I am so honored to publish this guest post by the @GDRPempress: Alexandra of Good Day Regular People.
You know, I thought I knew why I was doing the whole Mama’s Comfort Camp thing, and then Alexandra’s post helped me understand what I do, what we Campers do, on an even deeper level. Thank you for that, dear friend.
Alexandra blogs at Good Day Regular People about life as an overanalyzing mother of three boys trying to go unnoticed in her small town. The most important things you need to know about her are that the internet saves her daily and that she believes the most you can ask for in life is to arrive at the end of it all with your hair messed up, out of breath, and not throwing up. Alexandra is a contributing writer for Aiming Low, TikiTikiblog and FunnynotSlutty. She is one of my favorite writers ever, and I am proud to call her my friend.
Passing the mic to Alexandra:
I want to thank Yael for humbling me with her invitation to celebrate here with her today, for Mama’s Comfort Camp’s one year anniversary. MCC now has almost 700 members and eight dedicated Den Mothers. It’s been one year of Yael creating a community of healing and safety. And love.
Thank you, Yael, from so many of us struggling and from so many of us who have found strength through helping others.
You have so much to be proud of, Yael, and we have so much to appreciate.
Being Seen, Being Heard, Finding Home
It’s hard to know what to ask for, when you’re drowning and desperate, and your only wish is for someone to throw you a lifesaver. But you don’t know what that lifesaver would be. If someone were to say “Tell me, please, what can I do for you,” we couldn’t answer. We have no idea, all we know is that we want it to stop. And that “it” is something different to anyone you ask. “It” could be feeling overwhelmed with children, or with the duties of daily life, maybe changes in marriage, domestic challenges, needing a friend, feeling alone, not finding acceptance, unable to self forgive.
If you look in our eyes, you can read it, “Help me.”
Help me in some way that I don’t know but I need. Help me by being a place where you get me. And if you don’t, then please don’t judge me. Don’t give me answers to my problems, just be somewhere where it’s okay to be who I am — be a place where I don’t have to pretend that everything is all right, or be something I’m not.
We seek to be understood, no solution needed, just loved on. If we could put into words what we are dying without, we’d say, “Let me talk to you, while you nod ‘yes, yes, yes’ and let that be all there is to it. Please lighten my load with shared laughter in recognition of it all. Please tear up as you listen to me tell you, just what I’m surviving today. Let my words rest in your soul, and keep me there, inside, where I feel safe and warm.”
You can’t describe or put a formula to how you find your “tribe,” your group of safe that make your daily life possible. But little by little, one by one, you meet people that bring a feeling back into your life and give you moments when you smile again. It catches you by surprise at first, the curving up of your lips in a smile that happens in a snap; but as time goes on, you start to smile more often. It feels like joy again. These people you’ve found make you smile and one day the sharp edges of your life soften their grip on you.
We all want to belong to a part of something that is more than what we have just physically around us. We want acceptance and to belong to the larger collective of what we are like. Finding our values and sharing what is dear to us is what tethers us to our existence and binds us to a sisterhood. There is magic when this happens; we’re no longer alone in our darkness, our lives are not what they were — a place of no light.
There are indeed times, yes, when we truly want answers and solutions, resources, help, ideas, suggestions… but there are, much more often, just those times when all we want said to us are the words, “I’ll listen. Tell me.” What sweeter thing could there be to hear, when our chests ache from all we hold inside, secretly praying to disappear from the crushing weight of it all.
Hope. Hope is what a community gives. Hope, of seeing and hearing someone who once was where we are now, and to see that they survived.
Hope. The sweet balm of imagining that maybe someday, that could be us too. After days and nights of pleading prayers, the presence of another that promises “I am here. You will be someday, too” feels like a battered ship finally spotting a lighthouse in the distance and knowing shelter from the storm will soon be at hand. Seeing that lifesaving light, that leads like a lamp to a path for us up ahead, at a time when we have no idea where to place our next steps.
Being heard, being seen. Finding home.
Thank you, Yael, for you are the one with the lamp held high for all of us, shining the way back to ourselves.
Thank you, Alexandra, for this post. And for the beauty you bring into my life with your writing online every day.
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