A word vom pep talk for the bosses out there.


Have you ever played the “If I believed in past lives, I would be _____________” game? I think I might have just invented it on the way to my favorite coffee shop but still, the game feels like a riot and I was only playing it by myself so I imagine it would be even better with actual people playing alongside you.

You could be anyone, really. Cleopatra. A fox (because who does not want to be a fox these days?). Shirley Temple. A tree in the Hunger Games. (Y’all are thinking, why wouldn’t you want to be Katniss? And you know a lot of us are all blah-blah-I’m-not-good-enough-to-be-Katniss so let’s quit the drama and settle on being a lame tree instead. Maybe I’ll convince you to be Katniss by the end of this post.)

Basically, if I believed in past lives, I’d be one of those cool, kind-of pudgy & balding men who run the screen printing companies. My name would probably be Lou. And I’d make some pretty ballin’ T-shirts. I’d be friends with Diddy & Weezy and probably be dating Ellie Goulding because everyone would want my swag. I’d smoke cigars because that feels kind of random but awesome for Lou to do. And then I’d screenprint a T-shirt and save it for my life as Hannah, the blogger.

The T-shirt would read, “AINT NO WORD VOM BLOGGER.”

If I owned that T-shirt, I’d never take it off. EVER. Honestly, for the longest time I sincerely detested word vom bloggers. You know the ones. The ones who spill their guts and heart and soul and inappropriateness all over the floor and it kind of just looks like a mangled mess that no one is going to clean up. I used to say to myself, that’s what a diary is for. I’ve never been interested in letting y’all wade your ankles in the puddles of my own struggles.

But today I am word vomming like a B-O-S-S. I have nothing else to give you. No poetry. No pretty morals. Just honesty.

I’m struggling.

Not in the way where I am unsure about life. Not in the way where I wonder how to get out bed. Just in the fact that it feels like I’m juggling 72 things. And you don’t want to admit to anyone that you are afraid of any one of those things dropping and shattering across the floor. Just in the fact that the to-do list never gets shorter and you wake up thinking, “Man, I really want to be a better human being than this.” I want to remember people’s birthdays better. I want to be the one who has the time to send my friends letters in the mail. I want to remember to eat breakfast. I want to get a better workout in. I want to stop. beating. myself. up. so. hard. for. stupid. stuff.

You’ve been there, babycakes. Let’s not act like you could not possibly be standing in these same sorts of feelings right now. If I’ve learned anything in the last 25 years, it’s that we sometimes live 9 lives within one day. We’re crazy like that. We wake up optimistic. By 10am we’re exhausted. At 1pm, we feel illegitimate. It steepens at 2pm when we convince ourselves that no one has ever loved us. By 4, we’re positive again. By 6, we want to hack off all the progress we’ve made in life and just start over. Sentence of the day: Humans be cray. It’s a marvel that we manage to get up every morning and get out of yoga pants. If you didn’t make it that far today, I still love you something fierce.

So here’s a few things you might need to know today, because they are words I most definitely need to digest myself:

1) You’re human:

That’s it. You’re human. You’re not super human. You’re not subhuman. You’re just plain human. You make mistakes. You don’t scale walls. You hurt people without ever intending to. You get your heart ripped out of your chest. Some days the only language you can endure is tears and you’re like, “I’M SO FLUENTTT IN TEARSSSS. WHATTT ISSSS WRONNGGG WITHHH MEEE???” Shh… Shh… It’s ok. It’s ok.

2) SURPRISE! There is only one of you:

Sky high to-do lists seem really practical until we need to execute them. You won’t get it all done today. Maybe you will, but you’ll already be making another list in your head. Count your fingers… there should be 10. Count your toes… 10 again. Your eyes? 2 of them. There is one single person inside you, not 18 or 27. Stop acting like you can manage the load of 47 humans. If you can’t swallow that fully, go back to point 1.

3) Take a break:

Sometimes. It doesn’t mean you stop going to work or you abandon all your daily tasks but sometimes we just need an hour or two. Sometimes we just need a good book. Sometimes we need a Skype call with a best friend.

If your mind feels cluttered, take a break from social media. You’d be surprised to see what happens when you delete the apps for a little bit and just sit with your own thoughts instead of the 140-characters of the world’s population. Clarity comes, babycakes. Clarity comes.

4) Get yo’ self a stealthy pet name:

Some of you are thinking, when did she get all “babycakes” on us?

Well, people who know me, or anyone who gets an email from me, will know this truth: I only refer to people in terms of endearment. The second I know you, the second we first communicate, I basically forget your name and pick one of the following pet names for you: 1) Love 2) Darling 3) Babycakes 4) Babygirl 5) Lovely 6) Girl 7) Doll.

I’m not trying to be overly lovey-dovey with people but names are a really powerful thing. We call ourselves all sorts of ugly things. We are fat. We are stupid. We are lazy. We are pathetic.

Baby, baby, get yourself an amazing little pet name.  I hauled through 6 lectures and 7 flights in a little over 72 hours this weekend but the whole time I kept saying, “We got this. Babygirl, we got this.” And it got me through. Being kind to myself, being loving to myself, got me through.

5) Ban Adele:

Not forever. But in fragile times when you feel low & down & insecure, Adele doesn’t help anyone. She makes us want to gouge our eyes out with pencils because WE. FEEL. SO. MUCH.

Use Adele as a springboard if you need to, or just go sit in a Starbucks, and when all the sad music rolls in just give yourself permission to cry. Big tears. Little tears. Sloppy tears. Ugly cry all over that coffee shop and hold your hands up and surrender and admit that you are far from put together. Let the baristas carry you out screaming and crying and slurring your words to Adele. Get someone to video the whole thing so that you can become a really, super awesome viral sensation. And don’t forget about the person who gave you the sweet idea when you go on Ellen.

6) You. Are. Freaking. Katniss.

You are freaking Katniss. I don’t care what people tell you. I don’t care what you tell yourself every single day. A lot of the stuff we tell ourselves are just stupid little lies. You are capable. You are strong. You are not the tree in the Hunger Games, you are Katniss.

You’re an absolute genius at something. You have gifts all hidden in your limbs. You are not the sum of your doubts or your insecurities or the thought that you won’t get anywhere in this lifetime. You are going somewhere. You are, you are, you are. You are brave. You got swag. You got potential. You are a BOSS. Write that on your desk, doodle it in your notebooks, get it tatted on your head if it drives the point home: You. Are. A. Boss. This world ain’t got nothing on you, darling.

17 thoughts on “A word vom pep talk for the bosses out there.

  1. Hannah….amazing Girl! I can’t tell you how much you inspire me. And the Adele thing…………YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So spot on. “You are going somewhere. You are, you are, you are. You are brave.” Can’t even begin to tell you how much I needed that today. Really, all of it, I’m just laughing, crying, shaking my head yes, yes, yes Clarity.

  2. . ……..what Nancy said. I am tired from working at night and misplaced my engagement ring this morning. I have been feeling like I failed in some way. Hopefully, its just misplaced. I needed this.

  3. Thanks Hannah! Spot on. As my Storytelling/Volunteering and new volunteer collaboration takes off with Artfully AWARE (Ghana next month, Haiti in December, Belize January, India in March etc) I am constantly pulled in 11ty billion directions. I have NO staff. I am blessed that a few folks have stepped in and donated their precious time to vamp my website & help a bit with fundraising. Whew! We are the little engine that could! HUGS to you and thanks for being YOU! ❤

  4. OH TO LEARN TO choose a much kinder petname for ourselves than Stupid. Like Sweetheart, Dearest One, Beloved, Kind, Perfectly Adequate to live my own life well cover in Divine grace. To learn to be as gentle with ourselves as we are with our dearest friends is to learn to live.

  5. Hannah, I love your blog so much! I really needed to hear this today. I just love everything about More Love Letters. You rock. 🙂

  6. Wow…I never read blogs yet here I am, not only reading this but blubbering like an idiot…I can’t remember the last time I cried. I think law school beat that out of me, not because the environment is that cut-throat but because I passed exhaustion sometime last year. Only nine months left and I’m pulling myself across the finish line with my pinky fingernail. I’ve been a healthcare executive – a single mom – lost my best friend in the whole world to a careless drunk driver – and given birth to 2 boys, proudly with no distractions. But this has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done because law school is an unrelenting master through death and cancer and surgery until you’ve become quite the task master yourself at putting your head down and just getting it done that you know nothing else. And so I’m publishing – sorry for the abrupt right turn there with no turn signal – like my name in print and google-able if that’s a word. And I should be happy about that. And I tell myself that I welcome and embrace criticism because it only makes you stronger and that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? So I open the email from my friend who was truly dear enough to read my paper before publication, and I realize that this paper has my heart and soul and blood somehow flowing through it and so criticism when it comes feels like a knife…slashing at me and hissing at me that I’m not good and in fact I’m terrible and it would be such an embarrassment if I published this piece of crap and I should just pull it and bury it and put rocks on it and not ever resurrect it. And I’m certain the blubbering has something to do with me circling the drain, that my writing is bad and I need to get out of the business before I’ve even really begun. After all, it’s not creative or exciting writing but basic, vanilla-flavored-about leadership, which is my passion like I could talk to complete strangers with no prepared comments for hours in an auditorium because publicly speaking could be my hobby … but somehow after 16+ years of doing it I can’t get it right on paper. I know tomorrow will feel better but it’s hard to be here in this place where I’ve always exceeded at everything and worked so hard – I mean so hard. And all I can think about is those empty words I’ve given everyone else when they don’t reach their goals and last month for one of the first times in my life I didn’t meet a goal, although in fairness it’s a major goal about GPA and class rank but now that I type those words and I see the ridiculousness, it doesn’t ease the pain and desire any that I’ve missed the mark, which I never do…and I could talk about the extenuating circumstances like my son falling 25 feet from a tree and living at the hospital for a few days before law school finals but I’m not one to make excuses but instead prefer to just take the blame…and so now I’m doing what I caution my students to never do which is write yourself in to a corner, so where was I?? Oh yes, empty words. So all this failure has me thinking about what it really feels like to miss your goal because I’ve never had to worry about what that really felt like…I could just impart my words of wisdom and walk away feeling like I had truly done something for someone. Well, that was a crock of crap…so how do I now counsel my students about what do so when you miss the mark other than with the silly cliches and Google images of quotes about boot straps. I think about my friend who was just fired from a law firm and she’s the smartest Miss SmartyPants I know – and she’s smart and bright (did I say that?) and network-y and outgoing and careful and efficient and all the things you should be as a lawyer. But she got canned and is in the pit of despair and my empty words can’t help. So I need to figure out what words will help – her and me. Of course I want to tell her that women are leaving law in droves to be entrepreneurs and to take control of their lives but question if they can really do it and if they’re really good enough…which is so funny because years ago I thought lawyers had it together but now I know that’s not true because they are human, as you so aptly remind me … So I guess that brings me back full circle to being here – on a blog – where I never am – and certainly never leaving any kind of comment – but I know God and He whispers to me and tell me it’s OK in mysterious ways like your words,,,and He reminds me of the vision He’s placed on my heart and the direction He’s gently pulling or swiftly kicking me in because He’s planted that seed since I was 19 that I’m meant for amazing things…and that he’s opening the doors…and he’s creating the relationships…and He reminds me of this through a complete stranger, which you are. So thank you for this place to comment or just spill your life and read truths about yourself that you are brave enough to tell others but yet your own heart remains unconvinced about. I need those words to get me to the end and to continue building the vision He’s placed on my heart. I feel a bit uplifted and like I may feel a trickle of energy somewhere in my little toe on my left foot. Ah, but one toe at a time, right?


  7. Well this is just the best thing I’ve ever read. You’re freaking amazing…thanks for making me feel like Ms. Katniss Everdeen herself, in all her fire-y goodness! 😉

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