There is beauty and truth in expressing the full range of our emotions.

How Do You Really Feel?

Searching for Nuance

Full disclosure: I am weary of the social media posts that proclaim how happy one feels at home. I have a gorgeous home which I’ve lovingly curated AND I’m a homebody AND I identify as an introvert AND I’m spending this time reconnecting with parts of my home previously neglected… And yet, I’m not ready to proclaim my happiness here. Why? Because I didn’t choose this path.

I appreciate positivity so, so much (cultivating a positive mindset literally saved my life). What I miss in the Rose-Colored Glasses approach is Nuance. Of course, I understand introverts are happiest at home. I understand working from home has “working from away” beat hands-down for many of us. And I understand that being at home is not really that bad of a restriction, not in the grand scheme of things.

Yet…I’m disheartened by the collective (read: privileged) insistence on putting a happiness tag on this situation. If you’re anything like me — one minute you’re happy to be home and the next you’re crawling up the walls and the next you’ve escaped outside for a walk and the next you’ve been in your bed reading/bingeing for so long your hip bone has started hurting… I could go on! The range of emotions I’m experiencing in my “quiet days at home” are nothing short of roller-coaster-ish.

Where is the honesty in our authenticity? Where is the middle ground between sadness and joy? Where is the raw emotion that balances knowledge, logic, and “staying safe”? Where are the conversations about how women are picking up the majority of this “at home-ness”? Where is the delicacy, the avoidance, the tears, the perspective? Where is the nuance of it all?

Things I’m Missing (including YOU!)

As a protective measure, I haven’t been that present on social media. Some days I miss it, and some days I don’t. As long as we’re being honest, social media was never a choice for me, either. I felt I had to have a certain presence in order to increase awareness of my offerings. I don’t live in a bubble, after all. (Sometimes, I wish I did.)

I do acknowledge that social media has widely expanded my networks, has contributed to increasing my consciousness, and has provided me with opportunities to be heard and seen I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I love it for those reasons. I miss it for those reasons. I’ve no doubt I’ll be returning to it, for those reasons, very soon.

I am also missing:
in-person get togethers
my living room being just a living room
the feeling of success when both kids made it on the bus
being in charge of my time for the whole day
friend dates
wine night
thrift shopping
art class
art class
art class
(I really miss my art class!)

What comes next?

More than anything, I am missing control. I do not like to be out of control or to have control taken from me. I like to be IN control, all the time. The sassy lass in me gets that this is soooooo the lesson I need to learn, and am learning, during this time. The lee lee in me, though, is pretty pissed off.

So I tell myself: It’s okay. Take some time to get used to this new paradigm. There are still decisions to be made. Your mind still works; it waits for you to come and find it. Dreams are still happening. Plans are still being made. Many of the things you enjoy doing when you ARE in control, you can still do even while the control isn’t yours to have.

In fact, I do have a lot that {could be} on my mind, when I’m ready to face it. I have projects to finish, products to market, two loans to be repaid, ideas about branding to flesh out, a plan for the #100dayproject, and lots of hopes & dreams for my home and garden.

Still, I find myself resisting these tasks day after day, only focusing on the one thing that has to get done right away, and then burying myself in biographies about women who did things. (I highly recommend this one about Julia Ward Howe and this one about Effie Gray, if you’re into that kind of thing.) How did they have the energy? Where did they find the time?

But first, Self-Care

As someone who thrives on planning what comes next, I know that what’s most important right now is elevating and expanding my self-care practices so that I will feel ready and be able when my intuition says, It’s Time. I also live with clinical depression that is triggered by being “out of control,” so upping my self-care is critical in holding the reins steady where my mental health is concerned.

Support systems, compassion & forgiveness, lots of outdoor time, sneaking in face time with the couple of friends who feel safe in doing so, limiting screen time, taking my herbal supplements, going on an increased dosage of my antidepressant, napping when I feel tired, eating a variety of foods, making things with my hands. I need all of this, and more.

So yes, I have questions to get to and a home to clean. Kids pressing for more of my time and cats meowing for attention. A puppy who needs to be near someone 24 hours a day, at least that’s what it feels like to this “new mom.” Friends who want to hear from me. I even have more books to be read.

Is now the time? Have I adjusted? Is this my new normal? Should I be recording a video instead of writing this newsletter? Am I Happier Being At Home?

A Nuanced Response

I confess to not-knowing and — on some days — to not caring. I am okay with my question-asking self being in charge right now. And I’m super okay with not proclaiming happiness or pushing positivity, which I get is an important coping mechanism for so, so many people. Even on my good days, I feel pretty dang sad.

I’ve done a lot of lists in this missive so I won’t go into the enormous injustices — personal, professional, and political — that are making me sad right now, but can we all just take a moment to find solidarity in the fact that we are humans and have a wide range of emotional responses to a crisis?

I want to play more with this idea of nuance. I don’t even really know what it means! I’m curious as to how integration of feelings can lead to a wider understanding, though. I’ve experienced the power in holding two possibilities in hand at one time — and I’ve experienced the challenge in doing so. I believe we can keep each other safe, and still set our own boundaries.

Adjusting to the “new normal” — without taking time to integrate the grief that comes from having the old normal taken away from us — only benefits those who were in power before all of this took place. Finding nuance, naming our range of emotions, and insisting on transparency will benefit the whole.

If we have the luxury to do so, I don’t see the harm in acknowledging ALL of our true feelings. I see only beauty and strength.



Find me @weareladymade & @wordsbyleelee on IG.

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