“Your life is so perfect.”

I try my hardest to be transparent and open on the internet. Whether that’s on my blog, instagram, or elsewhere. To me, instagram specifically is a place I can share a little bit of me with a little bit of you. A safe and comfortable place where people can find encouragement amongst the realness.

So when I received the message from someone who had seen a picture on my feed and thought to say “your life is so perfect” I felt like I had failed.

I reread the message several times before responding, and I remember keeping it sweet but brief because I didn’t really know what else to say.

The simple truth is my life is far from perfect. That’s not to say I’m not happy or grateful for what I have, I absolutely am, but my life is not perfect and honestly? I don’t want it to be. And I’m not out here in this world trying to achieve the perfect life or pretend like I have the perfect life. My goal is not to encourage envy or jealousy in those who care to see what I’m doing, my hope is not to paint this picture that everything is as it should and my life has no struggle or that everything comes to me with ease.

My goal with my presence anywhere, in person or online, is to be genuine. I strive to be an encouragement by sharing with others that it’s OKAY to not be okay. It’s OKAY to be doing great in a season where others around you are not. It’s OKAY to feel lost, inspired, disengaged, confused, happy. It’s okay. My goal is for people to know me and from that connection know that they aren’t alone and that they have a friend in me. If I’m not being real, frankly I don’t see the point in any of this.

My life is not perfect. I have my struggles just like everyone else, and even though our struggles might not be the same that doesn’t mean I have it easy. I work my butt off to be able to live life on my own, as I please, and with that comes a lot of responsibility. I don’t like things just being handed to me. I was raised by a strong and determined woman. She taught me at a young age that if I want something I have to work for it because the world doesn’t hand things to you.

I love my boyfriend with all my heart, he’s my best friend and my partner. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have off days. We definitely have our harder days. Relationships are made up of valleys and peaks, it’s not all open fields of happiness and joy and it’s not always easy. It takes effort and patience, over and over and over again, and choosing someone despite seeing all of their dark parts. You continue to love them because you choose to. And within that you trust in them to accept you despite your own dark parts. We don’t go to bed angry but that doesn’t mean there aren’t late nights. Thomas and I have things we are constantly working on as people to continue to grow and be the best version of ourselves. But nothing is perfect.

I love hanging out with friends and getting to socialize at events around town. It’s always so amazing getting to see you guys in person and collaborate! But sometimes I have to say no to events because even though my heart might say yes my bank account screams “girl, please.” Sometimes this means rsvp’ing no to an event, passing on the dress, or returning the shoes. My life is not perfect.

Sometimes I get down on myself and feel anxiety because I don’t feel I’m where I should be. I know I’m a hard worker and I’m doing my best, and most of the time I’m comfortable being inspired to keep moving forward. But there are times where I compare, just like everyone else, and think “wow, what am I doing?” or “what did I do wrong? why can’t I go do this thing or afford to buy this or take part in that?” It’s not that I want the simple snap of “i want it? it’s mine!”. I work my ass off for what I have and what I do. Sometimes I just wish the hard work paid off more. It’s easy to look at someone’s life through a square and go “wow she doesn’t have any struggles. she would never understand what I’m going through”, but it’s simply not true. Because I was able to attend a happy hour or travel some place or whatever it may be, doesn’t mean I don’t know struggle or I don’t have my own financial burdens. If that is your train of thought when seeing these moments in someone else’s life I’d encourage you to try turning a jealous or envious attitude into a congratulatory one. Rather than assuming someone has it so much better or easier than you, give her a nod of encouragement “you go girl! you did that thing. i don’t know what went into how you were able to that, but that’s not my business. congratulations that you were able to do that for yourself”. This embraces a more positive outlook for you as well, because you’re not constantly comparing yourself to other people.

There is a lot of drug addiction, sexual abuse, and co-dependency in my immediate family that causes a lot of triggers and anxiety for me on the daily. This isn’t a “whoa is me” conversation but a moment of transparency. I can choose to be bogged down with stress, toxicity, and drama or I can walk with my head high and know that there is a God so much bigger than me that is taking care of my heart, despite those in my family that have hurt me time and time again. These are wounds that take time to heal, and there are definitely some days that are tougher than others.

I recently was talking with a gal on the bus and she was complaining about people romanticizing anxiety. She stated that she “doesn’t get” why people with anxiety whine so much, that “it’s all in their head, everyone goes through their own shit, grow up and take responsibility for yourself”. I don’t take anxiety as some sort of cop out or way to maybe gain special treatment or manipulate anyone or thing, but I do know firsthand how real it is, how debilitating it can be, and how quickly it can take over. Sometimes you know the trigger, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes it’s not from a trigger at all. Anxiety can be biting your finger nails into nubs, ripping out your hair, thirty trains of thought toot tooting through your head as you try to wrap your brain around everything that you’re doing wrong. Anxiety is reliving the past, getting stuck in a traumatic event and replaying it, no longer in the present and trapped in that. moment. It’s not fake, it’s not about growing up, it’s about wounds that have scarred over but still hurt to be touched. And it’s about trying to balance being strong and being gentle, learning the ins and outs of yourself and saying “it’s okay. you’re okay” even if you don’t have anyone nearby to give you a hug, you hug yourself and you keep on. Because life goes on.

The list goes on and on. But my life is not perfect.

So here I am. Showing you the real.

Remember that the parts of your life that aren’t so pretty, that are dark or embarrassing or private or shameful, remember that we are all made up of mistakes and imperfections. You are not alone. I never want to see “your life is so perfect”. That’s not what I want to inspire. I want to inspire hope, togetherness, and love. I want you to know you’re not alone. Don’t wish you were me, be happy you’re you. And that’s all I’m trying to do, too.