Let’s wind back the clock a couple of years. 2011 to be precise. My Husband and I have just sat my Mother down to tell her we’ve decided to end our marriage and we’re getting a divorce, 23 months after saying “I do”. I’ll never forget the look on poor Mum’s face that night. Her jaw nearly hit the floor. She was completely and utterly blindsided. Our friends were the same when we told them. Shock. Disbelief. No idea that this was on the cards.
“You were off my radar Amy. You were the one I didn’t need to worry about anymore.”
Surprise! My life was falling apart and very few people had any idea. Why? Because I was strong! I was resilient! I was… stupid.
I was really good at keeping up appearances and making it seem all was okay, until of course everything was shit. My world was broken and I needed help to fix it, but those around me were too shocked to know how to help and I wasn’t willing to let them even if they wanted to.
Eventually, I healed and my world became “unbroken” over time. I learned to love again and to be loved in ways I never knew I was allowed. But I also learned a valuable lesson in the importance of vulnerability. Allowing people to see inside doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong. It gives you an army of friends and family who are able to be there for you and help you when your chips are down.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, I can imagine you looking at your screen quizzically as you read this.
“I’ve literally seen you cry more on Instagram this week than I did when my dog died last Autumn. Seriously, I think you know how to share your feelings…”
And you know what? You’re right. There have been a lot of “real” moments on my social media these last couple of weeks. My chips are down. My resilience is very very low. Lower than it’s been for a very long time. And I’m a little ashamed of the fact that it’s all due to a couple of back to back colds and me feeling crappy. But that’s the thing with resilience. It’s not always the big stuff that breaks you. Sometimes, it’s not being able to taste food for a month straight because you just can’t get back to 100% and your baby has just been diagnosed with Scarlet Fever and you didn’t even know that was still a thing and you’ve had so much time off of work lately and your new boss is surely going to be annoyed at you because you’ve got that time critical project that you need to write that brief for that you haven’t started yet and your eldest comes into bed with you every night and you just need eight hours of unbroken sleep for once but your husband is away for work again this week anddddddddd take a breath! Ahhhhhhh. You get the picture. Life is messy sometimes.
I made a decision not too long ago that I was going to share the bad times with everyone as well as the good. Call it an experiment of sorts. My way of forcing myself into being more open. Because if I don’t, I might just go back to 2011 Amy, who is great at pretending her life is like a magazine picture.
If this week has taught me anything, it’s that support is everywhere. I’ve had so many amazing people reach out to offer a kind word, flowers, a small gift. It’s filled my heart with all sorts of warm and fuzzies. I’ve also had others reach out to let me know that they have been feeling the same and thought they were alone, but seeing me go through something similar has made them realise they’re not.
There are people everywhere wanting to be strong to support you, if you let them. You just have to be brave, and open yourself to the possibility. Vulnerable is the new strong.