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kendra barnes

I See You — An Open Letter To My Former Self.

Hey, sis.

I see you. I know you probably need to hear that. I know it doesn’t feel like anyone does. But I do. I see your effort. All the ways you try to be “enough.” You think if you just work a little bit harder. If you just woke up earlier. If you could just be a better mom. If you could finally start meal prepping and lose the rest of the baby weight, and be a more fun wife. Whatever that means.

If you could remember to reply to all the texts, and actually do the crafts you have pinned for your kids, and stop buying the birthday gifts on the way to the party.

If only.

I see your struggle. To keep it all afloat. To figure out how to fit three days’ work into 18 hours.  To stay on top of it all, while making it look completely effortless.

Because God forbid anyone sees the work behind the results.

I see your disappointment. In all the ways your life doesn’t seem to measure up. The ways you feel like you’ve failed and missed out. But mostly, I see the disappointment in yourself.

Why can’t you just do better? Why can’t you be more like those other women you see on Instagram with their perfectly dressed kids, their yoga pants that are actually used for exercise, and their freshly painted nails?

I’ve got news for you, girlfriend. It’s time to wake up.

It’s time that you stop defining yourself by who you are to other people. And it’s long past time you stop measuring your worth by the kind of job you’re doing in those roles.

Yes, you’re a wife and a mother, a daughter and a sister and a friend. But you’re so much more, too.

You’re inherently valuable. You, the woman. You, the individual. And God made you for purposes so big you can’t yet fathom what they are or how you’ll rise to meet them.

But you’ll rise. Oh, how you’ll rise.


Kendra Barnes

You’ve got to realize that no one has it all together. Not the girls at the gym or the moms on social media or even the other families at church.

Everyone has stuff, stuff they bury down deep and don’t talk about. That they cover with a smile and a whole lot of highlighter. Too much highlighter if you ask me, but that’s another letter altogether.

The point is, you’ve got to stop comparing your mess to their best.

You need to understand that nothing is out of your reach. Okay, the Tupperware will forever be out of your reach — why is it always so high?? But you know what I mean. Stay with me here because this is important.

Your life is just that, yours. And it will be exactly what you make of it. Not all those people on Instagram. That’s background noise. That’s a distraction. And it’s absolutely killing your joy.

No one gets to tell you how high you’re allowed to climb, or how big you’re allowed to dream. And all the people standing in the way of your growth? Drop them like a bad habit.

You know the ones. If they’re not supporting, no pushing you forward, let them go and do not look back. You don’t have time for that kind of people-pleasing negativity anymore.

And while you’re at it, get rid of the ‘that’s not for me’ mentality. That idea that other people do things, or are things that are somehow unattainable for you. The self-talk that sounds like, “I wish I could _______, but I’m just not that _______.”

That’s garbage. And your momma didn’t raise you to act so inferior.

You know why they’re always early to work, or how they run marathons? Because they got up and decided that’s what they wanted.

You can be a morning person, or a runner or anything else that you decide you want for your life, too. You just have to stop sitting on the sidelines and start claiming the things that make you feel alive.

And you will.

Most importantly, I want you to know that you’re crushing it. Not just normal crushing it. I’m talking big time, out of the park, crushing it.

I know you don’t see it. And I don’t think you’re supposed to yet, or else you wouldn’t have walked through the things that led you to become the woman writing this letter today.

But trust me on this, you’re crushing it, sis.

One day soon you’re going to have enough. Courage, maybe? Boldness. Just…enough. And you’re going to decide that it’s time for a change. Time to leave all this self-doubt and fear exactly where it belongs — in the past.

And when that day comes, I’ll be there. With a glass of wine and open arms. Waiting to pull you up with me, wipe the hair from your eyes and take the first deep breath you’ve had in ages.

But until then, until you’re ready, I’ll be here. Loving you the best I can from the other side and hoping some of it finds its way into your heart.

So chin up, girlfriend. Dig those heels in, and double down on your dreams with an extra helping of grace. Cut yourself some slack. Then charge unapologetically in the direction of the woman you want to become.

You’ve got this.

This story originally appeared on Daylight to Dark

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