you & me

The Complex Journey of Accepting Our Divine Messiness.


“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” ~ Unknown

One year ago today, I returned from a six-month journey around the world. I had quit my career in corporate marketing, sold the majority of my belongings, packed up a suitcase and bought a one-way ticket out of Boston. When I returned, friends jokingly asked when my own “Eat, Pray, Love” was coming out.

What they didn’t know was that there was a story I wanted to write, but my travels were just one chapter of many that had been emerging for as long as I can remember.

This secret desire to write a book is hidden from even those who know me best. My numerous journals are half-filled with words, memories — some that go on for pages, some just incomplete sentences and scribbles; the multiple files on my computer are filled with with random, unedited and babbling stories.

This time away allowed me to slow down, reflect, and integrate all of the various threads of my life, allowing all of the incomplete thoughts and seemingly disconnected stories to start coming together. It’s as if all of the blurry, pixelated dots on the screen have mobilized. The various colors, shapes and textures are coming into view, and each of my senses are heightened as the picture materializes.

There is excitement that I finally have a sense of what I want to say. But with excitement comes fear, because the story is about me — my experiences, my journey. It feels scary to be so open, exposed, to be seen so fully.

I mean, who would even want to read what I have to say?

Who do I think I am?

Well, that’s the story, actually.

I am a little girl whose father was murdered two weeks before my 5th birthday.

I am a remarkably sensitive child who starts to swallow my emotions when I realize it only upsets everyone around me.

I am a creative girl who designs a fantasy world that allows me to escape the pain I feel in the real one.

I am an early bloomer who despises her curves and the unwanted attention they bring.

I am an emotionally unavailable lover, keeping partners at arm’s-length for fear of being seen as anything other than strong and poised.

I am a dear friend, a friendly stranger, a proud aunt, a little sister, a loving daughter.

I am your shoulder, your rock, here for you at the drop of a hat; but I will not burden you with my messiness, my feelings — especially my pain.

I am a codependent partner who bears the agony, the demons and the manipulation of my alcoholic boyfriend.

I am creative, a positive thinker, a professional, a fiercely independent and adventurous spirit.

I am a keeper of many painful secrets and unexpressed emotions that threaten to sweep me into an abyss should I show any slight acknowledgment that they are inside of me.

I am deeply spiritual, constantly seeking to understand myself and the world around me.

The story that I want to share is about my journey into the depths of my shadow, my unconscious — acknowledging and reclaiming all the parts of me that I neglected and suppressed. It is about redefining strength as the courage to look at the dark, not the resolve to avoid it. It is about marveling in the messiness of being human and radically accepting our complexity.

Author and researcher Brené Brown says that owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Well, I have certainly endured a test of endurance. But I’ve finally untied my running sneakers. Now it’s time to lay down my armor and step out of my shadow.

Speaking what is real for us is transformational. When we show others who we really are, we heal parts of ourselves, reclaim our power, and inspire others to look at the forgotten and hidden parts of their own selves.

“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown


Nicole Renee Kemp can be hard to pin down, but you can currently find her residing in Boulder, CO. She is an established brand and marketing maven, currently focused on helping purpose-driven, conscious businesses to communicate and promote their mission. She finds inspiration through travel, Yoga, hiking, writing, meditation, memoirs, nature, nutrition, mindfulness, coffee, expanding consciousness and mysticism. She approaches the world with a sense of adventure, a curiosity of the unknown, and the patience to be guided by the heart. She truly believes that everyone has a story to tell, and hopes to inspire everyone to live their lives authentically and unapologetically. She is just starting to share her writing with the world. Until she figures out the best forum in which to do that, you can find her at her website.


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