“I’m scary good at smiling when I’m drowning.”

I wrote this in a text recently, and I felt like I just let someone in on my best-kept secret.

Because I’ve become a professional at hiding my struggles when I don’t want to let people in.

When failure feels like it’s engulfing me. When exhaustion sets in. When, on paper, it looks like I’m thriving and it’s embarrassing to admit I’m not.

I’m good at making sure no one has any idea.

(Scary good, in fact.)

But of all the places I want to succeed, this isn’t one of them.

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Of all the things I want to list as strengths, this is not one I want to check off.

And I know one of you reading this feels the same. One of you is a fellow pro at this as well.

You’ve become so used to playing the game of “everything’s fine” that you’ve perfected your skills.

But friends . . . no.

Just, NO.


We have got to stop.

We have got to stop buying into this idea that we have to bury our hard. We have to stop believing that struggle is weakness and instead look at voicing it as strong. We have got to start letting the people who love us—love us.

We have got to let it out.

We have to find our outlets.

We have to write it out or vent it out or cry it out or therapy-session it out or scream it out or run it out or breathe it out—any way we need to get it out . . . but we shouldn’t be smiling it out.

We all struggle. Every one of us. We are NOT alone.

We don’t have to smile it out.

Let’s let someone else’s smile in to help us.

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Because struggles aren’t meant to be buried.

What’s meant to be buried is the idea that no one struggles.

What’s meant to be buried is the idea that we are supposed to just push through.

Find your person. Find your outlet. You are deserving of that. We are deserving of permission to be scary good at being real, raw, and authentic.

And in doing so, may we give permission to others to do the same, so we can all link arms and be each other’s umbrella for whatever storm the other is enduring.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page.

Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.