August 28, 2015

Confessions of a Columnist.

Drew Coffman/Flickr

A while back, a friend of mine who is a columnist for a different publication shared an article that I had written on social media. She described me as a “writer-friend, beautiful mother and eloquent life navigator.”

This was one of life’s truly humbling moments of perfect irony, because when I read her description I had been sitting at a desk all day biting back tears.

A relationship had failed, I felt detached from my daughters in a way that I had never felt, my life was severely imbalanced and for some reason I was feeling rather inept because I had realized that morning that I didn’t even own an ironing board.

“Eloquent life navigator?

Beautiful mother?

I felt like a total sham.

Besides the writing, I do coaching and teach yoga, and sometimes all of this gets lumped into the part of my mind where I sometimes feel like an imposter.

So, I write this article not out of an attempt at self-deprecation, nor a means of passively begging for positive feedback, but rather to be authentic.

I want to tell you all where I am at and what this is all about for me.

I have received messages from people who say that they see me as someone who has it all together. I am not sure what “it” is, but I assure you that it probably is not together. In fact, it actually has never even been fully assembled, and as much as possible I choose to be at peace with the fact that I lost the instructions (or, admittedly, threw them out).

Someone last weekend told me that I was a “beautiful wreck.”

I responded to them by saying that that was a matter of perspective. While some people think that I make mistakes, I do not consider this to be the case. I truly learn as I go, and I love as much as I can along the way and breathe with as steady a breath as I can throughout it all.

I have had people that I know personally read my articles and tell me that they cannot believe that I am allowing myself to feel or say certain things. It is as if they are holding me to a higher standard.

But—I am not a hypocrite; rather, I am human.

I truly love my life; I am so grateful for this experience. I get to do this, and even though I make it difficult for myself at times, I believe I have pure intentions.

I choose to be vulnerable; I choose to share some of what I have learned and what I now see—from my perspective. This is important, as what I write in my articles are only my perspectives and people’s perspectives are always (read again: always) shifting.

And so, I confess to just being who I am.

I confess to writing about interdependence, when I continuously find myself in the middle of codependent relationships.

I confess to writing about intuition, when I could definitely listen to mine more often than I do.

I confess to writing about red flags, when I repeatedly choose to see only the good in people and turn a blind eye to signs of potential heartache.

I confess to writing about parenting, when at times my two toddlers and their emotions and needs practically bring me to my knees.

I confess to writing about being centered, when often a graceful and patient response would be much less painful than my reactions for all involved.

I confess to having a lot of tangly knots in my life—some so tangly that I need the support of others to work through them.

My writing, though, is a way of untangling these knots.

I begin by centering myself; write about the knot, then proceed to work through it—writing and unravelling at the same time, and this unravelling brings me so much healing and clarity.

I have been doing this my entire life, and just recently began to share this publicly in the last year.

I do not publish these articles out of any sense of ego. I do not think that I am here to “help” or “fix” any of you, because none of you need helping nor do you need fixing, nor is that what I am doing for myself.

I know that you struggle. Of course you struggle; we all do.

I receive messages about these struggles, and what is uncanny is that the readers sending these messages are going through the same challenges that I am facing currently or have faced in the past.

My intention is to bring some of the healing to others that I bring to myself, but my confession is that you do not need me, my articles, or any article to do this.

We read “how to” articles and write-ups with a listed number of traits to look for in a perfect mate, and ironically turn to an author’s words to know when it is time to leave that “perfect mate.”

There is so much information—there are so many perspectives—that I encourage you to first go inward. To begin to trust yourselves first, because on some level you do know. You can tap into any type of wisdom that I can offer, and can learn from your experiences in the same way that I have learned from mine.

I told someone when I began coaching that if a client came back to me after our program was finished, then that was a sign that I was not doing what I had intended to do. Because my intention is to teach that I am not needed.

The same goes for my writing.

In the early stages of beginning to trust ourselves, it is okay to crave some validation. It is healthy to require some support—I require a lot of support. I require a lot of reminding—sometimes of what I already know, and sometimes I even get my own words tossed back at me from my friends when I am in a place where I am stubborn or stuck.

This is pretty effective (comically so, sometimes)—I cannot really argue against my own philosophies, because deep down I know that they are true for me.

I believe we can use art and writing not only for healing, but for the expression of our own perspectives of beauty as well. We can turn to online journals and articles for the sharing of inspiration. I would love nothing more than to connect with some of you and your one-of-a-kind ways of seeing the world here.

We can do this with art, too. Writing is just one of the many art forms that can shatter the illusion of separateness.

I even write articles at times with “how to” titles, but in all honesty, I am not here to tell you how to do anything. Nor do I know how you should do anything.

Through the filter of your discernment, this medium is a platform for sharing, authenticity, healing, creativity, inspiration, perspective and connection.

So, these confessions are perhaps not so much confessions as they are an invitation: An invitation to just see me as I am, and to accept me anyway, in the same way that you can accept yourselves—just as you are.

They are an invitation to begin to connect over the beauty in each other and over over experience—standing vulnerable, yet strong; together, yet independent.


Author: Katie Vessel

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Flickr/Drew Coffman


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