I am learning, with each new email, that we are all hiding behind the Cool Factor.

These days, I am living in my Gmail inbox, breathing in stories of souls who come to me with heavy hearts.

But if you asked me what I’m doing, I’m just as likely to tell you I’m in the business of designing fashionable kneepads.

“Kneepads?” you’re saying.

Yes, kneepads. And elbow pads and wrist pads and helmets, too.

But not just any kind of kneepads. Fashionable ones.

We are in the business of protection and prevention and healing, but we’re making it personal and attractive.

We’ll have pink glitter ones for the Glam Gals. Camouflage prints for the Deer Hunters and ROTC members. Argyle for the Preps and plaid for the Westerners. Teal and tan for the California Surfer Boys and black and purple for the Rocker Chicks.

We’ll stock them in all the university colors and people will begin to buy them as graduation presents because what better way to say “welcome to your new life” than to suit up for an epic battle with impending disaster?

Growing up, my mom had to wrestle my Barbie bike helmet onto my head. She had to paint a picture of what might’ve happened if I had an accident and wasn’t wearing it.

And even then, that didn’t stop me from complaining about the bangs in the eyes or the constant itching at the back of my neck as my ponytail scratched me.

That didn’t stop me from feeling like a Loser with a capital L.

But these days, I am wishing it were that easy—strap on your kneepads and helmet and swerve to avoid all the orange cones:

Loneliness. Depression. Breakups. Anxiety. Divorce. Suicide.

I am learning, with each new email, that we are all hiding behind the Cool Factor.

It’s not cool to be depressed or self-harming or bulimic or otherwise unable to cope with change and disaster and heartbreak and low self-esteem.

But it happens.

So I am hoping we can unravel this piece of fabric knotting our lips together in favor of something new—open minds and fashionable kneepads and attractive ways to say You Aren’t The Only One Suffering.

Because you’re not. Have I told you that lately?

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11 responses to “I am learning, with each new email, that we are all hiding behind the Cool Factor.

  1. Wow. It’s like you were writing just to me. Blessed my heart so much. I needed a reminder that I’m not the only one suffering. Thanks Kaleigh! Hope you have a great day! 🙂

  2. Julie Catherine

    Great post, Kaleigh; you have a compassionate wisdom blended with practicality that is really needed to get your message out to the world. Very well said. ~ Julie 🙂

  3. One: I am so glad this find you when you needed it most. Two: You have a good day as well. Mondays can be tough.

  4. Wow, Julie. Such a nice compliment. It’s funny how all the passion in the world sometimes slips through our fingers if we don’t know how to make people understand.

  5. Kaleigh! I love this post. I love your writing, it’s always so empowering. 🙂

  6. Thanks, Kerry. And thanks for sharing. I am digging your post. Cannot wait to share with my readers! 🙂

  7. Sarah Koci Scheilz

    Kaleigh, I love this! I’m with Kerry — so empowering for sure!

  8. What a perfect analogy. Strapping on a helmet was so embarrassing to younger me. I thought of that bulky thing and what other people would say about the bright pink flowers and it almost made me want to stay indoors. But it was so simple then. Helmet on, head protected. What protects us now?

  9. Truly, I think many of us felt that way. Doesn’t it seem kind of counterintuitive? Shouldn’t we be more protected now, knowing and preparing for future disasters? But yet we can’t.

  10. love the idea of giving kneepads to welcome post-grad life, and love that you are in the business of protecting, preventing and healing! I like to think that I’m an emotional healer too. *wink* I really like what you’re doing, gal! Great job!

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