20 April 2015

Things That Worry Me

Not sure if you guys read Design Sponge. I really quite enjoy Grace's essays!

Maybe you can tell I'm an essay kind of a gal around here. :)

Grace recently wrote a post called, "Things That Scare Me" - a post in response to a blogging movement that happened 3 years ago called, "Things I'm Afraid to Tell You." Bloggers in mass were writing posts and revealing the things they were afraid to say. One by one, bloggers were removing the prettiness of perfection. It was incredibly moving to read the few that I read. It was all about human connection. 

And yet, I didn't write one myself. 

The truth is, at the time, I couldn't think of anything that I would have been afraid to write about. You guys know I already share so much on this blog! ha. I guess sharing what is on my mind generally doesn't scare me so much (though it certainly used to many years ago.)

But when I recently read Grace's essay, "Things That Scare Me," I thought: that one's a little different. It's not fear of sharing. It's just fears in general, which I certainly have. And since I write here on this blog and you and I get to connect here often, I thought perhaps it might be interesting to hear my own version. I changed it a little...

The Things That Worry Me:

1. At Times, I Worry I'll Regret Being Childless.
This worry does cross my mind. Rarely. But sheesh, it does happen. The fear, however, is not strong enough to obsess over it or do more medical treatments or start the adoption process in a hurry. It's more of a thought that comes along, an after effect of our current life plan. Adoption didn't feel doable in the States as we were moving abroad and didn't have jobs - and also, starting the long process didn't feel within reach anymore due to the lack of stamina (as I have written about before). Adoption feels even further from doable now that we live abroad. We could change things drastically, but the motivation just isn't strong enough at this time. It's still sad to me that I feel this way and I didn't anticipate this! But it is what it is. I can't change it or fake it. And so, we are currently carrying forward in the best way we can. And part of carrying on does include wonders about the future. Though when any fears creep in, I just remind myself that I'm doing the best I can - and that all will be well in life as long as I stay engaged in something meaningful. 

2. I Worry People Will Feel They Don't Relate to Me. 
I know not having children is not the traditional path, for most. Based on questions or comments we receive - I often get the feeling that people don't agree with this path and obviously don't understand that we tried. One example, there was a meeting set aside with Danny and a leader of the church down here so they could discuss our lack of children and our need to do something about it - oh my. And on the extreme end, it seems some even resent us for not having children - for not taking the path that means so much to them.

3. I Worry That I'll Get A Bad Haircut.
Oh man. This one is obviously ridiculous! But I do fear a bad haircut. I guess because I've had soooo many bad haircuts before. The thing is, my hair has typically been super thick and also curly/wavy. And so it seems the stylist needs to be quite skilled at getting the cut to flow right, without shelf-like layers, etc. In NYC, the risk of a bad haircut is a great one just because it costs so much to visit a salon. I'm about to take the plunge here in Ecuador (for the first time) with supposedly one of Cuenca's best stylists. If he screws it up, at least I'll only be out $14. This will all go down tomorrow evening! :) My back-up is visiting Rubi Jones the moment I get to NYC in May.

4. I Worry About Losing Danny - Even When We're Old.
I'm the type that flat out balls on the phone when calling to get life insurance. My insurance agent said it happens all the time. haha. When I think of losing Danny, I know that I would want to live in his honor. And that all would be ok. But still - I'd prefer not to experience it.

5. I Worry That I've Burned Bridges by Not Being Able to Respond to Emails. 
Returning emails has been really, really hard for me since starting this blog as my inbox has constantly been snowed in. I know I've lost at least one friend because of it. The emails that I get from people are perhaps the most heart felt emails on earth! (I think I can name one email where someone asked about my shoes.) The emails I get are about LIFE - the very, very most meaningful parts of it! Those emails do power me here on this blog. I don't think I could do this work if no one said a peep. So I appreciate every morsel and every word. But it has been a process to learn to carry on when there are so many unanswered emails - from friends and readers alike. The good news is, we're getting some systems in place that can help us be more organized as a little operation. Already the inbox has been less daunting and responses have been flying out the door. I'm so grateful, and hope to continue improving.

6. I Worry That Some People May Be Hurt By Stories of Transformation.
Some may find happiness and peace and self worth unattainable. I was once that person who thought those things were perhaps never going to be possible for me. And yet, while I do worry that a post may trigger a feeling of overwhelm in someone, I also know that being exposed to a different perspective or a different way of life CAN be powerful and even life changing. It eventually had that effect on me. So I carry on. And just hope that my words will reach those who are not offended by hope, but who are grateful for it, as I once was. 

7. I Worry That Our Blog & Events & Other Efforts Will Not Become Fully Sustainable.
This time right now is a time for experimentation. We truly love this endeavor and as we work on ways to offer more services to this audience, we hope that we'll be able to do it for the long term. It's been really exciting around here to try. I'm going to start a little series of posts that give you some of our updates along the way. Of course, there is always the possibility that things will not work out. Though luckily we still have lots and lots to do before we can make that call.

Cheers to sharing.
Cheers to human connection.
Cheers to being in this life together.

Much love,


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  1. Mara! Thank you for sharing. I used to half-joke with a good friend long ago, Imagine what our lives would be like if all that worry energy was used to make life more enjoyable (and now I use the energy better).

    As for others not relating because you don't have kids, oh my indeed. I struggle with these preconceived notions that procreation through kids is the sole human purpose. Having already lost a daughter and miscarried, and having seen others destroy their marriages and happiness trying to realize that purpose, I'm careful to be kind and non-judgmental. Compassion, I'm learning, isn't about asking others to conform to some idealized version of life, or to Be Like Someone. I could say more, but I'll leave it at Oh my! I cannot believe a church leader felt compelled to intrude to such a degree. And really? you've experienced resentment because you're not like them??!

  2. As to #2..wow. I know this is one of those things where I should extend grace and understanding to others--even church leaders--but that sort of inappropriate intrusiveness in the name of the church bothers me. I really think it's something we need to change. Teach the doctrine and let them govern themselves should be the go-to attitude in leadership, in my opinion.

    As far as not relating to you...I feel like I have a harder time relating to your desire for a lack of sugar/chocolate than I do relating to your childlessness. :)

    3. Bad haircuts...I HATE a bad haircut. In my adult life I can attest to 2 people I regularly saw for my hair that I loved and trusted and have at times gone years without a professional cut because of a bad butchering job. I'd rather cut it myself than go through the torture of a bad cut.

    4. Sweet. (wasn't planning on commenting on each point, but why not...)
    5. Goodness...that's a lot of blogging pressure. Good luck.
    6. Yeah I can see why...I sometimes have felt hurt by these stories. Sometimes I've felt lifted and encouraged. Depends on where I'm at.
    7. Totally scary, but I'm really excited to see where all this takes you guys. Hope to attend one soon.

    Thanks for sharing this list. It IS good to know we all have fears, worries, etc.

    1. Haha - this made me laugh and smile. Esp. the sugar and chocolate part. Too funny.

      And yes, I've gone.... like a year down here w/o a cut! Scared out of my mind to get a cut down here (people may disagree with me but so many things here are like 20 years behind). I met one expat lady (retired) who had a blond fancy blow out. I don't like fancy blow outs. But, she had lived in NYC and worked on Wall St. for 16 yrs so I figured I'd give her stylist a try- she said he was EXTREMELY skilled. So, we'll see. Arturo it is in like an hour!

  3. I love the rawness/honesty of this. Kudos to you! This made my tummy clench: "and a leader of the church down here so they could discuss our lack of children and our need to do something about it" ....but that's because of my own issues so I won't rant in your comment box :) I have only like a 10% desire to have children, even if I do get married at some point (which I guess you could put 'being single forever' on my own worry list, but I actually don't think about it all too often because my life is real good just as it is)....but anyway yeah, I've never been a kid person. And I have all kinds of reasons for not wanting children that I won't elaborate on. But, I do have a small voice inside that worries I'll regret that when I'm 75 and have no posterity. Are nieces/nephews enough? Does my life/legacy/personality/wisdom(assuming I have that by age 75, haha) end when I die if I don't have children I've raised/taught? It's for sure a real worry. I'm just not sure it outweighs my lack of desire for the actual experience of so many other aspects of parenting. Thanks for sharing this :)

  4. Thanks for this vulnerability Mara.

    I worry that I am completely screwing up my kids and that they will need years of therapy to not resent me. This probably stems from my own issues resenting my parents. Sigh. Working on that one.

    I also worry/am realizing that the spiritual/religious path that I was raised with is not my spiritual path. It does not speak to me. I fear that if I am true to myself and my own path my parents and famy will pity me and think of me as "lost" or "decieved" even though I don't feel that way about myself.

    1. Sarah - thank you for sharing this. It's so moving to hear people share. I guess in a way we're never alone - even though we all have a different set of fears.

      Regarding your spiritual/religious path - oh my, you are most certainly not alone on this. I know more people now than ever that feel similarly to you. It's so sad to see such great fears on all sides. Acceptance, love, understanding, compassion, forgiveness, and empowerment seem more needed than ever (on all sides) as people take different paths. In the meantime, as unnecessary pity or judgements come in, my only advice is to just carry forward and remain being true to yourself - and to know that your worth does not come from others. It can be HARD to do this. But I think it's the healthiest way. And course, the most ideal is to not send the judgement and pity back the other way (to the family). Oh man, it can be super super hard - especially if you're feeling judged. It may even feel impossible, at times. But it is the goal. I guess it's why they call it the Golden Rule. It's much easier to talk about than to actually do.

      And in case you're curious, I, too, feel very differently towards my church (Mormon) than I used to. Of course I love so very much about it. There is truly a LOT of good there and I appreciate so many good things. But, there is also a lot of very, very key things that do not resonate with me at all anymore. In fact, many things make me quite sick to my stomach. Luckily, when it comes to religion or spirituality, I've always been comfortable speaking my mind with family or others. Somehow this hasn't been a huge fear of mine. (Maybe because I have multiple siblings who have left our church and also - I did at one point, too ). I know many family members may feel disappointed or sad about how I feel, but luckily it doesn't seem to cause too much of a problem. I feel lucky to say that my family knows me at the heart and knows what motivates me and why I do what I do. And they approve of me and how I live. It's a huge blessing that I don't take for granted.

    2. Thanks for your response, Mara. You are very blessed indeed to have such an open, loving family. My parents seek conformity and their love growing up seemed pretty conditional to how well I was conforming. They are good people, but there is just so much fear there. Fear of is not conforming to "the path". I never really felt accepted for who I AM at the core, just approval or disapproval for my choices. Couple that with really feeling like many of the things that are taught go against my personal experience and the truth that I know and have lived. And then there are my sweet boys. It's one thing for me to overlook hurtful messages. But my kids, they are very impressionable and I worry about what they hear and me being a hypocrite. How can I teach them these things that I'm not even sure I believe or that I feel are harmful ideas or messages? I can't do it. I want to be more Intune with my own spirituality. I shut it down for so long because it just didn't fit what I was being taught and I thought there must be something wrong with ME! but it was what I was "supposed" to do. I want to be authentic in my spiritual journey. That is what I desire more than anything. Anyway, it's a lot to work through and I appreciate your words of encouragement.

  5. Thank you for sharing this all so openly. I worry about #1 all the time and how it will affect me in the long run and, sadly, what others will think about it. Thank you for putting this out into the world for people to identify with and learn from. xo, Grace

    1. Hi Grace! So glad you wrote. And - #1. I'm sorry to hear you you face this tricky situation, too, but selfishly it's nice to feel a sisterhood with others who are in the same shoes. Thank you so much for sharing. And thanks for inspiring me to write this post! Thanks for being a fellow blogger that I look up to and admire.

  6. I am awed by your honesty about life. My biggest worry and it almost seems selfish is that I will not be able to have another baby. I have 5 kids with my ex husband. He was too many things to mention and I should not have stayed so long. But it is what it is. In the meantime, I married a wonderful man and had a baby 16.5 months ago, then had an ectopic pregnancy that required major surgery last year. Not knowing I was pregnant. So now, 9 months off of my birth control pill I have not been able to get pregnant again. It is a hard thing for to even talk about. I worry that my kids will blame me down the road for making their father leave. I can only hope that they understand one day. Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey. As for the friend you may have lost by not returning an email, well they may not be much of a friend to begin with, but it is still sad.

    1. Ruth - thanks for this line: "Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey." And thanks for sharing your's, too!

  7. Thanks for writing this! I really appreciate what you wrote. And to that end, I will share two fears of mine with you. The first is one of yours - being afraid of a bad haircut. I've had extremely curly, long, unruly hair my whole life, which has led to many mortifying haircuts, and even some not so fun nicknames during school. But once I became an adult and learned to love my hair, man, the idea of it getting messed up in some way totally rocks me to the core. Which is totally vain. But true! And I literally am in the middle of one of the worst hair situations I've ever had. And it's permanent. So I either need to learn to deal with it. Or sulk about it for a very long time. Funny how hair can be so important!

    And two: the really scary one, that I'll never have a family. That at my age it gets increasingly harder and harder to meet good guys who want to have children (and at my age, that would mean in the not very different future) and so it feels like it's compounding two problems, my desire for a husband and a desire for children. This fear may be my single biggest battle these days. I went so far as to go through the invasive and expensive procedure to freeze my eggs, and well, lets just say, it didn't go well. So if anything, the fear has expanded. Ah, learning tools to get past this fear would be such a blessing (and a goal of mine at your workshops!) I love that I have bad hair cuts and the desire for a family in the same comment :-)

    Love to you all!

  8. Just wanted to thank and encourage you as you share your journey with us! I am cheering for you and Danny no matter what the future brings. Life and children are so different for each person, there just isn't a right or wrong way to move forward. I hope that people treat you and danny with the grace that you show others every day. So glad that you adopted your sweet pup, it amazes me every day how happy i am to see my dog and the simple joy that he brings me. Your family is great at 2 + pup, do what works for you, your personal health and wellness is much more important than conforming to societal norms.

  9. How said that child-free people even feel the need in many cultures and religious to emphasize that they TRIED AS HARD AS THEY COULD. It's like saying "don't punish me, I'm good, don't make me feel ashamed, I really want to conform and follow the rules, etc." I am hopeful for the day when it's perfectly acceptable to be child-free (for any reason), where people don't have to justify or explain why they are child-free, and where society and religions acknowledge the benefits/perks to some people that come with not having children.

    As for your church - wow, that's obnoxious and a huge violation of your privacy. It's fortunate for them that you and Danny are so good at responding with virtues. I'd have been tempted to scream at them for an hour and never return to church again. Just kidding. Sort of.

  10. We have one child, and I worry sometimes that he will be sad, in the future, that he doesn't have a sibling, but we are not having any more. I don't mind people asking if we plan to have another, but when I say, no, I have had a few people act very shocked and dismayed. I have been told, "You have to have two, at least." I answer that one is our perfect number, and our family feels complete.
    Our family does feel complete, I don't crave another child, and neither does my husband. If I feel a yearning, maybe we'd consider. But there are a lots of things I don't want to explain to people, so I will explain them here instead.
    Birth was traumatic, in a, it took 18 stitches to sew my vagina back together, type of way, and it took about 12 months before I didn't feel any twinges of pain, and it now takes regular "exercises" to keep everything functioning the way it should.
    I dealt with depression before and after pregnancy.
    Our son is a high needs baby, not in abilities, but just in his needs for love and interaction. At 2.5 years, he doesn't really seem ready to share his parents with another kid.
    We started late, were were in our 30s when we married, and we are pushing 40 now. In some ways I feel like I haven't totally recovered from the entire experience, my body and soul don't feel like they have what it takes to mother another infant. I'd rather be a good mom to one child than a lousy mom to two children. In another year or two I may have more to give, but the likelihood that I would be able to conceive in my 40s is low, and the risks of having a baby after 40 are higher for me and the baby.
    So even if I did feel a need for another child, we'd weigh it over very very carefully before we did it, and I don't, so our family is complete. It is little, but it is fun, and it is so strange to me that other people are concerned, when we are perfectly happy.


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