Beyond the Surface

How are you?

In our day-to-day interactions, the question "How are you?" is often asked casually, almost reflexively. But what truly lies behind this common question? There is complexity of answering this seemingly simple question. We often respond with a quick "I'm good" or "Fine, thank you," adhering to the social script. But what happens when we decide to break free from the expected response and answer authentically? 

In our journey through life, vulnerability becomes a source of strength, resilience, and meaningful connections. Trying to embrace our authentic selves can be daunting. Acknowledging our vulnerabilities is debilitating most of the time. And allowing others to see us in our worst form quite possibly takes the most strength a person has. It's through vulnerability that we not only connect more deeply with others but also discover the profound strength that resides in our own authenticity.

In a world that often demands a facade of strength, it's crucial to acknowledge and embrace the moments when we're not okay. When we are at our lowest of lows. Moments where all we can say is I am struggling. I am going to be vulnerable. I am going to be raw and real in hopes that it will be a gentle reminder that it is okay to not be okay. 

I am struggling. I am not ok. I am fighting a lot of demons, and darkness. I have not had this dark of depression or anxiety in a long time. Depression and anxiety are complex and often misunderstood mental health conditions. It is not something that just goes away. It creeps up on you in the worst moments. A vice grip. Your heart feels like it's beating out of your chest. Hard to catch a breath. It depletes you. It's the constant nagging in your head that you aren't good enough, that you are failing, you should have tried harder, fought different, or cherished moments a little longer. It is sitting in a room full of people and feeling numb. It's lying awake at night questioning every little thing or replaying moments. Often times a silent struggle.

"I'm ok" is my go-to when asked "how are you". Usually followed by a smile. I tell myself I don't want to be a burden when I don't know what someone else's going through, someone always has it worse, etc. This last month I have been quickly humbled and reminded to lean into my people. That being vulnerable, as hard as it is, needs to happen. Saying I am not ok to your people is a must. Breaking down is needed. By acknowledging and accepting that it's okay not to be okay, we free ourselves from the burden of perpetual strength. I have realized that I don't have to have it all together all the time. That talking about the struggles helps more than it hinders. That other people are feeling the same, and I am not alone. I am pouring from a shattered cup. 

The last week has been really hard. I have had days where I am frozen. I physically don't function. I have found my safe spot to go and just be. I will sit in my thoughts, sort them out as best as I can, cry A LOT, and tell myself to keep going. Just keep going. Allowing myself to be vulnerable, recognizing my struggles, and using my voice to advocate for myself has been nothing short of draining. But being fearlessly authentic has also been needed for a really long time.

By acknowledging and embracing vulnerability, we not only connect more deeply with ourselves and others but also unlock personal growth. A very special person to me, one of my people, told me "There is no good life. There is no bad life. There's just life." Lean into your people. Love them fiercely. Hold on to them. It's through vulnerability that we discover strength in our authenticity and resilience in our openness.

Be Kind. Give Grace. Spread Love.





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