Hello / by Rachel Nordgren


It’s me.

I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet.

Perhaps I am stretching my own self-importance by surreptitiously putting myself in the same category as Adele, but whatever. I have Adele feels and someone on Instagram commented to the same effect, so WE GONNA ROLL WITH IT.

For some of you, this might be the first time visiting my site. For others, you’ve been around since I was blogging at Our Yellow Door. Whoever you are and however you got here: thank you for coming. Really. You make coming back to the Internet a sweet and significant thing.

Part of “coming back” means telling you where I’ve been, which will encompass the next several posts. For me, the process of writing about what happened is intrinsically linked to the process of moving forward, and even if these words are never read by a single soul, they’re necessary and healing for me to write.

When my Mom unexpectedly went home to glory in July of 2016, my entire world viciously imploded. Full stop. Everything that wasn’t basic survival immediately got put on the back burner.

Then Hans and I sold our home and moved to be with my Dad.

Then the 2016 Election happened, and something like 80% of white evangelicals voted for a person who spews rhetoric that is (among many things) racist, sexist, xenophobic, nationalistic, and demonstrably false.

Then I had a series of anxiety attacks that culminated in a mental breakdown that coincided nicely with my already-struggling marriage just about crumbling to bits.

I went from grief to grief; grieving the loss of my Mom, grieving the loss of the person my Dad was before my Mom died, grieving the loss of the life Hans and I had been building, grieving the loss of a country and a faith I thought I knew, grieving the loss of who I thought I was and the loss of what I thought my marriage was going to be.

It takes more than a couple glasses of wine and a good night’s sleep to bounce back from all that, my friends.

Different people are able to manage stress in different ways and to different capacities. I’m sure plenty of people would have cracked long before I did, and plenty more people would have been able to cope much better than I did. For better or worse, though, that season is now an inextricable part of my story.

A few months ago I was listening to the For the Love Podcast episode where Jen Hatmaker interviewed Dr. Brené Brown, and they talked about the question of “oversharing” in today’s social media culture. Here’s an excerpt of that conversation that resonated so deeply with me:

Brené: I ask myself - [in regards to] the overshare question is: “What is your intention for sharing?”
And so I think one of the things that's happened is; so I have a line for what I share. I will share what's vulnerable in my life. I will not share what's intimate in my life, because that is not for public consumption. When I share what's vulnerable in my life, when I share the stories of failure, when I share the stories, you know the first book that Penguin bought; that self-published book that Penguin bought, was a complete failure. I write about that in Rising Strong. I share that, because I never share a story, that when my healing from that story depends on an audience reaction.
Jen: That's good.
Brené: Ever. So by the time I share something with an audience, I have processed it. I have healed from it, and I am as close to being immune to what the public thinks about it as one could be.  I think what we see happening is, you know, because I believe we share our stories with people who've earned the right to hear them. (emphasis mine)

As close as is humanly possible, I am immune to what you think about that chapter in my story. I'm not sharing these words because I require your affirmation or validation in order to heal; I'm sharing because the healing has happened, and now it's time to move forward.

My healing has happened through the gifts of time, silence, space, travel, (that sounds like a movie trailer for Star Wars, but I digress) and really good people…people who earned the right to bear witness to the intimate parts of my story by staying present even when I was a flaming hot mess. They gave and gave and gave to me through a season where I had basically nothing to give in return. Grateful is too small a word.

Now, on the other side of that season, YOU are free to read my words for what they are: an offering. This is my intention: I want to offer these words to you freely, without needing anything in return.

I know some of you have wondered how I’m doing and if I would ever come back. These words are for you, because I do owe you a bit of an explanation for dropping off the face of the planet.

I know some of you are walking through seasons of your own darkness and pain and doubt. These words are for you, because sometimes knowing that someone else survived the ache is enough to give you the strength to get out of bed, or feel a sense of solidarity when you can’t.

I know some of you are anxious to hear about Hans and I’s travels in Europe. These words are for you, because how we ended up here has a good deal to do with what we went through back there.

Like I said earlier, I’m so grateful that you’re here. Thank you for giving me something to “come back” to, and thank you for reading, and thank you for wanting to see what’s next.

Like Johnnyswim says, “I don’t know what’s coming, but I know it’s gonna be good.”