An inexcusable ask

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Photo by Bruno Cervera on Pexels.com

Putting yourself out there is scary, it is vulnerable in its own right. Putting yourself out there and then asking people what they think about it is fifteen million times more vulnerable. When the answers come back that you should hide the your truth, it is devastating to the spirit, the spirit that has wobbly stepped out into the light to help a community, take a stand, make a change.

I’m part of a book launch team for an amazing book Imperfect Courage coming out in August and I am writing this blog post after reading the chapter on embracing vulnerability. There’s been a lot of vulnerability happening in my life over the last 12 months. To quote the book’s author, Jessica Honegger- “We show up and let ourselves be seen (vulnerability), and that, when we muster the courage to do that, we feel that we are heard (empathy). Notice something about this equation? It involves other people, right?”  You know what will break you in half? Being vulnerable and having someone be apathetic, especially when you’ve invested something in that person.

About a year ago I was running a business where I was doing something I loved- having an influence on women in my relational sphere. I hoped that what I was creating was improving lives and making connections. It is fair to say that it wasn’t perfect. It was new and unknown and I was continually trying to improve the experience for all involved. So in order to make improvements in an un-biased, non-emotional way, I deployed a survey. In this survey I left some questions open-ended as to get more feedback. And it was all anonymous. And guess what? When you do that some people will totally give you their two cents. These insights are great when you can see consistency and its something that can be improved in a business aspect, it is devastating when they are personal.

One respondent decided that I was to be the brunt of a general question of “what can we improve?” It turned into a “What can Tina improve?” response. Where I knew I was far from perfect, I was hoping I was providing an adequate boutique experience for clients. Yes, I provided a different experience but I was building a place that I too, could fit it, with my flaws, and strengths, and desires. In hind-sight, maybe that business genre is not a place where you can let your flaws be seen, especially when you are the leader.

The hardest part to swallow was when someone asked me to fake it, to hide my daily struggles, to project this strong positive posture. I couldn’t be the struggling one, the one who needed connection and support. No, I needed to be the one who pushed through no matter what. I had no feelings other than positive motivation. And sure, fine, that works in some settings, but that wasn’t the setting I was trying to create. I was trying to create a place where vulnerability was accepted, championed even.

I’m not sure why I was asked to hide myself my personality, my daily struggles, my life. Maybe because my truth may have made their truth more real or less hidden. Or maybe because it made people uncomfortable. Or maybe because they had never had to experience a situation such as mine and couldn’t relate. I am not one of those people who wants to see perfection, I would rather see reality in all its messiness, to know I am not the only one going through hardships.

The chapter ends with “This is the power of vulnerability and empathy, my friend. The “me too” when we are brave enough to invite vulnerability in? It heals us every time.” When I finally left and found a place where vulnerability was accepted, where people were empathic, and where my flaws as a wife, mother, woman, human were embraced rather than looked as something to be covered up, I did begin to heal. I still fall into a place of wanting to isolate sometimes because that is easier. But it does not heal, it only sends me further down a hole I loathe to be in. So today, I invite you to show empathy to someone you might not usually- a coworker, a spouse, a neighbor, the grocery store clerk, the barista, the receptionist. Someone who might need a little bit of understanding rather than hurried judgement.  And I hope you both are restored in some way.

With honesty and kindness,

Honest T signature

Our life is not 1:1

I love me some Instagram. And as a humanities major, I love me pretty curated pictures. But that is NOT life.

1:1 is the aspect ratio on Instagram, if you weren’t aware. That pretty, perfect square. If you ask many influencers, they will say you need a curated feed. One that is themed if you will- all peach or all forest green, or all black and white. Or further- all #boymom or all #girlmom or all #strong or all #brave or all #bae or all #goals. No, that is not real life.

I was talking with a friend the other day about our pretty online lives. (I know this isn’t a new topic but it persists.) We love to share a curated version of our self but also that only lets the friends that lie on the outer circle of our friendships views into our lives though a port hole. We might look like we had a great vacation in the mountains hiking, picnicking, and swimming in the lake but really our kid had diarrhea and we were visiting a family member who was laid up on the couch from an injury so it was hard and insulated and not as fun as it could have been. You don’t usually get the full picture of someones life until you talk with them about it.

Although, I love the new opportunity to share our “real” lives through the portals of “stories” on Facebook and Insta. It allows us to show our real lives, albeit, for 24 hours, but it doesn’t muck up our feeds. The “professionals” will tell you these stories are for sharing flash sales or pertinent news that will be obsolete within the next day.

  • “Instagram Stories provide an excellent opportunity for you to show your (or your influencers’) creativity to your target audience. These are not just click-post-and-hope images, which brands sometimes upload. Instagram Stories are a combination of images and videos that work together, along with any necessary commentary overlay, to tell today’s story.” -from InflucencerMarketingHub.com

But is that how we live our lives?

Do we go through the motions of one day and completely forget about it the next? No! Sure, I don’t need to relive my latte or smoothie but would I benefit from my friends and followers knowing about my daily hardships and why the hustle is exhausting or the support from my family is so necessary and how I couldn’t do it without them or the nanny who is at our home 14 hours a day while I get my workout in and my spray tan and my meals are delivered and my personal assistant does my online clothes shopping etc etc etc.  (PS this is NOT me, this is the ‘influencers” many of us follow). Our lives are not as pretty and simple as the 1:1 we see on Insta and this IS OK! You are allowed to be messy AND curated. You’re allowed to balance life  AND work. You’re allowed to be so many things. But please, please, please, dont let those beautiful, edited, curated, things that are your litmus test on being successful or worthy. Those squares are not the whole story. Be an AND!

Here’s my AND list:

Curvy AND Fit
Messy AND Motivated
Caring AND Annoyed
Restless AND Steady
Honest AND Kind
Authentic AND Beautiful
Plus so many more.

Have a REAL weekend, y’all.

With honesty and kindness.

Honest T signature

 

 

 

 

I cried at yoga.

Crying in public is never fun. Mostly, I find it embarrassing but I CHOSE to go into a public setting while crying, don’t ask me why. I survived and it helped me work through something.

I had an unexpected phone call with a dear friend the other morning and while she was shopping for swimsuits ten states away with two littles in tow she was also giving me needed emotional and spiritual advice. (Moms are great at multitasking if you hadn’t caught that part of life yet.) And while I was all happy-go-lucky on the phone and left the conversation about to take on my day as usual, I stopped, reflected, and STARTED CRYING IN MY BATHROOM while getting ready for yoga.

I drove myself the 10 minutes to the studio and sat in the parking lot, STILL CRYING. I texted a different friend that I was crying in the yoga parking lot and was probably not going to go into class. She told me to go, so I did, because I think my friend gives good advice about health and wellness and I listen to her when she tells me it will help me feel better. So I walked in to yoga CRYING. Then I proceeded to practice yoga while intermittently CRYING and wiping my nose. Then I talked to the yoga instructor and CRIED after class. Good Lord, so many tears that morning.

One thing I love about yoga is the time of reflection while also systematically making your body stretch and strengthen so much that sometimes you are not actually thinking but just breathing. Not like during running when all I think about is how much I hate running (kudos to those of you who actually like running and can think of other things). Anyway, I worked it out during the class that I was crying because someone showed me kindness. WHAT?! I know, I go through these of times when, I guess, I don’t feel like anyone has thought of me in a sense of my emotional well-being and then all of a sudden someone does something considerate out of the blue, that I in no way deserved, and it blows my mind. And then I am so thankful. So, so, so thankful. It is so easy to be caught up in our own little worlds, I am supremely guilty of this.

So to all of you reading this today- I see you, you are important, you are needed, someone cares about you deeply even when it might not seem like it.

With honesty and kindness,

Honest T signature

Connecting as a Stay at Home Mom

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Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

You may have seen that I recently went back on social media. While there are still many reasons I wish to stay away, the connection aspect was enough to pull me back.

Being a stay at home parent can be extremely overwhelming and lonely at times. Transitioning to this new phase of life its sometimes a hard pill to swallow as your role in the world changes.  This is a phenomenon called matrescence- the process of becoming a mother in the anthropological and psychological sense. And since this is a process, not a just the physical action of becoming a mother, it is constantly changing as our children are growing and their needs are changing. All I ever dreamed of being when I grew up was a mom. When it happened it was amazing, I had 12 weeks of maternity leave, returned to work remotely, and was sailing along fine until I left my job, became isolated at home and then realized how lonely being a caregiver can become.

It can be especially lonesome if you don’t have a spouse that comes home each night. In my case, my husband is a pilot and is typically gone 15+ days and nights a month. Being at home with small children can feel isolating, boring (I know, say what?!), and is exhausting. Social media can be a way of connecting to friends and family who could be right next door or across the world. It can also be an escape in the chaos. When my kids are sick I can’t take them to the library, a meet up group, or even Chick Fil A. It could be anywhere from 1 to 7 days of being stuck at home alone. If you’re in a isolated state of motherhood you may have turned to popular parenting blogs. All the parenting blogs I’ve found have pointed to ways of connection through groups, playdates, etc. Obviously, in person connection far surpasses that of ones through the internet but if that’s the only option sometime, I would say being able to reach out and find joy in an online platform has its upsides.

While I now steer away from mommy chat groups (too many sancti-mommies) and focus on only following the people I care about and that mean a lot in my life, social media has allowed me to feel less isolated. In the beginning being part of an online forum where moms can bounce ideas and concerns off of one another sounds like a great idea but it can turn ugly pretty quickly. Also, following celebrities who have babies and 3 weeks later post a photo of their flat belly, I don’t need that in my life, so click went the unfollow button. The people I follow are pertinent to my life or I just really enjoy their views. I love seeing my friends’ growing families, keeping up with my family, seeing people grow in their faith, live vicariously through others’ travels, and finding local community events. Otherwise, I am not interested in the social media you are feeding. That is how I have edited my engagement to fit my connection needs.

Yes, I still spend too much time on it. Yes, I still long for one-on-one connection and I work to make it happen weekly. Yes, algorithms are stupid and still show me things I don’t wish to see. BUT I am enjoying my renewed, albeit revised connectivity with the people and community that mean the most to me. If you have been thinking of getting off of social media platforms for a bit to re-evaluate, I would encourage you to do so. Then if you still feel the need to connect online, come back, edit, and engage in a way that is meaningful to your life.

With Honesty and Kindness,

Honest T signature

 

On Being Still

So many things have changed in the last 5 years. I went from being a married full time employee working on a Master’s degree to a stay at home mom trying to keep a baby alive and my sanity from disappearing. In order to keep that from happening and to feel more useful to both my family (financially) and my community. I sought ways to make myself a more needed part. I joined groups, I started businesses, I built and led and created. It was fun and fulfilling until it wasn’t.

I’ve recently come to the realization that I do not need to be a leader in order to be happy. That’s what I had been doing, wasn’t it? Slowly and steadily working towards leading a community- first through social justice then through mothering communities. These were amazing outlets for sharing information, catalyzing change, and feeling part of something greater than myself but I was constantly moving and doing and striving. While I will always feel compelled to work towards being better (and I wouldn’t suggest to anyone to work against that- in faith, health, and relationships) but there are times it may be best to be still and thrive in the quiet. (“Quiet” is a loose term when living in the presence of preschoolers- here I mean it to portray separation from the outside noise that takes place in our society.)

I touched on the idea of examining the aspect of where my energy was best spent in a previous post. In this spring season of renewal, I also took the opportunity to look at how I have changed in the last few months since that post. Since taking a step back from sharing my everyday life with the world through social media, I have created an opportunity to reflect on what is important to me in the day-to-day. If I was sharing in those outlets now, what would be important to share? If I am wondering how a friend is doing, why not reach out in a more personal manner? If I think of something witty or hilarious, its OK that it is only in my head or shared just to the adult next to me. Yes, I am giving up some connectivity and community, and that is a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but it has created a stillness and intention to my days that is so much more life giving.

So *PLOT TWIST* I am going to change my word of the year from “Solace” to “Still”. And for now, instead of a word of the year, it is going to be a word of the quarter. Solace was definitely appropriate for the beginning of my year as I needed to do a lot of healing for my heart. I feel I have done that and so it is time for an update! I encourage you to evaluate your first quarter and see if you have made the steps towards the changes you wanted to make at the beginning of the year. If not, be still, and you may just find what you need there.

With honesty and kindness,

Honest T signature

Let people love you.

For some reason our society has created a facade that women need to be stoic islands. I think this has created a space for women who are lonely, depressed, sad, mad, frustrated, concerned, stressed, worried, and burdened to shut themselves off (even easier done when you are a SAHM or a WFHM) because it is easier to have those feelings alone then share them with the people or because their is a feeling that other peoples’ lives are more involved then our own. We’ve created a martyr-esque society that thinks people are too busy to love on their friends and neighbors.

Here’s how I am defining the modern-day (non-religious) martyrs: someone who is a constant sufferer. The person who, even when their tribe is wanting to lift them up, lend a hand, or just give a hug, chooses to block those opportunities because it may cause the other tribe member extra effort. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. The people you surround yourself with like you and probably even LOVE you and they are doing these things for you to help you feel, do, see, be better. Why do you thwart their efforts?

I recently read Hallie Lord‘s book  The Other Side of Fear and in a particularly humbling circumstance she had to let people love her. It was a hard pill to swallow because fear, anxiety, and the possibility of rejection held onto her tightly. BUT there was no other way out of her situation then to ask for her (God’s and) friends’ help. Her friends, coworkers, neighbors, and family showed up for her and she let them. It made me think about they people around me, the people I invest my time with and hope they in turn are willing to invest their time into me and I came to a conclusion:

The Honest T take- most of the people in your weekly circle of contact would be willing to help you emotionally, physically, and even financially if you would (ask and) let them. Yes, we are all busy, some of us strapped, most frantic, but 98% of us are willing to help a friend in need. Maybe you never voiced your need or maybe you specifically voiced your need- LET PEOPLE SHOW UP FOR YOU. LET PEOPLE LOVE YOU. (yes, I’m yelling that at you).

If I love you, let me. If I am offering my time, talent, or treasure to you, please, take it. Not only do I want to give it to you, it is hurtful to me that you, my friend, don’t want these precious things from me. Now, this is not saying let people drop in anytime they please, or let them pay for the one egg that was borrowed, or that you have to take the free painting class they’re offering if it doesn’t interest you. What I am saying is that when your tribe people want to take you to dinner for your promotion, or spend a time hanging out in your box filled home before you move even though its not comfortable, or show you how to hand letter an envelope during nap time, or bake you their famous rum cake, or drop off a pizza and cozy socks at your door because your kids are full of snot and you’re solo parenting and they know you need it- please let them.  Maybe you didn’t know you even wanted or needed this thing from them but I promise, it will be good for both of your souls.

 

New from Noonday

While I am stepping back from actively holding trunk shows for Noonday Collection this season, I did pick up some new pretties from the Spring 2018 line. There are so many versatile pieces that launch online February 15. Here are the five I chose for myself.

*All linked content will take you to the page where items will be uploaded on February 15*

The first stunner is the Atitlan Tote made in Guatemala. I fell in love with this immediately and knew I had to have it for summer! Its roomy enough for an overnight bag, farmers market tote, or just use it as your everyday purse/ diaper bag.

atitlan tote

Admittedly, I am a necklace girl and when I can get two for one, I am in! These classic
silver and gold Layered Artillery Necklaces from Ethiopia are made from up-cycled layered artilery necklacesartillery shells and can be worn together or separately.

 

 

 

There are so many GREAT earrings this season! Fun, funky, classic, versatile, big and small! I chose the go-with-everything Druzy Drop Earrings and the wear-a-million-ways Mumbai Hoops both made in India. The Mumbai Hoops come with 10 charms you can mix and match!

 

Finally, I chose the add to my ever growing arm party. I picked the newest dainty paper bead bracelet called the Paper Play Bracelet. Made in Uganda the multi -colored upcycled paper beads mixed with a few gold seed beads makes this bracelet so easy to wear. I have paired it with my Simplicity Stack bracelets that come as a set of three and it is an instant colorful accessory.

 

 

 

 

 

I do receive a commission from purchases through my link http://www.tinafranklin.noondaycollection.com