines.
A nurturing mother can also know all the words and moves to “Ice, Ice Baby.”
A humble thinker can also take silly selfies.
An analytical CPA can also dance barefoot in a puddle.
A world traveler can also burrow into the safe comforts of home.
A critical scientist can also write deep, reflective poems.
A woman can read and discuss Newsweek and also The New YorkerMarie Claire, Christianity Today and Scrapbooks, Etc.

Embrace it all.

My dad reminded me tonight, “Do you realize you just defended your right to use a swear word in a blog post in the same conversation that you told me you cried when you heard a preschool class sing Jesus Loves Me?”

You’re right, Dad.
I am a great many things, and I’m proud of it.

I cry when I stare at my sleeping kids–I can’t believe they belong to me, and the quiet moments when I get to watch them breathe and contemplate their every smile, how they need me, how they’ve changed our lives–it overwhelms me.
I swear like a sailor and censor it all for this blog.
I believe in God, and communicating with him and connecting myself to his purpose is an important part of my life.
Sometimes, I question if God exists.
I believe strongly in owning your voice and making a meaningful impact in the world with what you have to offer.
I often feel vulnerable and unworthy of making an impact.
I am passionate about changing people’s views on disabilities and making the world a more accepting place for marginalized individuals.
I read fashion magazines and stress out when my toe nail polish gets chippy.
I love classical music.
I love techno music.
I love ballet.
I love dirty dancing.
I care about the environment.
I use a lot of paper towel.
I respect Buddhist faith and Jewish faith and Muslim faith and Christianity.
I love my atheist friends.
I dream of living on a quiet prairie,watching my children run in fields of wildflowers,smiling in the hot sun.
I dream of living in the big city, hosting parties, visiting museums, hailing cabs to our next big adventure.
I want to help people, connect with people, make the sad feel loved.
I like to buy stuff.
I like to make stuff.
I like to give stuff away.
Sometimes I feel so pissed off, I could knock walls down with my anger.
Sometimes I feel so weak and weepy, I could crumble if you looked at me funny.
Sometimes I feel so strong, I’ll say whatever I think and not give a shit whether anyone agrees or not.

But all the time, I am complicated–maybe even contradictory.

Ladies–all the Ladies, let me hear you say:  We are a great many things.

Come back Wednesday when I’ll teach you how to turn a stiletto heel into a Bible cover that doubles as a diaper bag and a drink flask.


Leave a Comment
  1. I am SO coming back for that craft day! 😉

  2. My most favorite of all of your posts, friend. Well done.

    My first concert was Kenny G with my dad. It totally killed my “cool” factor in high school. Damn you, Mr. G!

  3. Love the picture of Lainey & this whole post, swear words & all! In fact, the swear words make it better.

  4. I have had one of those days… you know? Alarm didn’t go off, fight with boyfriend over something silly… boss not at work and STILL hasn’t completed work due 6 weeks ago.. yelled at by client… coffee spilled on new dress… sick cousin… friend hurting… dad still recovering… worry, worry, worry… and so it goes… on and on.

    This post was exactly what I needed to read today. Exactly.

    So thank you. Really – sharing is so brave and we need more of it… please never underestimate the impact you have on your readers. Some days you really do pick me up.

  5. love love love love love

  6. I just loved your blog today, Kellie! Thank you. One of my favourite authors, Brennan Manning, wrote some truths regarding contradictions and in turn, more acceptance of myself …
    ” I believe and I doubt, I trust and I get discouraged…” Yes, we are complex people, but oh, so interesting:)
    Carol, Vancouver, BC

  7. I had this long ramble of a post that I was going to write but I deleted it. I just wanted to say that I feel exactly the way you do (only with a little bit more midlife crisis thrown in) and I really appreciate that you wrote it so that I could connect with it tonight. Thank you!

  8. Thank you. Thank you for words and thank you for your meaning. It’s amazing to me that you can connect with people everywhere and in every walk of life. I am a graduating college student and I somehow find an incredibly sense of calm and meaning in the words you speak. You and I are in completely different points in life, but you somehow manage to give me a sense of comfort and understanding. I do not often reach out and tell internet strangers for impacting my life. But, I feel that it’s necessary here. Thank you. You give me guidance, and hope, and happiness. Your words and your life inspire me. Let me say thank you one more time. Geez. But honestly, wholeheartedly, thank you.

    – A 21 year old girl figuring out life in the midst of the chaos of graduation.

  9. Damn, girl. You are finding your voice! Before 40, even. Can’t wait to read Wednesday’s blog.

  10. Made me cry. My favourite post EVER!!!!!!!

  11. Everything you’re feeling and every word you’ve written is valid. I remember being the same way in my 30’s….not sure if that’s the way it is across the board for 30-something women, but I remember the worry and frustration dissipating after I turned 40. And of course, there’s much more to my shift in perspective, my story, my past, but to state it simply and briefly, now at 46, I can finally say, without a doubt, I like me. I still have issues, but they’re not defining my worth…nor are other people’s opinions about me.

    Praying this bit of wisdom is comforting and relieving for you. And I pray the dissipating has already started in your year of 35 :).

    And yikes! I actually admitted to having wisdom….I’ve NEVER referred to myself as wise, nor do I give advice. But maybe, just maybe, I might know some stuff at 46….LOL!


  12. I am a crunchy organic, conservative, Jewish, attachment parenting older mom of four! I don’t fit anywhere. Or maybe I fit everywhere? ;).

  13. It’s my birthday eve and this is just what I needed to read as I ponder life a tad harder than normal and worry about waking up (gulp) a year older, but not yet wiser.

    Thank you! Oh the sweet goodness of the Internet…you’re a gem!

  14. My mom always says that her 30’s were hardest, her 40’s were fabulous and the 50’s even better. She just turned 60 (WOW) which scares me now just typing that. I can’t believe my mom is SIXTY. But I digress. I love all of your contradictions. And I’m dying that your step father reprimanded you for listening to Kenny G. KENNY G. That will have me smiling for days…so thank you. We are a great many things. =)

    XOXO, Jenn
    The Stylish Housewife

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  17. I can’t wait until you are 50!! What profound things will you share? I’m 50 and it’s taking me this long to understand and empathize what you’ve learned in your 30’s. Boy, oh, boy!

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  19. Giving myself permission to be a contradiction. Why have I never thought of this? Mind blown. Thank you x
    Sarah @stayathometerritory

  20. Hi Kelle – I am an often reader, not very often commenter. But this post!! Oh my goodness you write thoughts that I have had and this convergence of: ‘I am x but can also be y’, is something that resonates with me.

    It may be a thing with having a daughter and seeing a mini version of yourself grow up. The whole issue of loving clothes and make up is looming large for us right now; my daughter is 12 and I see her growing up so fast and wanting to wear make up and wear clothes that are not for her age group. It’s really hard to know what to do; in some senses she has to grow up and I accept that, but it is oh-so-hard not to have a ‘Kenny G’ moment like your Stepdad and say ‘no’! I think it’s awesome you are figuring this out now – as the previous commenter said – for most it takes a great many years to reach these conclusions. You are wise. And I hope you get the right MAC lipstick – worth the searching!! ‘-) Lou x

  21. I have been thinking about this very thing lately!

    Be who you are. Love what you love!

    Amen sister! (and that’s from an atheist :)

    This post gave me tingles xxxxx

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  23. Awesome post so amazing, I feel I contradict myself all the time, I love being a mum but it drives me crazy, I love God, I love tv and all the reality shows, I think in this world we have to be authentic and sometimes that means being very confused because life is confusing, thank you for being authentic and honest, it really helps

  24. fabulous post

  25. Every time I hear a little more about your childhood experience with God and religion, it makes me so sad. I know your parents are wonderful and did the best they could, but part of me wants to scream, “No! That’s not it! God wants a RELATIONSHIP, not a religion!” Yes, he cares about the music you listen to, but that’s because He care about your heart, not a long list of rules and artists you can and can’t listen to. I think I may listen to some Kenny G (whom I love, by the way) in your honor today! :-)

  26. Thanks for such an honest and beautiful post, Kelle. So glad my picture found you at the right moment.

    I personally think that exploring different worlds is also crucial because it enhances our much needed creativity. The same Steve Jobs used to say that the most creative people he had known were those who had had many different experiences in their lives, because the more experiences we have the more new paths and connections our brain is able to find.

    When we show many aspects of ourselves to our kids we liberate them. To grow into a family where it´s perfectly fine to spend an afternoon reading Marianne Williamson and Apartment Therapy, listening to Mozart and Pearl Jam or wearing a blessed medal next to an Etsy craft will give our kids the right to grow into adults that know that freedom to choose is expected and respected.
    Much love,

  27. I went through my mid life crisis last year (I’m 36) and I promise it does get much better. Sometimes we have to reach the same age our parents were when stuff happened to understand it fully and how it impacted our entire lives, our current relationships with them and then move on. Hang in there, it’s coming.

  28. I think (actually I know) that I needed to read this today. And I’ll need to read it again and again. I struggle with this without really knowing that I struggle with it. But it’s time to struggle less and love more.

  29. I definitely needed to hear this today. My life is a lot of pleasant contradictions, but I get the feeling that I’m pigeonholed into the same few categories. I’m a mom in a doctoral program, and that is how people introduce me at school. I’m happy to be my son’s mom, but is that the way we should identify me in a professional setting? What about my research? Anyway I just need to let these paths cross as they might and good things will happen. Thanks!

  30. I loved your post. It really says it all and in such a great way. I relate in so many ways. Thank you for saying things how they truly are and thank you for sharing your passions in life.

  31. I have believed in doubt.
    I have found courage in fear.
    I have discovered empowering order within life’s serendipity.
    But then, I contradict myself.
    And I’m good with that.

    (And I had no problem with Kenny G.)

    –loving you. Dad.

  32. Kelle, I’m currently in a social work graduate program and have to write a Cultural Narrative… An introspective analysis of who we are. Hello, difficult assignment. I’m struggling with exactly this that you articulate so perfectly. What I said I believed in and what matters in the first paragraph is contradicted somewhere else in the paper… What?! Thank you for the encouragement to accept that, embrace that, and find the connection. Always inspired by your words. Xo

  33. Ohhhh, Kelle…you do speak to my heart today. So many days I question myself on all these things. Eventually though, I circle around to the last part…why CAN’T I love Chopin and Florence and the Machine??
    why CAN’T I love Ernest Hemingway AND Zelda Fitzgerald??
    why CAN’T I love wearing running clothes AND dressing up??
    why CAN’T I dream about owning and acreage AND a studio apartment with exposed brick walls in the city??
    why CAN’T I homeschool my kids AND go to an Edward Sharpe concert on the weekend??
    why CAN’T I swear AND pray too??

    But that’s just it…I CAN. Thank you for this. I love that you’re a deep thinker AND you’re concerned about the orange tones in your lipstick. It makes you awesome because you embrace it. You don’t pretend to be one or the other, cutting out one side of your being or the other. We are who we are…and yes, Jo March, we are a great many things.

    Love this subject. Thank you, Kelle.

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  35. Kelle,

    Thank you so much for this post. I cannot begin to describe the internal struggle I feel being a momma in a small, bedroom community and still wanting to let out my inner party girl!

    It is 6:30am here and you have already made me laugh and cry…not bad for a Tuesday. Thank you, thank you, thank you and by God I hope you are serious about the craft!!!

  36. Love God and love others. That’s all He asks of us. Rock your red lipstick and stilettos. God loves you because you belong to Him. He cries over us just as we cry over our own babies. Jesus loves ME? Yes, sweet one, all of you!

  37. I’ve always felt that “contradictions” help to keep us humble, open to other possibilities and frankly, well rounded. Bravo.

  38. Twyla Paris wasn’t approved? I had an overly “Christian” parent too…

  39. Wow. There is so MUCH perfection to this post, I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it.

    I will say this: I am thankful for women like you being in the world to teach and inspire the girls of tomorrow.

  40. I’ve been lurking long enough (I’ve been reading for years, and this is my first time commenting). This post was exactly what I needed today. I’m crying like a big ol’ baby, letting go of the guilt, confusion, embarassment of being a woman who contains multitudes. Thank you, love, you truly are an inspiration. :)

  41. What a powerful post…one of your best ever. So many of us always feel so conflicted and you expressed those feelings perfectly. I couldn’t help think how your blog title: “Enjoying The Small Things” seems even more apropos and a perfect reminder of what we should focus on to feel free and happy! Beautiful post Kelle!

  42. Carin and I laugh over this story we re-tell whenever I see her…I need a music website with several tabs: LESSONS in (tab) Piano, (tab) Guitar, (tab) Bass, (tab) Driving. I used to kind of shrink and shrug when people asked me why in the heck I started a driving school. Everybody wants to know why. Now I just laugh, because it IS funny. It’s hilarious, actually. Who am I? I don’t even know. And I hope I never know. And I hope that my kids will do anything they want. Some of it will be so understandable, and some of it will be, well, driving school. But I hope they never feel the limits that they’ll sometimes be tempted to put on themselves. THANK YOU for this post. I loved it.

  43. Thanks for this post Kelle,your words mean a lot….

  44. Great. Now I’m going to have El Shaddai stuck in my head all day.

  45. You aren’t alone in your thoughts, fears and wants. And yes – We ARE all a great many things. As you remind us… let’s all allow ourselves to be at peace with that :)

  46. One of my most favorite so far. Beautiful.

  47. There are a million things I want to say in reply to this post, but I’m about to run out the door. I just want to say that this is an AWESOME post, plopped in my lap exactly when I needed to hear it. I am also a big mess of a lot of things and I have a tough time with that. I also grew up in a very religious home and often feel the need to pigeonhole myself as just one thing, when I’m not. I would say one thing: when I see myself as a person made by God, perfectly unique and irreplaceable (the same way that I see my children) it helps me be more gentle with myself. He made me who and what I am. He made it good. It gets covered up with a lot of crap, some of it coming from the types if churches I went to as a kid, some of it coming from other people, my own insecurity… But underneath all of that is something good. Something unique. Because I have my own place in the world that no one else can fill, I have my own work to do, my own story. I don’t understand, here – from this perspective – how it all connects, but I trust that it does.
    I LOVE the line when you say “don’t TRY to be good. be good” yeah – I try to teach this to my kids all the time. Don’t TRY to be good, you ARE good – live consistently with who you are.

  48. Beautiful post that speaks from your heart….and connects with mine as well.

  49. Me, too! Me, TOO!!! Love this….

    I’m complicated. I admit it and I love it, actually. :)

  50. Awesome!!!! Kelli, I felt like I was just talking to my best friend as I laughed out loud and cried reading this post!!! I, too, am 35 with two young children (5 and 7) and SO much of what you wrote resonates heavily with me as a homeschooling mom, curse word user, business owner, procrastinator, volunteer, dreamer, realist, traveler, home body, athlete, wine enthusiast….:-). Thank you for being so honest and for letting us witness your beautiful growth as a writer, a mother, a thrifter, a photographer, and so much more (and all the hundreds of things we don’t see) as we cheer for you and for all of us to be who we truly are and to let go of the notion that we have to try so hard to decipher. Life is what we make it so let’s choose to let our lights shine brightly each day for ALL the great many things that we are!! Happy Day!! :-)

  51. Thank you.

  52. And that is exactly the reason for my blog, greatmanythings.com :) I was having an identity crisis last night, for these very “can’t also” reasons. A PhD. Engineering Student can’t also sell handmade leather purses. A PhD. holder can’t also be a SAHM. Bah. I do what i want.

  53. I love this post. I am always struggling with feeling like I don’t know who I am just because I feel oppositely on so many different things. It’s great to have such a wide range of emotions, but also a curse!

  54. Love this post, Kelle. You just summed up my own inner struggle and gave me the right to be okay with all the things that I am, whether they align or not. Thank you for articulating this so beautifully. xx

  55. Love this!
    I too am complicated. Kenny G used to be played at my dentist office. It reminds me of getting my cavities filled.

  56. Oh man, does this hit home! I often find myself paralzyed by these same thoughts and ideas. I used to hate myself because I felt like everyone else had it together and fit into one box and I was the crazy lady who couldn’t decide which box I liked best or wanted to fit into.

    I read your post and thought,”Oh my stars…she just explained myself to me!”

    Thank you!

  57. Something I tend to struggle with. I absolutely loved this post. Amazing.

  58. All the time I realize, Oh, I am trying to fit myself into a stereotype… then I feel silly and forget about it…then months later…the cycle repeats. I wonder why it is we do that?

  59. “Sometimes I feel so pissed off, I could knock walls down with my anger.
    Sometimes I feel so weak and weepy, I could crumble if you looked at me funny.
    Sometimes I feel so strong, I’ll say whatever I think and not give a shit whether anyone agrees or not.

    But all the time, I am complicated–maybe even contradictory. “

    AMEN. Thanks, K. Love, K

  60. Amazing post!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!! NEEDED NEEDED NEEDED to read this and LIVE it!!!

  61. How poignantly true – by our very thinking, feeling nature we appear to be complex, contradictory creatures. I’ve seen that the further we delve into those moments, the less those contradictions actually exist – we are a lot more harmonious at our center. The deep, still water is there, it just gets hidden by those currents and eddies that make life – and ourselves – interesting! I work hard to fight the box, the label, the black and white. It isn’t easy… I think that as humans, we have a fear of “the grey” and a desire to tie everything neatly up in a bow. That gives us a certain amount of power over it, after all. It’s hard to give up that strong evolutionary pull…

  62. I just honestly, adore you!

  63. I. LOVE. THIS. POST! Thank you for uncomplicating every day of my life from this point forward, lady!

  64. Not being so concerned with what others think comes with age and more security in yourself. I hit it at about 48, done doing thing I didn’t want to do because it looked good, done dressing for others and just for myself. As women, our tastes and likes and passions also change with time, thus the fun of redecorating all the time. Eventually you realize that you ARE a daughter of God and what matters is that you live by His standards (which are not crippling, but freeing!) and not other people’s. Keep searching!

  65. AMEN. I’m a 22 year old, newly minted (ish) college grad actor struggling with all of my loves and dreams and how to go from dot-to-dot and accomplish everything while honoring all of it. you’ve given my rambunctious thoughts some peace today. so many things on your list are on my list. thank you kelle, we are a great many thing!!

  66. Right on Kelle! Beautifully summed up, thank you for putting it all into words.

  67. Wow, those are some fine words. I recently turned 40 & realized I am allowed to change my mind, I am allowed to be smart & silly. I am allowed to be all that I am. I care less about what others think of me, I care mostly about how I think of myself. I embrace all the contradicting interests & passions I have. Finally I can be free to be me. All because I gave myself permission.
    Thank you so much for these empowering words.
    Ps I love that you swear like a sailor & censor it here.

  68. AMEN and all the YESes! This would be a great series idea- women all over the blogosphere writing about their contradictions, their many multitudes inside of them. We all struggle with who we are vs. who we think we’re supposed to be. It’s freeing to remember that we CAN ALSO. Thanks Kelle.

  69. Wow, those are some fine words. I recently turned 40 & realized I am allowed to change my mind, I am allowed to be smart & silly. I am allowed to be all that I am. I care less about what others think of me, I care mostly about how I think of myself. I embrace all the contradicting interests & passions I have. Finally I can be free to be me. All because I gave myself permission.
    Thank you so much for these empowering words.
    Ps I love that you swear like a sailor & censor it here.

  70. I just want to absorb all of these words and write them, starting on my heart and then the hearts of my loves. Thank you for putting yourself out here. We needed you.

  71. I can’t believe today of all days I took the time to reallllly read your post…haven’t had the opportunity to do that in quite a while. My dear, THIS is a revelation. THANK YOU for your candor, your wisdom, your perspective on L I F E. It’s an amazing thing when you hear someone else say what’s lingering in your own heart… I feel like I could fly today!!

  72. It’s a good post but I think we make “religion” so difficult at times. I don’t even like the word. I prefer faith or my relationship with my Lord. I, too, am sorry about your childhood when it comes to church. Sometimes I have to wonder what is more detrimental, legalism or nothing, no church. I don’t know. Because as you state, your struggle starts way back when. I grew up with some legalism but nothing to your extent. God gave us a free mind…and no where in the Bible does it say what music to listen to. Obviously we can always go back to the old saying, garbage in and garbage out which I used on my five boys to help them through the rough patches of life and continue to. This is a lot of garbage in this world. I mean, seriously, just yesterday I am at work and hear someone complaining about the language a child is using with the parent. (I’m 911 dispatch)and it made me think. A child is only repeating what they are around. And then we discussed why do we swear? It certainly isn’t necessary. And so on and so on. I think if you have a faith you know what you should be and shouldn’t be doing. Not necessarily a set of rules….and you have freedom in your own decisions. I agree with some above, enjoy the lipstick, heels and music….

  73. LOL! I had the same problem except I had heard a Madonna song and became OBSESSED. Of course some church member had to inform my Mom about just WHO I was listening to and that was the end of that. I had to sneak a radio in the barn to hear any music.

    I was allowed Amy Grant pre “other side” as well but when I felt rebellious I’d sing one of her non christian songs. Oooh so sinful!

  74. This blessed me so much! Thank you for sharing it! Was very timely also. :)

  75. This blessed me so much! Thank you for sharing it! Was very timely also. :)

  76. Sounds to me like you’re figuring out the difference between living under grace and living under the law(legalism). Welcome to freedom! I appreciate your bravery in being honest. Rock on. :)

  77. you rock. you’re enough. thanks always for daring to be vulnerable.

  78. There are many, many of God’s people out there that end up being legalistic and put restraints on others much like the Pharisees did. But, I have come to learned that He who the Son has set free is free indeed.

  79. I just absolutely love you. Its funny because I grew up in a fairly similar background as you. Home schooled, legalistic parents who constantly changed their stance on just about everything when a new trend was going through the church. One minute we would be playing with barbies and the next we would have to get rid of them all because they displayed a bad body images, for example. Any way I have felt the same as you with trying to connect the dots and try to define myself and having the desperate feeling of having to be perfect. I really love what you have to say and it is really so true. Once you let go and just be everything falls right where it needs to be. Keep doing what your doing, because girl you are awesome. Thank you

  80. First time poster but long time reader. I really connected with your post today. I went back to school to finish my undergrad. I’m in my senior year and we are doing purpose statements. I struggle too because I’m a walking contradiction. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone and it’s ok to be so many things. I don’t have to marginalize any part of myself. I will be checking out the website you suggested. Thank you so much for this post. Rock on Kelle!

  81. First time poster but long time reader. I really connected with your post today. I went back to school to finish my undergrad. I’m in my senior year and we are doing purpose statements. I struggle too because I’m a walking contradiction. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone and it’s ok to be so many things. I don’t have to marginalize any part of myself. I will be checking out the website you suggested. Thank you so much for this post. Rock on Kelle!

  82. This was so, so good, and really resonated with me. Thank you, Kelle!!

  83. I am that momma that can belt Ice Ice Baby and also humbly cradle my babe when he falls down…
    You gave me a laugh, a tear and a huge smile today!! Thank you for being complicated and not afraid to share it!
    Always – Abbey

  84. Kelle, thanks for voicing what I think many of us women feel. You rock. And I desperately needed this message today (as I was stressing that I can’t be a food writer “and also not” write heartfelt posts about postpartum depression in the same space – “and also not” write about frivolous things like the perfect red lipstick in the space where I talk about people who live in third world countries.

    Way to be an inspiration to us all … and to our daughters who take their cues from their mamas.

    ps. Can we talk about the red-lipstick-making-yellow-teeth issue? Seriously. Does the perfect one even exist?

  85. Absolutely loved this post! We are a great many things indeed!

  86. I also wanted to add: I used to think my personality and my interests were so confusing and untidy. And now I see them (and myself) as a bowl of fragrant potpourri. And guess what? It’s all the same stuff….I just see it differently now. I’m not a contradiction, I’m multifaceted. I’m interesting :). And to reiterate: the 40’s ARE fabulous…and freeing. Yay!!!

  87. Oh you don’t even know how much I needed to read this today Kelle. Thank you! As I get older I’m slowly starting to let go of the stress over trying to find my calling in life, my little box I can fit snugly into. Instead I want to embrace the multi-potentialite I am and run with it. It’s just still a struggle sometimes. XOXO

  88. I have never laughed out loud as much as I just did reading this post. I also felt like I almost wrote it myself – I often feel the same way and sometimes think I am insane or have huge amounts of anxiety! This just made me feel normal – thank you. I was laughing and crying the whole way through! You are a wonderful writer!

  89. This post is my favorite thing you have ever written! Absolutely love the whole thing. Thanks for being you, Kelle :)

  90. You and I, we would be great friends!!! I’m a mess too…and I say that with a smile and a wink :). Keep on keeping on and being YOU!!!

  91. ***LOVE**LOVE**LOVE*** This post!!!!!! It helped me understand myself a little better. We are a fascinating and complicated species – we women. I am learning to stop fighting it and to stop trying to define myself as a “type.” Thank you!

  92. Brilliant!

  93. Awesome! I just love reading your blog. You’re such an inspiration. I cuss like a sailor too, and censor it as well for various reasons. :)

  94. Love.


  95. Amazing. You said it. Every word. Thank you.

  96. Kudos. Loved the entire post! You have a way with words so that contradictory and complicated women can understand and yet make them question themselves! :)

  97. Kudos. Loved the entire post! You have a way with words so that contradictory and complicated women can understand and yet make them question themselves! :)

  98. Ah. Maze.Ing. Love your honesty and rawness.

  99. Oh my goodness!! There is so much good in these thoughts! I am encouraged

  100. Oh my goodness!! There is so much good in these thoughts! I am encouraged

  101. Oh my goodness!! There is so much good in these thoughts! I am encouraged

  102. Oh my goodness!! There is so much good in these thoughts! I am encouraged

  103. Gurl, I don’t know what’s worse…being reprimanded for listening to Kenny G, or Kenny G being the rebellious and worldy music of your youth.

    Boy howdy, I think so many of us relate to this idea and you’re right–embrace it all. I’ve done this to myself a hundred times as well and it’s almost like trying to live a really restricted diet…the more I try to avoid chocolate, the more chocolate I eat. Therefore if I just let myself eat chocolate I am neither starving or overindulging. Trying so hard to be completely free of contradictions certainly only makes us more self absorbed and judgmental of others. Yet sometimes it feels like a side must be chosen…

    Therefore, to throw this idea completely on it’s philosophical head, a person who tries to avoid contradictions can also be a person who embraces them. :)

  104. Nothing I needed more than to hear that today. Thank you.

  105. Very well said! Couldn’t agree more. We are all very complex and very contradictory. Anyone who doesn’t admit that is lying to themselves, or is maybe more simple than I? It makes me happy to read the words I also feel every day.

  106. Love <3

  107. It is like you literally peaked inside my head! I so love this post, thank you so much for sharing!

    Lisa @ welldressedpeanuts.com

  108. Excellent post!

  109. Love, LOVE, Love this post! Thank you.

  110. and all God’s former PK kids said, “Hell yea!”. I think I remember that’s how it goes :). embrace and expand to fill with multitudes darlin’. it’s oh so beautiful.

  111. I have recently jumped head first into racing triathlons. It has been hard to feel it’s ok for a homeschool mom of 4 to be an athlete too. But it is. I’m figuring it out. Connecting the dots. Loving it all. Loving this beautiful life!

  112. Oh my gosh, YES!!! I’m laughing from excitement and feelings of validation but also cause you’re just hilarious. Thank you for this!!!! SO GREAT!!

  113. ok so seriously your list at the end of this post was taken out of my head. really truly, even including the part about swearing like a sailor and editing it for the your blog … yup thats me!



  114. I so needed to hear this right now as a pastor-in-training and a girl who has more pairs of heels than I can count. On the verge of lent in which I’m teaching my congregation about needing less stuff, but then clicking through zulily and wanting all the things. We can be so many things, recognize our flaws, but love ourselves just the same. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  115. I can’t say I’ve ever really felt that my interests and characteristics had to all match. I’ve always enjoyed being contradictory (if that’s what you want to call it). In fact, I’ve always felt being both sides of the coin made me a better person, a more well-rounded woman.

    I can be smart AND pretty. Athletic AND feminine. Tough AND emotional. Outdoorsy AND elegant.

    This post reminded me of a Liz Phair song I love: “I am extraordinary, if you’d ever get to know me; I am extraordinary, I am just your ordinary average every day sane psycho supergoddess.”

    We’re all a little sane AND a little psycho. Average AND extraordinary.

    Revel in being complicated. It means you’re human! :)

  116. I remember finding my voice and that freeing moment of “who gives a damn” shortly after I had my son almost four years ago. My 30’s are turning out to be some of the most freeing, positive, and coming into my own years that I’ve experienced. We women are really strong creatures, thus we can be anything and everything, “we are a great many things”

  117. I read often, but never comment. Today’s post resonates with me, I am a giant ball of contradiction. Tired of fighting it. I’m at a battle not only internally but externally as well. Cheers to you, for writing what I feel.

  118. Well said. We are all complicated and contradictory and when we deny that we just become confused, complicated, contradictory people who act fake on top of everything else. Oy.
    Angela :)

  119. This makes me think of one of my new fave songs: Kacey Musgrave’s: Follow Your Arrow.


  120. That last line! I needed that chuckle. Thanks.

  121. Never a dull read. Thanks.

  122. And this post expresses the very reason that I LOVE your blog – EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT IT!!!! You bring women together, you express the very way that I feel – each & every time that I feel it. I am so very, very – VERY – grateful to you, Kelle!!! Thank you for teaching us that it is ok to be, well, us!!!! God Bless. And rock on, sister…RocK On!!! :-)

  123. We are a great many things xx

  124. Kelle Hampton,


  125. This is WONDERFUL. I lovelovelovelovelove it. Also, I’m currently in the midst of reading some Montaigne essays, and How To Live is on my reading list =] So timely.

  126. This is WONDERFUL. I lovelovelovelovelove it. Also, I’m currently in the midst of reading some Montaigne essays, and How To Live is on my reading list =] So timely.

  127. Amen to that!

  128. I was a new mother in the wee hours do the night with a nursing baby when I discovered your blog over 3 years ago. Something about your positive outlook, yet honest posts, kept me coming back week after week.

    I have never commented on a blog before, but am compelled to share with you how much this post moved me. Perfectly written, so much so that I cried as I recognized myself in your words. Thank you for your openness and your willingness to show that we are not all required to be the perfect mother, wife, friend, boss, employee- we are all just required to be ourselves.

  129. Girl, sing it! Loved this post!

  130. I have followed your blog since Nella’s birth. Your writings have always touched me in such a good way. When you write about subjects like this…it makes me happy knowing you are finding the “real” you. I was raised very similar to how it sounds you were and now I’m 50 and trying to find my lost self. There were SO many NO’S when I was growing up…it made me mad that I even believed in God. Anyway, I’m so happy to hear that you are learning to love the life God really intended at a much younger age than I did, I have 2 grand baby girls and one is just 2 months older than Nella, so I love watching Nella grow! She’s an amazing girl and so blessed to have you as her mother!

  131. I loved this. I often feel like a hypocrite, so-much-so-sometimes that I just feel like going to bed and saying hell with it all. But then I wake up and I remember that my will to be a better person is stronger than my weak moments. Even if those weak moments feel like they consume the bulk of my day. Thank you for this.

  132. I chuckled when I read that you wrote about Kenny G music as I posted a sentimental post about his tunes last week and I truly don’t know anyone else that ever even mentions Kenny G. lol too funny. Excellent post!

  133. Another first time poster – long time reader. This post was awesome! Thanks.

  134. I have read this blog almost since you began it. One of the earliest pix that brought me back again and again to your page was a picture of you and all your girlfriends getting ready for a night out. I thought, “I like her. I’d want to be friends with her. We could be friends.” And now I know you cuss like a sailor and you did it several times in one post. Woah! 😉 And it makes me like you even more.

  135. I haven’t had blog reading time in about 6 months. Oh Kelle, how I’ve missed you. You had me sitting on my coach laughing into my ipad sayin “Hallelujah! Amen! “. And I’m Catholic. We don’t often say “Hallelujah! Amen!” Just last week I was wondering why the heck it took me 52 flipping years to be ok with just being me. I took a step last week a bold just say it like ya see it moment in social media and then gather around and and sing Kumbaya. And I did not implode nor was I physically removed from my small town. And ya know the real me is a better me because I can just be and wallow in my goofiness. Thanks and Amen!

  136. I haven’t had blog reading time in about 6 months. Oh Kelle, how I’ve missed you. You had me sitting on my coach laughing into my ipad sayin “Hallelujah! Amen! “. And I’m Catholic. We don’t often say “Hallelujah! Amen!” Just last week I was wondering why the heck it took me 52 flipping years to be ok with just being me. I took a step last week a bold just say it like ya see it moment in social media and then gather around and and sing Kumbaya. And I did not implode nor was I physically removed from my small town. And ya know the real me is a better me because I can just be and wallow in my goofiness. Thanks and Amen!

  137. well said. simply put, you are amazing.

  138. Hells to the yeah! Thanks for sharing this, Kelle. Needed it, loved it, spot on. :)

  139. Wow! I always love your analytical posts, and yet sometimes wonder if there is something wrong with me…because, well, sometimes, I’m too analytical. BUT, I gleam so much hope from your blog almost-all-the-time. Your blog was so beautiful -enjoying the small things- such simple, fun, loving, innocence. Then, I worried when you became famous that the critics would come out, and come out hard on you because that is just what they do. I did not want that to change YOU. I HATE to “act” like stuff doesn’t bother me when I do care & sometimes stuff hurts.
    Someone doesn’t always have to agree or love, love, love it all the time, but there is a tactful way to do it and do it privately…nobody is perfect. Even if this blog is public – it doesn’t call for public road kill. Teachers teach in a “public” school setting but are taught to not “publicly” shame a kid. It’s not a public thing or a school thing…it’s a decency thing. I’m a great many things but I am mostly “dumb” in all of them because I am not an expert… too exhausting to be perfect in every area. Thanks for being YOU, Kelle. Love you in Tejas,

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  141. Kelle – it is hard to find something to say after all the other commenters have already said it all, but a post as good as that one deserves a comment! So although this is repetitive – you are an amazing woman! You truly are an inspiration and thank you for taking the time to put your thoughts on paper. Loved, loved this post!

  142. I’m both a shopaholic and a person who can’t stand the clutter.

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  144. Well said, Kelle. We are a great many things. In my case, the secret was learning how to be a great many things as a woman, rather than a superwoman.

  145. I typed your blog URL into the search bar tonight, hoping to get a little encouragement after a crazy few days. Thank you making me laugh and cry (like you often do!). Thank you for the truth you speak and for the powerful reminder that Christians (like me!) or anyone for that matter, don’t/doesn’t need to live by rules and restrictions. Kelle, you’re a blessing to many. I’m moved by your words tonight. Thank you.

  146. I love your references to Montaigne, I think his analytical style plus realistic and forgiving sense of self is inspirational and comforting. I read How to Live as well and it is just full of wisdom and interesting perspectives. Good luck on your journey to discover and accept who you really are, from a fellow traveller! :-)


  147. Oh my gosh I love this post, Kelle. We really are a great many things. I love it when we surprise people…they think we’re one way, then we show them another side. It’s all about unfolding out who really are….a beautiful prism of everything to show the world. You go girl, and I can’t wait to see this stiletto heel!!

  148. Thank you.

    I love that when I come here, I find things that have been my own so long, I forgot there could be other people out there who felt that way.

    “I should have been a great many things, Mr. Mayer.”

    And even in quoting Miss March, I find identity crisis because she lived in a time when I woman lawyer wasn’t a thing, and she might not have understood if I explained that I could have been a lawyer but just never had the drive.

    Yes, I find identity crisis in how fictional characters would potentially view me. Ex: You ever want a self-inflicted guilt trip, reread Little House on the Prairie. Then imagine what Ma would have thought of you for spending a whole afternoon reading a book, without a lick of sock darning or dish washing to show for yourself.

  149. All of this. Yes. Thank you.

  150. Hello Kelle,
    I loved this post..thank you!
    Like some of the people here, I’ve never responded to a post before, but given that you’ve touched upon a topic so close to my heart, I just had to respond!
    I am a psychologist living in England and work as, what you would call, a professor in a University here.
    For years I have hidden and battled with the fact that I love to do so many things, can be so many things and strive towards so many seemingly, unrelated things.
    Anyway, before I blab on, my main point is that I decided to my money where my mouth is and as well as focussing my private work with what I call ‘Multi-passionate’ women, I have also set up the UKs first official conference for these women:
    You can see a bit more about it here….basically the day will be about celebrating, inspiring and motivating women to embrace all of their passions, because you CAN be successful in more ways than one, and we should not be pigeon holed! It’s certainly something I would also like to see echoed in our education systems and it’s something, as an educator, I will speaking about myself.
    So many amazing women will be speaking at the conference about this…I’m sure if we lived closer I’d be inviting you to speak ; )
    Maybe next year…until then, please don’t stop being Multi-passionate!!
    Warmest hugs to you and all of your amazing readers.

  151. I’ve been a long time reader…but you lost me at G**D***.

  152. I love this….that is all!

  153. I have been a long time reader but this is my first time commenting just because this post was too amazing not to. As a thirty-something mom to two littles, I can totally relate to this. I find myself over-thinking my identity to the point that I end up losing sight who I really am. I think that a lot of it has to do with the pressure I put on myself of wanting to be a strong role model for my kids but the truth is that the best kind of role model is one that is authentic and genuine and frankly just sometimes a little bit random. But that’s what makes them stand out from all the others: the fact that they don’t necessarily look like everyone else.

    I am hoping that with age and time I can get better at practicing this. At putting myself out there without fear of disapproval.

    Thank you for sharing this, Kelle. And for encouraging all of us to share a little bit more of who we really are.


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  155. A Great Many Things…

    A great name if you decide to reinvent the site.

  156. So great, Kelle. So great. Thank you for this. I needed to hear it.

  157. This was simply fantastic!

  158. You have to believe in serendipity or karma or even divine providence … whatever it may be, when something like this comes along right when you need it. Thank you. This is just what I needed as I contemplated adding a third child to our family. I’ve lived a life of “can’t also” – and am beginning to realize that’s okay.

    Here’s my ramblings from your inspiration.

    Thank you.

  159. This post reminded me of that E.B. White quote:
    “I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.”

    Your words were beautiful as always.

  160. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. I AM truly a great many things. AND many GREAT things. I sometimes need to remind myself this. Also..my hubby is a Naples/Bonita native…we vacation there…the picture of your daughter with the trees in the background made me LOOOOONG for vacation time to hurry up and get here!

  161. Girl – OMG how this post was EXACTLY what I needed to read. I just turned 37 last week. 37. And I have been SO nostalgic for my 90’s teenage years, and wondering where that part of me fits, how I can tap into it more, where my grunge-girl meets mommy of boys, how my recent return-to-church self feels when I use the F word..
    So, all of this just spoke to me. (I posted some stuff along these lines on my own blog, though not nearly as on-point as your words…) So, thank you for getting in my head & putting down exactly what I needed to see.
    And by the way – we JUST had a dance party to Pharell’s “Happy” while making dinner last night – and I LOVE that Zadie Smith quote!! Word to keepin’ it REAL!

  162. Thank you for sharing your heart. I love the picture of Lainey in the peace dress.

  163. Love reading your thoughts about the “can also”

    I think the problem is labels. If I eat healthy food I might label myself as a “health nut” and then it doesn’t seem like I can also take my kids through a fast food drive through sometimes. But if I skip the label, then I’m a mom who grinds her own wheat and I can also take my kids to a fast food restaurant for dinner. But our society doesn’t like it when people can’t be labeled because we don’t fit into neatly labeled “boxes”. Good thinking- thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  164. Kelle…..thank you for this. I teach at a local high school as a substitute. I sometimes feel awkward just being myself. With the kids I feel like I’m not old enough….with the faculty I feel too young. You reminded me just to be myself…I’ll be a better teacher for it. I can be young and teach effectively.

  165. one of my all time favorite posts. ever. amen and hell yes. 😉

  166. Really great post!

  167. Is it wrong that the best part of that blog is that I learned you swear like a sailor?

    Makes my potty mouth seem not as bad.


  168. I love your posts because I don’t feel like such a freak as my mom told me the whole time I was growing up. I too swear like a sailor…that’s right mom, you never taught me that! A bit of defiance at my age that my mom can’t make me feel back and like such a freak. Yes I have mom issues…I just choose to let her attitude about me go most days. Be yourself Kelle, be yourself.

  169. I absolutely love this, Kelle!! I so feel you. Just like I’m all about love and kindness and being respectful, but also love gangster rap. Just be you and focus on doing good and it will all fall into place. :-)

  170. I absolutely love this, Kelle!! I so feel you. Just like I’m all about love and kindness and being respectful, but also love gangster rap. Just be you and focus on doing good and it will all fall into place. :-)

  171. Feel good post, chock full of truth and acceptance. Love your work Kelle!

  172. Oh, god; I am so going to work that last line into as many conversations as possible in the future. Great post!

  173. Love this! I’ve always been a huge contradiction. What you wrote makes me feel even better about it.

  174. Aside from Nellas birth story, because I can relate so much, this is hands down the BEST post you have ever written. We so often need to hear more of this ! Thank you for starting my day off right!!!

  175. Being filled with contradictions is what make us human. There is no right or wrong, good or bad..that is just what our minds thinks and what our ego judges…BE yourself because you are wonderful and allow yourself to be yourself…It is hard but so rewarding. One day I want to be Mother Theresa, the next I want to be a fashion designer..and I love it!

    Never change please. Much love your way!

  176. This post spoke to my core. I have always struggled with “being real” while “being” and loving so many different things and people. Trying to make sure people think I’m “normal”. What a waste of TIME! Ugh. Preach, sister, PREACH.

  177. Great post & one that most people can relate to at some level. At some point, you just have to let go of the concern about what others think as it will only continue to cause inner turmoil.

    I have struggled in that area for most of my life. Other people describe me as sensitive, caring & a former boss said I was a “bleeding heart.” Good…I am now proud of these things and its just how God made me really!! It has taken me 40 years to finally get to this place and peace with it all. Others will always judge or have an opinion and I refuse to waste any of my precious time on what they think or say about me!! :)

  178. Thank you thank you! This post spoke to me so strongly.

  179. Thank you thank you! This post spoke to me so strongly.

  180. You’re back, Kelle.

    This blog is truth. It’s real. It’s life.
    Thank you.

  181. I have been following your blog for a few years now and this is the first time I’m commenting. Let me say – I love your blog! I have it set up as my home page because I look forward to your words and pictures. You are definitely a unicorn. And you help me with recognizing the unicorn in myself. I sometimes get discouraged and hang out in that space too long, but I am a unicorn in training and I will get better at it! Thank you for sharing your spirit, creativity, humor and style. Thank you for what you do and say. It makes a difference to me.

  182. Well said. I love it. We can read fashion magazines and News Week, we can save the world while wearing cute shoes. We can have faith and love fashion. I think all the ANDs make us interesting and fun and give us the strength, creativity and knowledge to make the world happy. You do all the ANDs so well.

  183. Well said!!!

  184. Just what I needed to read today. I am 19 and I know that learning to embrace all these sides of myself is important to figure out at an early age, and this is just the encouragement I needed to be the best version of myself.

    Thank you!

  185. That last sentence made me giggle….thank you!

  186. Thank you.

  187. Thank you.

  188. Tears always stream when I read your blog, not because it’s sad (sometimes it makes me sad) but because when you write I feel like you’re connected to my thoughts & putting them into words for me. And then when I read them, I understand myself better. And then I cry because that in itself is pretty powerful & overwhelming. So much love to you Kelle <3

  189. This is one of my most favorite posts ever! I am sure you realize how it resonates with so many readers. We women have been so brainwashed culturally to be a certain way, act a certain way, think a certain way, etc. It is wonderful for you to affirm how right it is for each of us to explore our interests and needs, and not worry about fitting into some sort of mold.
    Hooray for you for taking the time to think through these thoughts! As heavy as some of them may feel, once you can make sense of them and reach your own conclusions for yourself, how liberating it will be! Your daughters will be encouraged to do the same as they go through their lives, even after you are gone. Keep hootin’ and hollerin’ and keepin’ it real, Kelle!

  190. Yep we are friends. We just haven’t met yet!

  191. This is a truly wonderful post. You captured my feelings, and obviously the feelings of a great many others, so beautifully.

    – Rachel
    Suppose Anything Goes

  192. This is a truly wonderful post. You captured my feelings, and obviously the feelings of a great many others, so beautifully.

    – Rachel
    Suppose Anything Goes

  193. What can i say, I’ve always said that Im complicated and that complication makes me unique and i love that

  194. “I believe strongly in owning your voice and making a meaningful impact in the world with what you have to offer … I often feel vulnerable and unworthy of making an impact.”

    Holy powerful + honest words, lady. I couldn’t agree more … and yet, it’s still hard to own it. Do you ever feel like being able to use your words makes it harder? Like you can see it so clear, but to brave the action … well, it’s a toughie to know we have the power + struggle to take it.

    Kudos to you for putting it to words + making it real. Sending you all the positive energy in the world to take the leap into owning these contradictions. You’re headed magical places.

    Kate [of] UptownBlacktop

  195. I absolutely loved this post. Thank you.

  196. The only thing I can think to say as I finish reading this is A-Freaking-Men! We are all a great many things.

  197. Just to let you know: you are making an impact in this world with what you have to offer! I live in Romania :-) and I constantly read your blog-it helps me a lot in understanding things about our daughter, myself, people.
    So thank you! You are making an impact!

  198. LOVE this! I’m saving it… I think these words will need to be re-read in the future. :o)

  199. This comment has been removed by the author.

  200. Wow I didn’t read the article yet but I must because it really interesting because so many comments here!! Surprising!!

  201. I grew up the same Evangelical way in Southeast TX.
    It felt like I was watching from the outside, looking in. Learning to dance by watching MTV in secret, drooling over KipWinger and knowing I would one day break free of the mind-control, belt whippings, tent meetings, faith healing, hate-spewing, Patriarchal shit. Now I am free, but just like you, I seek a space of my own creation, where I’m glad to have choices- even contradictions. Maybe I’ll write more about it someday.

  202. I found my way back to this post through the “Read More” link at the bottom of your latest post, and because I still have half a cup of coffee left before I’m required to rise and shine, I clicked on it.


    Me too.

    To pretty much all of that.

    Multitudes … that’s where it’s at.

  203. I…I don’t know. I needed to read this today (and every day). Thank you. I realize this was posted a while ago, but I have been poking around on your blog (which I have loved for years but am not that consistent of a blog reader, period) and came across this and am just so thankful. I feel as though most of my 20’s have been spent in a serious identity crisis. I am all of these things. I am a mom, I am a small business owner, I am honest, loud, and blunt, I want to be a perfect, humble, homemaker, I hate the American Christian subculture but I am so comfortable in it, I am a believer, I can cuss with the best of them….and so on and so on. I am constantly contradicting myself, and this post is the first to tell me that it is OKAY. I am a great many things. :)

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