Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fighting the Good Fight: Part Two: Beware the Representative and Find your Allies

A couple of weeks back, I posted the first post in my series Fighting the Good Fight. The Good Fight is a war that I think many women secretly wage on themselves with the help of
In Part One, I mentioned that my first step was enrolling in an e-course to help me accept my Gifts of Imperfection, to help me accept that "I'm imperfect, I'm enough." I love self-help books but if I were completely honest, I always start out thinking that they're a little hippie dippie. I mean really? You are telling me that writing "I'm imperfect. I'm enough" on my hand and sharing that with others that that  will open me up to compassion, connection, and courage? Really?

Soon after, I started on this e-course, I came across a book called Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons:
In this vulnerable memoir of transformation, Rebekah Lyons shares her journey from Atlanta, Georgia, to the heart of Manhattan, where she found herself blindsided by crippling depression and anxiety. Overwhelmed by the pressure to be domestically efficient, professionally astute, and physically attractive, Rebekah finally realized that freedom can come only by facing our greatest fears and fully surrendering...  
Hmmm... these two ideas are interestingly similar and wasn't allowing myself to be vulnerable kind of like surrendering for someone like me? So I kept reading:
Women today are fading... So busy trying to do it all and have it all, we've missed the life we were really designed for.
That was a deep hit.

I felt like I was fading. I felt like even though I am surrounded by so much, it wasn't always enough. I wasn't mom enough. Wife enough. Writer enough. Organized enough. Adventurous enough. Qualities that I had always been were fading and this other Jen was taking my place. I felt like ME was fading into the background of a watercolor painting. I was missing something. And so I decided to Freefall.

As I read this book, it scared me a bit.  She talked about struggles that I identified with. She talked about fears that I fight with. She even quoted The Alchemist, my favorite book which consequentially helped name my son. This woman was living in my head. How could someone so far from me, whom I'd never met, be so in sync with what I was feeling?

And then I had an Aha moment! (Oprah loves these.) She wasn't living in my head. She was in my head. She was in every woman's head. "Women are fading," she said. These weren't just the thoughts of my individualistic mind or the thoughts of that only a select few crazy women think about in the quiet hours of the night. These are thoughts that many of us think and feel daily whether we realize it or not as we try to keep everything organized neatly tucked in. As we check our Pinterest lives or Instagram roll. As we stalk our friends on Facebook who "have better lives" but - and this is just food for thought - are usually also posting the best moments or poses or meals of the day:
We are so busy judging ourselves against our own representatives and against the representatives of others, that we forget to be who we are designed to be, who we are destined to be. We forget that we are here in this life with purpose and that when we turn our backs on that purpose we struggle and flail to find our way back. We lose ourselves. We fade.

So in week two of my e-course, when we were asked to find a picture that represents our authentic self and ask ourselves 4 questions, I thought the coincidence of letting go of my representative and remembering who I was was serendipitous:
a.   What do you see when you look at him or her?
b.   What do you love and appreciate about him or her?
c.   What makes his or her light shine?
d.   What can you do to take care of him or her?
And although I slightly doubted week one of being imperfect and enough, there were results. Maybe it was just the acceptance of it all or maybe it was letting down my guard and being vulnerable enough to talk about my Good Fight that I was embarking on but in allowing myself to be vulnerable - to surrender - it made room for something else: allies

People reached out to me about their own insecurities. People reached out to lend themselves as allies. People left their own representatives at home and allowed their authentic self to show up instead. Representatives were banished. 
Allies were born. 
And the good fight continues...


  1. Inspiring post, Jen! This is the third time I've seen this book mentioned - I think I'm being given signs to read it! From what you write, it sounds a lot like the voice I hear in my own head, as well. Can't wait to read more about your journey!

    1. Thanks Beth! They take a lot out of me to write but there's something very cathartic about just saying it and not being ashamed to say it.

  2. Ally over here!

    I love this because I feel like I have experienced this head on. I went to a state university and got a degree. Have I used it to its full potential? Nope. And that was a conscious choice. Oprah also said, "Women can have it all, just not all at once." I quickly learned that putting hours into a career would mean taking those hours from somewhere - motherhood. And wifehood for that matter. And those are where my heart resides first. So I made the decision that any job I would have would always be second. There will be time for something else down the line when my kids are grown and out. That's just me.

    As for imperfections, girl, I've had my imperfections spotlighted and it had dire consequences. So although I feel pressure to be perfect, it's my own pressure. And in a weird way I take comfort in it because I truly know how imperfect I really am, if that makes any sense.

  3. Thanks Jen. I needed to read this in such a way that I cannot even communicate right now!


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