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Honey,That'sNoWayToLive.

Caitlin V McDowell
Caitlin V McDowell Feeling my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart.
6mo Rogers, AR, United States Story
Honey, That's No Way To Live.

It's hard to imagine a life you've never lived before. It's harder to imagine feeling a way you've never felt before, or imagine feeling any different than you always have. I have this quiet voice in my head, I think she's the one that writes, but recently I heard her say,

"Honey, that's no way to live."

My immediate reaction was, "I know, but I don't know how else to live."

One of my favorite authors once said something so simple yet it hit me so profoundly.

"Not this."

Often times I struggle with not knowing what I want, and I found that sometimes it is easier to start with what we know we don't want. At times I find myself in a situation, relationship, job, or circumstance, and I think, “Not this.” Not this, is a place to start.

A favorite quote of mine has always been, "there is a time for everything." There is a time to lament, a time to cry, a time to stay in bed all day, a time to drink, a time to hurt, and a time to struggle.

But honey, that's no way to live.

There is a time for more.

There is a time to ask for help, there is a time to say out loud that you’re not okay, there is a time to surrender, and there is a time to believe that maybe your life could be different.

Not one of you is destined to be a sad story. Not one of you is destined for pain and struggle alone. In my darkest hour, the most powerful thing a person once said to me was, "it's not always going to be this way." In the moment I couldn't fathom that truth, but in the light, I now know that it was very true, and that it is possible. There were days in my past where I was sure I was just going to be a sad story. Listen to me when I say there are no sad stories and you don't have to feel like you are one.

What do I do then, you ask?

If I can tell you anything, I want to tell you this, when I was at my sickest, the reason I wanted to stop living was because the future I saw was grim. Please believe me when I say that I now see a future that I could have never imagined. What saved me was honesty. I am indebted to honesty and bravery and that's why I am here today. 

Please believe me when I say there is a future that is possible that you do not see. Mental illness can be a pair of glasses that warps your vision. Your vision of yourself, of what you can do, and what is to come. Authenticity, love, and hope is what carried me here today. I wish the same for you.

If someone were to ask me how to made it here today, I would say I crawled, I painstakingly crawled. I crawled to each therapy appointment. I tried each medication. I surrendered to my vices, time and time again. I showed up for work, and for life as much as I was able. I let myself cry. I sat with my pain. I accepted my mistakes. I read books and I wrote. I knocked on doors that would not open. I humbled myself over and over, and I kept crawling. I kept going and I did not stop. 

And you know what happened, life and love met me at each small distance.

That is it. I kept going and I refused to stop even though for all I knew I was just crawling further toward the same depressing life. I wasn't though, you see. If you ask me how it's done for you, I would tell you to just keep moving, keep trying, keep failing, and keep surviving. You might ask if it's worth it. That of course is for you to decide, though if you ask me, I'd say, every time.

When I say, honey that's no way to live, I mean that no time has been wasted. I say your life has always been magnificent and beautiful, but I say, it can be even better. And I say that better, is without a doubt, an option.

It's an invitation waiting for your courage.

It's a call, waiting for your answer.

The phone is ringing, my dear, it's for you.

Who is it? It's you, asking for you to show up.

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2 comments

  • Danica
    6mo ago

    How does one balance responsibility with the need to want to live freely?

    How does one balance responsibility with the need to want to live freely?

    • Denise Baraka Lawrence aka KweenKleokatra

      @Danica I think this is is indeed a paradox based on how we're allowing our societies to be structured. While I don't speak for all thinking people--I imagine we don't want to go "back to the dark ages", yet, there are elements we may want to re-visit, bring forward and include in forming new ways to live--together.  This may shift the responsibility so there is less of a me and more of a we.  Living freely is our birthright.  Making it happen is our mandate.  We have the technology!  ;)

      @Danica I think this is is indeed a paradox based on how we're allowing our societies to be structured. While I don't speak for all thinking people--I imagine we don't want to go "back to the dark ages", yet, there are elements we may want to re-visit, bring forward and include in forming new ways to live--together.  This may shift the responsibility so there is less of a me and more of a we.  Living freely is our birthright.  Making it happen is our mandate.  We have the technology!  ;)


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Caitlin V McDowell
Feeling my way through the darkness, guided by a beating heart.

26. Corporate suit by day and writer by night. Lover of the stars, moon, the velveteen rabbits, vans, leather goods, and thinking.

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