have it all.

i have literally written this post eight different times. one of those times was in the middle of the night. another time was in the car on a voice recording while i sat in traffic. the most recent edit was in my driveway while it poured outside. none of those eight made the final cut. but it’s important to share with you that i was- no, am struggling with how to delicately discuss the ‘have it all theory’.

twice in my life i have been told this:

“yeah sure. thanks for that. but you have it all so i just don’t think you understand.”

woah. back back back it up. let’s unpack this ‘have it all theory’ right now. because i am not about to put that theory filled duffle bag over my shoulder and carry it through life.

the first time someone said that to me i was twenty two and in my senior {okay, okay. fifth} year in undergrad. i am no longer friends with the girl who said it to me but i remember it. i knew this stemmed from me not understanding the whole ‘single girl’ situation. which definitely was how i spent ages twenty two to twenty five. so why do i remember this blow to my ego? because of the fishbowl perspective. she was looking at my proverbial fishbowl and the tank seemed full. college degree, serious boyfriend, a job lined up outta college. but from my perspective, inside the fishbowl, i was seeing everything outside of the glass that was out of reach. i didn’t have it all. yeah, i had some. but definitely not all. that serious boyfriend cheated on me with some girl from best buy two weeks before i moved back to the western shore. and that college degree; just a piece of paper saying i got out of bed for five years and sat in a lecture hall. five years. not the standard four. no dorm room. dropped out of my sorority because they were bullying me about my grades. but no one asked to help and no one asked about my mental health. which by the way i was about a year and a half into my diagnosis. i was in mandatory group and individual therapy with a psychologist i absolutely hated. i had changed my major to avoid the dips in my gpa. i had already been kicked out of the university and had to write a letter begging the dean to understand my mental health and let me try again. five years. oh and that job lined up, i was let go on my second day because they didn’t actually have funding for the position. but remember. i had it all.

i didn’t have it all. i was treading water; i was swallowing a lot of ocean tide while i fought the waves of my early twenties. i had some. but i never had it all. and i never had it figured out. the guy i thought i loved barely spoke to me the day i moved home which was right after being handed a check for one hundred and eighty bucks and told to find new employment. i was forty pounds overweight. i had a college degree and i was headed to the second floor of my childhood home. but i had it all.

the second time i was told that ‘i have it all’ was just a few months ago from another girl i am no longer friends with. she had broken up with a boyfriend of a few months and was feeling pretty broken. so i suggested a girls night with junk food and tears and romantic comedies. and i listened for over two hours and offered tissues and shared swedish fish and in all that, i was told i just didn’t understand because i had it all. there it was. me having it all. from the outside, i have it all because i am no longer swiping right on tinder or moving home to my parents house after a bad breakup. i don’t have to hope that the guy i told my girlfriends about isn’t actually a drug dealer in michigan {true story, actually happened}. i won’t have to cry over us weekly magazines and pints of ben & jerry’s anymore. i got a guy locked in for life. i have it all. nope. there’s that perspective again. looking into the tank and seeing that i, at age twenty nine, have it all. everything. but what you don’t see is that this time {november twentyseventeen}; i am told that i have it all; but this time, i am sixty pounds overweight and drowning in debt and i haven’t looked at my student loan balance since it creeped past eighty thousand and i have no friends and i am seeing my therapist weekly for the first time since before i got married. oh, and marriage is hard. harder than being single. harder than one night stands that you wish called the next day. marriage is the hardest thing i have ever done. i cry on my way home from work some days because i am hoping i am still making a difference even through the eight hate emails from parents. i am crawling into bed before eight just so i don’t have to face any problems outside the barrier of pottery barn pillows {syke, who are we kidding? they are target pillows}. i have it all because no one asks if i don’t. i have it all because i have what society wants me to have.

but i don’t have it all. sure, i have a lot. i have a lot of good things, great things, big things, wonderful things. but i don’t have it all. in fact, i don’t think anyone has it all. or maybe some of you do. if you think you’re in that category- spill your secret boo. because i don’t have it all. and i guess what i am saying is:

i don’t have it all. i don’t have it all figured out. i don’t have it all put together. i don’t have it all on lock. i have. and i am blessed with what i have. i am thankful for everything that i have but the letters a & l are not in what i have. so, instead of peering into that fishbowl {admit it, you do it}, ask. ask for help. ask for advice. put it out into the world that the struggle is so real it ain’t even funny anymore. stop assuming that because people have it all from the outside, it must mean that person has it all together, figured out, on lock.

because i know i don’t. i am actively working on building a better version of myself. a better wife, daughter, sister, teacher, friend and a better person. through weekly therapy sessions and serious talks with my husband and calling my best friend in raleigh. i’m better each day. i don’t cry after work or crawl in bed before ten. i am going to therapy and being honest. but i don’t have it all.

and maybe i don’t want it all. because if i have it all, how can i continue to grow?


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