Shop the fall collection ➔

My name is Anxiety, and I am thrilled to meet you. I’m sure we’re going to be quite close, you and I. Your deepest fears, your wildest dreams, your difficult feelings, and your most shameful secrets will soon be mine to know. 

You’ve heard of me before, and we’ve met in passing a time or two. You know me as an acquaintance, but I know you much better than that. You think you understand me, and I don’t blame you for feeling confident in that. You’ll discover soon enough, however, that you don’t understand me at all, that you had no idea how I worked, that you couldn’t have imagined what I want most in the world. You don’t know who I truly am, and soon you’ll find out that not many others do, either.  

RELATED: Battling the Beast Named Anxiety

My name is Anxiety, and I’m here to become quite close to you. I’m flattered when you think of me, but your mind isn’t all I’m after. I want to make your stomach churn, want to make your lungs feel like fire. I want to make your hands shake and your voice quiver. I want every part of you, so you live not only in fear of the worst, but also so agitated that you rage, so overwhelmed that you weep, so bound that you can’t sleep.

My name is Anxiety, and I want all of you. 

You think that you’re smarter than me, that you can stop me at will. You think I’m a choice, that I have an off button, that I’m a sign of weakness or a loss of faith. You don’t give me enough credit for how creative I am, the scenarios I can piece together. You forgot that I want all of you, down to the very chemicals in your brain. You think I’m worry, but really I’m dread. 

My name is Anxiety, and I’m looking forward to our future together. Everyone wants to leave the past behind, and I agree. Let’s look forward, onward, toward all that could happen and every possible outcome. Let’s imagine everything in the future, the unknowns, and the what-ifs. Let’s look ahead to what we can build together in your mind, what we can imagine for your future. I love planning, and I’m thrilled to be doing it with you. 

RELATED: There is No Just “Getting Over” Anxiety, But You’ll Never Face it Alone

My name is Anxiety, but you may not know me by that name. Sometimes you call me insomnia, sometimes you call me stomachache. Your children think my name is rage, your spouse thinks I’m called irrational. You flatter me when you think I’m good at planning, you make me laugh when you call me preparation. I do manage a passing resemblance to those, but in reality, I’m so much more. 

My name is Anxiety, but your name is irrelevant.

No matter what you call yourself, I get to pick new names, names you’re afraid other people will call you. I call you ugly, broken, worthless. I call you weak, stupid, a fraud. My memory is excellent, and I remember every name you’re afraid to be reminded of. I’ve kept account of all of your mistakes and shames, the public humiliations, and the dark secrets no one has discovered. I’m keenly observant and notice every difference between yourself and others. I see the moms who are better, the women who are thinner, the house that is cleaner, the kids who are more well-behaved. I see these differences and point them out to you, giving you the chance to make sure no one else notices them.  

My name is Anxiety, but I’ve been known to stretch the truth sometimes. Sometimes I introduce myself as insecurity, sometimes I go by perfection. My name isn’t the only thing I lie about, either, but you know that already.

I love to play tricks and pranks on you, convince you that danger is lurking, death is imminent, failure is certain.

It’s great fun to see what I can talk you into, what I can talk you out of. I’m sure it’s frustrating that you can’t always take me at my word, but hey, I’m Anxiety. That’s what I do. 

RELATED: My Anxiety Makes Me Feel Like I Fail Over and Over Again

My name is Anxiety, my game is imprisonment. I don’t play fair, and I have no problem cheating. I’m strong, I’m smart, and I’m able to disguise myself. I am not your friend, I am not your wisdom, I am not your weakness, and I am not your fault. 

My name is Anxiety, and for all my strengths and talents, I still have a secret I’m hoping you never learn. You know my tricks, you know my mission, you know so much about me, but I hope that you never, ever find out that you’re stronger than me.

Jennifer Vail

Jennifer is married to the very handsome man she's loved half her life, with whom she juggles 3 hilarious, quirky, sometimes-difficult-but-always-worth-the-work kids. She is passionate about people and 90's pop culture, can't go a week without TexMex, and maintains the controversial belief that Han shot first. She holds degrees in counseling and general ministries, writes at This Undeserved Life, and can often be found staying up too late but rarely found folding laundry.

My Daughter is Almost the Age I Was When My Grandfather First Molested Me

In: Living, Motherhood
Back of little girl's head with braid and ribbon

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse My daughter is swinging, head tilted up to the sky, pondering the shape of the cloud—is it a puppy or a tiger? Or maybe a dragon? She picks a flowering weed from the yard and brings it to me, so proud of her gift for Mama. She sits down and draws one of her imaginary kitty superheroes and the tale of how it saves the day—her lips pursed, then open, then pursed again—concentrating as though it’s the most important story she’ll write in her life. I pull her close, breathe in all of her joy and...

Keep Reading

When Storms Come: How To Help During Hurricane Ian

In: Living
When Waters Rise, You’ll Struggle to Put One Foot in Front of the Other. You’ll Do it Anyway. www.herviewfromhome.com

When waters rise and spirits fall, you’ll listen anxiously to weather reports from your neighborhood. You’ll watch angry waves swirling on the sacred ground of familiar streets. You’ll feel a sickening, sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’ll try to grasp fleeting thoughts of hope that maybe, just maybe, they’re all wrong. Surely it won’t be as bad, as devastating as they say. You’ll try to overpower Mother Nature by sheer force of will. But she is a determined and destructive houseguest. You’ll understand futility.  You’ll go through motions, completing necessary tasks in response to catastrophe. You’ll cry,...

Keep Reading

Things I Wish My Therapist Would Say

In: Living
Little girl looking out window

Things I wish my therapist would say . . .  Welcome. Sit down, have a tea or a big coffee. The latest studies say caffeine does wonders for your anxiety. Now, tell me everything . . .  You’re not crazy. But if you are it’s okay, all the best women in history were crazy. You don’t need medication. But if you do, it’s okay—I can get you some right now. You don’t have to call a thousand pharmacies or drive or wait, here it is. It will work right away and has zero side effects. You don’t have to change...

Keep Reading

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s…Jupiter?

In: Living
Boy looking through telescope

It’s a great week to gather the kids and train your eyes on the night sky—the planet Jupiter is bigger and better than ever! Well, at least it’ll look that way this week.   Jupiter reaches what’s termed “opposition” during the final week of September this year, and that makes for some fun stargazing conditions. Quick science lesson time: “opposition” is when a planet is directly opposite the Sun in the sky. And all those orbits out there in space have the Earth sandwiched between Jupiter and the Sun right now too, meaning our Solar System’s gasseous giant is closer to...

Keep Reading

I’ll Find Her Again One Day

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother holding baby at night

It happened again. Took 15 months this time. But I found myself in the same spot I said I’d never be in. Lost, drowning, on the brink of a mental breakdown—however you want to put it. I was gone in motherhood. With the diapers piling up around me, I was getting mad at my husband for nothing, screaming at my oldest son, crying along with the babies, and in a fog. RELATED: To the Woman Who’s Lost Herself in Motherhood I couldn’t do anything—literally—I couldn’t even pee without hearing a demand. When my children were quiet, my house billowed with...

Keep Reading

I Want Friends Who Grow Old with Me

In: Friendship, Living
Friends laughing

When I grow older, I want my friends to come with me. I want us to sit on porches sipping tea and watching the young walk by. I want us to scoot around on our scooters or on golf carts because none of us want to walk back home from the beach. I want us to sit in restaurants and order whatever we want because life has become too short and we know it, so cheesecake it is. RELATE: Life is Too Short for Fake Cheese and Fake Friends I want morning strolls together to get the willies out, and...

Keep Reading

To the Mom In the Trenches: Make Room For Yourself

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach black and white photo

“I need to make room for myself,” I think quietly as I shove toys aside with my foot and toss the dog-hair-covered blankets onto the couch behind me. This endless carousel of shuffling clutter weighs on me, but I try not to dwell on that fact right now. Clearing a space for a quick strength class between Zoom calls requires almost as much effort as the class itself. Plastic play food and melodic baby toys lay strewn about the room (the whole house, really). Scattered LEGOs and Hot Wheels wait to attack unsuspecting bare feet at any moment. To say...

Keep Reading

“Old” Seems Less Old the Older I Get

In: Living
Mother and teen daughter smiling

Growing up, my grandparents hosted birthday parties that involved all of my dad’s aunts and uncles gathering around the kitchen table with a deck of pinochle cards dealt among them. After a few games, a “lunch” of sandwiches, cake, and hot cups of coffee would be served.  I remember looking at the people gathered around that table—wrinkled fingers raking in cards, deep, scratchy voices calling out bids and naming trump, laughter mingled with German words I didn’t understand. The kids were never invited to the table, only allowed to watch from the outskirts.  We were too young. And they were...

Keep Reading

I Love Being a Mom, But I Miss That Party Girl Sometimes

In: Living, Motherhood
Girl at bar in black tank top

It’s 7 p.m. on a Saturday night. Freshly showered and ready to take on whatever the night brings. I’ve just gotten dressed and am finishing up my makeup when the phone rings. “Hey, I’m about to leave in half an hour. Do you want to meet around 8 p.m.?” “Sure! I’m almost ready. I’ll be there at 8!” I say excitedly. I finish my makeup and start working on my hair when a text comes through. “Hey, Ash! Just wanted to let you know we’ll be there around 9 but we’re definitely going to make it! I can’t wait to...

Keep Reading

Christmas + ’90s TV Nostalgia? Yes, Please!

In: Living
Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, Andrea Barber Full House friends at wedding

Why is it that the older I get, the more nostalgic I become about the ’90s?  Maybe it’s because it was a simpler time: No social media. The only cell phones we’d ever seen belonged to Zack Morris from Saved By the Bell and Macaulay Caulkin in Richie Rich. The height of cool was owning a hair crimper and that clear corded phone (bonus points if it was connected to a dedicated teen line). And you knew it was going to be a great day when you started the tape recorder in time to get all of MmmBop! on your...

Keep Reading