I’m an open book. For some, that’s hard to handle. It’s hard because it’s real and it’s raw.

I don’t live my life behind secrets. If you want to know, ask. I won’t make up a lie to make you feel better. My time is too precious for that.

I sometimes come across as abrasive. I call things like I see them. I’m not rude or overly blunt, but I also don’t try to sugarcoat the truth to make it more palatable for everyone. 

Decisions . . . I can make them. There’s too much time wasted on indecisiveness. I’ll hear both sides and decide.

Religion . . .  I’ll let you know how much God loves you, and let you make your own decisions from there.

Politics . . . we can talk. I refuse to let a letter behind a name determine my votetoo many people have given up their lives for me to just blindly follow a party letter, so tell me about your platform and then let your walk reflect your talk.  

Hard topics . . . let’s talk about them. I believe knowledge is power. Conversation brings change, and change is good. I may not change my mind about the topic, but I’ll have the conversation and walk away knowing more than I did before.

My life, my marriage, raising kids . . . I’ll tell you all about it.

It’s crazy. It’s messy. It’s beautiful. It’s hard, exhausting, overwhelming, wonderful, and a multitude of other adjectives. You need someone to be in the mud with you, I’m your girl.

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It’s hard living with a mom and wife like me. Privacy is a thing of beauty, and I respect and appreciate that. If there’s something that makes someone in my household uncomfortable with me sharing, we talk through it. Sometimes I share, sometimes I don’t. I come from the position that we can learn from this and sometimes others can too. Some things we keep close to the vest, others we share openly so others can learn from our trials and victories.

I didn’t grow up this way. I grew up when things were hush-hush. 

We didn’t answer the door or phone all of the time. I remember hiding in the stairwell until someone left or peaking out a window to make sure they were in their car.

I had to keep track of who knew what. Secrets had secrets.

And all of it was exhausting.

Bearing that weight was not and should not have been mine. But it was. As I’ve grown, I’ve recognized that, and it’s a burden I refuse to pass on to my children.

As an adult, I had to learn to navigate life struggling to find the ability to break free of the image that was expected of me. The straight line I was supposed to walk, the people I was supposed to do as they saidI found it too much.

I had to make the choice to break the mold and know that some seas may be stormy because of it. The stormy seas were worth every second of my peace of mind. So going against the grain? I’ll do it every single time.

My kids aren’t responsible for protecting my story. It’s mine to tell. They won’t learn lies to protect me, they’ll know the truth and we’ll talk about it. The uncomfortable things, the conversations, and mistakes I hope they never ask about, but ultimately know they willwe’ll talk, laugh, and cry through them.

But I won’t shy away from the truth.

In truth comes freedom. With truth comes life lessons. Some they’ll learn from, others they’ll never believe that mom was ever that person, and both are acceptable outcomes. But they’ll have the freedom to not be weighed down by me.

RELATED: I Live Loud and Love Big—And I’m Not Sorry

They’ll have their own secrets to keep. They’ll figure out how much of them they’re willing to share, and they’ll find that balance. By living life as an open book, I want them to be free from the oppression that secrets bring. I want them to know that some things belong to just them, but they shouldn’t hide just to be, or pretend to be, who someone else thinks they should. 

Mental health is something we should never take for granted. Freedom in transparency and truth for our lives fosters mental wellness. When we live in such a way that others don’t see just picture-perfect lives and we have the real conversations, others benefit. Let’s stop trying to make life look perfect and force our kids to make it look the same. Life is hard sometimes, let’s be real and talk about it. For you, for me, for them.

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Holly Lemons

Blessed by God to be the mommy to four beautiful girls, wife to one amazing husband, and an elected official. Crazy, a little...blessed beyond what I deserve!

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