- Dmitry Mendeleev
Editor's note: This week's Eureka contributor is Season 2 guest, Amanda Osowski. To learn more about Amanda, head over to her Anthologies of Hope Guest Page after reading her post below.
Hi, I’m Amanda! If you know me in person, or follow me on social media, you know a few things about my life, in no particular order. I have a 6 month old daughter, I struggled with infertility and went through IVF to conceive her, I have a snuggly pup named Ollie (after Oliver Queen on the TV show Green Arrow), you know I’m a fierce advocate for mental health, I have Depression and Anxiety and Crohn’s disease, I believe in compassion, I am an Enneagram 2, my favorite book is is “If You Feel Too Much” by Jamie Tworkowski, and most importantly, I find myself sitting with a lot of feelings and emotions on the regular.
I used to struggle so much with what to do with all these feelings. Often, the things I felt sat on my chest like secrets struggling not to escape. I feared that others would judge me or dismiss me if they learned about all the things in my head and my heart, and the way I processed several of the difficult challenges life had already thrown my way. In my younger days, this looked like sharing too much with people who might not have been ready or had the capacity to support me, filling journals and writing blog entries, seeking comments and likes and approvals that let me somehow know I wasn’t orbiting in these voids alone.
Maybe the transition came with age, or experience, or figuring out how I wanted to use social media as the internet exploded, but I realized that my oversharing was really just a symptom of desperation. I was seeking connections, a community filled with like minded individuals. People who had already come to understand that without losses, you don’t really know the value of wins, and that life is both heavy and light but it only finds balance if you acknowledge both sides of the coin.
In the past five years in particular, I have been lucky enough to live a lot of life, and I’ve progressively chosen to do so out loud. I’ve chosen to share the things that bring joy to my life - mainly with pictures, stories and snuggles of my cute pup and my baby girl, but I’ve also continued to talk about the hard things I have experienced/continue to walk through including life with an incurable chronic illness, why mental health advocacy and awareness is important, what real life looks like during and after infertility, postpartum, and breastfeeding and anything else that becomes a hot button topic or one that I perceive stigma around in my life.
My goal in what I choose to share started off and continues to grow in the same sentiments - I want to invite people in during the highs and lows and even in the in-between, invite people to ask questions and share their experiences, search for advice, talk about what was hard, what they’ve overcome, what they’re scared of, grateful for, or feeling too much of.
I realize that people need other people not just in person, but in what they consume online, and by choosing not to censor myself, by choosing to invite people in for the highs and lows, I am choosing to create a community filled with people who also share their full hearts. People who celebrate wins and mourn losses and help others to see that life isn’t Instagram perfect or devastatingly awful all of the time. It’s both. It’s neither. It’s a balance.
By choosing not to be afraid of sharing things that are less than ideal, things that are hard or I’m not proud of or hurt me in any way, I am choosing my own definition of brave. I’m choosing my own definition of community. Of transparency. I’m choosing my own definition of hope.
Head on over to Monkey Minion Press now to pick up a copy of the Eureka art book or the print used as the inspiration for today's blog post!