Yesterday, I saw this journal in the store, and grabbed it up, because I could have written this front cover. “When I'm overwhelmed by a creeping of sense of impending disaster and the all-encompassing fears both specified and vague that colonize my mind, body, and soul...” Um. Yes, that is me. I should clearly get this journal and write in it every day, because maybe it will help break me out of this overwhelmed frozen state I have gotten myself into. It certainly cannot hurt.
Because, here's the thing, you guys. I am honestly really struggling and have been for several weeks now. Like all struggles, this one has gotten worse as time has gone on because I haven't shared it, I've kept it pretty hidden, and as Brene Brown says, when you let shame stay in the dark, all it does it grow. Then, for good measure, I heaped loads of self-imposed guilt upon all that shame, making it feel so damn heavy that I didn't know how to lift off the burden anymore.
That's the secret... This trip has started to feel like a burden. Going out and doing outreach has started to feel like a burden. Driving around the entire country and sleeping in a van, fixing the things that continually fall apart on said van, has started to feel like a burden. There have even been several times when my daughter has felt like a burden. Even the writing and journaling of this trip has started to feel like a burden, because I felt like I couldn't possibly share any of this with all of you, but not sharing it felt like lying. How could I not tell people that a big part of this journey for us has been not so beautiful and amazing? And yet, how could I admit that there are a lot of days I wake up and wish I never took on this beautiful, life-changing project because, honestly, it just feels like too much—too much stress, too much pain, too much uncertainty, too much new, too much challenge, too much outside of my comfort zone and too much to ask of my beautiful daughter.
They say change doesn't happen until the discomfort of change becomes less uncomfortable than staying where you are, and for me, sharing this story feels a lot like that. Not sharing what we have been going through has become such a burden that I can't not share it. I can't ignore it anymore, and hope it will all magically get better, because it honestly seems to keep getting worse. I'm hoping that the simple act of sharing the truth will help to open things back up and allow us to finish the last month of this journey.
So, brutal truth time. Here's some of the struggle that has been going on:
- My beautiful daughter has been struggling hard with this entire trip. The upheaval of all these major changes in our lives has led to her developing a lot of fears, including a fear that we might end up homeless ourselves. While there isn't any rational basis in this, I think we all know that there need not be any rationality to fears for them to cause all sorts of intense reactions in us. She's nine, so most of her reactions have been expressed in sullen pre-teen form. She's been sometimes angry, sometimes mean, and sometimes rude, but all the time insistent that she pretty much hates this trip and really does not want to do any more outreach.
- I'm overwhelmed. Parenting through my daughter's reaction to all of this while also handling all the logistics of the trip was a lot and felt really heavy from the beginning, but was going okay. I was buoyed by the beauty of the experience and the people we were meeting. But somewhere along the way, the tide started to turn in the wrong direction. The stress started to overwhelm the joy and beauty of the trip. Stepping away from my business for four months has led to money worries. I'm worried about where we are going to live after this. I'm processing through some personal grief on top of everything else, which kind of put me over the edge into an anxious, crying state for the last couple of weeks.
- Due to both of these things, we have not done outreach since North Carolina, over a month ago.
It's not all been bad. I don't want people to think it's all been bad. In so many ways this trip has been the most beautiful experience. But right now, life feels a lot like that journal cover for me, and I'm trying to work through that so that we can pick back up and finish the last month of the tour. Step one was just to be open with all of you who have been supporting us on this journey so that we could move forward from here. I think part of what needs to happen for me is to shift gears with the trip a little bit. For the next month, I'd like to continue to share stories of those we meet on the road, but I also think I need to share a little more about how our experience of the trip has been, and some things that we have learned.
We have about four weeks left, during which we will be traveling up through California and Oregon, then home to Seattle. We will definitely do some outreach, and I'll share the stories with you that I still haven't shared from our time in North Carolina and Nashville. I also hope to share more blog posts about what is happening for us on our time out on the road.
It's so scary to admit to everyone that things aren't perfect out here, and I hope that you can send us love and compassion along the way as we figure out how to wrap up this tour. In the end, that's all we were hoping to inspire in everyone with this trip... A sense of a story, a sense of compassion and empathy for the struggles going on in every human's life, whether they are hidden or out in the open for everyone to see, as is so often the case with those who are homeless.