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10.02.2013

NATALIE JEAN AT 31, A STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS


i'm gonna come clean with it. this year has not been my favorite. this year is completely kicking my trash.

2013, you are a piece of work!

it's been so many things tied together that it's hard to know where one ends and the other begins. anxiety, primarily. mostly hormonal anxiety, and it's not an exaggeration when i say i haven't gone a day this year without feeling actually and truly physically lousy from it. brandon had some health troubles over the summer that scared me down to my toes (he's perfectly fine now, thankfully!), and then there were a few relationships in my life that i thought should be important but that were actually completely unnecessary. i still shake my head when i think about how long it took me to see that situation clearly, and all the mistakes i made along the way. but i'm finding every day that the anxiety gets easier and smaller, and while i'm not on the outside yet, i can see the outside from here. the distance left isn't far. this is a story with a happy ending.

so, yes. 2013 has been junky, and 30 has been a year of personal growth the hard way. 

but this has also been a good year; a necessary year. maybe the more stubborn among us have to be taught the real good and important things in the hardest ways possible. i'm so much better now than i was last year, in all the ways there are to be better. i see things clearer, i feel things more honestly, i communicate better with the people i love, and the people that i love i love now more fiercely than ever. i've cut out the negativity in my life, both online and not (but especially online--seven months sober! someone hand me a chip!). i've ruthlessly purged clutter, both from my home and from my soul. i am paring down the bullshit and what is left of me at the end of this is turning out to be a pretty flipping spectacular lady. i am proud of who i'm becoming. i like her. and i'm grateful that someone out there wants me to be better, even if their methods are maybe a little harsh (i'm talking to you, god). i can see all of the layers of me that i've shed. they were layers that were fine, really, but layers i'm happy to be rid of nonetheless. 

being 30 has been good. real good. in case anyone is worried about turning 30, don't be! being 30 is great. being 30 has finally given me the courage to say screw it: to the things that aren't worth my time, to the feelings that aren't worth my time, to the people that aren't worth my time. the year i turned 30 was the year i finally learned to say "what you think of me might not matter." which has been huge for me! i'm finally learning that pleasing others is not the ultimate reward. and thank flipping heavens, because what an epically stupid way to live a life.

until this year, 2009 was my hardest year. my body failed me that year, over and over and over, and idaho in the winter, maaaan . . .  2009 was not an easy year to be married to brandon holbrook either, grad student of the century, especially when he graduated and there suddenly weren't any jobs anywhere. peter pan got really sick and needed emergency surgery . . . but then there's that saying about the sky becoming its darkest before the dawn. i always struggle with sayings that are supposed to make people feel better about things, they just make me grouchy, but here is the thing.

in 2010, after the hardest, bleakest, most painfully hopeless and frustrating year i can remember, in 2010 i got pregnant. and that kicked into motion three of the most blissfully perfect years of my life. moving back to the city. selling that blasted house just in the nick of time. husbands finding gainful employment. and hells bells that henry holbrook. being huck's mom has turned out to be everything in life i ever dreamed. 

and so. 

i just feel really good about 31, is what it is. i really, really do.

96 comments:

  1. Love this post! They can't all be good ones (then we wouldn't know how to properly appreciate the wonderful times when they come around!) but I seriously hope 31 is your best year yet, Nat. x

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  2. Happy birthday, Natalie!

    Wishing you aaaaaaall the very best and THEN some, and for the anxiety to take a hike BECAUSE DUH. Glad you're feeling better, yay!

    ::fistbump::

    Have a bitchin' birthday - revel and be merry!

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  3. Love this&I can so relate.I have had a rough few years.Since turning 30 I feel much more comfortable in my skin.I focus on my faith,my relationship with God,my husband,daughter,close family&a handful of close friends.The rest can go on.I push away the negative&hold on tightly to the positive stuff.Good on you for letting go of the negative people in your life.Its so hard to do,but so rewarding.Thank you for this blog

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  4. Hi Natalie - thanks for the honest post. Your 2009 is the year I am living now. I miscarried much longed for identical twins in April, and during the 'procedure' (still can't say the medical term as its too harsh) to deal with the aftermath of that, the surgeon moved me very roughly and caused a herniated disc in my back, that after 2 months of dibilitating pain and relentless drugs resulted in my having the disc removed and my vertebrae fused. We are about to begin a fresh cycle of IVF and I could not be more scared. I take courage and inspiration from everyone around me who fight their own battles every day and hope that some of their strength can rub off on me too. Cos man, I need it. X

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  5. Happy Birthday!!

    I'll be 34 in January, we have a birthday season too ;) I feel like I'm going through a metamorphosis of such. I'm stuck in my cocoon at present, but I'm hoping that by 34 I will break free. I'll be a new person and won't put up with the crap anymore. I'll figure out what I want to do with my life, other than being Sebastian's mom. I want to like me again. I'm working on it. I have 4 months to make it happen... 34 is going to be my year.

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  6. Happy birthday babe!! Hope you'll had a blast on your special day! ;)

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  7. Happy 31st to you!

    I'm only 25, will be 26 in two months, but I know this feeling all to well. Last year crushed me, but this year has been fantastic. And like you said I'm grateful for the struggle. I would be oblivious to so many things in life were it not for the struggle.

    And if we follow your logic this new year should be a fantastic one for you!

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    1. PS: We also have a birthday season in our home. My birthday is December 4th and my husband's is January 4th. So hopefully one day when we add a little baby to the mix it'll somewhere around that time!

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  8. happy birthday natalie. i'm glad you are learning to say screw it and avoiding negativity online - two wonderful, wonderful things for any woman to learn as being essential to becoming happier. as kirsten dunst so eloquently said in the bachelorette: fuck everybody. know what matters in life. and move on. i hope this continues for you. for the other aspects of your life that are challenging you, i hope you find peace, and i hope you know that even if it takes years to get peace on certain issues within your life, like it does for all of us, it doesn't mean there's not incredible beauty and joy and happiness to take part in, which you so eloquently described in your own way, by being henry's mom. have a wonderful day!

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  9. Hi Natalie Jean, Happy Birthday to you! I'm 41 and just had my first baby 13 months ago - a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Life has continued to become better and easier to understand as I've grown older so I wish you more peace of mind as the years go by. Take care, from an Australian friend, Simone (stonesthrow71.blogspot.com)

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  10. Happy birthday to you Lady!! I know you hear this ALL THE TIME but i feel like reading your blog each day has helped me grow aswell. I am only 22 but i feel like i am 30 most days, so i needed to clear some things in my head and straighten myself out and realise that being present in everything made life easier..and i feel like you are my friend behind me saying its all good! All the way from the UK i say Happy Birthday and here is to many more!!

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  11. Happy Birthday! It's amazing how each year provides us with different lessons and experiences, some not so good but most memorable. Keep going young lady...there is so much ahead of you!

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  13. Happy Birthday Natalie! Your blog is my absolute favorite thing to read every day, and I love reading about your journey as a woman, a wife, and a mother. Plus that Huck is about the cutest darned thing ever! Growth is painful, but, man doesn't it always look so much better on the other end! Here's to 31 being the best year for you yet! xoxo
    theligonlife.blogspot.com

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  14. Rock on, girl! Frustrating years are good for stubborn hearts. I feel ya. I'm sure there are some pretty big and awesome things in store for year 31! :)

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

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  15. 2013 has been a rough one for me as well. I feel like God has shown me all my shortcomings and sometimes like i just need Him to show me that yes, there is something good, too. Ha. But you are right, i would much rather be aware of them and have them gone. Here is to growing and for a much better year. And i seriously cant get enough of your writing. :)

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  16. glad to hear you are feeling good, welcome to the 31 club! :)

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  17. Happy Birthday Natalie Holbrook! Being positive about a positively crappy 2013 is what makes your readers love you. The way you tell a story about something so crumby, but make it seem not so bad after all. Cheers to 31, it's going to be a great one for you and the Holbrook family, I just know it!

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  18. 2013 has been the worst year of my life through parents divorce, mom's breast cancer, miscarriage, and death. I guess this may be a growing year for me like 2009 was for you. Cheers to 2014. Wish you the best.

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  19. 2013 has definitely been a rough one. I'm so excited for this next year, I have a good feeling about it. And I hope it brings you nothing but happiness in your 31 year of life :)
    xo TJ

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  20. Thanks for this post! I've been sort of bummed about my 30th birthday and this gave me hope. It also really touched me. Helped me affirm some changes I'd like to make. I hope your birthday is absolutely wonderful.

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  21. I always love you essays! super honest and real. happy birthday to you! may this year God grant you the desires of your heart! :)

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  22. A truly inspiring post, and comforting for anyone else who has ever suffered under the burden of anxiety. Happy birthday Natalie! Have a wonderful day, and a wonderful year!

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  23. Hey, Natalie Jean! Happy Birthday! I love this blog of yours and I feel honoured that you share yourself so honestly. I'm about to turn 30 in less than two months, so I especially appreciated today's essay. Hope you have a wonderful birthday!

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  24. Happy birthday!!!!! Your blog is amazing and even though I don't know you in real life- I am a real fan! And super proud of all that you have accomplished. You are a true inspiration to me and I completely appreciate your honesty and devotion to your family, blog, and general awsomeness (I think I just made that into a word). Keep on keepin' on and I am sending you best wishes for all of the amazing things you wish to come true!! :)

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  25. I truly hope everyone has someone in their life who loves them as much as you love that dear huck.

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  26. I hope you have an amazing 31st, and that you keep the positive vibe going !

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  27. Happiest birthday to you, Natalie Jean! Here's to a much improved 31st year!

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  28. happy bday, woman. learning to say 'screw it' is one of life's most important lessons.

    http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-baby-cold.html

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  29. what a beautiful post...31 is looming for me, and i have to say i don't think 30 is half bad! i don't mind the 30s...they feel okay, not "old" like i thought they might ;) hope your birthday was fantastic!

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  30. Happy Birthday, Nat!!

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  31. Happy Birthday, Natalie! This post gave me goosebumps - I'm turning 30 next year and am already dreading it. You've made it sound more like an adventure and less like a bad thing. So thanks! I hope your day is absolutely perfect.

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  32. Happy Birthday, lion-hearted lady!

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  33. happiest of birthdays to you!!! You make the world a better place by sharing in all the ways you do. thanks Natalie!

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  34. Oh I like what you said. I agree, 2013 has been rough and down and kind of the worst. I was just waiting for it to be over so we could move on to the '14. But to think of it as a necessary year.... A year of growth and finding out what you're made of and becoming stronger. That puts a nice spin on it that I think I needed. Thanks Natalie Jean ;)

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    1. Ooops, oh yeah HAPPY BIRTHDAY NATALIE!

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  35. Happy Birthday Natalie!! Thank you for your honest & heartfelt writing on this blog. You've inspired my life! xo

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  36. Happy Birthday! Truly, you are amazing!

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  37. Happy Birthday! I truly love this post because it speaks so much to my own experience over the past few years. For me, 2010 was the worst year to date but 2013 has given it a run for its money. But, as you say in your post, these tough times can either be tough times or they can be revelatory of our true, strong natures. I have never felt more human than in these two separate years. And I think sometimes you have to lose a lot to truly cherish what you have. And we have so much. I hope your 31st year is glorious!

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  38. Bless you sweet Natalie!!! That light at the end of the tunnel is always there, even when we cant quite see it! Glad to know you are on the mend! ♥ Happy 31st year of everything that is to come!!! Lots of good things I think!

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  39. You know what, I feel good about it, too. FOR YOU, and just in general. you just keep kicking trash right back, man!

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  40. So amazingly honest and raw, happy birthday natalie!

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  41. I love your honest awesome blog. And happy birthday! Life only gets better.

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  42. Happy Birthday, Natalie!

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  43. I enjoy your state of the union much more than I ever have a politicians. happy 31 Natalie. hopefully this next year is as good as 2010!

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  44. I'm right there with you. just in the middle of 30 and now finally starting to stop caring about what other people think of me. This post was beautiful and made me cry some good tears. I hope you make it to the "outside" soon. HBD!

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  45. Hey Natalie Jean!
    I´m looking for an "I like it" sign and i can´t find it, so i´ll say it in the classic way: I LIKE IT!
    I hope your 31st year is better than the best year you had lived before.
    Kisses&Hugs!

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  46. Happiest of birthdays, Natalie!! I think the next year will be much much better, especially if that sciency stuff is true. ;) I, for one, am banking on it!

    xo

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  47. I love you...not to sound like a creeper or anything....

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  48. Happy Birthday!!!

    It's a relief to hear you say that 30 is not scary because, man... 30. I'm going to be 30 at the end of the year. I didn't think it was going to bother me, but it's kind of starting to.

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  49. I don't comment often, but every time I read your blog, I feel like you are such a kindred spirit. Blogs are funny like that, I guess. I do hope 31 is the best yet for you though, I really, really do. And for what it's worth, I'm coming on 30 in a couple of years. It used to terrify me, but reading your blog has made me pretty dang excited about it. :)

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  50. Perfect. I'll be 31 next week and at this time in my life, I really know who I want to be in my life... and not. You're you and nobody should fault you for that.

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  51. Happy Birthday Natalie Jean!!!

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  52. Sweet Nathalie, happy birthday! I just love how you put your thoughts into words so perfectly. Can't wait to read your book:) Thank you for sharing!

    Christine

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  53. Thank you so much for your honesty Natalie!! I know some people think blogs are just for the pretty pictures and some humor and a little bit of the nicer things in life thrown in (like Instagrams of cider and puppies and babies) but we need the reality with it too. And this is both the nitty gritty true shit and uplifting. I get you. I got the anxieties too and boy do they stink (we thought I was dying of a mysterious disease until I was finally diagnosed as having PTSD!), but the point is, at least now you know and you can find your own ways to cope. You are a wonderful person (funny to say considering we've never met) and great writer. Keep it up lady.

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  54. Happy Birthday Natalie! I have a theory that the "even numbered years" are SO much better than the odd numbered ones. Seems like its true for both of us. Heres to the even numbered 2014 being amazing! Hope your special day is fabulous :)

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  55. Happy birthday, Natalie! I'm so hopeful that your 31 will be what it needs to be. Like someone else said, even years always seem to be a little sweeter. My mom and I like to tell ourselves that, at least.

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  56. "posted and private" Anne Shirley would have beat someone over the head with a small chalkboard, died her hair green then cut all of her hair off to feel better. That sounds like therapy!

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  57. I love it. I cried. Thank you Miss Natalie Holbrook for letting me be a part of your lovely life.

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  58. What a beautiful and inspiring post. I'm excited to follow you on your journey through the next year and the many more to come.

    Cheers to you Natalie!

    West Coast hugs,
    Carly

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  59. Amen, Natalie! I just turned 31 in August. I had my first baby in February (after a long struggle) and have just quit my corporate job to stay home with my girl. I really feel like I'm figuring out this life thing. The 30s are fantastic! I love your blog and think that you are a doll. Here's to shedding layers and living the lives we want. And to our amazing babies... because, let's face it, that's what it's all about! Happy Birthday!!!

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  60. I've been going through your archives in order the past couple of days. Today I was reading may 2012 when I couldn't take it anymore. I put down your blog, downloaded you've got mail and watched it. Now I can go on reading thank you very much. It's my mom's favourite movie, she lives on the other side of the world from me, so that made my eyes watery. She used to watch it every day, or listen to the soundtrack while in the car.

    Anyway, it's been nice getting to know you, I still have a year to read in order to catch up with your present . just thought I'd share this little story first

    xx

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    1. wow, I just read what this post was about. i'm sorry to have commented of such insignificance when you were opening your heart. as I said, I had not caught up to, and just commented on the latest one.

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  61. You are so refreshing Natalie! Happy birthday to you!

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  62. Happy Birthday!! And yes, the thirties humbly remind us we're human, which is a great thing to be if I say so myself. Cheers!

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  63. Happy Birthday!
    Wait til 40. I flipping love 40.
    muffeeeeeeee.blogspot.com

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  64. Happy birthday! I knew we were close in age but I didn't realize you are only 13 days older than me. So so true, what you say about 30, I've felt it too. No more messing around, time to make things happen! Hope your day's been lovely and fantastic and wonderful and cheers to this next year being FANTASTIC!

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  65. Yes to you and all of this. Yes, yes, yes. Those spiritual sayings (or verbal equivalents of Thomas Kincade paintings) make me downright ragey sometimes, but damn if they don't turn out to be true more often than not. Happy 31 to you! I just turned 32, and I am liking these early thirties SO MUCH. I hope your birthday is completely grand. Hip hip!

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  66. Oh goodness. You write so beautifully. Thanks for sharing your heart. I know it's not always easy putting it out there, so thank you.

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  67. I send you birthday wishes - I too am an October birthday and this year, I'm turning 40. I can't believe it. The good news is... I don't feel 40.. so hopefully that's a good sign? I agree - once I turned 30 I was finally able to stop caring so dang much what everyone else thought of me. Here's hoping to a GREAT year ahead!!

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  68. 25 is kicking my butt and I am not even a month in. I thought I was doing so good with 24, but 25 is making wonder if I actually made any progress at all. Thanks for giving me faith in the fact that there is still so much good growing to do in the years to come, and that it's okay if I still have not reached some new epitome of self ... that there is still time. Cheers to 31 for you Natalie, and cheers to loving the women we can see and hope we are becoming.

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  69. You are just the lovliest. Thank you for all the good you do, even if you think your impact is small. Speaking hope to people's hurts and hearts is no small miracle.

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  70. First time I've commented on your blog after discovering it about 6 months ago.
    Your honesty is beautiful and so refreshing. I suffer off and on from feelings of inadequacy based off of me ridiculously comparing my life to other peoples picture perfect internet lives.
    So, thanks for being real. And also stylish/badass/funny.

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  71. Happy birthday Natalie! I am so encouraged by your hope, your faith, and your honesty. I'm hoping, and believing with you...for you :)

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  72. Happy birthday, Natalie! Thank you for being you (and for sharing yourself with us).

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  73. "maybe the more stubborn among us have to be taught these things, these real good and important things, in the hardest ways possible. do you think that's true?" Yes, yes, yes. I guess God really knows what we need and delivers. Holy shitballs. I'm halfway through my 30th year and our baby is finally home from the NICU because she came premature. 2013 has been terrifying- it's forced me to purge alot of junk inside too, which in the end feels quite nice and light really- a blessing in the end. Thanks for another year of blogging and sharing a part of yourself and your family. I spent many a summer day rocking our little girl in the uncomfortable hospital room, reading your blog on my phone while she slept. Your posts were always a nice escape and a remembrance that "this too shall pass" and a reminder of what "real" life was and how it would return for us in it's own time. I wish the very best for you this year. Happy personal new year!

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  74. i am so very happy for you. this year has been one for the books. watching you grow is such an honor, i can't even. happiest of the happy days and years. give that little guy a squeeze for me.

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  75. I just adore you. Thanks for sharing your New York life with us (especially those of us in the Midwest)... I love your honesty, your fun spirit, and your witty humor. Keep doin' your thing, and screw the people who don't appreciate it. Happy Birthday Natalie!

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  76. Happy Birthday! Here's to 2014- plus you'll have a book out!

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  77. 2013 is the pits... I'm with you. Bring on 2014 already!

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  78. Happy Happy! You might find that you feel a lot better if you cut out dairy (and your allergies might be less debilitating). Yeah, it sucks to not be able to scarf down ice cream, but it's pretty great to wake up feeling... awake every day.

    MisadventuresinMotherhood

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  79. I just discovered your blog! I adore it! :) I’m definitely going to be reading frequently! Also, I just started a blog and it’d be amazing if you could check it out and give me suggestions? Thanks hun

    xx Jenna
    http://loveandotherbliss.blogspot.sg

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  80. Oh 30...it is coming on me in just a few months. I've been a little apprehensive but the closer it gets the more I realize the 20's kicked my booty...at least the first half...so I think the 30s are going to be good to me.

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  81. Happy birthday to you! I adore your blog. Your openness & vulnerability inspire me!

    B

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  82. Hey I just read an article in the City Weekly and I think you are Amanda! That is super interesting. I am not wanting to be ordained but I am sympathetic to those that are sad with the current place we are in. I hope this year is as good as you are hoping.

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  83. Man, Natalie Jean, I love you! And your blog.
    Have a good year!

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  84. I just love your writing so much Natalie! Thank you for always sharing with us, and making me feel like it's ok to struggle too

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  85. You don't look 31 at all! Way to have a positive outlook on getting older! I'm still stuck in wanting to be forever young. But I want more children, too, so... Can't have it all :P Great post!
    http://lilgunnellfam.blogspot.com/

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  86. You have truly matured since we were roommates at Chatham towne. I knew a different Natalie back then. You have grown into your own skin and embraced all your imperfections... all the many we all have. Hope you have a good year.

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  87. oh my... this post just made my day. glad i stumbled upon your blog. this is just what i needed today. thanks for sharing!

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  88. oh gosh this post just made my day (no, my week). i am so very glad i stumbled upon your blog. this was just what i needed to read today. thanks for sharing!

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