“Etymology” is the study of the origin and evolution of words. I love words. I always have. “History & Grammar of the English Language” was one of my favorite classes in college. (Nerd alert!) I like reading about how words and phrases came to be, how they are used, and why some fade away yet others become parts of our everyday speech.

Not only do I read a lot, I listen a lot. I hear words I’ve never heard thrown about almost daily, like everyone knows them but me. I hear the new trendy words the kids are using, and if I try one out, I learn real fast which ones are “cringey” and no longer socially acceptable (FYI, I don’t think “cringe” in any of its forms are en vogue any longer, so don’t embarrass yourself.).

Then, because I’m particularly attune to mental health talk, I hear lots of new “psychobabble” words (as Dr. Laura Schlesinger would call them) like this one – GASLIGHTING. It’s used a lot. I hear it all the time in the media, in social circles, from individuals. What is it? And is it legit?

GASLIGHTING is when someone manipulates another person so as to make them question their own sanity, reality, perceptions, even memory. It’s manipulation done with malice (not the kind like where you playfully trick your kid into taking a bite of her broccoli). The term is derived from a British play, Gas Light, (1938, Patrick Hamilton) and an American movie, Gaslight, (1944) whereby a husband hides his incessant search for his wife’s aunt’s missing jewels by making her out to be crazy (he fiddles with the gaslights in the house, dimming them periodically to make her think she’s losing it). It gained status as a colloquialism in only the last 15 years.

I went digging around online and learned that GASLIGHTING comes in a few forms…

COUNTERING (questions one’s memory) – “I think you’re forgetting what really happened.”

WITHHOLDING (pretending to not understand) – “Now you’re just confusing me.”

TRIVIALIZING (making light of one’s feelings) – “You are overreacting.”

DENIAL (refusing to take responsibility) – “That’s not what I meant.”

DIVERTING (changing the focus to highlight one’s lack of credibility) – “You can’t believe everything you hear.”

STEREOTYPING (assigning blame based on characteristics) – “Nobody will believe a woman divorced twice already.”

I understand that gaslighting happens gradually. Offenders start slow and work their way up, first with mild counters (“I was just joking.”) to bigger ones (“Are you crazy?”) until over time, the recipient loses all self esteem, falls into a sort of dependence, and gets controlled. Gaslighting happens in personal relationships, in schools, between parents and children, between patients and medical professionals, and from the mouths of politicians…all on the regular.

It’s an ugly practice meant to shut down conversation, shift blame, force compliance, and garner control. Yikes! So how do you know if you’re being gaslighted, and how do you prevent it?

Well, first, I think gaslighting is real. We are all on the receiving end of it from time to time by yucky people with serious issues. Some of us might even need to check ourselves to make sure we aren’t being yucky.

Second, I think charging someone with gaslighting can be its own form of gaslighting if the charge is misplaced. People might not actually remember something the way you did. You truly might have taken something the wrong way. Maybe you really misunderstood. The joke might have been in poor taste, but it was still intended to be a joke. Everyone is not yucky, and you are not always a victim.

You need to listen carefully to what someone says to you, evaluate their intent, and examine your response. What did they really mean by that? Are you triggered or uncomfortable? Are they? Why? Did they say that to manipulate or control you? Are you sure? Is it the truth, and it just hits home? Who needs to take responsibility?

On the other hand, check this out…if you KNOW you’re being gaslighted, then it isn’t gaslighting at all…because IT ISN’T WORKING. When you’re firm in your convictions, sure about yourself, confident in your decisions, you can’t be gaslighted. Yucky people can say whatever they want, counter with whatever they want, and you won’t be moved by their jack wagon nonsense. Their gaslighting attempts will have no power. That’s cool, right?!

So use it wisely. The word may become “psychobabble” in time, as it’s already starting to be a little overused or misused (in my never-so-humble opinion). Some would argue that by my simply saying the term is overused or misused, I’m gaslighting, but come on. Words matter. They give us clarity, but they can also serve as a crutch. I don’t know, I’m not a psychologist, but it makes sense.

I do know that word, GASLIGHTING, comes up a lot, sometimes too much, so I wanted to dig into what it meant. I always just called that kind of thing “crappy behavior by manipulative, controlling jerks”, but apparently now there’s a term for it. I really didn’t know how commonplace the notion of GASLIGHTING was, and thought I would share in case you didn’t either. It’s either gaining in popularity as a term, or the act of gaslighting is happening all over the place so it needed a name for calling-out and coping purposes.

I am just a listener, reader, and lover of words. What will they come up with next?

Interested in a good read on the subject of terms coined for a purpose? Check out the book,”The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised As Freedom”, by David Kupelian. Yep…they do it with words. Thought-provoking stuff.


This morning, I saw a lady on Instagram curating her beautiful house, tending her garden, and canning vegetables in ornate jars. I felt bad about myself.

I flipped to a reel, and a girl was encouraging everyone to organize and minimize. She panned across her stark, clean living room. I felt bad about myself.

I researched dance studio programming, price structures, and offerings across the country yesterday. There are so many cool things being offered out there. I felt bad about myself.

I saw a pictures of a woman approaching 50, and the voice over praised her ability to maintain flawless skin, poofy hair, voluptuous boobs, and youthful glow at her age. I felt bad about myself.

Y’all. I felt bad about myself. Uugghh.

I want to stay at home taking care of my family in an warm, ambient, lovely house that smells like baked apples.

I want less stuff, neatly folded laundry in drawers, labeled bins of craft supplies, and lined pantry shelves of cans with labels out.

I want my dance studio to offer a million fun activities, be teeming with children running in and out, have something going on every day of the week, maintain a culture of joy.

I want smooth skin, healthy hair with volume up to Jesus, great boobs, and fewer wrinkles.

Why did all that hurt me inside? Why did I feel bad about myself when I saw these things? I started thinking about it.

I decided that my values are so strong. The standards I set for myself are so high. My goals are so lofty. I have these ideals in mind, about everything, that drive me. There are so many things I want to do, so much I want to accomplish, so many ways I want to be. And then there that voice…the one telling me to work harder, figure it out, be those things, be better, be good enough.

I sat there thinking…Girl…stop. Voice…shut up. Standards…settle down.

I have a beautiful house. I DID work hard to make it a warm, ambient, fragrant space already.

I have the opportunity to be a great mom and great wife. I DO good things for my family.

I have made efforts to minimize. I HAVE been working to de-clutter and downsize, and my closets and pantry are looking better.

I have a fantastic, very successful studio. My programming IS good (and I’ve got more in the works), we provide superior instruction, and the culture I’ve created is one of joy.

I have pretty good skin, purple hair that’s soft and healthy, nice boobs for 47, and good concealer.

Y’all, I’m trying. I’m trying to realize when I’m triggered, when feelings of inadequacy creep in, then really look at why. Our brains are powerful, but they’re also sometimes ridiculous and can make us crazy. I don’t want that for myself.

So me and myself…we had a talk…

Comparison is the thief of joy, Amanda. You know that, and you preach it all the time. Slap some blinders on, and stay focused on all you have, all you do, and all you’re set to accomplish. And that woman with the bins…who makes homemade jelly… with the pretty boobs…she has her own struggles and her own insecurities. SHE probably admires YOU.

I want to be happy for me. I want to be happy for her. I want to be my own cheerleader and hers. I want to pat myself on the back more often and celebrate her accomplishments, too. This will work out nicely if you’ll get out of your own head, stop comparing, and quit keeping score.

Y’all, the world is already unkind. It pits us against each other without us even realizing it’s happening. The best we can do is start bridging the gap by dealing with our own insecurities, believing in ourselves, and being proud of who we are. We can’t really support and encourage others if we’re all messed up inside.

So here I am sharing this with you in hopes that there’s some kinship, that you relate, that you have insecurities, too, that you might join me in cleaning up our act together and getting our heads on straight so we can go be the strong, confident chicks we need to be.

Let’s enjoy our day, Y’all, and be proud of ourselves, our homes, our work, even our boobs. Then we can go clap for everyone else’s.


When I think of “strength”, what comes to mind? Muscles. Hercules. Brut force. Maybe pushing and pulling, carrying a heavy load. Sometimes I think of emotional strength. Standing stoically at a funeral. Walking into a first chemo treatment. Testifying in court against an assailant, in front of the assailant. What about mental strength? Taking the bar exam. Performing an 8-hour surgery.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts him, and he helps me.

Psalm 27:8

This morning, I was reminded how many times God is associated with “strength” in the Bible. Countless! I definitely think of God when I think of “strength”, and verses like Psalm 27:8 help me remember that with Him, I can have strength. That is comforting to me…and encouraging.

Do I over-hype strength, though? Am I only looking at strength in a “human” way whereby it takes great muscle, great fortitude, great presence of mind, or a great God to be “strong”?

What if it wasn’t?

What if there was simply strength in getting out of bed? In quiet confidence? What if being strong meant holding your teenager while they cry? What if it meant walking into a room wearing a red dress? What if being strong meant being content living alone in peace?

I wouldn’t want to pat myself on the back if I didn’t earn it, but I don’t want to short change myself either. I’m not sure I give myself credit for the “little” things that might actually be real strength personified. Have y’all thought about this?

Maybe we should celebrate our “strength” in dealing with difficult people, making tough decisions, or delivering unsavory news. Maybe we should realize how strong we were to turn down that invitation, disagree with our boss, or squelch that gossip. Maybe we should see strength in ourselves when we open up our hearts, challenge our own thoughts, and check our own emotions long enough to consider new possibilities and grow as people.

I don’t know. I think strength doesn’t have to always be about physicality and muscles, withstanding tragedies, or pushing through life-altering circumstances. Maybe it’s about smaller stuff, too, that we do every day like taking risks, showing our vulnerability, sharing our hearts.

What I do know is that, it’s certain, God IS strength. The strongest. The mightiest. His strength is great. He even provides for me His full armor, so I can be strong, too. I don’t think that really means strong for only big things, though. I think it means I’ll have the strength to keep my emotions in check and my thoughts from running away with me. I think it means I can carry on each day despite whatever the world has to say or is trying to do (what a mess!). I think it means I can exercise discernment, good judgment, and reason with clarity and conviction IN ADDITION TO fighting life’s major battles and making it through hard times.

I like that. Strength in ALL circumstances. Let’s give ourselves credit. We flex our “muscle” more often than we realize, and we are “stronger” than we think.

NYC Trip Highlights & Epiphanies

I was over the moon to be in New York City last week with my daughter! We have never taken a trip, just the two of us, so it was super special. We had no real itinerary either, other than having secured tickets to two Broadway shows, which made it even better. We were pretty much free to explore during the day until it was time to head to the theater in the evening. Oh…and we wanted to eat good food. Perfect!

Our hotel was stunning. From our room on the 47th floor, we had a gallery view of the city, panning east from New Jersey and across the Hudson into the Upper West Side then all the way over Central Park into the Upper East. The hotel restaurant overlooked Columbus Circle and straight down 59th Street.

We got to explore three floors of the New York Public Library, as well as an exhibit full of eclectic national treasures. In spite of sprinkling rain, we people watched in Times Square before heading to see “Six” on Broadway. We ate gnocchi at whatever Italian place we could find. And we didn’t care that the wind practically blew us through Central Park.

At “MJ: The Musical”, I could close my eyes and feel as though we had Michael Jackson right there with us alive and singing. We took the notion to put on coats one night at 9:30 pm and hop on a train down to 3rd Street for Pomme Frites (Belgian fried potatoes) and crepes with fruit and Nutella. Brady got a few new clothes and a cute, purple plush kitty in a boutique store. The hotel brought us tea, chocolates, and macrons.

I’m just not sure we could have planned a nicer 4 days in New York City. It was just right.

Y’all, there is something about New York that makes you feel small. It’s easy to figure, considering you cross the street with hundreds of people among skyscrapers every time the light changes and the red flashing hand switches to the bright, white WALK go-ahead. You become anonymous, nameless, faceless. Where you come from doesn’t matter. Who you really are doesn’t matter. Where you’re going doesn’t matter.

At the same time, you realize your importance. Without you, the next guy, that lady, him, them, there is no crowd. There are no teachers, no wait staff, no store clerks, no drivers. Everybody brings something to the world, and we are all important, contributing people crossing from corner to corner in a city that not only never sleeps but couldn’t possibly. We are all doing so much, going somewhere, buying something, working, exploring, constantly. All of us create society, share common bonds, lubricate the economy, fight to stay well, take care of our families.

There is BOTH an anonymity AND commonality among people, each and collectively happening at the same time. I forget this at home. I remember this when I travel.

I had many epiphanies last week, actually. I’m not sure I can recall them all right this second, but I can tell you that I feel better. I realized that I matter, what I do matters, and that I am smart. I was clearly, although maybe subconsciously, doubting myself.

I realized that what I do here at home (both my job and raising my family) has tremendous purpose. I let crappy people and life’s challenges squash my spirit for a long time.

I realized how much music and creativity mean to me, as well as how much they have always meant to me. I let the “why” behind what I do get overshadowed by task lists and expectations.

I realized that life – REAL LIFE – needs to be lived more fully. I let schedules, self-imposed deadlines, and pressure from others become the tail that wags this dog way too often.

I teared up at the NY library. I mopped tears in Central Park. I watched the buses whiz around Columbus Circle through a blur. I ate my gnocchi dumbfounded. I sat, mouth agape, at “Six” and ugly cried at “MJ” more than once (ok, like 7 times). I. Need. To. Live. I need to give less than one iota of a damn about what anybody thinks or says. I need to ignore the ridiculous things people say and completely let go of the stupid things they do. I need to love people, all of them, and bring joy through whatever creative, over-the-top, energy-filled nonsensical ways I come up with. I need to make more memories. I need to be who I want to be and do what I want to do. I need to keep creating the life I want with an everyday “hum” I can live with and enjoy.

And I need to go back to New York City more.

In the pictures…Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten Declaration of Independence, the original printed version of the Declaration of Independence, the Gutenberg Bible, the first collected printing of Shakespeare’s plays (the First Folio), Charles Dickens’s reading copy of “David Copperfield”, copy #474 of “Ulysses” that James Joyce himself presented to a friend, Maya Angelou’s handwritten draft of “Why The Caged Bird Sings”, inscribed pointe shoes belonging to Tanaquil Le Clereq who was married to George Balanchine, original cue book from the Broadway production of “West Side Story”, the ceiling of the third floor common area in the New York Public Library

NYC Bound

First time experience for me and my girl! We get to take a girls’ trip to New York City… just us!

I’m excited, but I miss my hubs already. We are ALWAYS together, and we love traveling together. It was hard to leave him this morning. I hope he knows how much I appreciate this opportunity he has provided for us.

Getting to make memories with Brady is priceless, though. We are grateful and excited!

Now let’s take off! We’ve got good food to eat, lots of exploring to do, two Broadway shows lined up, and a fancy hotel to call home for a few days.

Underdogs. Resilience. Choice.

I admire people who make come backs after huge losses.

I admire people who went through some seemingly impossible-to-survive storm then used that storm as motivation to grow and get better.

I admire people who have suffered yet somehow managed to keep their faith strong anyway.

I admire people who supported someone else through a grave illness and still managed to hold themselves up.

I admire people who didn’t let verbal abuse, physical pain, or mind-twisting mental games cripple them into forever submission.

I admire people who deprived themselves so others could have, who threw themselves into harm’s way to save another, or who sacrificed others could thrive.

I admire resilience. I’m for the underdog. I’m for warriors and fighters. I’m for not giving up or settling. I’m for never backing down and letting evil win. I’m for digging deep and pushing through. I’m for exhausting all options before giving up. I’m for less whining and more trying.

We always have a choice. The only way to the other side is through.

Y’all, I’m not sure our kids get it.

Every harsh circumstance, every struggle, every trauma are all now deemed to affect mental health adversely. The world is teaching them to identify and claim the disorder that best aligns with the symptoms from the struggle. The world is teaching them to “cope” rather than heal. The world is teaching them that things happen TO THEM. And it’s teaching them that they have the ability to choose things, but not necessarily the right things, to make them healthy, stable, productive humans.

The world IS NOT teaching them to confront struggle head on. It IS NOT teaching them that you won’t always be comfortable and accommodated. It IS NOT teaching them that hard times are inevitable. It IS NOT teaching them that we don’t have to immediately be defined by our thoughts and emotions. It IS NOT teaching them to root for the underdog, look for the helpers, or commend the real heroes.

A small example…my kids recall chaos, confusion, and uncertainty when my husband had colon cancer and a few failed surgeries in 2015. They have never really put any of that into perspective. I’ve had to teach them to see that we plowed through a terrible season of life with faith and ultimately kicked butt. They failed to see us as vikings, as a husband and wife clinging to each other to live, as a mom and dad battling to make it for their children. I’ve had to teach them that we chose to fight not fold, that Daddy was a warrior, and I committed to being his warrior caregiver. I’ve had to teach them that, yes, we were victims of a harsh disease, victims of a doctor who botched a surgery, and the recipients of poor healthcare service, but that we chose NOT to be victims at all.

Can we please get back to cheering for the underdog? Can we stop creating victims? Can we encourage the ability to choose better? Can we motivate each other to fight instead of just cope? Can resilience make a comeback? Can we wedge ourselves between the world and our kids to become the louder voice of reason?

I pray we always remember that we have the ability to choose. I pray we always have the presence of mind to make a conscious, deliberate choice to want better, to want more, to heal, to rise above, to achieve, despite any and all challenges.

I pray that we continue to lift up those who struggle. I pray we encourage each other to fight and have faith. I pray we always look for the helpers, praise caregivers, and revere the heroes.

Most of all, I pray we dedicate ourselves to teaching our kids that they have the ability to choose…and that they choose strength, grit, and empowerment over giving up or victimhood.

Rethink Your Resolutions

To “resolve” to do something is to decide firmly to make it happen.

To be “resolute” is to be determined and focused.

A “resolution” is the statement we make declaring what we’re about to do, often a change we want to make.

Is making New Year’s Resolutions a good idea? Change is good, right? Maybe. I mean, it could be a good start.

But what’s a “resolution” again? It’s a statement. It’s words, Y’all. Words.

Goals, on the other hand, are measurable, attainable, and have a deadline. They are outcome-focused and carry more weight than resolutions.

While words are only as good as when spoken, then seem to disapate into the air, goals take root and can begin to sprout as soon as you begin to cultivate them.

How about we rethink our 2023 resolutions, and set goals instead? We need a little less talk, and a lot more action, because I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of talking. (Thank you for that gem, Elvis.) And even more, I’m tired of hearing a bunch of mess, a whole lot of coulda, shoulda, and woulda. I want to see some real stuff going down for the better in my life.

What if we just implemented in our lives the principles we already know to be true and crush some goals? What if we stop chasing peace, stop seeking that one magic-bullet thing that is going to make us happy, stop looking for answers?

We already have the answers! So I’m all about shutting up and going for it and just freaking doing what I’ve already learned. Duh, right?!

If 2020-2022 was the era for trials and lessons, then 2023 must be the beginning of the era for applying them. Yes!

So I started already with something easy, since it’s both worthwhile and will probably yield a confidence boost (which I know I’ll need to keep moving forward).

My goal…live more simply. Efforts towards that goal so far…Christmas stuff packed efficiently and expertly labeled for ease of assembly next season. Pantry completely cleaned out with new storage bins, airtight containers added to eliminate clutter, spills, and waste. Cleaned out my “entertaining” cabinet and reorganized all my party supplies, themed items, tableware, and serving pieces.

Nothing says “Baby, you’re crushing that ‘live simply’ goal” like a 3 bags of trash and a box of stuff headed to Goodwill. I’m feeling lighter already and totally motivated to keep going. I got my sights on two more cabinets and two closets.

Be inspired, Y’all. Cut the crap and stop talking about what you want to change. Set goals, and go kill ’em. Put those hard-earned life lessons from the last few years into practice. You know what to do.

Amazon Favorites / Highlighters

I am LOVING these highlighters I found on Amazon. They are more like a crayon than a marker. They aren’t ruining my pages, seeping through, or blindingly flourescent.

I’ve used them already in a business-related book I’m studying, in my writing notes, and in my Bible. Just right!

DiverseBee Bible Highlighters and Pens No Bleed, 8 Pack Assorted Colors Gel Highlighters Set, Bible Markers No Bleed Through, Cute Bible Study Journal

2022 blessings, after all.

I sat this morning with my Bible and a highlighter in one hand and my phone in the other. I read, drew lines, and made notes, then switched over to my phone to share a few verses with a friend who is hurting. I then flipped over to Facebook to participate in a few conversations about how crappy 2022 has been. I went back to my Bible…and y’all…

2022 was crappy. Period. But I am the child of a sovereign God who is in control. The verses reminded me.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made, right? Sure, that means we are wonderful, little human beings created by Him in His image with our own virtues, talents, and value to the world. But it also means we’re made to withstand this world, to navigate it, to even somehow thrive in it.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun, right? (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Was the crap in 2022 anything God has never seen or dealt with? Naw.

I’m complaining about 2022, but the fact is, God already has me. He has already seen all this. He took into account the events of this old world, me and my weaknesses, my damaged heart, and my struggling soul already when he woke me up every day of 2022.

He kept my daughter alive.

Keith’s cancer scan was clear.

Our parents are still with us.

He put people around me who helped me through COVID and COVID pneumonia.

He brought a beautiful girl into my son’s life.

My daughter got her own horse.

He led my family to a church where my daughter was saved and baptized.

He kept us working despite how hard it is these days to keep a business afloat.

Our businesses thrived, even, enough to offer bonuses to our staff members.

We’re fat. We ate good, perhaps too good, and we had money to buy groceries and eat out.

We got to see the coast of Maine together, eat clam chowder in Connecticut, and drive along a scenic section of Rhode Island.

I continued to be surrounded by an inspiring, smart, substantive group of women in the dance business just like me, led by a motivating, kind man no doubt placed on earth to bring people together, celebrate success, and perpetuate education and love in the performing arts realm.

He helped me produce one of the best series of shows in the history of my studio despite a host of obstacles, including but not limited to the deteriorated mental health of many students and a few parents who raked me over the coals royally.

So I’ll go to bed tonight a little less argumentative, a little less discouraged, a little less inclined to completely poo poo the past year. Yep, it sucked…but it also didn’t. I can’t fail to see the good things, the bright spots, the beautiful people who were there for us, the blessings.

Now…2023…if God wakes me up to you tomorrow, I’m going to do my best to be who I’m called to be on this earth. I’m going to love big, work to provide for my family, and make efforts to spread joy. I’m going to need you to get with the program, and help me out. I want to be able to go to bed on December 31, 2023, thankful that the good times WAY outweighed the bad for a change. You best listen up. I’ve got God on my side, and He don’t play.

Y’all, I heard someone say the other day that we can’t hate the cards we’re dealt if we know The Dealer. I know Him, and I trust Him. He brought me into 2022, and His grace and mercies brought me through it. I’m faithful that He will do the same in 2023.


Women. Compassion. Support.

“Do you follow her on Snapchat? Did you see her kids running and playing outside in the snow? She has two of the cutest dogs, but her cat video put me over! It was on her story. Her husband travels. Did you see how thrilled she was to pick him up at the airport? She cooks, too, and her food is amazing. Go add her.”

“Do you follow her on Facebook? She posts the funniest memes all day long. I laugh out loud sometimes when her stuff comes up in my feed. Did you see her newest creation? The woman is an artist, I swear. Did you see the pictures she posted of her latest piece? Unreal. It must take hours and hours to make one from start to finish. And she just got back from a trip to Mexico. My word! The woman is amazing.”

“Do you follow her on Instagram? I don’t know how she keeps such an immaculate house! Her Christmas decorations were breathtaking. What a beautiful piano in her sitting room. And white furniture? I don’t know how she does it. Her daughter is off to college absolutely thriving, and my, what a handsome guy her son is growing up to be! She has a family I admire. I wish I had it like that.”

She’s struggling. She likely has more money in her car’s center console than in her bank account at the moment. It’s time to buy groceries, and band uniform money is due this week.

She doesn’t feel good. She had yet another migraine this morning, because her insurance carrier stopped paying for her maintenance meds two months ago.

She is beside herself. Her dad has COVID. They found that at his cancer appointment. His heart is too weak for any treatment plan.

She is broken. She and her husband…well, they’re working through it.

She doesn’t have all the answers. Her youngest daughter has been crying about snide comments kids made at school. Her oldest got caught with a vape.

She is petrified. Her son is down, and despite ongoing therapy, he says things like, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” and “I know I’m a burden to you.” She doesn’t feel like she can leave him alone, ever.

Y’all, she doesn’t post the dirt, the tears, the drama. She doesn’t capture the arguments on video. She isn’t going to share the diagnosis report. She wouldn’t have taken pics when she was on the bathroom floor, tearful. Her vomiting, him shouting, the dog poop, the weed…none of that would be featured in her reels.

See beyond it. Look beyond the social media persona you’ve come to know and love, and realize that she is just like you. Don’t you put your best face forward? Don’t you find just the right filter to minimize your wrinkles? Don’t you live a life the rest of us knows little about?

She would never say it out loud, but she needs you to know that she is not any better than you or anyone else. She needs you to be clear that comparison is not only the thief of joy, it’s foolish and fruitless as you truly would NEVER want her life. She needs you to be compassionate, offer her a kind word of encouragement, and be on the level with her. She doesn’t need the “it must be nice” and “whatever will you come up with next” and “teach me your ways” comments. She needs to know you see her for who she is, beyond social media, and recognize that the two of you are really not that different. She needs you to be her real friend, not a fangirl follower or subscriber.

We need each other in REAL ways, not just in the self-care-blah-blah-reach-out-to-other-women mundane ways that online propaganda would have you believe. We need each other deeply, genuinely, and solemnly. The kinship between women should be so ingrained, so strong, so inherent that we support and build one another up instinctively.

See her on social media for who she is. Stop comparing. Stop glamorizing. She is us, and we are her. Let’s start that kinship right now, me and you.