I can’t write because she…

How many times in my life have my words stop flowing because she … ? She has always been another writer, someone who communicates best in written form and shares her thoughts with those around her. She has been someone different time and time again.

When I first sat down to share this, I pictured many of the different women she has been. I don’t consider myself a very competitive person, but the first few women I thought of, something in life made me feel like I was in competition with those particular women. It took a lot of healing and help to come to realize that she wasn’t my competition and while there was outside influence and pressure to see her as competition, the biggest problem was the way I was looking at things.

Yet, as the faces slid through my mind and I tried to decide where to start, I realized that some of the women were never women I felt like I was in competition with. I don’t really view life that way anyway – I think it’s very much a team event and we sharpen and motivate and encourage one another onward.

So if some of the women stirred up unusual feelings of competition but some of them didn’t, then what was the common thread? And why did she make it to where I couldn’t write?

Maybe I felt less than when I compared myself to her.

Or maybe I felt ashamed. Or like she wrote better.

What really hit me was when I realized I was afraid to let them see where I was vulnerable. I can’t come here to this space and lie. It’s not what God called me to do. I can’t come here and make up someone I’m not or write a life I’m not living. Sometimes this is raw, sometimes gritty, but always open, honest, authentic.

And sometimes, when I think of her winding up in this space reading it, I think she might find my weak points. Maybe, she’ll use my vulnerability against me.

She has many faces, she has come into my life in different roles, and she is honestly just a messed up way the enemy of God tries to put a stop to me writing. Some false sense of self-protection or bravado. Hiding in fear of what exactly? I don’t know anymore.

Tonight I ask God to teach me to persevere and pen my words despite what road blocks and writers block the enemy tries to hurl at me.

Until next time,

No Longer Competing

I’ve seen posts, read memes, and watched lessons from women, to women, about not competing with other women. It resonated with me and I often felt like “I got it” – as in the message overall.

I got it, that is, until I felt like I was put in competition with another woman. Through choices not my own, and secrets I discovered unexpectedly, I was at odds with a woman I didn’t even know. At the moment I was most consumed, I wanted to be just like her. At the moment I was fighting the hardest, I wanted to be exactly the opposite of her. Regardless, I wanted the attention she was receiving, because to me it was supposed to be the attention I was receiving.

On top of my own over thinking mind to combat, I was also a little more than half way through my final pregnancy – just pregnant enough to not feel the glow, teetering on the point where I was starting to feel down on myself about the reflection in the mirror.

It’s hard to compete with someone you don’t even know. If you’re an over thinker like me, you might even make them someone they are not.

Through unconventional methods, I learned more about who she was, at least on some level. But the more I learned, the more I felt like she was someone I would call a friend. Imagine my shock the more I learned, the more I liked, the more I thought of her as someone I’d like to really know – without being hidden behind a weird veil.

I had to come clean, and I did. I expected the worse, and that’s not what I got. There is a level of weirdness that I cannot deny, but she accepted me even after I admitted being absolutely nuts. I was able to see that she wasn’t who I made her up in my mind to be.

And in a moment where I found myself lending a hand at her request, I really got it, for the first time. I’m competing with no one but myself. I want to be better than I was yesterday and yesteryear. But I’m not really trying to be better than her, or her, or her, or her. This newfound awareness of who I’m playing against has changed the narrative for me all week. I look at other women differently than I ever have before.

The comparisons I created are silenced quickly when I remind myself that I’m only trying to learn and do better today than I did yesterday. I have found a freedom to say hello, to be warm, to be welcoming. I have found freedom to offer myself honestly, to answer questions less guarded. I have found new freedom in my writing, my living, my parenting, my being.

Thank you for accepting me when it seemed least likely you would. Thank you for choosing kindness when another choice would have made sense. Thank you for showing me a better way. Thank you for the freedom you helped me to find.