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Friday, February 17, 2012

On authenticity: Tell us something true.

When I was a new mother, I went through something difficult. For a while, I wasn't sure if I wanted to talk about it on the blog, but my mom, who has always been a huge champion of "authenticity," emailed me recently to say this...

"It seems to me that being authentic is being brave enough or just candid enough to be honest about what you are experiencing or who you are, whether it is popular are not. A person gives a gift to other people when they say, 'This is what happened to me or this is how I truly feel, no matter what the popular belief is about what I should feel.' Whenever you are honest, you are speaking for a thousand silent people who don't have the voice to say what they really feel or are really experiencing. So, if you ever talk about [the thing you went through], you will touch a million hearts. Because you are speaking for more than just yourself. You are never alone in what you are feeling. I love you."

So, I will share my story on Monday, even though it gives me butterflies. I thought my mom's words were so beautiful, and I want to always remember them. xoxo

Would you want to share something true about yourself? Something little, something big? Something that makes you happy, something that worries you? Whatever you want, as long as it is true. :)

Here are a few of mine, in the meantime:
* I have old-lady undereye wrinkles.
* I'm scared of elevators.
* I don't know how to accessorize with belts.
* I'm sensitive to criticism.
* I always think I'm going to choke when I eat pears.
* I get super cranky when people talk too loudly.

Until Monday... xoxoxoxo (Update: Here's the Monday post)

(Painting by Jessie Willcox Smith)


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Adj said...

If I had the cojones to do it, I'd walk out of my office and start job hunting in Paris or NZ. (Or, just start consulting work until I could afford to move to either place.)

Erin said...

I'm scared of elevators, too.

But I love authenticity. I don't want to read someone's perfectly edited life, or only see perfectly edited photos of them. Show me something real. I think you've always been authentic and real in how you've told us about your life, so thank you for that.

Have a great weekend, Joanna.

Amanda said...

This authenticity, trueness, is at the heart of what I'm working toward every day. My truth--I am just truly getting to know myself.

Jody said...

I so admire your mother's intelligence and compassion. You've clearly inherited it.
True about me: My son was diagnosed with autism when he was 5. I felt like such a bad mom for not 'catching it' earlier. I'm over that feeling, and now, when I look at him, I am in awe of his strength and intelligence. XO

Angry Asian said...

i said this this week: an authentic heart can never falter.

i meant it.
i mean it.
and i intend to live it.

HiLLjO said...

I agree. I can't wait to read.

I will share someting: Hubs and I can't do the deed while wearing socks or else fits of laughter ensue.

Hannah @ said...

Love it. Authenticity, vulnerability... and on the WORLD wide web! Here's mine: I'm afraid I'm selling my soul to the blogosphere. For real. And I feel so embarrassed by it!

Sarah said...

How brave you are! And doesn't it feel great to share the truth? It's so refreshing and uplifting.

And wow, new motherhood certainly brings out some authentic feelings huh. One thing that scares me to say is that I love my son more now than when he was a little baby. I've always loved him deeply but it's different now and I wonder if the love I feel now is what most newborn moms feel? I don't know why but I do. So there it is.

brittany said...

i agree with erin. i love authenticity. it's so nice to know we're not alone in our struggles. and really, nobody is perfect. this is something i have to work on every single day.

abby said...

I'm very curious to read your post on monday. I think everyone has something they don't want to admit, but it always makes people love them all the more for doing so. Your mom is right, it gives so many people a voice.

I judge people based on what is in their shopping cart at the grocery store. --something small that is very true about me!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

What a wise woman your mother is.
I'm afraid of that step onto an airplane. The one between the connecting thing and the actual plane, where you can kind of see the ground - hate it, not flying, just that step. Problem is I travel a lot - anxiety.

Meg said...

I think you're very brave. And your mother is so sweet and wise! Thanks for sharing her words.

I have to add that being authentic doesn't only mean showing the awkward or uncomfortable parts of ourselves. It also means giving yourself credit for things you are proud of about yourself. I think you should consider adding a few more "confessions" to your bullet list. Why not fess up to some of your secret successes too?

Ashley C. Ford said...

Being a nanny makes me think I never want to have children. I feel like I'm already raising a family. Even if it isn't technically mine.

stephanie said...

I'm really looking forward to your post on Monday. Being brave and honest is very hard to do, so I already applaud you for being willing to do it. Also, your mom is very wise!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a really interested topic because I have witnessed otherwise brave people clam up when it comes to the challenges of motherhood. For many reasons I think it's difficult to admit that it's hard and sometimes boring and sometimes not a positive experience. It's not a reflection of our children or our parenting skills or the overall joy of motherhood, that these things coexist with it. Even for myself, who will willingly tell friends how many men I've slept with or how much I have in my bank account, never told most of them about my postpartum depression. I'm not sure entirely why.

Mo said...

I love your mom's wisdom and gentle guidance. Moms are great, huh?

My something to share: I often feel so down and regretful about certain mistakes I've made in the past. I also am just truly getting to know myself, after thinking I had it all figured out in the past.

Can't wait to read your post on Monday. <3

inspirenordic said...

Something about me: I'm constantly battling with self-esteem/not believing in myself/being to afraid to be myself and to reach for what I want. It's a difficult thing to admit.

Your mother's words really touched me and are just what I needed to hear today :)

Thank you!

Meagan Murtagh said...

cant wait to read. i also get SUPER crank and bitchy when people talk to loud....eek!

xo the egg out west.

aislin said...

at this exact moment in time, my life is nothing like what i'd plan for it to be. and i'm completely happy with that. i'm finally starting to learn to be me.

your mother sounds like an amazing woman with an unconditional love for you, your words, and your heart.

Lindsay said...

Those are very wise and beautiful words from your mother!
*I'm extremly scared of leaving my job even though I feel like I'm only coasting thru life..I know I have so much more potential but I get stuck in feeling "comfortable".

Lasso the Moon said...

It's a delicate balance, isn't it. I don't want fake, but I also don't want whiny. I like your list. I have a fear of being called "improved".

Anonymous said...

i screamed at my 15 month old son today. i was annoyed with his whining and ignoring boundaries that he's well aware of. i actually thought to myself, joanna probably doesn't lose her cool like this. i don't have a nanny, i'm pregnant, and whenever i do have a babysitter, it's so i can do work or errands and never to just relax or get a massage or something. i wish i didn't have the responsibility of a child today.

Kate vdZ said...

Your mom is a smart lady! I think people really respond to authenticity- even if it is controversial and difficult to say. Post Secret is just example of how positively people respond when people start to speak their truths. Here are a few of my own:

-Whenever I get on escalators, I'm afraid my shoelace or pant leg will get caught between the steps
-I love watching movie trailers, even if I never see the movie being advertised
-I know some people love the thrill of sky diving, but riding on a plane is plenty thrilling for me

Tee said...

I have no patience to teach people new things, including my kids. Which is funny because my parents are teachers. Daddy helps with the homework.

I cannot stand when people are whistling or humming. It invades my space.

I wish I knew what I wanted to do for a living...

I clean when I'm stressed.

Erin said...

I love posts like this. Authenticity is a nice reminder that we're all in this together, and that not one of us is perfect. It's easier to figure things out if we're honest with each other about who we are.

Little fact about me: I am 30, but I have very old-looking hands. I go through tons of lotion trying to improve their elderly appearance!

Dancing Branflake said...

Ps... I am loving reading these comments. So honest, which is a testament to how comfortable they feel with you.

Alex L said...

This post is so incredibly relevant to me today! Today I posted a blog entry about dealing with my baby brother's suicide attempts, and recently, deciding to becoming an crisis volunteer. Hard to write about, but I refuse to remain quiet about it anymore. :)


Support my crisis training here:

Thanks for your courage, Joanna!

Bek W said...

Actually authenticity scares me quite a bit. I don't want others to think badly of me! But it is my heart to truly let people see the Real Me... I'm inspired!

Votre Amie said...

Being authentic and staying true to how your truly feel is an extraordinarily brave thing to do - you have to abandon the thought that you're constantly being judged by people on the way that you feel.
It took me a really long time to accept the weird uncomfortable feelings that would crop up sometimes, and instead of pushing them away and saying, no, it's wrong to think that or feel that way, I now am comfortable saying hey - this is the way I feel about this, it's totally okay, and now let's move on! Sounds silly when I write it out like that :)

here's to being our wonderful authentic selves!

Karelys (Beltran) Davis said...

your mother's words make me want to cry. i'm holding back tears.

i've blogged about my experience with suicide and i've shared with people my fight with an eating disorder as a teen.

the eating disorder is easier to share as times goes by but i've only blogged about suicide because people never read my blog. so i'm practicing authenticity but sort of hiding.

the blog is a safe place because hardly anyone reads it :)

a had a client ask all kinds of personal questions and i answered them all. about marrying a "white man" (i'm mexican. born and raised in mexico), how our relationship was possible with such different backgrounds and needs and preferences. he asked about many things and why would i answer them.

i told him something similar to your mom's response. i told him that it would do the world no good to keep to myself the fact that i've come across challenges and overcome them or if i failed. people can learn if i came out victorious and people can feel comforted at the thought that they are not alone struggling with life or something similar.

i want to make the discussion about suicide as normal as lipstick. i want to tell people that i wasn't sure how i'd carry on with a normal life, OR IF there was normal after that, after being sure i didn't want to live and i was at the planning stages of suicide. that the only thing holding me back was lack of resources and my understanding that the human survival instinct was too strong so i couldn't just try my hand at whatever; i had to make sure it'd work.

i was mad that earlier that year somoeone broke into my house and among other things our hand gun was stolen.

but i think it was God knowing i'd go through with suicide if the gun was available.

when i blog about it some friends say i'm brave. i don't know if it's brave or not but all i know that my motivation behind it is that i want us all to understand the issue better and do something about it. and if someone reads on it they should know that it happens to normal people with normal lives.

AND that just because you were ready to die doesn't mean you can't have a normal thriving life after that.

molly said...

I had post-partum with my second son. His first year of life was truly hellish. But as soon as I admitted it the healing began. I still get sad thinking back how hard that period of life was. But you know what, life is good, through it all. Now I have three boys and love motherhood deeper than I ever have.

Clair said...

I rarely comment on your blog, because I'm never sure if you see all of them. =)

But this was really, really beautiful and I just had to tell you. You are very brave, and I appreciate your authenticity.


Mac said...

I'm positive you will get TONS of comments from this post. It resonates with so many people. Blogs these days focus so much on the perfect and not the real. I struggle with wanting to talk about my struggles, too. I blog about them anonymously. I read your blog and sometimes comment under my real name, but this is my "in secret" profile since I'm just not ready to talk about these things publicly. Oh, how I wish I could, though. You are an inspiration.

cara. said...


molly said...

A few more less serious ones...

I am a little OCD about organizing.
I am not a baby person.
I cringe at food fights in movies.
I don't like to cuddle when I sleep.

Leah said...

We're always going to be there for you!

I breath through my mouth and I'm very self conscious about it.
When I walk down a longish flight of stairs, I have to walk VERY slowly, because I'm so scared I'll fall!

TASTE said...

People who are open&honest are my favourite kinds of people. They are so genuine and I myself aspire to be like that. Thank you for sharing those wonderful words from your mum.

Beth said...

Hi Joanna
I had already started a similar post... being truthful...authentic can be so scary...but when you are it really does help your mom says. I am curious about your Monday post! Have a great weekend.

PNew said...

How brave. Your mom's words were so beautiful. We all have some fears/issues/anxieties that are hard to release. Personally I've wanted to start a blog for 2 years and I'm afraid I'm not creative/original enough. And I know it's probably me holding myself back. I look forward to your read on Monday.

Anonymous said...

The truth is that four years after my fathers passing I still feel I can't mourn his death because we didn't get along while he was alive. And putting this down as anonymous just proves that I feel I'll be judged saying that. The only one that knows is my hubby.

Shana said...

I love this post. I too am sensitive to criticism. I dated a man a several years ago who was extremely judgmental and had some kind of odd comment on almost every thing I did, said, ate, etc. I'm ashamed to say that I was too young and not aware of who I really was to stand up for myself and let him know what a jerk he was being. Now, I know who I am and I will never let anyone treat me like that again. Because I dated this jerk, it has made me extremely sensitive to what people say to me sometimes- my wonderful husband may have a suggestion on my cooking and I immediately take it as criticism and go on the defense. I now realize that this is one of my faults so I've been more aware of it now and have been working on it.

These little things is what makes us who we are and I appreciate this post. It's honest and bold. Thank you Joanna for that!

Oh, and I also think I'm going to choke when I eat certain food!

Anonymous said...

You have such a wise and awesome mother (though you already know that)!

As for me: I'm terrible when dealing with change. Seriously, I'm pretty much the worst at it. In the past six months, I've moved overseas and now I'm expecting a baby. Objectively I know these things are all exciting and good, but I'm pretty much quietly freaking out most of the time. xx

Kirby said...

Looking forward to your post on Monday. Hopefully we can start an "authenticity trend" in the blogosphere. Sometimes it's easy to think bloggers lives are really as glossy as their posts, when that isn't always true!

Have a lovely weekend!


SKC said...

I wish I could be more authentic and honest about my feelings. I wish I could tell my friends and family when they say something or do something that upsets me. I wish I could stand up for myself and speak my mind when I need to. I wish I could be much more assertive. I wish I could deal with things as they arise, instead of storing everything away...
Thank you for this post Joanna - it's nice to know that someone else battles being honest about things in her life. Your mom was definately right - "you are speaking for a thousand silent people who don't have the voice to say what they really feel or are really experiencing."

Rheanna Lea Cline said...

I watched a motivational-type video a few weeks ago and your post totally reminded me of it:

My favorite thing she say is that to live with courage means to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. Thank you for being courageous enough to share your story with us!

Kate said...

I think you are very brave for sharing...we all have our demons, some worse than others. I don't know if I would ever be brave enough to share one of my most life changing experiences on my blog but im sure many would relate. But I can tell you that even though I am a personal shopper and closet organizer I still wake up every morning thinking I have nothing to wear!

Amanda said...

Your mother is beautifully eloquent and I am so glad you shared her words with us.

Sometimes the hardest part of sharing our experiences with others is the act of accepting them ourselves, forgiving ourselves, and finding the strength to move forward.

The experience of having a broken engagement caused me to realize that I had always thought of myself as better than others because I had never made a mistake that publically. Going through the experience made me realize how much I needed to show mercy to others and to be more encouraging than judgmental. How often do we really understand the seriousness or the details of what someone is going through? None of us are perfect, and while the detail of our experiences may differ, we do share the same range of emotions, fears, failures and successes.

unopened envelope said...

Your mum's comment is so true and beautifully written.

I have an underbite which has got more pronounced in recent years. It's sounds so silly, but my wedding is coming up and I'm worried about how I will look in the photos!

Emma (Glitter and Gold) said...

you mum's words are beautiful and wise beyond her years: ) I had some hard things that i went thru with both my baby girls (just this past July) . . . it really helped me to share them on my blog . . . you can read if you have the time; maybe it will give you some added courage or support... xoxox E

Sage Crown Parker said...

wow your mom is amazing!!! i LOVE what she has to say and it is so true!

i'm scared of life standing still and of me not changing and one day saying "wow, i'm 60, i never got the chance to...." i work every day to live a full life. so far so good cause i wake up smiling each morning :)

thank you for once again inspiring me ;)
happy weekend joanna!!!

NotesFromAbroad said...

I had 2 children, 4 years apart, when I was too young to appreciate them.
The good part is that now that they are grown, I am still young enough to appreciate them :)
I did everything wrong except I did love them and I think that is the most important thing.
That a child knows it is loved, even when grown.

Brighton said...

oh wow, your mom seems so wonderful. Her words are so elegant, true, and encouraging. You are a very lucky girl to have such a lovely woman as your mother. I cannot wait to read your story on monday - and I hope that you enjoy writing it and feel a sense of liberation and excitement along with nervousness (the butterflies!!) as you press "publish"

shanna said...

I think that anyone who admits what is really on their mind is so brave. I have never been one to put my emotions or feelings out there, I'm outgoing so people perceive me as being open, but I'm really not. When my parents divorced when I was a child I learned to hold things in, which I'm still working on. Only 2 people in my life 'really' know me.

You're brave and have a wonderful mother with wonderful advice, thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Here's mine: Whenever I meet someone new I worry they won't like me. So much so, that I usually can't even remember their name because I'm so worried about it.

Ashley R said...

Your mother is so sweet and so wise. Whatever it is that's making you nervous, I hope you know how much your Readers love you and respond to every little act of bravery you post here every day (just look at all your Motherhood Monday posts!).

As for a few authentic things about me that I don't quite shout from the rooftops:
*I don't pursue journalism because I am too thin-skinned.
*I'm terrible at correspondence.
*I'm terrified of ET
*I don't know how to wear make-up. I was never taught, and I don't even understand the order of things. The best I can do is eyeliner and mascara; everything else gets lost to me. Most days I'm ok with it, but there are definitely some where I feel like a failure of a woman.

Molly said...

That's very brave of you, and I can guarantee we'll all love you (even more!) for it!

I'm secretly really scared of putting my nose underwater, I don't know why, I just am.

Have a lovely, lovely weekend!

abby said...

New motherhood really does bring out such raw emotion that I think a lot of women aren't accustomed to dealing with regularly that it's so tempting to just retreat behind defensiveness and selective truth-telling. I can feel my hackles rise automatically whenever anyone brings up parenting-related matters, even if they're being perfectly friendly. Not a great reaction!

Here's mine, which I've only recently acknowledged to myself and decided to just accept as fact: I like having someone at work to flirt with, or at least think flirty thoughts about. I'm very happily married, and I am not interested in actually pursuing any of these guys -- but flirty banter will always make me giddy. Eek! Kinda nervewracking to admit that.

Ali Masterson said...

Your mom is a wise woman. It's taken me quite a while in my life but I'm inching closer to embracing every ounce of who I am, even the things that I used to try to hide for fear others would think I was weird / imperfect.

Thanks for sharing your honesties/worries. I, too, have old-lady undereye wrinkles. I think I look horrible without make up b/c of dark undereye circles I have so am rarely without concealer and moisturizer. Like you, I also think of myself as the most sensitive person to criticism and get super cranky when people talk too loudly. It's nice to find someone else with the same qualities! :)

I'm really looking forward to your blog on Monday.

Anonymous said...

I myself have a story of authenticity to write over the weekend. Here's to courage and perseverance in getting such words penned down! Good luck!

A said...

I'm scared that the reason I'm single is that there is something wrong with me. Logically I know there's not, in fact, I'm kinda great! But I can't help thinking that I'm the reason love hasn't arrived in my life yet.

Your mom is a smart woman. Looking forwrad to reading your post on Monday. Don't be nervous about sharing. We love ya!

kaitlin said...

And this is why I read your blog. Thank you for being makes you more interesting.

Somethings that are true? I have huge jealousy issues, especially when it comes to money. I don't care for cake doughnuts. I really, really, really wish that I could find work, since my self-esteem has been taking a hit otherwise. Also, I'm terrible at CAPTCHAs.

Coral said...

I married my high school sweetheart, and the same week we found out we were expecting our first baby, he was killed in an auto accident. It's been almost 13 years, and I have a whole new family. A whole new life. But I'm left with the old fear... I'm afraid of losing someone I love. Even after years of therapy and grief counseling, it's debilitating. I struggle every single day not to think about the "what ifs" when the kids ride their bikes, when Jeff drives to the grocery store, when my baby is sleeping, when my mother doesn't call... I don't want to give that kind of fear and negativity any of my energy- but I struggle with it ever single day.

stephanie said...

this is why postsecret is so powerful; we are often paralyzed by the fear of being judged.

i'm at home with my own momma today. and i feel so lucky to have her.

i'm sure you feel the same way, joanna.


27 and a PhD said...

You're so brave and I'm so eager to read what you have to say. The words your mom wrote echo with me, which is why I started a blog on the struggles I had as a graduate student in science, and later a postdoctoral fellow in a foreign country. In fact, just the other day I got a question on my blog about my reason(s) to start writing. Your mom's words are exactly how I felt (and feel) about keeping a blog that talks about a lot of the personal and professional struggles I've gone through as a student, then postdoc, and now staff scientist in NYC. Kudos to you and to your awesome mom.

Also, you're not alone. I turned 30 in the summer and all of a sudden I'm all conscious about dark circles under my eyes, wrinkled (like you describe! OMG, could it be because of our fair skin??). I can totally identify with that, and with people talking loudly and getting annoyed, accessorizing with belts, criticism (I've been known to cry in front of important people), planes (not elevators, but still, I can understand it) and germs.

Big hugs from someone with similar worries in NYC.

Anonymous said...

The picture here is beautiful. I look forward to your post. I am intimidated by my boyfriend and often don't say or do what I really want because he won't like it - even important things. I am working on being braver. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Sarah said...

wow, what your mom said was so touching to hear. that's a life long quote for sure!

Liz & Ellie said...

this is awesome! im so excited to read on monday!

cianne said...

I love your blog for your honesty and authenticity. You are relatable and real and that is so refreshing Joanna.

And your mother's words are so wise and inspiring.

I am constantly having anxiety about choices I make. Worrying that they aren't right or that I may regret them or that I may not be following my heart. I really over-analyze things. And am scared to make big decision because of this.

How cool that everyone feels comfortable opening up to you. I think that says a lot about you. :)

Laura said...

what a little nugget of a golden thought! your mom is a sage.
something true about me? I worry about what people think about me too much. And I've just inspired me to be even just a little bit braver today.

Sarah said...

I have to admit--that I'm one of those people who talks too loud. I have no sense of volume control and tend to talk even louder when discussing private matters. My husband and brother are constantly shushing me, which is one of MY pet peeves. I'm finally becoming more conscious of my loudness, something I inherited from my father, and try to not get upset when my family tries to get me to "take it down a notch."

At any rate, I agree with all the comments above in that your mother shared some very insightful, honest, and encouraging words--authenticity is part of what makes us human and sharing experiences helps keep us all connected.

I love your blog.

Laura said...

I mean, YOU've just inspired me. see? there I go, self-conscious. hahaha

nicole said...

Bravo for your courage! A wise friend/coworker/blogger recently told me the same thing, in these words: "Only you can tell your story." xo.

Katie Ann said...

Being vulnerable is one of the most beautiful and freeing feelings a person can experience.

On a side note, yet still true: I have never eaten a pickle.

...It's true, it's not about vulnerability, but it's true.

Lucy B said...

I just put my 9 month son to bed (I'm in London) and checked your blog.
I read the first line "I went though something difficult about myself as a new mother" and your words brought tears to my eyes as they sum up exactly what I'm feeling at the moment. I very much look forward to reading your post on Monday.

Thank you for your wonderful Blog... I've been following it daily for the last year and it's one of my favourite things I look forward to every day. Have a joyful weekend Jo... you're quite brilliant.

Nora said...

You go girl! (as cliche and lame as that sounds, i mean it!)

yours truly said...

It takes me months.... months to really bond with my babies. I'm on my second and third now and it was the same as my first. I always wonder why I'm not the same as the other mothers who describe that instant "jump in front of a bus for you bond" the moment you set eyes on each other.

I'm awful at keeping up with friends.

I have to be the one driving the car.

I have a grandma bum.

RosieZ said...

love this post. The Bible talks about speaking the truth in love. I always find that doing *both* of those is exceedingly difficult. We often either blurt out harsh truths in an unkind way, or shy away from the truth in an effort to be sensitive to other peoples' feelings.

Posh Pearl said...

Your mother's words are very beautiful and very enlightening. And so motherly! I can see where you draw your strength from. You're so lucky!

This is my little truth:

It took me nearly 4 years to conceive. In these last couple of years, friends, colleagues, schoolmates, everyone was popping out babies except for me. I have been sending baby gifts around the clock the last few years like you have no idea. With the help of IVF, it was still very difficult, but it finally happened. My doctor was very convinced that I was going to conceive twins because the conditions were all looking very promising. I was super happy and excited about the possibility of having twins because I may not be able to any more children after this baby so having twins would mean the babies have siblings to grow up with. But.......I only have one. I might not be able to give this baby a little sister or brother to grow up with. I have been feeling depressed and a little bitter about it. I'm very grateful and happy that I even got pregnant (I only had a 20% chance even with IVF) and can't wait to meet this little one. But at the same time, I'm depressed and bitter about not being able to have another. This is something I haven't told anyone because I am scared to death that they will very well think I am not grateful for my blessing especially after trying for so long.

goodnightstars said...

Truth: I've never been in a relationship because I'm afraid of commitment. And I just realized it this year.

Allie said...

I am about to get promoted to my dream job. A job that I have spent the last three years slaving away towards (blood, sweat, and tears, literally). Now that it's finally within reach I'm having deep doubts about whether this is what I really want, and whether I am cut out for it.

Susan said...

Moms Rule. Listen to your Momma, Joanna. The thing with authenticity is, even if you don't agree with what that person is putting out there, you have to respect them for it because its the truth.

Some truths about me:
*I love eating things with slimy textures, the slimier the better.
*My parents never taught me how to ride a bike, so I'm really bad at it.
*(not a secret)I'm dyslexic, but when people tell me "I never would have guessed" after I tell them I REALLY want to say "Why? Because I'm not a moron?"
*I lost my mom when I was 20 and am TERRIFIED of having babies because she won't be here.
*I have double-jointed toes, so I can cross my toes like people cross their fingers.

mimi said...

this is why I love, love, love your blog.

as for me - I really want to dress more 'put together' and sleek, but I can never shake off the hipster look. It just doesn't feel like me, otherwise. But I don't feel like i'm being taken seriously because of the way I must come across :/

Anonymous said...

Here's my secret. I'm 43 and getting married for the first time in less than 100 days. I'm totally certain this guy is the one for me and I'm totally in love...but I'm very scared of the whole marriage thing. I have been on my own for so long I'm afraid I will feel suffocated. That's not a nice thing to admit.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. I am intrigued by your post especially since I too am a mom of two little ones ( 2 years and the other 6 months).. I love them deeply but feel that I am not always the best parent like when i am zoning out online instead of being present with them or when I lose my cool in front of them ( such as this morning when I threw a pillow across the room after being woken up the 7th time... Cumulative sleep deprivation has obviously gotten the best of me).

On a lighter note... I pull out my eye lashes when I'm overly stressed, anxious and or tired.
I also can't stand the sound of people eating cereal or the sight of anyone eating cereal in all honesty (the only exception is my toddler who's eating I love even if it's always super messy).

Corduroy said...

My husband and I have been trying for a baby for 6 months now, with no luck. I know that 6 months is nothing compared to some people, but every month that I realize it hasn't worked-again-I go and sit in the room in our home that we want to one day be our nursery, and think, "Will anyone ever sleep in this room?" And I just don't know. I just don't.

Kate! said...

I pretend to like this pasta salad my mom makes because she's so proud of it and I don't want to hurt her feelings.

Flying scares the hell out of me, so I guess I need to either get over that or move closer to the people I love.

I watch "The Bachelor" and I like it.

I think you are incredibly brave for doing this thing that scares you.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend says he is not sure if he loves me. But I know I love him. It is painful.

MarianneEee said...

I had a horrible experience as a new mom. I didn't pay close enough attention as he was lying on the changing table, and he fell off it. He was four months then.

The terror I felt when I realised what had happened is absolutely indescribable. I thought life as I knew it would be over.

The thing is, I was so, so ashamed. I have loved this baby to bits from he was born, and I have really done my best for him. Read article upon article about parenting, and obviously I knew that you should never look away when a baby lies on the changing table. So when I did, for only a tiny moment!, I felt so stupid.

But what I'm most ashamed of, is the fact that I never dared to tell anyone. I called the doctor for advice, but I made up another story to explain the fall. I never told my husband. And I just thought that he was seriously hurt I would live through hell.

Luckily my son was unharmed. But I felt like the worst mother.

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about authentic! Thanks for bringing up the topic, Joanna, for among others, Karelys' note is particularly extraordinary, very moving and very important (for her and for us).
My upcoming weekend is greatly enrichened by this open discussion.

Nina said...

I love your blog! Always interesting to read - also the other comments.

I hate it when people chew too loud.

If she would't be me sister, I wouldn't even talk to her - we don't get along well and I don't really like her.

I don't let people get close to me easily, I always seem to be cool about everything. I never had a serious relationship and everybody thinks I'm always strong/confident and never sad/worried about it.

breakfastinmoscow said...

Authenticity: the mark of truly great writing, but I think it's particularly scary to do it in a public place like a blog or a book....! It makes for the most meaningful conversations/reading though, I think.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you don't know how much this post touched me today. I recently met some people who I thought I really connected with, including a guy, and showed them my authentic self only to have them spin it maliciously to mean that I "have issues" and am "screwed up". I don't want to be surrounded by people I have to hide my true self from. I feel so hurt and so foolish for misjudging them and your post is the big hug I really needed right now. Thanks!

Jessi said...

I'm all for authenticity... thats one of the reasons i love your blog so much! You seem like a genuinely kind, interesting, fun and friendly person... makes reading your blog that much more enjoyable. :)

i'm afraid of escalators... i'm really no fun in large department stores. or at airports.

i'm very insecure about having people at my house. i love my little home, but its TEENY compared to everyone else's... and i have two large dogs and two cats. so many people don't like pets... and my dogs are VERY friendly. annoyingly so...
ugh, i just hate feeling insecure about that but i haven't been able to relax when people come over!
i'm stressed just thinking about it!

and i'm also afraid of my impending motherhood... how am i going to be able to be someone's world? the most important person to someone for YEARS... i hope i'm up for the task...

Thanks for the post, made me realize how trivial my worries are! :)


Anonymous said...

Without knowing what your story will be, as a new mother myself your mother's sage advice really resonates. This is a remarkable statement - she is a wise woman! I have really felt that there is often a veneer of appearances in the way mothers interact, and it can be difficult to let people see what is really going on beneath. Sometimes there's also that faux-sincerity thing where people are all hard-ass and 'real', but in a way that's still not completely honest, still posturing in some way. This throws me. It's rare to find people who are able to do what your mother suggests - why it is so valuable and so touching when this does actually happen.

ohnomyboots said...

I picked my daughter's father to marry and have a baby with because I knew he would be good father, not because I loved him.

I left him when she was 1.5 years old. (She splits her time between us.)

My childhood was not easy or warm and at the age of 13 I realized I would someday get to parent. So, I began practicing in my head and as part of that practice I thought about and came to know what kind of parent I wanted to be and what kind of person I wanted to parent with.

That was the way I would try to heal from my childhood. The thing I forgot or did not know how to do was figure out what kind of person I needed to be loved by. I'm still practicing that one in my head.

JamieJames said...

Go you good thing! I bet you’ll feel such a sense of relief after you tell you story.

My little secret(s):

I had a pretty serious case of post traumatic stress for ten years (ten years!) after an awful accident in my teens. Pretty much anything caused me to flashback, the lights dimming at the cinema, fire, things moving fast, even diving into a pool made me nervous. I’ve never told anyone because I thought it was such a sign of weakness. But it was a pretty horrific thing to happen to anyone let alone a teenager so these days I try and give myself a break.

Oh, and also I have a grey streak in my hair I dye over (I’m 30!), slow motion sports montages make me cry AND I read trashy celebrity magazines (they are so ridiculous, I love it)

MCC said...

A favorite writer once said, you think you keep secrets, but secrets keep you.

There is so much truth to your mother's words and if we all lived a little more honestly, the world would be such a better place.

Honesty doesn't scare me much. I suppose I'm fortunate. Nothing shocks me, we are humans -Imperfect and emotional. That's ok.

Goodluck finding your voice. You have a very wise mum!

Stacy said...

I loved this, it is so nice to see that other people have things that make them feel uncomfortable or human. Mine are
I am also very sensitive to criticism
I am very scared that every time I tell people that I believe in God that they will make fun of me or not accept it (I used to be agnostic)
I am scared to death to graduate and find a job (what if I cant find one, what if I have to live in my car what if I don’t have a car- I don’t even know how to drive yet).
Thanks again :)

Karissa said...

Your mother is beautiful. You are so blessed to have such wisdom at your disposal. This is encouraging to me because I tend to think people are not interested in my flaws/problems. But it's true that authenticity is what builds real relationships.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jo,
sorry for posting this here; but I would like to ask you for a bit of help through this blog; just can't seem to find any email address. I'd really appreciate if you could answer. I am making a short film, for my final exam at University about a young mother and could use some experience stories. Could you please, please answer few questions? Thank you in advance. anshie (

Annie said...

Your mom sounds like a wise woman. Also, really loving all the honesty in this post. A few of my secrets:
- I can be very petty and vindictive. I hold grudges like crazy!
- I fear being left out or forgotten.
- I have an irrational fear of pumping gas and getting blown up.
- I'm afraid I wouldn't be a good mother to any child with any kind of special needs.

LV said...

I love your bravery and honesty. Knowing that someone else has things about themselves that make them uncomfortable, makes me a little more willing to share those things about myself.

1.I am sensitive to criticism
2. I am a horrible driver and hate driving
3. I do not eat fish with bones because I am afraid I will choke
4. I get annoyed when my wealthy friends tell me money is not important when I am struggling and they lie without budgets

Anonymous said...

your mom is awesome!

Diana said...

I know it's easier said than done, but please try not to have butterflies, Joanna. Your followers adore you, and we will be behind you 100%! :)

ohnomyboots said...

I wrote the above and didn't include the most important part- how I feel about it!

I feel sorry that he thought I was so in love with him and my leaving hurt him so much. I feel sorry that she will never see her parents in love with one another. I feel sorry that i took on the heavy load of raising a person without the love that would better sustain me through it.

Loes said...

Wow, this really touched me. Your blog has helped my a lot the past couple of years. The first year after becoming a mom for the first time was really difficult. Your blog helped me notice the good things in life again (my new baby also helped a lot ;-)

Thank you for being you on your blog. It helped me to be me again.

Something true about me? I'm afraid everyday that I'm not a good mother. My son was born 2 weeks after my father passed away and being a happy, present mom is not always that easy.

krisel keeper said...

Your mama sounds so kind and wise.

I dont know what you're going to write about but reading your mom's comment made me glad I've opened up to my pregnant friends about the feelings of first holding that baby. For me, I was overwhelmed and my first thought was I wish I could give it back. What have I just done to our perfect lives? Why did I want this so much. And then I felt horrible. I felt, my God I haven't even had this kid for 24 hrs and she's in the most adorable stage and I want to give her back. The guilt was awful. I felt like a horrible mother. I felt I could turn into one of those baby killers. I felt so depressed but I did connect deeply with my baby. What I know now is that these feeling are normal. The idea of being so reponsible for another human being makes you freak out. It's a lot to take on. So I tell my preggo friends that its ok to feel this. Dont feel bad, dont feel guilty. Ive felt it, many of us have but no one talks about it. It's ok. It may even be a good sign bc you are truly aware of the big responsibility you're taking on. And if they are still feeling wacko they can call me day or night. They are not alone. Man, just writing it here made me feel better! Ive only spoken of it one on one with a close friend.

on another note. I cant believe you dont take criticism well, as a magazine writer. Your work is so out there and awesome. Everything you write is a step of courage I guess bc it's a bold thing to put your work out there. Your words are so heartfelt to. wow!

East Coast-er Momma said...

I am sensitive to criticism, too. I don't like being wrong, it's SO mortifying. I'm insanely attracted to intelligence and I wish my blog would sky-rocket off the map, I feel like I put so much into it and it's not going anywhere. I get discouraged about that. But, I love, love writing so I'll write for me if for no one else :)

Anonymous said...

Here's a thing I went through: in my 3rd trimester of my 1st pregnancy I found out that my baby had severe brain development issues - lack of brain tissue , lack of the two hemispheres joining etc... We went to several doctors to see if there was any hope or get a different prognosis but realized the conclusion was all the same - our baby, if he lived, would not live for long and would live a very challenging and painful life. Growing up catholic it had been engrained in me to value all life no matter what but I/we ( my husband and I) made the decision that it would, in our opinion, be too cruel to subject this baby, who I loved so, so much to such a painful life that we decided to terminate. We had to drive from the east coast out to KS costing us thousands and thousands of dollars that we did not have - all the while keeping it a secret to almost everyone we loved and knew for the fear of the judgement we would have received - I too couldn't believe what I was going through nor in some ways can I believe it now nearly 3 years out. To this day only a few close people know what we went through ... I am now lucky to have two beautiful little ones but i am scared every day that something might happen to them.... Yet at the sane time i an grateful every moment for them too. Thanks for letting me share.

Lauren Knight said...

I haven't slept a full night through in 5 years.

I pick my lips.

Sometimes I wish my husband would stop playing piano so loudly, but I feel guilty about asking him to stop, so I never say anything.

My kids are my entire world.

Abigail said...

Oh, Joanna. This post was so beautiful. Your mom's advice is incredible--I love having those people in our lives who, even through email, are able to be there for us in exactly the way that we need. I have a friend who is like that for me, and her emails are so supportive that they usually make me laugh and sometimes even make me cry (grateful tears).

My honesty for the day: I am afraid that my teeth are going to break, and as a result, I have often found myself sucking all of the enjoyment out of a toffee candy bar (literally) by waiting for the pieces to dissolve in my mouth since I won't chew them. I am a million times closer to my mother than my father, and I don't know how to get closer to him now, or if I even want to. I am terribly nostalgic, and the thought of childhood days when I used to play until the sun set makes my heart flutter because I miss them so badly. I obsess over stupid things that I have said, what people think of me, new situations until I make myself sick. I, too, am super sensitive to criticism. In writing workshops, I only remember the negative comments and never the positive. More often than not, I end up trashing the piece afterwards. I love pickles and, if it wasn't so bad, I would gladly drink all of the pickle juice out of the jar. As it is, I usually just allow myself a sip or two.

Whatever it is that you share on Monday, I'm sure that it can only make all of us love you more than we already do. <3

Kelsi said...

Some truths about me:

- I have a phobia about getting my ears pierced.
- I feel sorry for myself when I get the flu.
- My ex-husband cheated on me and gave me an STD on our wedding night. He was my first. Thankfully, it was entirely treatable and not something I had to live with forever. Jerk.
- I dream every day about starting my own freelance business but am terrified to deviate from the "working for the man" convention.
- I hate cherries and cherry-flavored everything.

Anonymous said...

I share the same feelings as your Mother. That's why I often make a point to share my miscarriage experience and my families history of depression. Such frequent common occurrences in life that are for some reason not talked about or swept under the rug. There’s often so much to benefit from when sharing.

collette said...

What a nice mom you have! I don't have one and I am missing all this advice from my life.

Cheryl said...

That is SO wonderful your Mom is so supportive and a champion of honesty. My Mom unfortunately was and is of the mindset that lying to seem 100% 'normal' is fine and one shouldn't 'air the dirty laundry'. It has been an enormous struggle for me to realize that stating the truth and sharing it is always easier than hiding or lying about something and it always makes me happier when dealing with a tough time to just be honest. It is a bit scary so kudos to you for taking the leap of faith in your readers!!

Olivia said...

Wow, your mother has such a way with words! You must've gotten some writing skills inherited or something because you both speak (er..type) with such ease! You're such an inspiration to me and I'm sure all of your readers, so I think no matter what the big secret is, you will always be backed by your readers 100%!

xx Olivia

ohnomyboots said...

Anonymous 4:00,

That must have been so incredibly painful- thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Joanna, what your mom said is pure gold. It made me cry. And the amazing comments!
*I get super bitchy when I don't get my way, and it's mostly with people that are super kind.
*I'm afraid I'll never find true love.
Can't wait to read your story on Monday! Love you!!!

Uncle Beefy said...

Jo... what a great and perfectly timed post! I'm struggling with some of my own authenticity issues. Your mom's words? Glorious!

I posted a post some time back called "Misfit" that talked about some really sensitive and revealing aspects of my life. It was purely authentic and to date is the most popular and commented post on my blog.

Look at how many people you're helping already to get in touch with some aspect of their own authenticity by merely expressing a few real bits about yourself?! Again, your mom's words? Brilliant!

I'll look forward to the upcoming post. In the meantime, take good care of you. Have a nice weekend.

Erin said...

With you on the people talking too loudly. Sometimes I feel like my roommates are screaming when they're standing right next to each other!

Also, when I really think about it, I feel like I keep making the same mistakes over and over again just in a different form. Hopefully, someday I'll learn.

Trina said...

There's beauty in writing your truth is it actually is and not as you feel it should be. When I can bring myself to admit what I really feel, I feel a lot better...and freer! Of course, I usually do that in the privacy of my journal so I applaud your bravery in sharing what you have to say.

Also, through all the years I've been reading bits of your mom's advice here and on Smitten, I have to say she sounds like a wonderful listener who never nags or judges. You are blessed.

sumslay said...

Thank you for sharing - I know you'll do great!

I, too, am impressed at how intelligent and well spoken your mom is. No wonder yall are close!

I've had the realization just this week that my life is...just normal. I gave up on my "big dreams" years ago, but...."normal" just seems so...awful. Which, I know, i know, I'm veeeery lucky and fortunate, but...I don't know, it has me down.

Also, I've been meaning to email you, Joanna, because while I don't have a fear of elevators, they've been working on the ones at my job for about 6 months. Every once and awhile while I'm in one, I'll hear another one sound like it's crashing or an alarm going off in another one. My phobia has been on the rise, to say the least.

Megan said...

Your mom's note made me teary -- how fortunate you are for that support. (Also, how eloquent a writer she is!) It's a great reminder for all of us. Thanks for sharing all you share.

P.S. I also get cranky over loud talkers.

Lauren said...

Joanna, I LOVE your mother's words.

This is something I feel like I constantly struggle with. I am normally very reserved until I feel VERY comfortable with people, because in fact I know my true nature is to be rather blunt and honest. (Not that I am rude or particularly abrasive, but I call it as I see it, you know?) This is sometimes off-putting to people, and through experience as a kid I learned to keep to myself as a safeguard.

But it's hard to live that way, you know? I think it's important to be honest, share of yourself what you must, and hope that people accept you as you are. And anyone who doesn't isn't someone you want as a friend.

Again, constantly struggling to live by this.

Okay, so to play along, a dark true fact about me that I don't discuss (but should, with a therapist!):

I feel as if everything that I want, even the most mundane, small, normal thing, is asking for too much. And that maybe I will never deserve to have any of it.

(And this is officially the longest, "deepest" comment I've ever left on a blog!)

Sarah said...

Joanna, I really appreciate how authentic your writing is. I love feeling like you are confiding in me although you're writing to so many readers! And everything that you share that seems to scare you or that you think is strange leads to comments from everyone feeling similarly. Thank you for being so honest! It brings me back to your blog every day!

Elizabeth Soule said...

What your mom sent is so true. I really appreciate the realness of your blog and love to hear that often I'm not the only one who thinks, feels or experiences something that seems less popular. Thank you!

Becca - (extra)ordinary wonders said...

I love your Mom's words- and this authenticity is why I read your blog. You write so candidly and openly about things that are on your mind- I love it and appreciate it. It's one of the reason's I've started a blog. Trying to put out there what I find to be inspiring and true.

Shoppe Girls said...

I love your Mother's wise words and you and everyone being so brave about being authentic. I do have trouble sometimes and would love to blog about certain things but get scared I will be judged. I too look forward to your post on Monday.

- I scream too much.
- I get scared when stairs are too high as I am going to fall. Terribly scared of heights.
- I am sensitive to criticism too...overly sensitive sometimes feel like I get ganged upon
-I wish I had more friends
- I was abused as a child
- I feel that I am not good enough
- I do not drive or have my licence
Thank you to all you brave people and being authentic you are all so wonderful for sharing. I feel so open and vulnerable now.
I would really like to share your mother's wise words on my blog and share my authentic self.

Tabitha @Glitter and Ganache said...

Your mom is SO smart! I love everything she said! And I can't wait to hear your authentic take on motherhood!

As for me, sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be truly happy- I'm always eager for the next thing/project/adventure and have trouble enjoying the now!

rou said...

You're so sweet. I really appreciate your blog. Can't wait to read on Monday!


In a world of blogging that can seem, at times, superficial; it is wonderfully refershing to hear stories of the heart. Even when they are hard to tell. Allowing yourself to feel vulenrable is how you connect with people! (A lesson I still am teaching myself!) I look forward to reading your story Monday. I have tons of my own that I have been working up the bravery to share as well!

AmberLee said...

i am completely hopeless with belts too.

adore your posts, about motherhood and everything else.

Anonymous said...

Here's mine: I hate going to my friends' weddings.

Sarah Ann said...

I'm so glad you (and your mom) wrote this. I've recently been asked to write for a mommy website, and it makes me nervous to expose too much. I don't want to take the backlash of negativity or expose my daughter too much; but I always come back to thinking, "I just wish someone was around to talk to me about this when I was going through it."

So here's to authenticity!

Kelly said...

Both you and your lovely mother seem like wonderful women! I applaud your courage to be authentic - it's not easy!

silver said...

i think the thing with the pears is - - they're a bit slimey and therefore have the potential to slip down the throat.
i don't know (yet) what your new mother thing is/was - - but mine was that i didn't feel as i thought i should feel and i didn't like everything i did feel, and that was painful. just knowing that *you* went through something difficult as a new mother helps me with that - and i don't even know what it was (yet).
thank you x

Val said...

Thanks for such a beautiful post, Joanna. It is very reinforcing to read the strength of your mother's words.

My truth right now is my painful struggle with miscarriage. I'm wishing I could move on and be finished with my grief and disappointment, but I guess the processes of the important things in life have a timeline that we cannot force.

sarah said...

Love this, authenticity is so important, and sometimes so challenging too. I am super-sensitive to criticism, so I really relate to that one. I actually wish I could change that about myself. And I make terrible financial decisions, but I find it impossible to fess up to that with anyone other than my husband. LIke I said, authenticity can be HARD.

roni said...

what a wonderful mother! she is so wise! you are already authentic in you motherhood mondays posts...already touching on things people might not bring up so easily. it's too easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves to others, looking for perfection. even when we think we are above it, it happens and creeps in slowly to cause self-doubt. looking forward to your story. i am sure you will speak to many who just need to know they're not the only one...

ps - i get very panicky in car washes. my list can go on from there.

Joanna Goddard said...

"Anonymous said..i screamed at my 15 month old son today. i was annoyed with his whining and ignoring boundaries that he's well aware of. i actually thought to myself, joanna probably doesn't lose her cool like this. i don't have a nanny, i'm pregnant, and whenever i do have a babysitter, it's so i can do work or errands and never to just relax or get a massage or something. i wish i didn't have the responsibility of a child today."

oh, anonymous, i wish i could send our babysitter over there to give you a break...and then we could go get a glass of wine!! :) i think EVERY mother loses her cool sometimes. i mean, you love your baby with all your heart, but they can also drive you nuts:) you sound like a really loving and wonderful mother. xoxoxo

Joanna Goddard said...

roni, haha, i hate car washes!

Joanna Goddard said...

i'm in love with these comments. we really are all in this together, aren't we? i want to reach through the computer screen and hug you all. writing this post today make me feel queasy with nerves, but i feel so much better reading your beautiful comments. you are all inspiring and incredible!! thank you.

Anonymous said...

i have enjoyed reading everyone's honesty and i thank you for opening up the discussion. mine is that i didn't marry my soulmate, instead i married someone who was "safe." i love him, but i find myself getting so jealous of those who describe their husbands as the only one in the world for them. i often wonder if the guy i didn't end up with thinks the same about me.

meet emily said...

i'm an under eye wrinkle hawk, and i never noticed yours. so happy friday, they're probably not nearly as visible as you think.

p.s. and if they are, they're likely the charming kind.

Anonymous said...

I caught my dad cheating on my mom when I was three, but I didn't say anything until I was 21 years old. Now they are divorced. I get so afraid that my husband will cheat on me that I read his texts when he leaves the room, I look at the history on his Safari browser, and I drop in on him at work sometimes just to "see how he's doing." I let fear run a lot of my life, but I am too embarrassed to admit it to anyone.

M. said...

this is beautiful... i have been struggling with something that has been so hard to admit because I've always tried to be a strong and confident woman... and in my mind admitting to a weakness makes that untrue. While I'm getting over that silliness I am also finally I am finally admitting that i am so terrified of failure and rejection (job hunting for a design gig) to the point its paralyzing... because I love what I do soooo much and Im so afraid that I won't ever get "that opportunity" to share with others and as an artist your work as you know is so personal... and the possibility of having the door slammed in my face scares me. however i realized being true to yourself and your loved ones about what makes you scared or nervous is actually being strong...and it eventually helps build you up to get over or try to get over your fears. I no doubt will continue to struggle with these anxieties... but when I read things such as this lovely post and comments... i realize I'm not alone and it is ok. thank you. xx

Becky-lee said...

I'm pregnant and I'm not ready, for 100 reasons I'm not ready, but what I won't tell anyone (especially the friends I love who are going through it) I thought it would be hard to get pregnant, take years, I see the bond between couPlea trying to have a baby, and I'm jealous, i know it's painful and you wouldn't wish it on anybody, but there u have it. My secret I'm not as happy as I should be that I'm having a baby, I won't even mention all the reasons I'm afraid I'll be a bad mother, I shouldbe saying "as long as my baby is healthy I'll be happy, inside I'm saying as long as I'm a good mother my baby will be fine. I don't get wise words from my mother like yours, I love my mother to death but I hope I somehow turn out to be just like urs instead. 3 truths I know I'm not supposed to feel.

Em said...

Hi Joanna. I absolutely love what your Mom said to you regarding authenticity. I completely agree with her. I am interested to read your blog on Monday (just like I am every other day). Just so you know, after my son was born I went through an extremely difficult period of intense anxiety. It took me over one year to recover. I was embarrassed to tell anyone about it at first. Now I am open with my friends and even with acquaintances about my own personal experience. I realized that I am not helping anyone by keeping my experience to myself. I like to let other women know that they are not alone. I love your blog. You have such a great voice. Thanks for brightening my day and helping me feel that I am not alone. Emily

Anonymous said...

I loved that--so touching. I'm almost in tears right now. Just last week, I told my husband after 15 years of marriage, how unsure I am of things--he thought we had in common. Thank You.

LaurenMax said...

Joanna, you are such a delight and so is your mom. This is what I prize most in a person, and it's why I am such a loyal follower of your blog. Thanks for these sweet words. I'm definitely saving them. xoxoxox, Lauren Maxwell

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are trying to get pregnant. Going on 6 months now. (I am 32)The thing is, I was a NICU nurse for 10 years, and now I am a NP in a pedi clinic, and while I enjoy kids - I don't know if I want one of my own. I want to make my husband and our parents happy, but I don't know if I want one. I think I may like the idea of kids and family more than the reality of it. Part of me hopes that I can't get pregnant.

Joy said...

I can't have an argument with my significant other without getting closed off, defensive, and mean, because those were the only methods I had to protect myself from my father when I was growing up. It is so, so hard to rewire those responses, even when they are unwarranted.

This video of Brene Brown's TED Talk is really wonderful, and super relevant to the theme of authenticity - because really, it's about being vulnerable.

Alexa said...

I'm looking forward to your post Joanna. I went through something hard after Mila was born too. Have a nice weekend!

Jadvigga said...

Thank you, Joanna :). I needed this.

Amy said...

I am so glad your mom encouraged your authenticity. I can't wait to read.

My "things": I suffer from anxiety disorder, I loathe hanging out in large groups because I'm shy (even though I'm a teacher and talk to people ALL DAY) and I cry really easily.

Taylor K said...

Three cheers for authenticity. I am glad you are sharing. I think my most valuable blog share is telling everyone that I have Swyer Syndrome. I feel so much better having shared it. I don't get a ton of comments on the post (maybe three or so) but it's just nice that this small part of me is on my nice little blog home.

Welcome to the Laundromat said...

I love this! And your mom's words. I love this line from your mom, "You are never alone in your feelings!" So true!!

My small, little blog was based on that same idea. I share about my struggle with depression {even past suicide attempts} and being in recovery for drugs/alcohol. It's not always heavy. I share what inspires, too. And like any human I have my quirks :)

- I'm terrified of touching meat

- I have a birthmark on my thigh that looks Australia

- The first time I peeled an orange was this year (I'm 32)

- I'm afraid I'll never find true love

I'll be thinking about you as you write your piece! You will touch so many people!!

I have learned a few things from sharing.

1. People want real. Not perfect.

2. There is a rippling affect when people are honest and courageous.

3. It's all worth it if I can give hope to one person.

You are going to give people courage and hope!! Sending you love.

jackie said...

really admire this. :) things to admit? 1) i'm afraid that i won't be able to really get over my ex/ or that the entire thing (relationship & break up) will affect how i approach new ones 2) i feel like i lost something of myself :\

Aimee said...

I hate grad school.

Anonymous said...

I am a korean american woman in nyc and no korean american guy in nyc likes me because i am none of this: I am not a shorter version of a Victoria secret model / I don't have enough personality for a village/ I don't go to med/law school /I didn't grow up in europe/I can't drink alcohol like a fish, take photos with vodka bottles in my hands and still be perky the next day in stripper shoes in a blizzard. Who cares, you know? obviously I do. Sigh...

Melissa Blake said...

Joanna, kudos to you! Being authentic just takes a huge weight off your shoulders. When you're honest and not afraid to be who you are -- there's nothing better in the world.

I used to wonder how much about my father's suicide and my struggles with depression I should share. But then I realized that writing honestly and from the heart was the only way I knew how to do it. And people really responded to it. Like your mother said, when we are honest about what we're feeling and what we've been through, we let people who might otherwise be silent know that it is OK to speak. That's a powerful thing, if you ask me.

LeeLee said...

Your Mom is so right. I loved the last lines: "You are never alone in what you are feeling. I love you." It's so true. Beautiful. I'm sure your piece will give courage to make people. Sending light and love your way. :)

Anonymous said...

I also don't know how to accessorize with belts - or with anything, for that matter. I check the closets for intruders before bed. I have old-lady hands. I hate it when someone sings or, worse, whistles when we're the only two people in the gym locker room. I love driving around aimlessly (it reminds me of being 16 and experiencing one of the most thrilling rites of passage, at least, in the American West:))

Anonymous said...

I love you and love your blog.

Mama Bird said...

Your mom is a wise woman who has a way with words. I totally agree with her. I try to be authentic as possible on my blog. Can't wait to read your Monday post!

hellokorin said...

I admire you so much for being brave enough to share something so personal with the world! Being so genuine is something I strive for in my life (and in my blog, which is a lot smaller than yours and therefore enormously less daunting). I am a devoted reader of your blog and even though I'm not married or working or even out of school yet, I find myself identifying so much with you! You seem so awesome and genuine.

Anonymous said...

I have cried during every job interview I have had. I am highly educated and very outgoing but something about interviews makes me terrified and I cry.

*Marine Fleury* said...

your mum is great.
Pour moi , il suffit qu une personne me dise qu elle aime ce que je fais , pour que cela me donne l envie de coninuer..
your mum is right ..and thanks to her ..

Anonymous said...

authenticity? honesty?

That I'll wake up in 20 years and wish I had a kid.

I don't want it now.

I don't want it in the near future.

But people change SO FAST.

Scary stuff.

Lorna Diwa said...

This is so great - what a great mama you have! Wise words and always appreciate your authenticity.

marta said...

jo, i loved this post very much. i am a writer too and authenticity is the JUICE of what makes writing good. but i often feel this URGE to write something, even if i don't care if it's good or not. i just have this NEED to write it down and press PUBLISH. those scary, vulnerable, i-shouldn't-do-this posts are the ones that everyone loves and seems to connect with. those are the words that touch hearts.

this happened to me when i wrote about my miscarriage at 16 weeks, even though i hadn't even announced to the world that we were expecting. i could've left it between us, but something inside me burned and all the words just fell into my hands, out the keyboard and onto the screen. i rarely even read that post, though i've had dozens of people email me their condolences and their thanks and their 'i've been there too's'. i had no idea writing what i wrote would end up to be so comforting. to me and to them.

keep the juices flowing, jo. be brave. it's so worth it.

Carissa said...


Thank you for sharing your mother's words and for planning to post your own difficult story. Your mom sounds like a lovely and wise woman.

My truth? I am 25 years old and I am fighting breast cancer. I started a blog when I was diagnosed, partly to keep my loved ones in the loop and partly because I found writing therapeutic. It took awhile for me to feel comfortable sharing such personal details, but now I know in my heart that writing is a huge part of my recovery.

I hope you find peace and strength after you write on Monday. As always, I look forward to reading your post.


Anonymous said...

I can't stand people sneezing, especially when they make a really big deal out of it....aaaaaaaaachoooooooooooooo oooooo woooo woooooo ooooooo.
People who eat with their mouth open=gross. I want to shout at them or give them a massive row.
I have a massive fear of my husband dying! (Saw your post recently on that). Think it's worse as my dad died suddenly at 39 and we are almost 36. Maybe I'll be ok in 4 years?
I think your doing a fabulous thing. Initially feeling dubious about talking openly on your blog, who wouldn't, it's such a brave thing to do, but your mother is right, such a help for so many people! She's seems so, so lovely. Your pending post already seems to have bred so much positivity before you have even published it. Absolutely amazing, supportive, people out there : ) We are all in it together and all in the same boat in so many ways. I really admire you, well done xx

Eliza Jane said...

Wow, your mum is totally right. And she really has a way with words! I've been honest in my blog, and I blogged about a depression I went through just over a year ago. My moment of honesty today, though? I'm falling in love with my (male) flatmate.

Anonymous said...

I am a mother to three happy, beautiful children, wife to a wonderful husband, registered nurse, home owner, decor lover, passionate, caring, strong woman that volunteers her time at drug treatment facilities. At one time, I had a drinking problem so destructive that I landed myself in Alcoholics Anonymous. Lending my voice to the women that still suffer is a gift that I am blessed to have.

Carolyn said...

Truthfully: There are times when I miss my life and freedom before motherhood. Sometimes I am relieved that I get to go back to work come Monday. Nothing is as fulfilling as motherhood, yet on a day to day basis I find myself struggling. There, I said it! Thank you for starting the conversation:)

Dana Ingebretson said...

Thank you for sharing Joanna. I'm working on authenticity too, and it's a scary thing, especially when you're not sure if anyone else feels that way too. Looking forward to your story, whatever it holds :)

Kiera said...

This post makes me so happy - I am so excited to read what you have to share.

A year ago, I finally opened up about something I had been hiding for the past 7 years, and my life has been SO much easier since.

It can be scary to tell the truth, but it is almost always worth it, you feel so much better afterwards and I think you will find the reactions of others will warm your heart :0

JeNifer said...

oh wow, this is quite a touching post (and the comments! also wow!) Joanna,even though we don't know each other personally, reading this entry made me just want to give u a big hug! First off- your mom's words were beautiful. so simple yet so eloquent and so true. Your mama is a shining example of authenticity - and you have clearly gotten this trait too! I just want to say that i admire u, and ur honesty, u have shared some pretty amazing experiences with all of us. it really is great for all of us to know there is someone else out there in the same boat - just as your mom said "you are never alone in what you are feeling."

*i'm also kind of scared of elevators, but ONLY when i'm in them alone. i get a paranoid feeling that i'll be stuck in there!
*sometimes i REALLY wish my dogs could talk. And that unicorns were real.
*i have a bit of an overbite, and a tiny upper lip, so i actually have some difficulty keeping my lips closed together, it sounds weird i know! its not noticeable but i get so self conscious about it sometimes, even though no one has ever said anything about it!
*my husband and i have been talkin about when we'll start having kids and while its all exciting and something we look fwd to, half of me is seriously paranoid that we won't be able to, or something will go wrong. Like maybe i'm worrying too much about it?
*and now for a more positive one!:) i'm actually deaf, but i wear hearing aids so i do hear some when they're on; and i'm damn good at lip-reading!

I'm looking forward to reading your post on Monday! Have a lovely weekend with your dad! And Joanna, thank you for being who you are! xo.

mondaybirds said...

so looking forward to reading your post on monday! i think your mom is spot on about authenticity~ and the reason why i really enjoy your blog is because you truly are authentic with your readers, it's what makes your voice so genuine and endearing. i always enjoy checking in to see what you'll be sharing!

michelle from

Jenny said...

Your mum is so wise. Thank you for sharing her words with us. And thank you for sharing vulnerable parts of yourself - they really matter. So many times I have felt that I am the only one that has felt a certain way, and beat myself up about it, only to find years later that friends were feeling a similar way - if only we had shared it together! I hope you feel really peaceful over the weekend as Monday approaches.

One of my truths: Even though I love, love, love my husband, I often worry that we got married too young. I envy people who have travelled & lived on their own. I sometimes crave a chance to truly be on my own.

Mariana said...

Oh no! Not post-natal depression! :(

Kadri said...

I also used to be so awful showing off my emotions and feelings in public, I always felt so embarrassed. Not embarrassed of my boyfriend, just I was so afraid to be vulnerable in front of everyone. My current boyfriend who is such an extraordinary person has helped me so much to get over that and I feel

Besides that I'm afraid of seals and I cannot stand when people I do not know in public places touch me or pass by really close when there is plenty of room around (must be because I come from small town where there is plenty of space for everyone and personal space and distance is highly respected)or when they hit you with the carts in shops:S

Thanks for a great post and making people think:)

SamanthaF said...

Wise words and food for thoughts. it takes a lot of courage to belt out something true that eats you inside but could impact a family image or reputation. Looking forward to read you on Monday.
have a great weekend


Caitlin said...

Joanna, I wholeheartedly agree with what your mom wrote. I strongly believe that we are not alone in our struggles, our thoughts, or our battles. There's often someone else (a lot of elses) that feel or are experiencing the same thing and by voicing our experience, we not only set the fear of being the only one free, but find community and affirmation with people who are going through the same thing. We are never alone in our struggles - except when we stay silent about them.

Miss Tallulah Porkchop said...

I have no idea what the hell I am doing.

S said...


My fears:

- I'm afraid that when I'm done changing into the person I'll be 'for the rest of my life', I won't know who I was in the beginning and the things that mattered to me and who I wanted to be. That I won't be happy with the person I become.
- That I won't achieve my dreams and that failure to succeed wil determine my identity. Because dreams are such a big part of my identity now.
- That even in a few years when I am out of med school and practicing and maybe I'll be married with a family and distant from those I once shared my life with (in youth) --- that I won't be able to stop remembering or let go of my first love. That'll I'll keep loving and thinking about how my love wasn't enough, and also Bon Iver's cover of 'Can't Make you Love me'.

Thanks for the wonderful post, Jo.


Gemma said...

I get scared when I'm in an empty swimming pool, apparently the monster under my bed just moved to the swimming pool as I got older!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post!

I love my husband and my family but I often wish I had more alone time. When I was single, every once in a while I took a weekend to just be alone- to read, drink coffee, watch movies. I'd go a whole day, or two, without hearing my own voice and it rejuvenated me. I miss it, but I also feel guilty for missing it because if I ever lost the people I love I think I'd regret saying it! But it's true- sometimes I just want peace and quiet and some time to think about nothing but me.

Stephanie said...

What an amazing mom. In my opinion she's spot on!! No one ever needs to be ashamed of the truth.

I have something difficult to say, particularly as this is a motherhood post. My truth is that I've never wanted to be a mother. I'm in my 40s now and I knew this even at the age of 10. I love being an auntie and a friend, a sister and a daughter, a granddaughter, a lover to a wonderful man, a volunteer, etc. etc., but when I leave other people's children I always have a skip in my step and feel that I've made a "great and daring escape" from biological destiny. The difficulty with a truth like this, however, is that people who have children are often reluctant to allow me to have this truth. A great many pejoratives are assigned to women like me. I've been aided by meeting somewhat older women whose children are now raised who have told me that if they had it to do over again they wouldn't have kids.

It's a difficult truth that everyone's experience in life is different, and motherhood is an incredibly loaded topic. I'm really happy for people who have kids and for whom motherhood is the end-all experience, and I also think it's great when women are able to speak out about all of the realities of that experience, good and bad. It would be difficult to imagine such a difficult job not being full of trials; I have so much respect for those doing that tough job of parenting. Good luck, Joanna!

AJ said...

My truths:

- Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done. For me, this is because it is so out of my control and something that I cannot research and plan my way through. I could list the things I've done that seem challenging, but really, the selflessness required of being a mom is just the most difficult part about it for me.
- I love dessert, but if I eat too much sugar before bedtime I wake up feeling hungover. Sometimes I do it anyways, knowing I'll feel awful, because I want to.
- I am awful in the morning when woken up too early. Really awful. I fake a smile with my daughter because I don't want her to think its her fault I am a crankypants.
- I check out what other people are wearing obsessively. I'm not the most stylish dresser, mostly due to lack of income and creative energy. However, I people watch like the world is my personal glossy magazine.
- I hate hearing and seeing bugs in my house. I love being outside and don't mind bugs when I am out. But in my house, I want a bug free zone.

Yay for authenticity! Thank you for being open with your life on your blog. I agree with your mother completely.

This is why I find literature so inspiring. When someone else expresses your feelings, it frees you to trust they are valid and, more importantly, you are not alone.

lcb said...

Oh, Joanna, what a lovely post. Your mother has quite a way with words. And with truth. I think her words speak to the core of authentic blogging (as opposed to cutesy "look at how great my life is and how much fun I'm having" blogging). For a long time, I felt like I had to fall into the latter category-- to showcase how great everything was-- and it never felt true to me.

When you speak with your own voice, with your true thoughts, people will hear you, whether they agree or not. I've just recently decided to start writing more about my life and dealing with anxiety/depression, because it's the blogs whose writers talk candidly about these things that have helped me through some of the hardest times!

Being real can be scary, but you have so many readers who love and support you. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story with us on Monday. Banish the butterflies!

Anonymous said...

your mom sounds amazing. i hope i can be like her to my daughter.

Hannah Brandt said...

I love this post!

I made a New Years resolution to start blogging, and I have really been enjoying it. However, I have been to scared to share it with people outside my inner circle. This inspires me to try and reach out to others.

It's like Dr. Suess says, "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

So, here's my little truth :)

Thanks for the inspiration!

Kimberly said...

Those are very wise words. I agree that sharing difficult things are important as they show other people that may be experiencing the same things that they are not alone. That is so SO important and very brave :)

Mr & Mrs B said...

Sometimes these things need to be shared to move own let it help others.

I did something similar on my blog...the link is here if you are interested to read it! :)

Emma x

Zana said...

I think this is my most favorite post.

My ex husband just divorced me recently - and I am crushed to the bones. In my country, it is a shame, a taboo to talk about divorce especially when it is your own, but I find that writing is my only outlet. So I write how I feel - how after all these years I was in love with him and how I could not figure out how this happened. People were saying I should not go public and write about these things, but writing is my only outlet and I was expressing myself, in a way I thought would not hurt anybody.

la. said...

Hey Joanna! I know we dont know what you are going to write about on Monday, but I read this article yesterday and I loved it. Thought you might like it as well!

My Something True: I am at the same time a people pleaser and a true introvert. So much so that I recently had a pretty serious anxiety attack. I am in my mid-twenties and still learning how to say no and take care of myself.

dina said...

Love this Joanna and admire your strength and humbleness. I am a career counselor at a small private college in the midwest and facilitate trainings on personal branding, networking and such. Love this quote and thought you might enjoy it too.
"This opportunity for innovation to flourish and for talent to shine will only reach its full potential if connectedness is based on authenticity, depth and continuity." Lucy P Marcus

Anonymous said...

I don't get belts either. I love them on other people but I think I'm too curvy to wear them in a flattering way.

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