@theindygrrl Every day doesn’t have to be a ride on the strugglebus. #adultcoloring #coloring #livingoutloud ♬ original sound – Indy Grrl

“Every day doesn’t have to be a ride on the strugglebus.” My baby sister has a TikTok account now, and even though she’s only posted one video so far, I really like what she’s doing here. Mental health revelations + coloring snippets. Or even just daily chatter and thoughts + coloring snippets. I’d watch the heck out of that, even if I wasn’t her sister! I never got on board with the whole adult coloring book phenomena (oddly enough, I find it an incredibly stressful endeavor, not soothing or peaceful for me at all!) but I do find it very calming to watch other people do it.

In this video she’s giving voice to some thoughts I have been plagued with lately, myself. I got married in February. Bought a new house in April. My second book will be published in September of this year and I am working on my third book for publication in 2023. These are all wonderful things that I am thrilled to experience. A month or so ago, before we moved, a friend commented on one of my Instagram stories about how very blessed I was, or something to that effect. And you know what? I immediately got defensive. I thought to myself, “after ALL I’VE BEEN THROUGH, don’t I deserve to have something nice? Don’t I deserve success? Don’t I deserve HAPPINESS?”

I felt attacked by this harmless comment which I am sure was meant in good faith and friendliness, but I felt like my right to these things was being questioned, like I hadn’t earned them, like I hadn’t struggled enough to be worthy of them. Like escaping a decade-long abusive relationship wasn’t enough to earn the right to be with someone kind and loving. Like having spent years of my life caring for others, spending time and energy and money, and sacrificing my own mental wellness to keep them safe and comfortable wasn’t enough to earn time to focus on my own endeavors. Like I don’t deserve, at 46 years of age, to own a home, to have nice things, after spending every year of my life working since I was 15 years old. Because I grew up in a home with a parent who struggled with addiction and mental health issues wasn’t enough to earn me the right to function as a healthy adult, with boundaries and a sense of self-worth not reliant on keeping everyone else happy?

But the truth is…I didn’t have to experience any hardship to deserve to be alive, to be loved and cared for. To take up space. That’s not how that works. “Those of us who’ve experienced abuse, sexual assault, and trauma may question our personhood and very right to exist,” writes And so I often think–although I’ve tried to disengage with this thought process– that life is just supposed to be a perpetual, relentless struggle. That anything which makes life better or easier, is somehow cheating …for me. Other people can do these things, but I am not allowed to. This is something I have struggled with for as long as I can remember and I write about it a little bit more here, in “Conveniences for the Invisible Girl.” I don’t know if I fully explained my thoughts then, and I don’t know if I am doing it now, but maybe you’re getting a picture of what I am trying to say. Maybe you struggle with worthiness, too.

I don’t have any answers. I’m just going to keep being here, living my life. Struggling with human things. You know where to find me.

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Jennifer says

I, too, struggle with worthiness and am questioning my very value currently. Thank you for sharing. It always helps to hear about others. 🖤🖤🖤

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