Most of the time, my definition of strength is complete self reliance. Admitting I need help or attention…the epitome of weakness.

Life throws random difficulties at me and I respond by hardening my outer shell. Oh life, your parking tickets, rain, loneliness and depression can’t reach me in here. Nothing can get inside. I’ll even crawl down into this deep hole to hide from you. Nothing can harm me through my thick armor down in my dark pit.

Nobody can know I’m hiding so I smile bigger and I laugh louder. Distraction is key.

Eventually I remember I’m afraid of the dark. I don’t like being alone. I’m very brave and I’m very strong, but why wouldn’t I want my hand held? Why wouldn’t I reach out to someone who loves me and ask them to hold me up when I get too tired?

I’m still learning. I’ll always be.

But, I see my fingers stretched out in front of me more often. I see how this does not make me weak. Quite the opposite.

When my confessions are met with love and validation, when I’m bolstered by even one person who reminds me none of us are going it alone…. my heart opens and I know I’ll be okay.

And so will you.


  1. I know your words. I know these feelings, this place, this perspective…

    Your situation is different from mine, yes, but parts of the journey are the same.

    One of the reasons I have always been so taken with your words and images is the strong sense of authenticity they have. Another is that I always gravitate to photos where I think “that’s the shot I would have taken…or wish I had taken”. But, more than that, it’s because I read the words, these intimate and honest and sometimes tentative words, and I know the emotions which have brought them to the page.

    Thank you for continuing to share your journey. The path we’re all on isn’t ever straight. Sometimes, because of the switchbacks, it’s hard to tell how much progress we’re making. We each look forward and back to see others ahead or behind, sometimes flailing to grab a root to steady themselves while falling in the slippery mud, sometimes catching their breath while looking out at a peaceful vista. We each share versions of those experiences.
    And we carry on. Climbing. Making progress on this shared trail, each with our own destination.

    Continued blessings to you, Rachel. And continuing wishes for you to Thrive.


    • Feelings of validation and solidarity always come to me through your words Grove. Thank you. I say thank you, but I mean something so much deeper than such a simple, overused phrase. Gratitude comes closer… I am so grateful to be on this climb with you.

  2. This one touched me so deep Rachael. Parts made me cry, reflecting back in time where and when those “Messes” start. I’m thankful when I look back now and can say, “I learned so much from this one or, that one mistake”! But what’s more amazing is, I can see how everything always has an end to it. “It CAN’T rain forever” can it? I always comfort myself with, “This too shall pass” because it has to! And because I’ve, stopped fighting the current by, accepting and allowing, what can’t be changed at the MOMENT.
    Ahhh, this is when I can focus on, learning and growing!
    I also, find it hard to reach out and trust people with my heart. I know, The loneliness of that “safe” dark place you mentioned. For me, that “wall” went up YEARS and years ago. The little girl inside can barely remember all the reasons each brink was placed. We’re taking that wall down now. It’s not easy because each brick has it’s OWN painful story… Each one, cries out with, injustice! Needs that weren’t met, arms that weren’t their to hold…promises that were broken! I comfort her and we cry together, sometimes she won’t let go of a brick and I sooth her with the reassurance, “I will take care of her, she is good enough, she is LOVED, I won’t let her down”!
    Our wall is coming down…sometime slowly but I can see light on the other side.

    “I see my fingers stretched out in front of me more often. I see how this does not make me weak. Quite the opposite.”
    I to, am learning it’s ok to reach out and not be afraid to TRUST. It feels good, it feels right!
    Thanks for helping me take out one more brick Rachael…I love you.

    • I’m going to keep telling you that you need to start a blog where you’re able to share all of this goodness! As always, thank you for being so open and authentic. It never goes unnoticed.

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