Being real.

This weekend Adam and I decided to really go for it and escape the Seattle rain. On Saturday we made the seven hour round trip to Ecola State Park in Oregon to see the ocean. I had never been to the Northern Oregon Coast and was dying to see the huge and iconic rocks of Cannon Beach. Besides, we had just purchased our first drone the night before and were anxious to get it in the air for the first time! Every part of that day was magic. The drive, the hike through the forest, taking drone footage for the first time, even taking a 45 minute nap at a rest stop on the way home because we were just that pooped!

I love car rides because they give us a chance to slow down and bond with each other. We spend so much time working, editing photos, taking photos, cooking, cleaning, writing, exercising, etc… sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in all of that and forget to just stop and communicate with each other. Our car rides are spent talking about everything from photography and nutrition to religion and politics. We also take the time to discuss work (we both work for the same company), family, and our future. We have so many dreams and road trips are a time for us to dream together. We share our ideas for our future and talk about what’s on our minds. I don’t think we will ever be done getting to know each other, which to me is the most wonderful thing about being in a relationship. I love getting to know Adam. It has been a long process for me to learn to let down my walls and communicate openly with him. I feel like I spent a lot of time in my past relationships trying to convey a sort of persona to my partner- the person that I thought they wanted me to be. I carefully chose what parts of my mind to share and not to share with the other person so as not to annoy/scare/bore/bother them. If my 26 years have taught me anything, it is that trying to be someone that you are not is a sure way to make yourself miserable. Besides, I have a horrible poker face. I cannot act. So, all the times that I felt like I was hiding my true feelings from my partner, it just came off as me being miserable or bitchy. This is still true for me. Any time that I am living out of alignment in any way, I can’t be my best self. This includes not being honest about my emotions. Fortunately or unfortunately, sometimes authenticity means being open about the darkness that we carry with us as well as the light.

As wonderful and beautiful as our life together is, there are certainly areas that I struggle with. There are days that I want to be happy and full of life so badly, but I just can’t get there. Sunday wasn’t as busy as Saturday and I was quite a bit more tired. I started having negative thoughts creeping up out of nowhere. I was feeling uncomfortable in my body and about my appearance. I was thinking about work and worrying that I don’t do a good enough job. I was thinking that I should be exercising more than I am, going to yoga classes, cooking all our meals, creating new content for the website… all on top of trying to process my parent’s divorce as well. This makes for a pretty spaced-out, aloof, even short-tempered Jess. Then I feel guilty about being that way to Adam because he doesn’t deserve to have that Jess as his companion for the day. I rode these feelings out all day without saying anything to Adam about why I was being so lame. Sometimes it’s hard to vocalize things like “I feel like a fat loser and I’m letting it ruin my whole day”-because it sounds ridiculous! I had no reason to be down in the dumps.

The next morning Adam and I were getting ready for work and somehow I let it slip out that I was in a bad place in my head and feeling really bad about myself. Something about saying it aloud felt like 500 lbs. had just been lifted off my chest. I immediately started to cry. I felt pathetic for just a moment-but that feeling subsided quickly as I felt the relief of expressing my authentic self.  I was reminded how important it is for me to take my own advice and communicate openly with Adam. As much as I may worry that my darker side may scare people away, it is part of me. There is darkness in all of us, and I don’t think it serves anyone to pretend otherwise. We are not always going to be 100% happy and positive all the time, and that is okay. Fearing our darkness and hiding from it is where the problems come in. Acknowledging our pain and working through it is so important to be able to move on from it and find the positive and happy side of ourselves again. As soon as I expressed how I was feeling to Adam, I felt like I could start moving past this little rain cloud over my head and seeing he sunshine again. Keeping our darker side hidden out of fear only serves to turn it into an even scarier monster in our closet than it needs to be. Confronting sadness, insecurity, anger, or uncertainty head-on not only allows us to move on but to be incredibly empowered to take on future disturbances. I write this for myself as much as all of you reading. Trust yourself. Trust that you have the strength to take on the thoughts that plague you, the insecurities, the fears. As much as you think burying these things will make you a more acceptable human being to society, it won’t. It must come out sometime. The longer you live an inauthentic life: scared of arguing with your partner, scared of embarrassing yourself, scared of losing your friends- the unhappier you will become. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others. Set yourself free. Confront your fear of being authentic and start making plans for a life that is true to your heart. That is the only way you can live your dream. Stop standing in your own way!