Not Pretty Pictures. Not A Love List.

February 29th, 2016 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback


photo by Dallas Clayton

A few weeks back I posted a very pretty picture of some citrus that Waits and I had foraged from around our new neighborhood. Somebody commented on that photo and said: “Beautiful and wonderful…And I’m happy that you’re so happy, that makes me happy!” And that comment just hit me in the gut, because I thought: “Oh god, she thinks I’m happy!”

Which, for the most part these days, isn’t true.

So later that evening I posted another picture on Instagram, with the following caption:

Here is a picture of the beautiful lavender lemonade that Waits and I made today out of foraged fruit and flowers from around our neighborhood. This was a really precious moment and it really did happen today. Not pictured: when I left a pan on the stove for an hour and almost burned the house down. When I told Waits that I was frustrated with him and he confided that he feels like I’m frustrated with him a lot. When I cried as I got to the wine bar because I’m feeling so overwhelmed with all that’s going on, and I feel like I’m cracking under the pressure. Not pictured: yesterday I gulped down a panic attack, and was barely able to keep it at bay. Not pictured: last week I had to go to court to fight my old landlord, and I lost. Not pictured: on Monday I will have to meet with my advisor and tell him I wasn’t able to do the things I was supposed to do. The Internet is pretty and these moments are real – nothing about my life is staged. But it doesn’t tell the whole story. It never does. Try and remember that, my friends. ♥

I don’t ever intend to be dishonest with my social media. Do you remember so many years ago, when I wrote about Positivity versus Authenticity, and why I’ll always choose the latter over the former?

Well, I feel like I’ve been letting you all down in that regard lately. Here’s what I wrote on my personal Facebook page, back at the end of January. I wrote this really late at night, on that day I had gone to court:

Man, what is even the point, of trying to be good?

I was raised to believe that right was right and wrong was wrong, and that we lived in a world that valued right over wrong. But earlier today I lost a battle – a really big battle – and even though I was in the right, I lost because what we actually value, apparently, is so much more than right over wrong. And I’ll never understand that. And this is why I’ll probably be confused and penniless for the rest of my life.

Then, tonight, we worked a six hour shift at our wine bar, and we basically had no business. It was an awful night. But I paid myself $20 in tips for my 6 hours of labor, and Jeremy and I set out to walk home at the end of the night. Late night, walking home through the downtown bars, and we passed an alley where two college girls were stumbling, with a dude lurking nearby. So I went back to see if they were okay. One of them was pretty drunk, and supporting the other one who was completely knocked-out drunk. So Jeremy and I helped them to the well-lit street, shooed the lurking dude away, helped to hold the drunken one up so she wouldn’t fall and hurt herself, and called them a cab. The first cab that arrived saw the state of the girl and immediately slammed his door and sped away. So the second cab, I opened the passenger door, leaned in, and explained the situation. And I pleaded with him. And I took all 20 of my pathetic $1 bills and I handed them to him and said “Listen, this is your tip. She will still pay you, but take this on top of that, and please promise me you will get them home safely.” He really seemed like a decent guy and I think he will keep his promise.

And now I’m back home, and still confused, and even more penniless.

I was raised to believe that we live in a world where right is valued over wrong, and I still want so badly to believe that. But that’s not what this world around me tells me every day. And I know I did the right thing, and that I do the right things. But I’m also wondering what to teach my own child. Do I lead him down this same path – this depressing, disenchanted, penniless path of believing in a world that won’t ever match your hopes and expectations? Or should I just teach him to take his, because man, those soul-sucking capitalist corporatists may be horrible people, but at least they can afford to have a a little fun. And if I’m being honest, I’d like some more of that in my life.

I don’t know man. I don’t know. I’m so tired of trying to be good, and feeling like I’m always finishing last.

And unfortunately, those feelings haven’t really subsided. If anything, they have amplified. From just last week, again on my personal Facebook page:

Honestly, I am struggling so much these days. I feel crushed under the weight of life and I don’t see any way out. Trying to practice self love, trying to practice self care. Trying to keep my bare feet planted in the dirt. Grounded. But I feel so tossed about. And untrusting, even of those who are supposed to be friends. I feel like I’ve spent 20 years pulling knife after knife out of my back.

Is this what it’s like to be an adult? Putting out fires and putting out fires and putting out fires, flailing to try and keep it all from falling apart. But why is everything always on fire?

I know that I’m just overworked and under-rested. So stressed, practically living in panic. Possibly depressed. Probably adrenally fatigued. Always, always anxious.

But I feel like we don’t talk about this stuff enough. Everyone’s so busy curating their breakfast cereal or whatever. So here’s my actual status update. Currently: a fucking mess.

And why am I telling you this here, now? Well, the last time I felt like this, I disappeared from blogging altogether. And I was gone for a year. That’s when I was going through an illness and a divorce, and I hid from the world while I endured that journey through the abyss. I was too ashamed to show my vulnerability while it was happening, so I waited. I waited until I was all the way through it, and then I came back to blogging, and I talked about it. And everyone said that I was so brave for that, but I don’t think it was brave. I mean, it was in the past. I knew for certain that I had made it out the other side.

And this time I don’t want to do that. This time, I want to tell you that I’m in it right now. I am in the abyss. And it fucking sucks, and life is so hard and I feel like I’m at the edge of breaking. I’m barely holding it together.

So when you look at my Instagram and the pretty pictures I post of Waits cuddling cute animals, or my beautiful green juice in the sun, or a picnic on the beach, please just remember this: All of those moments are real. They are real BUT all of those moments are just the rare and precious pieces that have been plucked from amidst the abyss. They are not the overwhelming majority of what I am experiencing right now.

And remember that same thing when you look at other peoples’ Instagrams as well. And your friends on Facebook. And the blogs that you read. And the YouTubes that you watch. Everyone is trying to stay positive, by posting the good stuff and hiding the bad. It’s all well-intentioned, well mostly it is, but it can make you feel as if you’re the only person on the planet who is struggling. And if you feel like that, if you feel like you are all alone in the abyss, please know that you are not alone. You’re in good company. Hi, I’m here too!

Since I’ve been sharing more of this on my various social media platforms, there have been dozens of people who have reached out to me and confided their own stories of struggle. People who I follow on social media and who seem to be so happy and so together and totally KILLIN’ IT at life. People who you are following too. People who you would never expect.

And they’ve reached out and they’ve said “I feel like I’m losing it. I have more bad days than good ones. I feel suicidal. I feel all alone in this.” And you never would have known it, looking at them from the outside.

I understand why we do this, why we all want to put a pretty, positive face forward. But it has this dangerous, dark side too. Because it’s the opposite of authenticity.

Yesterday was all the pretty pictures of the beautiful things in my life. And today is the ugly, raw reality of how deeply I’m in this darkness. Both of these posts are true, but only one of them is what you would normally see.

So please friends, remember that. I promise I will try to be more authentic and honest in my social media. I also promise to try and claw my way out of this abyss, and return to that strong and powerful woman that you all know me to be.

In the meantime, I’ll keep posting here, when I can. I’m not finished with this space – just the opposite in fact. I have big plans! Big plans for my future.

And thank you all for being a part of it.

♥ ♥ ♥

  • KitteeBeeBerns

    I’m sorry you’re deep in the muck right now, and I wish there was something I could do or say to help pull you out.

    You’re definitely not alone, Sayward. There’s way too much suffering in this world. This past year has been really rough for me health-wise, and it’s made me feel really alone a lot too. But I know I’m not, and I just started a new off label medication that is making me feel so much better.

    I’m here rooting for you!

  • Sarah

    I think this might be my favourite post you’ve ever written. It breaks my heart to hear that you’re going through this, and I really hope that things get a little brighter for you soon, but as a perpetually overwhelmed PhD student who’s currently learning some very difficult lessons about the dark side of human nature, I can’t tell you how reassuring it felt to read this and realise that someone is thinking the same thoughts, and fighting the same battles, and trying to be the best person they can be in a world that seems to punish people for trying to do good. You’re not alone, and I hope that by so bravely sharing what you’re going through, you’ll be reminded of how many people are out there rooting for you.

    Most days feel like an uphill battle for me right now, but as hard as it is, I honestly believe that as long as you’re staying true to yourself, surrounding yourself with decent, supportive people, and continuing to put some good into the world, then you’re winning. As that internet meme says, “Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness”.

  • Lina

    Love and perseverance. <3

  • Anne241

    Just sending lots and lots of love and strength.

  • lysette

    You are not alone xo We are not alone is this shit storm vortex of lightness & darkness, this bewildering grey slurry. In the words of Adam Gnade, who’s writing has pulled me up for air too many times to recount ‘Everyone Good is Necessary.’

  • Lacy Davis

    <3 thank you so much for your honesty. I have been in exactly this space a few times over the years since blogging and its genuinely hard to know what to do with it. Of course, you have handled the situation with grace, as you do. You are such an inspiration and we are so lucky you want to share the hard shit with us as well as the good.

  • Jenny Headley

    Thank you!!!!! I’m working on a BS in biology, renovating 2 houses, working part time, and regularly feel like I’m losing it and I don’t even have any non-dog children. I read all that you take on, and seem to rock, and can feel crappy when having a hard time managing my own, comparatively lighter load. I totally look up to you, even more so when you admit how human you are. You are amazing. You will get through this. Life is so cyclic. You deserve happiness and it will find you again before you know it! I hope you can extend the compassion that you have for others to yourself too! Are your expectations for yourself ten times that of what you expect of others? Mine seem to be too. You are not alone!

  • LIndsey at TheGreenPenn

    I love this post so much. It really puts into words how I’ve been feeling lately. I feel like part of the reason I’ve neglected my blog in recent months is that I don’t have the bright, cheery, happy stuff to share. It doesn’t help that certain people in my life make me feel like I have to be positive and uplifting in my online life all the time or I’m letting them down. The truth is, I’ve been dealing with 4.5 months of crappy health (which I’m working on a blog post about right now), I’m depressed, I hate where I live, I feel like a failure more often than not when it comes to parenting and my marriage, but I’m getting better. I don’t know how long it’ll take, but I’ll get through all of this. It’s good to share these things with others so they know that they’re not alone. I love social media many reasons, but I think it can be harmful too. We spend so much time and energy posing the perfect picture, all to hide the story behind it. I recently posted a couple of yoga pictures next to the infinity pool at the house we stayed at in California. The pics were beautiful. What you couldn’t see was the pain I was enduring to raise my arms because I’ve got a pulled intercostal muscle, and the struggle it was to breathe because I’m still not over the pneumonia I had in October and November, and no one can tell me why or make it better. I think that as vegans, we feel pressure to make veganism the answer to everything, and when our health fails, we feel like we’re being bad representations of that. I’m pretty sure you said something similar after your year hiatus. If I’ve learned anything through all of this, it’s that food, and even exercise, isn’t everything. I think I’ll dedicate my health post to you and your blog. Your authenticity is what I, for one, appreciate so much about this site. Your honesty is why I keep coming back. Thank you so much for sharing. And don’t lose your faith in humanity… There are good people and good things happening out there.

  • Betty Spaghetti

    I am probably more like your mother’s age and I am here to tell you that things will get better. Every single person at one point or another has a period in their lives where they’re struggling with their last resources. You question the validity of your life and if you’re steering in an opposite direction of a one-way street. All I can tell you is: continue to be true to yourself, your principles and what you stand for. There comes a time where you’ll be utterly proud of all the obstacles you’ve mastered, all the accomplishments achieved with the last drop of strength available and you will know that you’ve done the right thing. Look ahead and pull through – see it as a small passage in rough waters. Once you’re through, you’ve become an excellent swimmer. By the way, you helping the drunk girls was such a selfless gesture, you should be proud of yourself. When my daughter was a teenager and started drinking with her friends, she also was helped by 2 girls who took her in and sobbered her up and drove her home. I was so grateful and have helped many teens since then. My point is, you might not benefit immediately from the help you have given these girls, but they will pay it forward, I am certain of that. Hang in here, it will get better – trust me! xox Geli

  • Sarah C.

    So there, so very, very there. And I don’t even have two small businesses! Adult life can be jam-packed and relentless, and I think it’s normal to feel the strain of that (not to mention money worries, health concerns, and all the other crap that people regularly face). And you have really taken a lot of burden on yourself, any one item of which (grad school, small business, parenting a spirited child, moving, legal battles) is often enough alone to drive a person over the edge. Seriously, if you had read about someone else who had taken upon herself all that you have, you would shake your head with amazement that she could manage it all without crashing and burning. (I honestly have wondered in the recent past how you manage all this – your recent “day in the life” type posts have me wondering whether you’ve really rested enough or eaten enough – sorry, I’m a mom and I can’t help it). I hope that in the midst of both the joys (which themselves can be exhausting! Eg., I just got tenure, and I’m telling you: I am overjoyed and also completely exhausted to the point of weeping), and the struggles, you can find some time and space to really give yourself a rest and a break and some time to refresh your spirit.

  • Katrina

    I know you know this. But I’ll say it anyway, because we often need to hear it from people outside our circle. Being good is worth it. So worth it. What you do for others and don’t see the return on? — it’s a landmark in someone else’s life. One that you don’t get to enjoy the fruits of, but it changes the trajectory of at least one life every time you do good.

    Years ago, I took a cross country trip on The Green Tortoise bus. (Look it up — they’re amazing.) I hiked down the Grand Canyon with a group of people. We camped overnight and then hiked back up. I was not as in shape as my European counterparts, so when I said, “Go ahead without me,” they took me at my word. I suffered that day, hiking alone, muscles shaking. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, yet I HAD to get to the top by nightfall or the bus would leave without me. I knew I was nearing the top late that afternoon when day hikers started to hike past me on a quick jaunt down. At one point, an Indian fellow (from India) passed me and nodded hello. Later, on his ascent, he stopped, turned back to me and said, “You need help.” My automatic response was, insanely, “Oh I’m fine.” He gently laughed, “No, you’re not,” and he took some of the heavier items in my overpacked backpack. We walked up together for about an hour and a half and he told me tales of his childhood in India. Every now and then he’d say, “Let’s stop. You need to breathe.” So we did. It was still hard as hell, but I suddenly had someone on my side and my load was literally lightened. And he wasn’t being a creepy dude. He was genuinely doing it out of pure kindness and empathy. When we finally reached the top, he handed me my things, smiled and said, “Have a wonderful life!” and strode away.

    I will never forget that moment. It’s trite to say this, but it restored my faith in humanity. (See? Trite.) He’s certainly long forgotten it, but it stands in my mind as this golden moment I will remember until I am old and withered.

    The things you do for others are having the same effect. The girls you put in the cab? Think of the changed trajectory there, like a pinball bouncing off a protective glass pane. You quite possibly saved her from a life-altering moment of violence.

    These moments happen constantly when we do good. But we are seldom are aware of them because we are entrenched in the moment and in (sometimes) ugly moments of reality. You aren’t aware that you are this little ball of light meandering through others’ lives. But you are. (Even when you’re grumpy.) :)

    Blog about the ugly moments. And enjoy the wonderful moments that come from others’ kindnesses.

    (And I hear you on the awful lawsuit. We had a neighbor take us to court and it created two years of severe misery. Yet our other neighbors came out of the woodwork to support us. It was awful and eye-opening at the same time.)

    I’m not religious. But I think WE are the angels that all those old books talk about. It’s just us, in everyday moments.

    Keep doing the good. Keep telling the truth. Keep being nice to yourself. You’re on the right path.

  • Leah

    Hi Sayward, I just want to say that I am neither vegan, nor have kids, but I love your blog because of your honesty, which is so so rare on blogs these days. I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time, but I think it’s so helpful to read about other people’s experiences when they’re struggling, depressed, etc, just because so few people talk about them in detail. So thank you for being honest and I’m sending you lots of good wishes.

  • Charley

    From one abyss to another, thank you for being honest and sharing. It’s so very helpful, I wish more of us did it and were brave enough to do so. Here’s hoping for an upswing asap, and love <3

  • Tasha

    This brought me to tears, Katrina. Your story really touched my heart. We are so accustomed to saying “no thanks, I got this!”, when really we don’t….at all! There is NOTHING wrong with asking for help or accepting help. We all need it now and then. That man sounds like such a WONDERFUL human being but I wonder when that will be considered the norm… day!

    I’m not religious either but I agree, WE are the Angels.

  • Alexandra Kaul

    You are strong and powerful right now, in the abyss. For fighting for authenticity and your dreams and not giving up and buying into a capitalist job. And even if you do that you still will be, because it’s only temporary to support yourself while you hit back at the world with your vision. And that vision is intense and goes beyond yourself. Entrepreneurship is the scariest thing, but also maybe the last refuge of the trouble making individual as the university becomes sanitized and corporatized. All the love to you sayward always.

  • Kayti

    <3 <3 <3 This is amazing post. Thank you.

  • Amanda

    Man, there’s a lot to talk about here, but I don’t really have the energy just now (and I find it impressive you found the energy to do this in the middle of all that). So instead, I’m at least popping in to wish you luck from one person on the internet to another. I hope you can get help if you, in fact, decide you need it.

  • Veronica

    Thank you for your authenticity.
    We are here with you.

  • Sammy

    Crying here. I needed to hear this. All of it. Even in your darkest hours, you are still a beacon of light and hope. I never comment on blogs but wanted you to know that this post has made a difference in my life and has touched something raw and vulnerable within. Thank you.

  • sonja

    Integrity, authenticity, empathy – I so love those three values You talked about in your ‘positive’ post. And they also shine through in this darker post. Thank you again for your honesty! That means so much to your bonzai community. I’m sorry to hear that you are not feeling well but I can totally relate to your feelings about believing in justice and doing the ‘right’ things while it seems like our western Societies are not supporting these values. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that the actions of one Person can make a difference but I always want to stay true to my values – you are one of the Persons who taught me that. ♡

  • Rebecca Carnes

    Thank you for sharing this <3 Its definitely easier to post all the happy moments rather than the messy ones in order to stay positive.
    I absolutely appreciated your "Pictured / Not Pictured" post. It is a perfect way to describe life. As a very single mom to a very spirited kiddo its easy to get caught up in all of the "perfect" mom FB / Insta blogs…. easy to feel very dis-spirited (if thats a word lol) about sending him to school with a last minute thrown together/leftovers lunch:) Life can be completely overwhelming & as always your posts have perfect timing as the last few weeks/months have been trying for us too….. thank you for your authenticity…. enjoy those small happy moments cause those are the moments that carry us through the rough patches <3

  • Brie

    You are not alone in the abyss. I appreciate you opening up because I am there too. We can do it. Yet remember you can not give from an empty well. There is no weakness or shame in lightening your load. In my opinion, you championing your values and pursuing your dreams despite this daily adversity makes you the strongest and most powerful woman.

  • christa gowen

    Yep, so there with you. Even as I continue to pare down my life to make more room for things like rest, self-love, good eating, etc. I feel like life keeps handing it to me. I completely understand the overwhelming “what is the fucking point?” feelings too. And with regards to social media, I have such a love / hate relationship with it, for this very reason. I love when people can inspire me – great ideas for dinner, cute animals, funny memes, but when that’s ALL a certain person will post I start to distrust them, like where’s the real grit of life? Which is part of the reason I’ve been a BA reader for so long. I waited through the year-long hiatus for you because I SO appreciate your willingness to show both sides of the coin. I try to make sure in my own social media postings that I include the “bad too” because it helps me feel better when other console me, and I know it makes others feel better that I’m not any better than they are. Anyway, that’s a long way of saying, thank you. Sending big love!

  • Renée

    I haven’t blogged much in the last several years, blogging was my Thing for years. Just not feeling it… for all the sorts of reasons you’re talking about. The world is a hard place, and especially when you’ve got kids you overdo trying to be the cushion for them and there’s not much cushion left for yourself… Add in fostering animals and all the other bits, it’s easy to sink into the mess abyss… but we’re gonna make it out again, and again, as the wheel turns. We have shiny bits, the nice pics to remind us, the kittens, the friends, the green juices/smoothies… and authenticity and truth like this, from others, helps us all to breathe. Truth isn’t beauty, it’s oxygen. Fresh air.

  • Felicia

    Thank you so so much for posting this. I’ve felt so very lost and so very very alone lately that it’s wonderful to know others are going through it too. Not because I wish ill on others but because every burden is lighter when you don’t have to shoulder it alone. So thank you. Thank you. Again and again. Thank you!

  • Kluane BR

    Woah. I have been reading your blog for years, and it is my absolute favourite out of all the ones I follow. I don’t think that I’ve ever commented. Often, when I read your posts, after my first reaction of “amazing!” or “that’s so neat that she’s doing that [gardening, work, parenting] project or approach”, a second emotion follows quickly behind, of “why aren’t I doing that neat thing?” or “gosh, my [life/attitude/ethical] is nowhere near as [rad, healthy, fun] as theirs”. And, I know that second thought is not healthy. And, I know that it would never be your intent to make anyone feel lesser-than through your posts. But, I do agree that when blogs generally only share the highlights of their lives on such public platforms, without naming the messy reality of the behind the scenes struggles and mishaps, it can be easy to, as a reader, feel like you’re so far from having your shit together when you see such lovely shining examples of seemingly completely happy and fulfilled people. Reading this post is a reminder to me about the power of vulnerability – when we allow ourselves to be real and vulnerable with others, it gives others the space to do the same. Thank you for this post, from the bottom of my heart. You have brought so so much inspiration and smiles to my life over the last few years through this blog.

  • Lizzie

    Reading about you helping those girls get home safe and giving up your tips for the night made me honest to god sob. I’m so glad there are wonderful people like you in the world, watching out for people that are not yours to watch out for. you are, in my humble opinion, an angel. karma is going to pay you back for that one a hundred fold.

  • Jenna

    Oh, I’m there. Right there. Hanging on by my fingernails, one breath at a time, lost and lonely as all hell in a room full of people.
    This adult thing – it is hard. So. Damn. Hard.
    You are not alone, Sayward.

  • Lisa

    I feel like this A LOT. But, I think that as you keep blogging, you are making a point of sharing GOOD things and that will remind you there ARE good things and they will carry you through the crap things. I don’t blog anymore but when things are at their worst, I take a picture of every little thing that makes me smile and when I go into the bathroom trying not to cry, I flip through those pictures, take a deep breath and go back out and try some more.
    You cannot avoid the hard times. They are there for a reason you are unable to contemplate right now. As you contimue to be the awesome person that you are, know that a. Karma is a really awesome thing – the good WILL come back to you and probably not from where you expect it from. b. There will be day that you will look back on this time and understand that what you learned from it was what enabled you later in life.
    Love, hugs and best wishes for an easy day tomorrow!

  • Claire

    You continually inspire me as an amazing woman in science, plant warrior, DIY-er, devoted momma, feminist, the list could go on and on and on! You even inspired me to dare to dye the tips of my hair electric pink for the first time last year! My heart does a little dance knowing you’re out there in the universe, Sayward. I am so sorry to hear that you’ve been hurting these days. Sending lots of light & love your way. <3

  • CrystalB

    I very rarely comment on blogs, but I felt I had to on this one. I love this post. Because it is helpful to know what other people are going through. That you are not alone. And that there still ARE good people in the world, even if they are seeming fewer and farther between. I am struggling with the balance between telling my 5YO boy to “be the change” and telling him to “go for it”. It’s the balance between being a good person and not getting taken advantage of. How do you teach that to a kid? Especially when you haven’t mastered it yourself?

    I had someone pay for a cab ride when I was drunk in college, and I truly felt silly taking their money, but another girl at that same party was raped. So THANK YOU for watching out for those girls. It’s entirely possible that you saved them from some sort of dire situation. THANK YOU for doing what all women should, and watching out for them.

    Being good, and penniless, sucks. Especially when you see terrible, wealthy, humans being praised on TV. It’s ridiculous. But I think you are amazing. Even with your struggles right now, you have an inner strength that inspires me. So keep being your wonderful self. I truly believe that great things are coming your way! Sending you love and light and good vibes, so maybe they get here sooner :)

  • Laura

    Thank you for the honesty, Sayward. Although I can’t relate to your exact circumstances I can relate to your sentiment: that feeling of being stuck, not in control, and unsure if everything you are working for is in vain! I’m glad you feel that you can be honest and not hide, as it’s refreshing and makes me feel less alone. I look(ed) at your life & never thought it was perfectly happy…just that you had captured moments that were good and remind you of the good times, amongst a life that has a lot of juggling going on. I hope you can stay strong, know that you have grown from past hardships and can hold dear what is going right & is precious to you.

  • Lindsey Jones-Renaud

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I do hope it gets better for you, and I am sure that it will. My family and I were in Santa Barbara last month visiting my husband’s family and we so badly wanted to go to Still and your wine bar, but our daughter was sick the whole trip and I’m pregnant and we just couldn’t get it together. Next time we promise to go and support your businesses!

  • rebelgrrrlraechel

    Thank you for this. You are such an inspiration. Your series recalling your year on divorce and illness was full of words that got me through my own year(s) of hard times. I too blog much less when things are hard, and feel stuck, and like I have two options and that they are both too much (being inauthentic and focusing on the positive or being…vulnerable). Andrea Gibson (a favorite poet of mine) reminds me of this, and this reminds me of you and what you’ve shared and continue to share in posts like these: “I have been told sometimes the most healing thing we can do is remind ourselves over and over and over other people feel this too.” We’re all in this together. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for all the energy you bring to the blogosphere and the world. The “good” and the “bad”…(actually, scratch that. thank you for brining the *real*) <3

  • Lesley F.

    I’ve left this comment before and I’ll say it again. You are a cool ass girl…. We all go through this shit. Last week I had anxiety so bad I gave myself painful shingles on my shoulder blade. It sucks and I hate that I let things effect me so deeply! Life has its ups and downs. But I know in the end I will always pick myself up and keep going. And so will you. I believe in you and you inspire me every time j see an Instagram or blog post of yours. You are simply beautiful :)

  • Jennifer

    I can see why you would want to post the positive things. Not because you are trying to IMPRESS us, but because it reminds you of the good stuff. My husband is JUST starting to get the concept of trying to stay positive for mental health. I think having people online who can see the silver lining is contagious. I am glad you are honest with us about your hard times. Though I am sorry that you are having a hard time. Being a business owner is hard, going to school is hard, and you are two both (and with two businesses!) and a kid! I do think your kindness doesn’t go unnoticed though. I do think it effects other people, directly and indirectly.

  • Chelsea

    The other day I was talking with my mum on the phone. I said “Being a grown up sucks!” and she said “It totally sucks.” Sometimes just having someone acknowledge what you are going through, without trying to fix it or tell you it will get better, is enough.
    It totally sucks. I’m sorry.

  • catzenkind

    thank you. I feel you.

  • Emily B.

    I read this yesterday and it has been on my mind often ever since. I’m not sure I have the appropriate words to express my feelings, but thank you for the sincerity and honesty. It’s so difficult to remember that I’m not the only one with struggles, issues, and major doubts.

    The dark parts of life are not only isolating, but have a way of letting us believe it is all we will ever know. Last year, I lost 4 family members and a friend over the course of 6 months. It was a big wake up call, so I decided to move away from my home state, like I had always wanted to do. It’s led to a 7 month stint of living 12 hours away from my husband and essentially rebuilding my life entirely from where to buy groceries and how to make friends as an adult. It has felt like there is no end and I’m ready to get back to stability – and this is something that I did willingly too! To be totally honest – I’m glad for where it is taking me, but the journey there is sometimes sssooo exhausting that I think I must have lost my mind.

    I often have to remind myself that life isn’t just little ups and downs. Sometimes life is living in the dark all the time…until suddenly it’s not anymore. The predictability of life is basically non-existant, but this can be a welcome reminder when the bad things seem to never end. Before you know it, things change again and the good always shows back up – eventually. I’m working on learning that the bad isn’t a life sentence and that there are seasons for every.single.thing. and that means that bad has it’s time too. The good times, as small as they may be, wouldn’t be worth noting if that darkness wasn’t quite so dark. It’s a great way to practice enjoying precious moments, even when its in the midst of chaos because life is rarely perfect all across the board. Being an adult, to me, means living and finding a way to thrive with all of that. And oh boy, am I not ready to be an adult – good thing I have time for lots of practice.

  • superboltblu

    What an eye opening post and thank you for sharing. This is a perspective nobody really thinks about and needed to be shared. You are such an inspiration to my little vegan family. It really takes a toll sometimes dealing with all the haters at work and the confused parents at school when we tell them about our vegan lifestyle. I don’t push my ideals on anyone but i still get the jokes and comments about not eating meat and that I’m depriving my kids of a happy life. This is when I look to your blog and instagram posts for encouragement. My son even watched a couple of you tube videos with Waits and though it was so cool to see another boy his age who loved veggie grill. Life is hard balancing kids, making money and having time to yourself. I hope good Karma comes your way soon. You deserve it. Thanks for giving back. Ryan

  • Jenn

    Hey Sayward and wow! This is awesome and kinda shocking to hear. Only because yes I go through my day feeling like there is something wrong with me, why I can’t appreciate my daughters more, why I can’t get somewhere with my art, my daughters’ dad’s relationship, with my relationship to myself, to my environment. So this is good to know that I’m not alone and that perhaps there isn’t anything wrong with me. so thank you, thank you thank you and blessings to you, to me to us awesome females who are suffering.

  • Evolotus PR

    I’m glad I saved this to read until a time when I had more peace and quiet. I knew it would be important. You aren’t alone. We are all having abyss-mal (see what I did there) moments and feelings. This week in particular has been shitty: the death of Gary’s brother’s dog, the suicide of an activist whose voice for animals should not have been silenced by despair and hopelessness, and we lost a business deal that would have been a huge chunk of our income this year.

    I’m not a parent so I can’t tell you whether it’s right to teach your kid life isn’t fair and good guys don’t always win. Many children already know these things by his age. I suppose it’s nice that you have a choice about when and how he hears this lesson?

    Please know that Gary and I respect who you are and what you do in the world. I wish we knew each other more intimately so I could give you more meaningful listening and emotional support. Whenever we get to SB (know a good dog-friendly hotel?) we’d love to hang out at the bar and share some misery! <3

  • kate

    Thank you for your continued honesty. I wish you strength to claw your way out of your personal abyss, and I admire your determination to do it.

  • Emily McCord Ruegg

    THIS is big and one of the most compelling blog posts I’ve ever read. Good call on emphasizing authenticity over positivity. Also, have you read Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne? The process of actively simplifying when I am in the space you speak of really helps me.

  • jill

    I hope you will post what you want to post, and not worry about if it looks too happy or dismal. It’s YOUR blog! There seems to be a trend around the blog world of being perfect and joyous or else in perpetually exasperated crisis–most lives contain both, and a bunch of stuff in between, so why not just post what you want, even if it doesn’t mirror the proportions seen in your actual life?

    I see nothing wrong with posting only the happy stuff–after all, we might tidy up the house before someone comes over, or do ourselves up nicely, right? Sometimes being positive, and seeing the good things that happened without the murky stuff mixed in is a mood lifter and inspirational (for you as well as us). But if you feel better by posting the less-lovely stuff and getting that off your chest, then go ahead and do that too. It really doesn’t matter what we readers think–if a reader is going to draw conclusions, get jealous, etc., then they will likely do that regardless of what you publish (after all, you always have awesome hair!) You will not let us down by omitting things.

  • Aline

    Blessings and Miracles ❤

  • umay0ga

    Trying to scramble up some words here… For as long as there have ever been ‘status updates’, I must say I have never truly connected with a single one. Or blogs for that matter. Until now. Wow. Nailed it, and it’s so raw. And I’m not alone. Mind. Blown! Thank you. Truly and most sincerely, thank you x

  • Ella Darling

    Look, I don’t mean to sound heartless, but since you’re being so honest, I’ll be honest too. You live in an experience area in Santa Barbara. You can afford tuition for school. You had enough money to open a business. How are you penniless? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I have experienced poverty in my life, and honestly your lifestyle doesn’t even sound close.

    So, can you explain? Thanks!

  • Ella Darling

    Sorry, I meant EXPENSIVE area.

  • Sayward Rebhal

    Man, I don’t want to be dismissive, but seriously? You *literally* know absolutely *nothing* about my financial situation, so I’m just wondering – like, what is actually the point of your question? You don’t know what area of Santa Barbara I live in, or how much debt I have, or how I “afford” to go to school, or what we had to do to open our businesses. It seems like you’re making a lot of assumptions, because in your effort to point out how “un-penniless” I am, you actually listed a bunch of stuff that *causes* financial hardship (living in coastal southern California, going to graduate school, opening small businesses).

    And no, I’m not going to explain the details of my debt to you. Partially because it’s none of your business, but mostly because I don’t think it actually matters. I know enough about the internet to know that the more detail I provide, the more fodder it is for people to nitpick and criticize. My answers will never be good enough, so I keep a certain level of privacy. I deserve that.

    But I assure you, I am poor. And I ALSO completely recognize that my kind of poor is a privileged kind of poor, because I’m not a fucking idiot. It’s actually a really interesting conversation to have, how to navigate that line between acknowledging all we are fortunate for while also honoring our very real struggles and difficulties. It’s something I’ve written about in the past and something I’d love to have more conversation about in the future. But for future reference, if you’d like to have an actual conversation with me, please come at me with kindness. I’ve got more shit in my life than I can handle, so the last thing I’m interested in is engaging with a stranger who comes at me with judgement.