I Struggle.

I was recently at a conference where one of the presenters* stopped early on in his presentation, said that he hadn’t quite found his rhythm yet, and put up a slide. Following is my version of the slide he put up:

I struggle.

I struggle.

It stopped me pretty completely in my tracks. It is such a simple thing to say, but it is something that most of us spend much of their day trying to hide. Simply admitting, “I struggle,” is an extremely powerful thing.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t struggle. Some struggle harder than others, that is for sure, but when you think you see someone who doesn’t, you should remember that you are looking at their outside and comparing it to your inside.

I hear from a lot of people who struggle. They get in touch with me to ask for advice or to say thank you or just to talk.

It might be nice for them to hear that I struggle too.

I would assume that you know that I struggle, but you might not. I know the face I put out in the world and that face struggles far less than my interior.  I have walls I put up, both for protection and to hide my struggles. Those struggles are not crisis-level for the most part and are just a part of daily life. Sometimes they are big, sometimes they are small, sometimes they are crushing, sometimes I compensate without even noticing them.

How I struggle and about what are not all that relevant here. Saying it, acknowledging it, nodding at it, and continuing on are what I think is the relevant thing.

I don’t have much of a point here. I just want to say that I know you struggle and it’s okay. You’re not alone. I struggle too. Maybe I look like I don’t, but I do. I am a little nervous to post this because what if it turns out that, in fact, I am the only one? Somehow, though, I am guessing that I am not alone.

I struggle.

* Doctoral candidate Matthew Moore at AutCom. Thank you so much for exposing yourself this way. It made me think.

p.s. If you’re looking for a word that loses all meaning after you say it a bunch of times, “struggle” is good for that.

25 thoughts on “I Struggle.

  1. Oh I love this so much. Because I spent years talking to people who would only talk about how perfect their life was. And it was only until people started talking about how it wasn’t always perfect when I realized it wasn’t always perfect for everyone.

    I struggle too. And i’m here if you want to talk.

  2. Because I know you, I know that you struggle. But I think you present a very struggle-free face. And I don’t think you fake it. I think it’s just that you’re very competent and all around awesome and that really comes across well. What I’m trying to say is that you look like you’ve got your fucking ducks in a row.

  3. I struggle too. Today, in fact. I struggled a lot.
    But your post just helped. Thank you.
    Hope you remember to lean on us the way we lean on you.

  4. Here is what I have learned through my own struggles. I will never, ever, ever take for granted a regular, ordinary, drama-free day, whatever the weather, wherever I am.

    I need to struggle to appreciate when times are good, maybe even boring, but ok all the same. I struggle but I know it’s not forever. And I know life will feel sweeter when the tough time has passed. I struggle and learn I have much more inner strength than I ever thought I had. I struggle and I learn what I like and don’t like about myself. With every struggle I give up less control and enjoy life a little more.

    That had been my experience. Thank you for sharing yours my friend.

  5. Yep. Struggler. But boy oh boy do I ever work hard to make it look like I’m not struggling.

    But the things I struggle with are all first world problems, so I’m glad for that at least and it helps me maintain perspective.

  6. I’m struggling everyday as an ASD person in an NT world, but I never give up as I know people are struggling even more than I am.

  7. can i borrow your slide? (and, still again, your post idea?!?!)

    one thing that i appreciate so much about your blog is that you share your struggles, and your kids’ struggles in an open and honest way, without getting completely bogged down in negativity. i never feel more depressed after reading your blog, i always feel encouraged and glad to know someone else out there is similar to me. i think it is hard to figure out how to do that well, yet you consistently do it more than well (i can’t quite find the right adjective here). i have been accused of being too negative in my blog, so i haven’t been posting as much because i am in a period of great struggle, and i don’t know how to express that without offending people with my negativity. you are a model for me of how to encourage people while sharing struggles. thanks again for another great post!

    • Yes, you absolute can borrow the slide and post idea. Of course. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your kind words. And just for the record, it being your blog and all, I think you are allowed to be as negative as you need to be to get through what you have to get through. Offended people can go visit the happy blogs. :)

      Hang in there, okay?

  8. Me too, Stimey. Every day in one way or another. And sometimes the hiding of the struggle is also a struggle.

    (And yes, now that word seems to make no sense anymore.)

  9. Thanks for yet another insightful post. As several folks said above, everyone struggles even though it isn’t always obvious.

    There’s a pretty famous saying [which I’ve seen attributed to a lot of different sources, so this is just a paraphrase]: Be kind, because everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

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