Dec 032012
 

We got our Christmas tree yesterday.

Actually, Craig got our tree. He was up late with a sick Tish so I let him sleep in. By the time he woke up I was annoyed about my gracious offer to let him sleep in, annoyed that he accepted my gracious offer, and annoyed at my kids for being so awake for so long. When Craig’s sleepy, unsuspecting head walked out into the living room, I shoved the keys into his hands and said, GO. Tree time. Go get our tree.

Craig, Amma, and Chase came back two hours later with Our Tree. I tried to smile but it was hard because I hated it.

I hated it. The tree was half dead. I turned to ice. I avoided eye contact. I stopped smiling. Craig fell silent.

I grabbed at the branches and tried to cover the dead spots and said again and again with my best martyr voice:

“It’s fine. I’ll make it work.”

Strings of unspoken words flew from me to Craig and back again. We argued silently, while the Christmas music played in the background and the kids broke every fifth ornament.

Me to Craig: Why can’t you do anything right? Every decision you make screws this family up.

Craig to Me:  Why is nothing I do ever good enough for you?  Every judgment you make screws this family up.

In retrospect, I know that this argument started early Saturday morning, before my family even woke up. After my coffee, I went online and scrolled through my friends’ Christmas pictures on Facebook. I looked at the pretty lights, the carefree smiles, the loving embraces and I thought: why does this look so easy for everyone else? All of these families. They are perfect. I will never have this again. My family is – publicly and privately –  screwed up. We are broken. All messed up.

Why doesn’t anyone else look tired and messed up?

I should know better. I do know better. I know that there is Facebook life and there is real life. There is Christmas card family and Christmas tree family. One is not a lie and the other truth – they are both true. It’s just that you need both to get the whole story.  And we get a lot of “half stories” nowadays. Now that we spend more time with social media and less time with each other.  Now that we spend more time with our hundreds of Facebook friends and less time with our handful of real friends. Our real friends might tell us the whole story. But we don’t have time for all of that, so we only see the shiny stuff.  And whether we know better or not, we compare our family’s imperfect insides to other families’ shiny outsides. Even thought we KNOW (thank you Brene!) that comparison is a recipe for pain and panic.

Last week my internet was acting screwy and I couldn’t get directly to the Momastery page, so I wrote Momastery into my Google browser and hit the first link that popped up. What came up was forum after forum of people trashing me and my family. As I read the first page I thought- I can’t believe that people are talking about another human being like this. Oh my GOD.  It wasn’t until I got to the second page that I realized- OH MY GOD. They are talking about ME.

They said that I am a neurotic nightmare. They said that my family is a fraud. They said that Craig only married me because I was pregnant and that our marriage was doomed from the start.  They said that I made up the The News for publicity. They said –  over and over again  –  that I am a terrible wife. That I am a bad mom. An awful mom. That I don’t deserve my kids and that they deserve better than me. They said that my family was totally screwed. They did not use the word screwed. I read page after page, link after link of the same. I’d never seen any of it before. I’d really believed, as I later told Sister, that the internets were just being really, really nice to me.

I sunk that night. Really, really deep. I sunk until I hit a place deep down in my soul that said:

Glennon – The jig is up. They have found you out. They are right. You are a fraud as a mother and a disaster of a wife and you are completely unworthy of love.

I’m okay now. I know that I chose this life. I chose to live out loud and I know that if I am going to live here –  in this amazing, vulnerable place where I get to see the best that humanity has to offer every single day –  I also have to accept the worst.  That’s the way of life. You either accept the beautiful and the brutal or you accept neither.

If you choose a life of compassion, you cannot only choose it for yourself and your friends. You must also choose it for those who would set themselves up as your enemies. It’s the only way to peace.

I choose everyone. I choose all of humanity.

Humanity is at its best and most brutiful within the family. And so I think that this holiday season we should honor all different kinds of families. Not because they are perfect, but because they are sacred. Every family is sacred because in a family, God is there. God is love, and so where there is love between people, any people – especially broken, messed up, weak ones – there is God. And THAT is what makes a family beautiful. It’s not the clothes and the smiles and the decorations. It’s the struggles and the miracles that happen when we love each other through those struggles.  It’s God in there.

It’s the pain and the loss – the half dead trees that life hands us and it’s how we say – FINE. I am going to make something beautiful out of this. Because it may be half dead, but that means it’s also half aLIVE. And if you are breathing and have someone, anyone to love today, than your tree is half alive too. If you have someone to love, then you have a family. Even if the love is messy and broken and the person you love seems far and beyond. Where there is love, there is God. And so whatever it looks like and feels like this year- your family is sacred. I honor your family this year. Family is hard, but we can do hard things.

I am proud to say that this year, I represent the broken families. The divorced ones and the together by a string ones and the recovering ones and the ones who have suffered great, great loss this year. I represent the moms who didn’t whistle while they handed ornaments to their children this year…but instead gritted their teeth and smiled fake smiles because DAMNIT THIS HOUSE WILL HAVE SOME MOTHER FREAKING CHEER. I represent the parents who have never been so grateful for Christmas specials and movies because: I can rest. I can rest and still celebrate. I represent the Love Warriors. The warriors who know that family is not the people you see on the Christmas cards. It’s the sacred space between them.

Look for the holes in those pictures this year.The spaces between arms and curls and precious little knees. GOD IS THERE. Say a little prayer for every family you see.

God- stay close to the family in this picture. And that one and that one and that one. Snuggle in between them and stay all year. Remind them , constantly, that their mess is holy.

Me too. Remind me, too.

Love,

G

 

 

 



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  602 Responses to “Half Alive”

  1. You are so on point with this post! Love it. I always said “All that glitters is not Gold”.

  2. […] other day Glennon wrote this post on Momastery. She talked about how she was feeling jealous of all of the happy family photos on […]

  3. As it has been said before, I remember looking at pics of you and your ‘perfect family’ and feeling a tad envious too, Glennon. We all have holes, it is good to be reminded of that… Love and light to you and your not so perfect, but perfectly wonderful, family this Christmas season. ♥

  4. First off, know that your putting up the tree day is the type of day the majority of us have, nine out of ten Christmases. If there’s a mom out there who hasn’t been aggravated by her husband or kids or both and more in this Christmas season, God bless her – she should give lessons to the rest of us :o) But the second thing is, it is horrible to hear that people have nothing better to do but bash you! But I shouldn’t be surprised. A friend lost her only child a few years ago and within hours of the tragedy, people who they never met put horrible comments about their teenager up on the web. One was so bad they ended up having it investigated – it was traced to a college kid halfway across the country who spent a great deal of his time writing random nasty, hurtful things about people in the news. There is no merit in what these kinds of people say. The Monkees are your people and we can relate to you and we love you!

  5. You are incredible! We are incredible and Together our incredible will cancel out all that yuckiness ppl are feeling to say such horrible things! I wiped away tears while thinking ” don’t you say such nasty things about our monkee leader!” They don’t get it Glennon!!! How can they not get it? How do they not feel the love that emits from the monkees??!?! I cry for them too.

  6. I rarely comment here but I love what you write. I just had to tell you how much I feel for you–people can be so cruel. We have such capacity for kindness but we rarely use it. I am going through my own marriage stuff right now and I so much appreciate going somewhere to read about how it REALLY IS. It’s hard, and we all pretend that it shouldn’t be. I do the same thing with Christmas cards and FB posts. “Look at how happy all those families are! We’re not normal! Why can’t we be like all those normal, happy families that don’t fight or have problems?” On the other hand I KNOW that’s not how it really is but…still…how can a photo lie? ;-) Anyway, hold on, Glennon. So many of us are rooting for you and when I come here I feel like someone is rooting for me too. That makes it bearable.

  7. Hold up. I thought I cornered the market on craptastic living. WTH? I’m sharing it with others? Oh. Snap.

    There will always be folks out there complaining. Like many of the commenters on your blog have written (sentence structure police, the siren is blaring!), we are all flawed human beings. Focus on all the positive. That will ALWAYS weigh out the negative comments. I know that when you are having a rough time, that’s the last thing you want to hear…. I am sending you virtual hugs. Think of all of your monkees hugging you right now, it’s like a giant snuggy….

    XO
    Caryl

  8. A while back my hubby and I fell under the scrutiny of some local media…they tried to make a mockery of our life, and our passions…we were judge from false information…it sent me into a dark place..where I thought maybe their judgements of my and my hubby might be right!!…but that’s how God led me to your blog!! Stay strong G…the haters of the world see life and people with blinders on …pray someday their hearts will be softened and they will not be to quick to judge…what if the tables turned on their lives and familys oh how they would be different!!

  9. I can’t imagine living my life in the eyes of the public. It’s hard enough to be judged by the person standing in line behind me at the store when I haven’t taken the time to look “nice” or my kids aren’t on their best behavior. ~sigh~

    Unfortunately, the internet allows those people who love to judge, to criticize, to hate to do it in a group setting anonymously. Maybe in person they wouldn’t be nearly so hateful but somehow it’s easier to be cruel when no one knows who you are and can’t judge you.

  10. Have you ever read dooce.com? Heather Armstrong has had to deal with crazy mean people on the internet, too. Wondering if you all can connect and she can offer advice. She has also taken huge risks in revealing her own brokenness and paid the price when sad sick people use the anonymity of the internet to say things they never would in person. But she, like you, keeps on keeping on, and we are all better for it.

    • I had forgot about dooce. I was remembering when Kelle Hampton was getting bagged on. Geez. Can people suck the happy out of life or what?

  11. I totally relate to this! I sent out a beautiful family photo card this year… but the picture doesn’t convey the truth. Thirty minutes before the shoot my toddler had a complete meltdown and I was SO angry and refused to let him take off his boots until AFTER the photos. We will be happy, damnit! Then my husband was running late and I yelled at him and we fought the whole way to the photo shoot. I had spent many mental hours preparing what we would wear and you better believe everyone was going to be in the right outfits. The pictures came out great but they don’t tell the whole story! I send them out and wish I could write the truth on them. Parenting is hard, life is hard, the picture never tells the whole story. Maybe next year I’ll do that!

  12. Love your post. Love your honesty. But, I have to say that the family holiday cards – well, maybe they aren’t fake. Maybe they aren’t tired Mom’s, tough marriages and daily struggles. Maybe they are a glimpse of the happy times of our family that we want to carry with us throuhg the holidays, not to be fake, but to remember what we have, what we have to live for. What we have to be sure we fight for. Now, FB … don’t get me started. Anyway, I appreciate your honesty and your courage it takes to write the truth.

  13. The reason I read you, and why you have grown so much this year with the amount of followers is BECAUSE you are real. I’m getting THIS close to deleting facebook and ripping up Christmas cards because I’m so sick of the fake, smiling, shiny pictures that hide the messy houses and arguing spouses and tired Mom’s. I want real, genuine friendships – but Facebook hides it all. You are honest, and that’s why I read you.

  14. […] is inspired by Sass’s blog post and Glennon’s blog post- both of which I read in the same day and were spot on with how I’ve felt, […]

  15. just don’t read the crap. my friends and i come to your blog for honesty and a sense that we moms are going to be not only okay, but that maybe we will make a difference. to hell with the naysayers. you are beautiful and brutiful. and i just plain adore you. be fierce. be a warrior. you have a lot of us following you who question ourselves every day. and YOU make us whole. we love you.

  16. Thanks for your honest words. I read you from time to time… (busy mom’s life) I always enjoy your refreshing honesty. You made me cry this time. I too so often look at those “perfect family photos” and think “I do not live up to this…” I’m sorry you there are mean people who have written rude and mean mean words about you. It seems to happen so often to people who try and show honesty -and true kindness. Do you ever wonder about the “ax- murderers” out there? I mean, if people are mean to heart-honest, kind people, then are they “nice” to the wicked-mean? I wonder (tongue in cheek) if if the down right wicked go online and find, instead of their names being smeared through the mud, that they are having the opposite happen??!! Just a thought to make you laugh!- (at least it made me smile) Sending a hug your way.

  17. I’ve been reading you for several months now, first time to comment. Because I have NEVER thought any of those terrible things about you, and I have a problem with being judgy! And mainly I turn it on myself, so karma stinks, but…. So take it from a judgy mcjudgy pants that you seem awesome and honest and fun and funny and LIVING, which is hard to do everyday! (And shame on them, because at least I keep my judgements to myself!)

  18. Who cares G. You have created something wonderful. I feel like a sham and a failure evwryday because of my body’s betrayal against me. But we are better. Let’s sit in the middle together for awhile. And to heck with the haters we will just pray for them.

  19. Thank you, you are doing such important work through Momastery, keep going! Much love and support.

  20. I am so sorry that 1. people wrote those hurtful things and 2. that you read them. The hurtful words were probably written by people who are hurting, but covering it up, or people who have not yet experienced as much in life as you have. Hopefully they will become more compassionate and less judgy as they experience more life. Or……they might just stay judgy their whole life…..and that’s too bad for them. I hope that knowing that 50,000+ monkees completely support you and believe in “real life” helps balance out the negative comments. Your honesty is courageous and your “broken” family is REAL. I spoke with a friend the other day who has lots of drama going on in her family. She said “gosh, when you first met me, we were like the Beaver Cleaver family and now we’re all messed up” then she paused and said “well, I guess that stuff was always underneath, but now it’s out in the open” and I assured her that is the way to healing……..getting the yucky stuff out in the open and working through it – with love. Blessings to you, Craig and your kiddos. xo

  21. One of my less flattering qualities that I am a terrible critic. (I am slowly but surely recovering from that criticism and skepticism and those other hurtful -isms, but they still make their way into my heart more often than I would like to admit). I bring it up here to say that although criticizing the life out of what’s around me can too often be my go-to, it has never crossed my mind, in reading your story here, that you were anything other than brave and inspiring. I appreciate the bravery it takes for you to share it, and for your family to be okay with that. I appreciate the number of us who feel less crazy and alone due to your honesty. I’m grateful for you. “It’s not the critic who counts.”

  22. Glennon,

    Thank you for your courage and your willingness to share your journey. Having lost a child, I know first-hand how keeping our thoughts, fears, shame, and sadness to ourselves can break us, for when we keep those things to ourselves, then we are alone. But when we share our stories, then we realize how many others share in our suffering, our survival, and our strength…

    The day my doctor said to me, “The jig is up,” I was on an ER gurney, pregnant and bleeding. I, too, felt as if the world would discover that I was a fraud, merely masking myself as a mother, a wife, a human… Twenty-three years later, I am so happy to know that I uncovered the real truth–that I am just one of many who feel that way from time to time, and that my life is as real as the Christmas tree Craig dragged into your home…

    Your neighbor in grief. Your ally is healing…

    ~Annah

  23. G,
    Keep on rockin’!!! We are all behind you 105%!!!! It’s hard to speak the Truth, but you have and I know God will continue to want you to. Bless you and your family this Christmas! Hugs!

  24. Wow… this post reminds me of Christmases past, when the angry and hurt tension between my parents was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Not a harsh word was spoken in front of us (they saved it for when they at least thought we weren’t listening..), but the tension was so real, even to me at seven years old, that I ended up with severe anxiety over it. All the time. Stomach aches and nausea.. all the time. I didn’t know how to talk about it to my folks, and I was pretty sure that if I did, I’d just get in trouble anyway.
    Children can sense and pick up on so much.. and they’re good at not letting on that this is true. This post brings me back to so many miserable memories with my parents over the holidays, and at other times of year.

  25. […] Half Alive by Glennon at Momastery. “It’s the pain and the loss – the half dead trees that life hands us and it’s how we say – FINE. I am going to make something beautiful out of this. Because it may be half dead, but that means it’s also half aLIVE. And if you are breathing and have someone, anyone to love today, than your tree is half alive too. If you have someone to love, then you have a family. Even if the love is messy and broken and the person you love seems far and beyond. Where there is love, there is God. And so whatever it looks like and feels like this year- your family is sacred. I honor your family this year. Family is hard, but we can do hard things.” […]

  26. HOW DO WE FIX THE INTERNET???? BECAUSE IT IS OBVIOUSLY BROKEN!!! If the internet thinks that you are anything but an honest, loving, insightful, incredibly wise, honest (did I say that already??), poetic, hysterically funny, spiritual, reverent goddess Monkee, than it MUST be broken big time. So how do we fix it????

  27. Glennon, you already know this but it is by sharing your brokenness that you are making us more whole. You help us to accept the whole of ourselves – our pain and our shadows, and to know that there are about 50,000 or more of us out there experiencing the same pains, the same shadows and lots of different ones too. And yes we are all humans, all in this together. Even those that are right now on the opposite end of the spectrum from Love – at Fear. I think it’s fear that makes people write ugly things. They are afraid to face their own fears and so they belittle other people, and say and do nasty things. It doesn’t make them horrible, it just makes them afraid. You keep choosing Love and I love you for that. And so do a whole wide world of Monkees. Love Wins. xxxxxx

  28. 1. No tree here yet. Not even the fake one. Too much science fair and basketball practice and trombone recitals and….. Maybe this weekend. If’ I’m not dead yet. Definitely no later than Dec. 21. For sure. Probably.

    2. The anonymity of the internet and the jealousy of those living incomplete lives are a virulent brew. It is gossip at its worst, fueled by the safety of an avatar and the knowledge that you will NEVER run into your fellow trash talkers at the local market. Only you and those who know you personally have any idea if what you write is accurate. But I for one choose to look for good. Sometimes I get let down, but more often than not, I am filled by good things and good people. Merry Christmas to you and yours! (no matter what the tree looks like!)

  29. G, I want you to know you’re my new “favorite” friend. I’ll probably never meet you, but you’ve changed my life (even my husband notices).
    I share you with my friends and on facebook and even in lessons at church. You are inspiring.
    And I challenge anyone who dares criticize what you’re doing or how you’re doing it. Your imperfections are EXACTLY what make you PERFECT to someone like me.
    Thank you, thank you a million times!!
    Also, I can’t believe all the amazing 50K+ Monkees who inspire and change me, too.
    This really is the best thing I’ve seen in, well, forever.

    • I agree 100%! I’m relatively new to this blog but in the short time that I’ve gotten to know Glennon and the monkees, I feel like it’s sparked some changes in me. I find myself being more aware of others feelings and trying to treat others with more kindness. Even strangers…I was behind someone in the grocery a few weeks ago and they couldn’t pay the bill, so I offered to pay it. I’m not sure that’s something I would have done a few months ago. I wasn’t a bad person before, I just sort of lacked the follow through to act if I thought someone might need help. Reading about the monkees helping each other has inspired me to reach out to others, and I really love this new part of me :)

  30. You are a beautiful soul. I am glad to have come across your writings and be one of the 50,000 new readers of your blog this year.
    God Bless.
    xx

  31. Me too, Lord, me too…

  32. This is why vulnerability is so difficult: rejection, criticism—the fear of it; and the actual experiencing of it.

    If you or anyone is going to try to open themselves up to the world, then this is ground zero in terms of what you need to prepare yourself for: rejection, criticism, disagreement, disapproval, harsh words, contrary opinions, people not liking you or what you stand for.

    If you’re going to open yourself and expose yourself in this way, then criticism is part of it—an inherent, inescapable part of it.

    So you’d be well-advised to get rid of the blinders and learn how to deal with it, devise some strategy for dealing with criticism and contrary opinions.

    Because no matter what you do, not everyone is going to like you. So learn how to accept that.

    And those that like you and have your back?—they may not have your back or be liking you for the right reason—so why let yourself become addicted to human praise and human approval? — “How can you believe when you accept praise from one another, and you do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44)

    Learn to care less about other people’s (especially people on line in make-believe fantasyland) positive and negative opinions of you. Other people’s opinions tend to matter more the less clear we are about life in general and who we are and what we stand for. Fearing other’s criticism and rejection is just the flip-side of needing (being dependent on) other people’s praise and support and validation (what David Schnarch refers to as “borrowed functioning.” You may want to look into the writings of David Schnarch and Murray Bowen and Bowen’s ideas of “differentiation of self” and “pseudo-self” and “solid self,” and Schnarch’s idea of “borrowed functioning,” “reflected sense of self” and “self-validation”).

    And above all, learn to think critically. Is there a granule of truth in what others are saying? Is there a grain of truth in any of it? Then deal with it. You’re big enough to do so.

    “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” – John Kenneth Galbraith, “Economics, Peace and Laughter” (1971), p. 50.

    Arguably what you may be role-modeling here in this post is how to avoid actually dealing with criticism and how to metabolize it much less than legitimately, meaning without actually really listening to it or honestly and objectively and fairly considering it. (Maybe privately you’ve considered the veracity of what your critics have said, but I don’t see that taking place anywhere in the post above.)

    Look, this sucks, Glennon; it sucks what has happened in your life recently. (And I’m not going to pretend like most people around here are pretending, that I actually know what “The News” is. They don’t. And I don’t either. It’s fairly suggestive what it is, but you’ve also obfuscated things as well. But that’s not the point.) And you arguably already have enough to deal with without having to deal with other people out there in Internet-land criticizing you and voicing their disapproval. So I get that. It sucks. Right now compassion and sympathy and empathy and kindness are what you want and need. And you strayed across some people who aren’t giving that to you; instead they’re giving you the opposite—criticism. And you don’t like it and you don’t need it right now.

    But that’s the real world. That’s what’s happening right now. Right now you stumbled across people who have an opinion of you that runs contrary to your own opinion of yourself.

    And you’ve got two ways to deal with it:

    Either you consider the contrary information/opinion fully and fearlessly and objectively—is this really true?

    or

    You simply do anything other than this (and less than this). You can surround yourself with others who will only speak well of you and mirror back what you want to see of yourself or mirror back to you how you see yourself and want yourself to be seen. It may not be true in reality, but it may be true for you, and more importantly it may make you feel better in the short run. (But it may just be another form of addiction / self-numbing).

    To my mind, the number one thing to learn how to do in life if you’re going to put yourself out there and live out loud, is to learn how to deal with criticism honestly and legitimately. Learn how to bracket the (incredibly) hurt feelings, learn how to set aside the blow to the ego (no easy feat), learn how to take as much emotion as you can out of the equation, and just look at the information honestly, objectively, fairly, like a good reporter, like an unbiased judge.

    In the words of the poet Czeslaw Milosz—

    Love means learning to look at yourself
    The way one looks at distant things,
    For you are only one thing among many.
    And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
    Without knowing it, from various ills—
    A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.

    And this is the same advice I would give to anyone who is very sensitive—who was born into life feeling awkward, exposed, naked, unworthy, and as if she was missing some of the armor she needed to have if she was to expose herself to life’s risks—rejection, friendship, tender love.

    This is the same way I would raise my own daughter if she were very sensitive to criticism. I would want her to know that it’s okay to feel hurt—and that it’s okay and that she’s safe enough and loved enough to really feel the hurt and to even be angry about the hurt. But I would also advise her that at some point, after the sting has died down some, that she might want to consider the criticism and see if any of it might be true and if there’s anything in there for her that she might learn from and even grow on. I would tell her that criticism and rejection are a part of life—that teachers will sometimes criticize her work, and as a parent I might criticize and correct her behavior, friends may say mean things behind her back or to her face; and that that’s just life, and that’s just how people are. And she will need to develop a strategy for dealing with it (including learning to think critically).

    Most people narrow themselves and their circle of life (understandably) in an effort to avoid criticism and rejection, instead of learning how think more critically and deeply themselves. And then they develop strategies that don’t really work—judge the judgers, criticize the critic for being critical; or surrounding themselves with people who will praise and validate and support them and not criticize them.

    The bottom line is, if we are leading a truly open-minded and vulnerable life, then it means most of all being willing to look fairly and honestly at ourselves. Otherwise, our vulnerability is just a posturing, for show; a farce—it’s for gaining attention and validation; it’s not based on principle, it’s not because it’s the right or noble or Godly thing to do.

    And if we are living life in a way where we are willing to look honestly at ourselves, then how much can another really say to us that is going to sting? Sometimes criticism stings because it’s our own repressed self-criticism; sometimes it stings because we already kind of know that there might be some truth to what is being said, but we’re trying to repress it or deny it; we don’t want to yet deal with it.

    “We must always hold truth, as best we can determine it, to be more important, more vital to our self-interest, than our comfort. Conversely, we must always consider our personal discomfort relatively unimportant and, indeed, even welcome it in the service of the search for truth. Mental health is an ongoing process of dedication to reality at all costs.” – M. Scott Peck, “The Road Less Traveled”

    “What happens when [a person] is confronted with new information suggesting that their view is wrong and their map needs to largely be redrawn? The painful effort required seems frightening, almost overwhelming. What we do more often than not, and usually unconsciously, is to ignore the new information. Often this act of ignoring is much more than passive. We may denounce the new information as false, dangerous, heretical, the work of the devil. We may actually crusade against it, and even attempt to manipulate the world so as to make it conform to our view of reality. Rather than try to change the map, an individual may try to destroy the new reality. Sadly, such a person may expend much more energy ultimately in defending an outmoded view of the world than would have been required to revise and correct it in the first place.” – M. Scott Peck, “The Road Less Traveled”

    Hang in there and stay strong, G!

    Kindest regards,

    John

  33. sorry, Glennon! I could bother to spell your name correctly!

  34. Gelnnon,
    I read regularly but never commented until now.
    I hope this story will help you. One of my dear friends, a sweet, conscientious woman, is a researcher who works in the hard areas where health care and povery instersect. Our country being what it is, much of her work touches on, if not centers around, race. A few years ago, she published a big survey, lots of people talked about it, I was really excited for her and googled it. Well. I found the sort of thing you found. Not a single actual link to her work, but whole forums calling her a racist and worse, demanding that she ought to be drawn and quartered or at least fired from her job. Not one of these people know her in person, and it was also pretty clear that not one of them had even read her actual work. It was truly, physically nauseating.
    The Net is full of this kind of ugly. People say things in the anonymity of their computers that they would never say in person. Momastery is unique and valuable precisely because you don’t only present the happy bits. Chin up. God is with you and so are we.

  35. Thank you for this! I needed this today! As last night I stormed off from decorating our half dead tree cuz my husband was telling me how to do this and how to do that and how everything I was doing was WRONG! Ugh! I stormed off then we yelled some, then I went to bed. It’s been a hard yr for our relationship…neither of us got The News or anything but we did have our first child…it’s harder than I thought it was gonna be. Anyway, just wanted to say thanks! Thanks for living out loud! It helps me, you help me! I love you G!

  36. I am so sorry you had to see negative comments written about your family. I can relate on a much smaller level. I have a 3 month old and 2 year old. While shopping last week the 2 year old was having an epic meltdown in Target, so I picked him up and carried both kids to the car. On the way out, an older woman commented “I blame it on the parents when they act like that.” It crushed me, and whenever I thought about it, it brought me to tears for TWO DAYS! My husband couldn’t understand why I would let the stupid comment of some stranger hurt my feelings so badly. I can only imagine how hurt I’d have been if she’d spread it around on the internet.
    But please hear me say this: THANK YOU. By living your life out loud and writing this blog, you’ve opened yourself up to public attacks. But you’ve also helped me and sooo many others. More than once I’ve read one of your posts and felt thankful to not be alone in a certain situation. Everyone has ugly stuff in their life but most people don’t talk about it. You are not dysfunctional, you are normal. And braver than most because you admit the not-so-pretty stuff. Last time I checked you had over 50 THOUSAND fans on your Facebook page. I bet you didn’t find even half that many negative comments. It wouldn’t matter what your blog is about. You could be writing about shoes or pies or unicorns and there would always be someone who hated it. Please don’t stop doing what you’re doing. <3

  37. I truly don’t get people sometimes. How do these people sleep at night? Who are they to throw out such hurtful comments and insults on someone they don’t even know? And especially to someone who, if anything, is an amazing example of the type of person we should all be! A fighter, a loving and honest person, a wonderful mom. Yes, you’ve chosen to put your life “out there” and with that comes taking the bad with the good, but this should not be an acceptable form of behavior. It’s disgusting. It’s one thing if you’re living your life in a vapid, irresponsible way (think Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, etc. and even they have I’m sure, real issues they’re dealing with), but that’s not this at all! Sigh, I just don’t get people. I know it’s hard, but please don’t let mean people get to you. Unfortunately bullying doesn’t stop in grade school. But you know what? I feel sorry for them. To be so full of negativity must be awful, awfully sad. But that’s not you. Be proud. Be loving. Keep being YOU.

  38. Glennon –

    I’ve only recently started reading your blog, but I find it totally captivating. I’m hanging on for every word. When I read your recent post about other people posting negative things, it made me google you to see what the comments were. The posts I found reminded me of an important lesson from my field. I’m a college professor. Every semester I get comments and ratings from the 100+ students that need to pass my class (statistics) to graduate. It’s not always a pleasant experience. When I read the comments at the end of the semester, I tend to get mostly positive comments (thankfully) with a few negative ones strewn about. I tend to get wrapped up in the negative ones though – it doesn’t matter how many people told me they never would have gotten through statistics without me, if I get one or two comments that say, ugh! I wish you would have ______________(whatever) or I would have learned better if you would have _________________(whatever), I will stay up at night stressing over what i could have done for those students AND I will start to think that their experience (even though it may be only 1 or 2 comments) represents everyone.

    I googled you after I read your post. I saw VERY few negative blogs/posts/comments. I saw a lot of people saying that you changed their lives. So…just wanted to give you a little insight from the professor world – we get rated all the time., If I get hung up on the few negative comments I get, I’d never sleep. What i need to do is take their comments seriously – is there anything I can be doing better? But, I can’t let the negative comments of 2 or 3 erase the positive comments of 80 or 90. And you can’t either – most people who read your blog are inspired by what you say. Most people look forward to it. Most people feel like their lives are better because of you. If a few people feel threatened, so be it. You can’t please everyone. You are giving a gift to the world and we thank you for it. Most of us.

  39. Thank you for your honest post that sums up many of our moments. Your post also gave me the courage to nix FB from my life for this short season of advent. I will likely return and don’t think it’s a terrible medium as a whole, but I’ve found myself doing a whole lot more comparing then communicating on it as of late. This is a bit of a sacrifice as I am a stay at home mom right now and it is one if few social outlets available to me during the day. Thank you for your encouragement to live authentically.

  40. Love, love, love your blog & love you! Please do not let the cruel haters get to you. Just remember…if they were not ‘bashing’ you…it would be someone else. Keep doing what you do because you are such an inspiration to so many people. Kind, honest and real…and it doesn’t get much better than that! Never forget how much you mean to so many people.

  41. I have been reading Brene Brown’s book on embracing our imperfections….I think you’d love it. I have a history of adopting those sad Christmas trees and “giving them one last hurrah” before the end–it’s all about the framing. You are wonderful just the way you are–we are all so broken, so imperfect, so desperate to be loved and accepted. The fact that you are willing to share and be open about it moves you so much closer to the grace and warmth from other hearts. You are a blessing to so many, and your family is so lucky to have you.

  42. Dear G,
    Vulnerability sometimes makes people defensive, and defensive people get mean too easy. But for everybody else, vulnerability makes them breathe in a deep breath and say, “I thought I was the only one.” It’s so good not to be alone in the mess of love and life. Thanks for making a space for women to be real, whatever that has cost you. Lots of love and prayers.

  43. “Glennon – The jig is up. They have found you out. They are right. You are a fraud as a mother and a disaster of a wife and you are completely unworthy of love.”

    Oh Glennon, you are not alone in this. Some days I think this of myself too, & there is NO news in my house and there is no book that I wrote. It’s a local photographer mother that is making me puke. Oh, she is “special” for sure. And I have broken out into a sweat when I hear that she said something horrible about my family. What will people say? Will they believe her? Will they still be my friend and see that she is making this shit up?! And why is a 40-something yr old woman lying anyway????

    I have to remember that this photographer mother also has days when SHE wakes up and thinks the same statement about herself. She has a little son the same age as my son, but her son is not well. And that sucks a million times over than what I have to deal with. So I have to cut her some slack. I have to remember that she is human and someone’s mother too and even though she has really hurt my feelings, I know that I hurt someone’s feelings too one time. OK, maybe more than one time, whatever. I have to tell myself that she is doing the best that she can and I can pray that she will do better (because frankly, lying is not cool).

    Anyway, huge tangent just to tell you that you are not alone, and I am rooting for you and your family from my corner of the world. Say hi to Bubba.

  44. You are only temporarily broken. Every day, you choose to glue yourself back together! I think you are amazing, strong and beautiful. In reading your stories, I only see a wonderful, honest, loving, warrior mom and wife!!

  45. LOVE this post,LOVE you!!! We are all broken and need each other to “glue
    ” us back together!!!!

  46. Sakes alive. I want to meet you, buy you a pepsi and call YOU my best friend. Girl. YOU nailed “my Christmas ” right now! You rock. give me the addresses of the naysayers and I will pay them a visit! :)
    LOVE your spot! BE YOU. we need YOU!
    your new “almost kind of ” best friend,
    tracy

  47. I really appreciate your blog. I don’t see anything in it that justifies another person’s harsh judgement.

    I can identify with some of your struggles. Particularly the feeling that your husband can’t do anything right. I just started reading “The Surrendered Wife” by Laura Doyle. I’ve come to understand some interesting things about myself and my marriage. I can’t begin to describe how hard it was for me to “let go” and put the principles in the book into practice. However, unbelievably, I’m already seeing results. I couldn’t in good conscience not mention it to you. Love to you and your family.

  48. My friend Jill sent me here. This is only the second post of yours I’ve read. Seriously? We are all broken. Just some people hide it better. I sent out cards. Cards that I’ve gotten many compliments on. One photo of each of my kids. All cute and adorable and yeah…it’s all from my phone. My middle kid, shit it may the ONLY good photo of her all year. Because she hates the camera with a passion. My make shift, Shutterfly, pieced together card works. It will never be the FB perfect card. I have friends who can pull it off, but I can’t. My kids and I just can’t. We are broken too. My kids have two homes. Two good homes with people who adore them, but still…two homes. I am trying to piece together Christmas in between all the other insanity of this month and I won’t even have my kids on Christmas. We are broken and I’m okay with it. Real and being real about being broken? Better than BS’ing the world.

    There will always be haters. I’m a nobody in this blog world and I’ve had them. I’ve heard you are a big somebody in this world. You’re sure to have many. But hey, I’d never been here and I’ve just added you to my reader. Two posts and I’m hooked. That has to count for something. Real is good.

  49. Glennon,just read your post and I there are good people and bad people out there. Lovers and haters. Just know we love and support you. Of course there are going to be critics. They just don’t GET you. We do!!!

    Yes, everyone shows the shiny side of their lives. But EVERYBODY has “stuff” in their lives. EVERYBODY. We have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. Many people put on their happy face and go out into the world misleading or protecting other people. And thats OK. We just need to keep that in the back of our minds when we see them. They may look happy, but they may have a whole ‘nother live going on. Thank YOU for being so authentic, for sharing your “stuff” with us. WE LOVE YOU!!!!

  50. It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Theodore Roosevelt.

  51. Whenever I see people making judgments of that magnitude, the only thing that lets me get some peace is reminding myself that I could BE those judgmental people — having to go around with acid in their stomachs because others don’t measure up to their idea of perfection.

    This year I too represent the broken families. Last year a dear friend who was a second dad to me killed himself the week before Christmas. This year I lost my job in October and haven’t been able to find steady work since then.

    I kind of doubt I’m ever going to have a ‘good’ Christmas again. So you’re not alone, Glennon.

  52. G,
    you’re amazing, the love you express even in down times for you family is unmesurable. A picture is just that a glimpse, a second in time, and for some its to put on the brave everthing is fine face. For once I would love to get a Christmas picture where everyone is showing their true feelings at that time, that would bd real. So, know you’re not a lone and this year is a hard year for my family so know there is a lot of fake smiles and lots of gritting teeth.

  53. stay strong
    stay you
    stay real
    where there is change there is also resistance
    always
    I wish people were not like that
    but they are
    that is the risk of living in vulnerability
    today I just wanted to take the time to encourage you
    as you encourage me and others
    once you live free
    there is no other way to live
    it is not easy
    and sometimes it stings
    but stay free sister
    stay free
    you are real
    and that is enough for me

    love and light

  54. As of this moment, 51,684 likes on FB. And it is because we cannot click the LOVE button, cause we would if we could. And when I googled Momastery, all I could find was the LOVE. As Katie Couric said to Gabby Douglas, don’t google yourself! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. And in this house, the outside lights are broken, no tree, no evidence of Christmas save a me created advent wreath (which I am not crafty at all so… just sayin). xoxo

    • Momma Holmes, you described my house right now! This December my mantra has become, “What can I do today to celebrate Christ’s coming? Not what should I do or what do I wish I could do, but in the imperfect, unpredictable reality of my life, how can can I celebrate Christmas with what I have where I am right now?” Some days this week it’s been putting on a Christmas CD; other days it’s just lighting the candle and saying a prayer; and at least one day, just intentionally reminding myself of Jesus’ presence once or twice was as good as it got, but it was something!

      Blessings,
      Jennifer

  55. I just want to say thank you for your honesty. I wish I could be as brave as you. Thanks for all your sharing. It helps so many of us to know we are not alone.

  56. You just keep doing what you’re doing, sweetie. Pay no mind to those hurtful comments you read. There will always be people wanting to cut you down. I think there probably were people waiting for you to slip up or stumble a little so that they could take that opportunity to criticize you. You put yourself out there for us and unfortunately that’s one of the disadvantages of being so honest and open and real. For every awful comment you’ve read, remember that there are thousands of us who respect and love you, love th

    • (Con’t) … Love this place for us that you’ve created. We’ve got your back.

      PS When I read what you wrote about what certain jerk faces have written about you, I seriously felt mad. Like I needed to protect and defend my little sister. Don’t mess with my little sister!

  57. YOU, Glennon, ARE NOT ALONE. I feel that way (you know…that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach) when I look at all the holiday Facebook pics. It’s not jealousy, exactly. It’s more like an affirmation that due to deployments, and moves, and pregnancy losses, and a chronic health condition, and being far away from the help and joy and craziness of my extended family, we will never look remotely like those happy, put-together families. How does one handle the feeling of drowning in inadequacy?
    Because you wrote this post, at least I know that I am also NOT alone.
    Thank you for that gift.

  58. I love this quote and it seems to fit here…
    “PEACE…It does not mean to be in a place where there is no trouble, noise or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still feel calm in your heart”
    -Unknown

  59. DUDE,
    You are a bigger person of love than I. My response was, “SCREW ‘em!” LOL. But in honesty–yes–people are just people and people love when you’re inspiring (not YOU you, but ‘you’ as in a person), or funny, or brilliant. But often, too often, when you’re broken or down, people can beat on you to make their pain dull for a while. Yes, you chose to share things in “public;” but it is a GIFT to give out of your own mortification. It is a GIFT actually, to learn things about other people, especially people that remind us that it hurts to be human and it also feels amazing…I especially admire the way you share your life. You offer intimacy to others to say, “THIS is beautiful too.” And I completely believe, that Jesus’ life was not all angelic choirs and auras! On the contrary, THE most beautiful and telling moments of his beauty and love for us, and Kingliness, was before Pontious Pilate, and on the cross. That ugly-beautiful image of absolute pain and rejection and embracing love and forgiveness–THAT’S what Jesus knows best. And, ergo, He does see our screwed up lives as ugly. He sees opportunity to love.
    God bless you,
    Niki

  60. Hey G.,
    I needed this tonight. The love of my life for 22 amazing years died suddenly of a massive pulmonary embolism in both lungs on November 1 at the age of 38. In that moment my world lost its balance. This is not how I pictured my life–now single mom of two courageous little girls. This is not what I planned. BUT…God is good, G. He is–he’s faithful even in the mess. He walks beside us and lets us rest in the peace of His promises and gives us hope. That’s why we can keep going, because we know we’re not in it alone. You’re right, G. we can do hard things. We are bruised but not broken, and we get to choose how to move forward. When you get a chance–watch this movie. It has been playing in the entryway at the school where I teach 2nd grade. Each time I pass it, I know God knows exactly which part I need to see for that moment. Love you, G. I’m with ya. We can do this.

    http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/34528/We-Give-You-Thanks

  61. You are AMAZING Glennon. I wish you would open a “church”. You inspire with your words in a way that only a great minister, or leader can. And better yet, you lead by example. Thank you for being so honest & open.

  62. After reading this my curiosity got the best of me. I was thinking, “Who would have something bad to say about this person, who so clearly puts herself out there and wants to help others?” so I Googled you too… perhaps we looked for different things because all I found was positive feedback on your writing. Many blogs referenced your words, others just linked to your own blog.

    As for your marriage and your candor. Thank you thank you thank you so much for writing this. I too, constantly compare myself and my marriage to others – I see a couple in Lowes and they just look so happy and they are so connected and have such an intimate banter back and forth … why don’t I have that? Is my marriage failing or doomed? I don’t think so – I think we focus on what we wish we had, and we see what we want to see. But when I read what you write, I feel like someone is FINALLY putting out there how it really is to co-exist with another adult, all of the time.

    love to you…

  63. Awesome post! You always seem to hit on exactly the right thing to say and exactly when I need to hear it. Love your wit and wisdom!

  64. I don’t ever comment. I read, and I lurk, and I’m inspired, but I never comment. But this post, more than others that are perhaps more objectively inspiring or broadly meaningful, made me weep. I am a mother of two and am blessed beyond belief. Blessed with a wonderful, supportive husband, healthy children, incredible friends and a job that more than pays the bills. But there are days when it is all I can do to hold it together until the kids go to bed and then crash. There are more days than I care to admit where I cry myself to sleep, wracked with insecurities about every decision I make. My facebook life is one of smiled and happiness. The reality though is much more nuanced. And I have to say, that I believe that those kids whose parents struggle and who see their parents struggle, and know then that it’s ok — those kids are more likely to be willing to put in the work themselves. Be well and know that you are the perfect parent for those kids. You are exactly who they need to get to the life that god wants for them.

  65. Glennon, yes, you are completely honest and truthful on Momastery…to an extent. But, you don’t brag about the amazing mom you are and I wish people could see that side of you like your friends do. So, for all the “haters”, they’re commenting on your brutiful stories without understanding all of you. Since Chase was born (okay, maybe since he was a few months old), I’ve thought you were the most outstanding mother. Kids like Chase (and I’m sure the girls, but I don’t know them as well) aren’t just born smart, thoughtful and fun. You (and Craig) have raised an incredible young man and I’m just sad for that night you had. You don’t deserve it, friend.

  66. I cannot thank you enough for this post. I feel like this all the time.

  67. I got my version of “the News” yesterday morning when my husband accidentally sent me a text meant for another woman. I can’t get out of bed. I’m glad you’re here. How am I supposed to do Christmas for my kids? I’m half dead.

    • C, I have no answer for how you’re supposed to do Christmas, let alone how you’re supposed to get through today. But, you are in my prayers and I know you are worthy and deserving of love…so I’m going to send some of that, too. I wish I had an awesome response, but know you’re being thought of tonight by someone who cares.

    • C, I got the same news a month ago and by a text from the other woman to my husband. Just keep breathing and trying to make it through one day at a time. I find the time with my kids acting normal almost makes me feel normal. Sending hope and strength your way.

    • Love you, C, get up because YOU are NEEDED, sweetie, get up because you love your kids.

    • C and Kim M, sending you loving, calming thoughts. Wish some of us could take away some of your pain and replace it with hope. All I can offer is moral support — it’s all yours! Know that all Monkees sympathize with you.

    • I’m so sorry C. I’ve been right where you are. Hang in there. Sending you love!

  68. So sorry you had to be exposed to such meanness and judgement borne of other people’s insecurity. I just wanted to say that I have benefited so much from your commitment to live your life out loud and be so public with your struggles and inspiring thoughts. Thank you for starting this space – it has really been a blessing in my life.

  69. I am not the kind of person who ever ever ever leaves comments, but I have to tell you that I find you hugely inspirational. I have a friend who always reposts your articles on Facebook and I invariably love them. As a sometime writer myself, I know how much it means to me when people respond to my work, and I felt horribly for you when I saw that people are talking smack about you online!!! I’m sure it comes with the territory and hang in there and try to block out the noise and blah blah blah. I mean, I probably couldn’t do any of the above, but I’ll bet you can. You seem pretty tough.

    xoxo,
    Sarah Graziano

  70. love, love, love, love. Love your writing, and YOU! Thanks for being transparent despite the brutal awful people out there, thanks for showing up here for us and for you.

  71. “I hated it. The tree was half dead.” Well, yea, you chopped it down.

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