your heart does not belong in the junk drawer

I’m a pretty happy person.

Well, I don’t like it if my latte is handed to me and it’s half foam and like a cappuccino. I really don’t like that. Sometimes I’ll tell them to scrape off some of that foam and just add more milk. And I don’t like bumps on my socks or clothes that fit funny. But, in general, I think I’m fairly happy. I notice rainbows in the sky and will try to instagram them even though they never turn out as brilliant as the real thing. I get such joy watching my kids sing at their kid school concerts. And I love my favorite flannel pants because they fit just right.

Except there are these things that rob me from joy.

I can see them more and more and more.

And they’re not the big motherhood things that I’m sure you expect me to write about – about the laundry or the fighting my kids have over things like another looking at them wrong or that they walked out the front door first or that the orange peels on the clementines are stuck.  Nor the finances, relationship issues, money stuff or all the identity stuff.

I don’t even know how to write this stuff, sometimes. I think to myself you’re the only one that deals with this and then I remember the hundreds of emails that I receive from you all telling me and I thought I was the only one. So I guess, once again, I’ll write. But then, again, I wrote about anxiety and this is really kind of part of my anxiety. You see – I have a hard time really letting go of things in the past that hurt me. And lately I’ve noticed that the hurt part hasn’t dissipated, but has rather transformed into this ugly angry part of me. Hidden by the happy and Instagram pics of bags of stuff donated and me holding a correctly made latte.

But, friends, it’s there.


And I don’t like it.

Every morning I wake and think that this will be a good day. Well, sometimes I wake and just want to get through the morning – especially if it is -11 like today. And then every once in a while there are these trigger moments that just make me start to get all spun in a tizzy and then things like fighting or the silly latte issue or all of that seems so much worse.

It’s because I’m letting the past, and some people, have tremendous power over the present.

I know I just need to move on. I get that.

But man oh man, it’s hard.

I think it’s hard because as I’ve identified in the tidying-up challenge that we’re doing that so much of my worry about decluttering and all is rooted in fear. And well, here’s the truth, in going through my house it wasn’t just conveniently focused only on my teeshirts, shoes, shorts, towels and books. There seems to be a great deal of mental cleaning up that is going on as well.

And honestly, part of me is so super frustrated by having to deal with that – I don’t have time, it’s painful, and it’s now not just festering it’s just out there – raw. Us moms don’t have time for raw, right? But just like my junk drawer was crammed shut with stuff and my counters appearing clean my heart has been crammed full of stuff that I haven’t dealt with and let go.

I’m sure you have it too. I’m sure I’m not the only one with people who have hurt us. That part really really sucks, you know. Or maybe you’re like me and you’re afraid to trust because for so much of your life you were burned. Or maybe you’re afraid to be open. Or to love. Or to be happy.

I get it. I understand.

But, you know, freedom in life doesn’t happen when we stuff our hearts into the junk drawer to take care of later.


You are worth it.

I think that’s what I’m really discovering in this. I’m discovering that maybe it’s okay that I am angry about some stuff that happened to me – angry because I never spoke up at all – just shoved me under I’m fine’s and a whole lot of people pleasing. Because of fear. But I don’t have to stay stuck. I don’t have to stay angry. I don’t want to be that kind of mom, really. Or writer or person. Or friend. But in order to move on and in order to find order in my heart and real, true, deep happiness again I have to deal with the stuff.

I have to deal with losing almost everything. About feeling more alone than I ever did. About feeling like I didn’t matter. All of it.

And somehow in dealing with it, which surprisingly writing this did tremendously, that stuff can move away and make room for good in my life.

You know, tonight while I was writing this I was getting rather teary. I think because I realized how the me has been so squished under the weight of stuff. And because I realized, once again, how much the littlest things matter in life – about the dinners that we make, the bandaids we place, the notes we share – and then my 14yo daughter Grace sent me this picture that she made from my instagram photos.

She saw the happy part of me. The quotes and mom and my love of beauty part.

I want to live with that heart. Not a heart weighed by the past.



And I saw me how she sees me. That’s how I want me. Not weighed down by anger or hurt or sadness or fear. Yes, that fear thing.

So I think it’s time I dealt with a whole bunch of stuff and decide to not shove it back. Maybe I need a good kickboxing class. Or chocolate. But you know what, we’re fighting for us today. I want you to fight for you too. No joke. I don’t want you to keep shoving your happiness behind layers of I’m fine and it doesn’t matter and I’ll do it later. Fear robs us from joy.

The time is now. Your heart, yes yours, does not belong in the junk drawer of life.

So be brave, fight for it, and work with me.

Just like we’re doing with our homes. One thing. Work through it.

And let it be in the past.

It doesn’t need to have power over you today.

Because today you are more than enough.

So sweet mom, thanks for reading my words. And whenever I write this gut pouring out posts my hope is that it blesses just one person – one person needing hope, needing to know that they are not a bad person for having hard stuff or being angry – and in that moment the angst or anxiety is replaced with hope.


Joy in our now.


11 Responses to “your heart does not belong in the junk drawer”

  1. January 19, 2016

    Kathy Reply

    You’re not the only one! Hugs and love to you, Rachel!
    I, too, am angry. Angry at my daughter’s bully, who used to be her best friend, even though it was 5 years ago. Angry at the bully’s mother, who used to be my friend. Angry because they don’t even know I’m angry. They don’t even know.

    Some days I go through and I can be the bigger person, and I can help my daughter move through and not be angry, and I can *just move on.* Then other days it hits me like a punch in the gut, that they get to move on without the baggage, but we don’t. We still deal with it every single day. They have no clue.

    We’re getting help to get through this. Because I recognize that my anger isn’t hurting them. It only hurts me and my family, and we’ve already been through enough. My anger is just them hurting us all over again.

    I need to believe that.

    So I’m sending you lots of love, so you can know that there is more love than anger, and lots of times it helps to find ways to not be angry, be it counselling, running, writing … <3

    • January 19, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      Your third paragraph spoke to me so deeply. I know that my anger over some of that stuff is only hurting me — keeping me stuck. Thank you thank you thank you for writing. You blessed me greatly.

  2. January 19, 2016

    Mary Reply

    And how to work through it? That is the question.

    • January 19, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      That’s where I am. When I try to deal with it I become so frustrated. So I’ve been trying to replace that angry with truth and fill that space with good things. Blessings, Mary.

  3. January 19, 2016

    M.e. Reply

    As the wife of a narcissistic husband, I had put my heart in the junk drawer, 13 years ago. I kept putting his needs & our 3 kids’ needs before mine. He never recognized nor met my emotional needs. I eventually agreed with him that my needs must not be all that important.
    This year, I’m listening to your words and taking my heart back out of the junk drawer and polishing it off so I can feel hope and see it shine through me once again!
    Thank you for sharing your story with all of us! I needed it today.

  4. January 19, 2016

    Sarah Reply

    I have just recently found your site and it has blesses me greatly. Thank you for your openness and honesty. You aren’t the only one that deals with past demons. If we are honest we all have something. The reminder though that we can work through and there is hope is a blessing. Thank you again.

  5. January 20, 2016

    Jan Reply

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. I’m a pleaser and always put myself last on the list. I’m the worrier who can’t clear her mind. I’m the anxious one who must have a plan for every possible scenario. And I’m the one who always says “I’m fine” and buries my sadness and disappointment a little deeper. I’m afraid to open up, afraid I might actually need someone to help me, or listen-for then I won’t be the mom who has herself together…the strong one for the family.

    I don’t know where to start so today I’ll start with being honest. With myself and whoever might ask. “How was your day?” “How are you?” “Are you ok?” Well, I won’t answer with my typical “I’m fine”. I’ll be honest with the person that asks. (Provided it’s not the check out person at my grocery store)

  6. January 27, 2016

    Kristin Reply

    I sometimes think that you take the words out of my head and put them into paragraphs. And it is so comforting to know that I am not the only one, not alone in the battle of feeling alone, feeling unworthy and angry.
    Thank you for your posts and keep them coming. They hit so close to home and are a blessing to read.

  7. January 28, 2016

    kym Reply

    “About feeling like I didn’t matter”…I was never able to put this into words, and here it is, six words strung together in a way that strike a chord in me tonight. Thank you for sharing…my very sensitive, anxious heart sees yours, and high-fives it like a ship passing in the night 😊

  8. February 8, 2016

    Christina Reply

    Good post; really helpful to so many, myself included. Thank you for having the courage to share; it’s not easy living with heartbreak and hurt from the past but like you said, we can move forward and we can be better to ourselves. One thing that may be helpful to you and anyone else trying to deal with past pain is to write a letter to those who have hurt you. You don’t have to send the letter and it doesn’t have to be an amazingly written letter – just whatever comes to you, jot it down; just write it. It’s helped me. Best wishes. ♡

  9. February 9, 2016

    meg Reply

    This is exactly the way I felt today (and just lately) and it was so helpful to read your words and help make some sense of the way I feel.

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