Today I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a caption from a woman that I greatly admire, an entrepreneur who radiates positivity, laughter and love. But, instead of her usual uplifting message, there was something different. There was a naked-soul post about the fear of an upcoming journey. There was a sense of anxiety, a sense of need, and a sense of worry.
Contrasted with the daily surge of perfectly re-touched photos, trips around the world, glamorous outfits, and daily lives full of champagne and macaroons, this post immediately stopped me in my tracks.
Those ideas of fear, anxiety, need and worry are all things that I have felt, as both a woman and an entrepreneur. Those are things that I keep close to the chest. I don't want to show the world that I am vulnerable. I want to sit securely in the knowledge that no one on Instagram knows that I often lay awake in bed at night, staring into the darkness, feeling like I could drown in anxiety. I don't want people to know that I have absolutely no idea what it is that I am doing with my life, that I am just barely making it, and that I have absolutely no idea what tomorrow will bring, much less next week or next year.
I want to be stable. I want to be the woman who knows exactly where she is and where she is headed, driven by that internal knowledge that she is in just the right place at just the right time. I want to know that I will reach my goals, even if I have no earthly idea what they are.
It's scary to be vulnerable. To open yourself up to the knowledge that you don't have any idea what you are doing is one thing, but to let others in on that fact is a completely different beast.
But we are vulnerable, each and every one of us. We all have questions that keep us up at night, or nightmares that jolt us awake, covered in sweat and reaching for the other side of the pillow. We do. No one has a life that is Instagram perfect. It just doesn't happen.
The journey of life is full of bumps, bruises, scrapes and tumbles. This idea that we are perpetuating, myself included, of perfection and happiness isn't real. That social-media-platform-ready life is not what we are living everyday. The journey of our lives isn't relegated to the best moments; we all have sh*tty moments as well.
We are imperfect creatures, each and every one of us. But when we band together, we can create a perfect community. We can lift each other up; we can empower each other to keep going. That is what we should value, more than the idea that we have it all together, because if we are being honest with each other, we absolutely do not have it all together all the time.
When I read this woman's honest and vulnerable post, the first thing I wanted to do was hug her. The second was share any words that may make her realize that we are not alone in this struggle, we are not alone in this journey. She is not alone. Neither am I, and neither are you. We are all moving forward together, so let's band together, bare our souls and allow each other to be vulnerable within the arms of a community that will lift us up. Let's be that for each other - are you in?
So, what did I say to this woman whose work and life I so admire?
You've got this. There are so many scary things in life, but at the end of them are the rewarding, uplifting and empowering moments. You are strong. You are loved. There is a great adventure out there waiting for your footprint.
These are just words. They will not make the journey less scary, they will not completely take away the anxiety, they will not assure that the road will not be bumpy -- but they do share that we are not alone. This is a beautiful journey. It is exciting and terrifying. It is challenging and rewarding. It is waking up in the middle of the night to thoughts of "what the hell am I doing?" It is opening yourself up to failure. It is baring your naked soul to the world by sharing your inner thoughts. It is allowing yourself to stand on the edge of that abyss of fear and yell "SO WHAT?" into it. This journey is a rising tide.
We all belong on it. Yes, you too.