i'm a mess and that's okay

Most of my writing is very honest and vulnerable but a lot of it revolves around me forgiving others. Sometimes for what people have taught me to believe about myself. Or sometimes about how someone treated me. These are important moments for anyone to come to because we have all been hurt by others and acknowledging this is important way to heal.

Sometimes we need to acknowledge how we have hurt others and forgive ourselves.

Last week was especially hard for me. I have been unusually anxious since coming back from Europe. The trip was very fun but not as cathartic as my trips in the past. Traveling with family can be really stressful for me. My brother handles it a lot better than I do but I get very frustrated with how my mom plans and makes decisions. It can be chaotic and often leads to passive aggression on my mom’s part and fighting on my part. The trip was great in a lot of ways but really stressful. The six months up to the trip I've been getting along really well with my mom but I felt like the trip brought up a lot of old shit. I came back from the trip with a lot more anxiety and tension than what I left with.

Coming back also sucked because I didn’t feel ready to leave Europe. I could have stayed longer. I also knew that my arrival in the US would mean that I’d been unemployed for 6 weeks and I’d have to start making some decisions about my next steps soon. But I’m just as confused about what I want to do for my “next step” as when I left.

For the last month, I was planning my graduation party, which made me so stressed – inexplicably, because it wasn’t that hard. But it was when I learned about the death of Kate Spade on Tuesday, that I sunk into a deep depression. I was very surprised, as we all were. Her style and designs meant so much to me as a thirteen years old girl. She helped to develop my style. Her designs were bold, colorful, and used glitter unapologetically. They were childlike but also vintage. A blend of east coast prep school, weekend at the Hamptons, southern belle, and many other styles. Her art means a lot to the world. But I was devastated for her family and friends, especially her young daughter.

I’ve had this kind of celebrity-passing-depression before. When Philip Seymour Hoffman died. Or Harris Wittels. And what it mostly looks like is having a couple glasses of wine and going on a google deep dive to learn everything I can about them. Mostly I am looking for “the why”. I suspect that I’m looking for a reason because I’m always deeply terrified/fascinated that this could be my story too.

I never saw Anthony Bourdain’s television show, but it was clear that I was alone in that when his death announced on Friday morning. The whole social media world was mourning. And of course, just like Kate Spade, his suicide brought a lot of people to discuss mental health, depression, and suicide. I read a lot of beautiful, poignant posts from people describing their battles.

All of this was building in me. And it was right under the surface the week of my graduation party. The day before the party, I had to meet my parents for drinks. Just the three of us. Neither of my step parents could make it to Cleveland. I honestly cannot remember the last time it was just the three of us. Probably ten to fifteen years. Maybe more. I was so anxious. So I drank. And drank a lot. They got along just fine, but that was almost worse for me. Hearing them bond over 20-year-old stories of when they were married and I was a kid made me anxious.

Stephanie DeLacy - The Upspeak Collective


I ended up having a meltdown at the bar. Crying in front of everyone. And getting into fights with both parents separately. I had been holding on to some things that my mom said and did in Ireland that made me upset. I confronted her about it, which of course I did poorly and made her very upset. I did the same with my dad about some things I had been holding on to for years, which I delivered even worse. Thankfully, my dad just said “Let’s call it a night”. And we left.

The next day, my brother arrived. The party went well. Blah blah.

What’s my point?

I fucked up. I should have never held on to that anger from my mom. I had the choice to talk about it with her weeks ago or I needed to let it go. But I chose not to. I let it colonize in me. Sprawling out. That’s not my mom’s fault. Same with my dad. I know my parent’s well enough by now to know that having a drunk public blow up is not effective.

My mom expressed some concern a few days later. She often thinks that I’m not really happy because I cry a lot and I’m often anxious/depressed. It’s hard to convince her that I am. It’s nearly impossible when I have public meltdowns. I told her someone like me, with a history of depression, anxiety, sexual abuse, is never really out of the woods, but I am okay. I explained that it was an unusually hard week for me and I fucked up and I apologized.

Healing is not a linear process. If anyone promises you that it is, they have not started the process of healing. But you can have tools that help you in rough times.

1)    When my anxiety is piling up, I might have a “slip up”. I might regress to behaviors I normally don’t do or issues I am at peace with most days. And I can prevent this type of slip if I don’t put myself in a vulnerable situation like drinking heavily with my parents.

2)    I need to figure out a way to let something settle. I hate the advice “let it go” because that’s what I was told all of the time when I was upset as a kid. I think we should feel our feelings and deal with shit. But I do know that my mom is not going to change. I know that by now. Being upset about things she did and said on our vacation only hurts me. Talking to her about it does not help the situation, so it is on me to find a way to make peace with it, or let it settle.

3)    I am not my mistakes, fuck-ups, drinking, anxiety, or depression. I am my love. I am embarrassed about some of my behavior over the weekend. But I am not going to let it shame me or define me. Because I don’t think we can ever stop making a mistake by shaming ourselves out of it. Some of you might disagree, but I don’t believe that I’m a bad person for getting drunk, yelling at my parents, and crying in public. I did not do a great thing. I don’t want to do it again. But I am so much more than that thing. I am loved by so many. And I love so many. I tell everyone in my life I love them constantly. I accept my mess because my love for others will long outlast my physical body and at the end of my life my mess won’t matter; only my love will.

Stephanie DeLacy unapologetically shares what it’s like to navigate the world as 20-something white girl, with humor, profanity, and raw vulnerability. Stephanie recounts stories of her travel, mental health, and the journey to loving her body. Her descriptions of dating are bawdy but incredibly relatable. She courageously describes her dysfunctional childhood, healing from trauma, and how she’s evolved as a survivor of sexual assault. At times, heart wrenching, her stories will evoke raw emotion and connect to you on the most guttural level. She hopes to inspire authentic living and human connection.  Stephanie lives in Cleveland with her dog and two cats.