Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

Group Post

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday! My husband scored major points. He is not the most romantic guy in the world — a tradeoff I usually don’t mind because he is really a good guy, my rock. But I’m not going to lie and say I don’t wish that he was more romantic and spontaneously thoughtful….an admission that I suppose is my first as part of the “movement” of sorts amongst bloggers to be more transparent with our readers, so that you all can see that our lives aren’t necessarily as pretty as they may appear to be. I was honored to be asked to participate, although honestly, I don’t think my admissions are all that earth-shattering! But here we go…

  1. WELL-READ? It takes me months to read a book because I fall asleep after a few pages. I’ve never read a Jane Austen novel…honestly, I don’t plan to.
  2. GOURMANDE? I rarely cook. We buy a lot of easy-make dishes (that my husband will often make too). Then he and I will eat in front of the TV, at 9pm.
  3. VISION OF HEALTH? Despite my best efforts, I only make it to the gym twice a month, if I’m lucky. I drink wine most nights than not. I love coffee.
  4. UBER COOL CHIC? I am not the spontaneous or adventurous type. Backpacking, camping, river rafting, rock climbing, sky diving, last-minute travel — all sounds really cool, sometimes wish I could be that girl. But even Vegas scares me.
  5. UNSELFISH PARENT? I’ve had four knee surgeries (two at 15, then in 2006 and 2008), all from soccer. So I will be one of those parents that won’t let my kid play certain sports. Worse, I just don’t want to spend my weekends, vacations, precious free time or hard-earned income on a sport I don’t care to watch.
  6. WELL-ROUNDED, WELL-VERSED? I’ve signed up for some really great classes in the past — watercolor painting, tennis, horseback riding, Italian — and then only made it to a few of the sessions.
  7. A FAB D.I.Y.-ER? I have 4 half-finished canvasses in the garage.
  8. EASY, PERFECT LIFE? I had three miscarriages before having my daughter. The first was a huge blow  — went in on a Wednesday for my 12-week appt. (oblivious), and by Friday I was in the OR for a D&C. I cried every day for months, mostly in the shower so I wouldn’t worry my husband.
  9. EFFORTLESS APPEARANCE? I’d guess that I’m about 50% gray (I get my hair colored every 3-4 weeks). I have really sensitive skin, and a lot of wrinkles.
  10. YOUNG & ACCOMPLISHED? Last year, I went to my 20-year high school reunion.

* * *

In case you’re wondering, this all started with a post by Jess. Then Ez decided to continue it, and invited a group of fellow bloggers to join her. Here are the bloggers participating today in this second wave:

Cassie: Coco + Kelley / Christine: Court & Hudson / Caitlin: Sacramento Street / Roxy: My Cup of Te / Crystal: Blog / Meg: MIMI+MEG / Ashlina: The Decorista / Katie: Modern Eve / Erin: Apartment 34 / Erica: Design Blahg / Victoria: Vmac & Cheese / Christine: Miles to Style / Franki: Life in a Venti Cup  / Sue: The Zhush / Erika: Radiant Republic / Gabrielle: Savvy Home / Monika: The Doctor’s Closet / Naomi: Design Manifest /Tobe: Because It’s Awesome / Becca: {extra}ordinary wonders / Lynzy: Sparkling Footsteps / Hitha: Hitha On The Go / Sarah: Note To Self / Liz: So Much To Smile About / Sarah: Blogstar / Alissa: The Goods Design / Jessie: Style & Pepper / AV: Long Distance Loving/ Maggie: Maggie Rose Blog / Nicole: The City Girl In Me / Priscilla: The Best Laid Plans / Jen: Concrete Jungle DC / Janelle: Food Fashion Fitness / Natalie: East Coast Chic

A big thank you to Meg of MIMI+MEG for pulling this together!

And I do hope at least one of my admissions speaks to you. ;o)

Let’s have a great week!


Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. I too had 3 miscarriages that I still think back on as some of the darkest days…I can relate to sooo much of this post! My 27th HS reunion is coming up…so there:) maybe rent a Jane Austen version on video, I bet you’ll love it! (you still look super young, fit and wrinkle free from this end, but I adore the bravery here!) XX Sue

  2. Erika you are such an inspiration and I can’t tell you how refreshing these posts are. You are such a rockstar and our faults make us real and relatable, something that all readers need to know 🙂

  3. Thank you for opening up to us. So sorry to hear about your miscarriages but even more thrilled now to see the smiling photos of your gorgeous daughter on my Instagram feed. You are a wonderful woman and a huge inspiration to me. Thank you.

  4. i relate to so much of this!! you are amazing for sharing, erika. one of mine from my original post (which i may have to add to the existing one) is how deathly afraid i am of having kids…sometimes i’m afraid that i’ve waited too long, and that i’m too selfish. i can’t imagine finally making the decision and then having a hard time conceiving. what a tough thing to go through….and look what an angel you ended up with 🙂 oxox

  5. I am so inspired by you, Erika! It’s so refreshing to hear you and other bloggers become authentic and tell us how you struggle, because it’s important to remember we are all human. I often look at you and think “wow, I hope I can be as pretty/accomplished/good of a mother/smart” as Erika one day. You are all those things, but you also are human and life isn’t always perfect. A great reminder for us all!

  6. Reading this has given me a whole new perspective on my own life. It’s inspiring to know that no one is perfect, but all of you still keep your head up and embrace life and the world, nonetheless. Thank you so much for sharing, Erika. xx

  7. i have been amazed by your talent for a while now & truly appreciate you sharing this stuff! i totally relate to many of the things you said & think you’re awesome!

  8. Erika, you know you are my inspiration and reading a little bit more about you just has me inspired even more by your bravery. My heart breaks for your miscarriages. It means so much to hear your story and I know my friend that you wrote to a while back when she was going through IVF, I know it meant a lot to hear your strength through it all. I’m so scared of having children myself, and want a family very badly in the future, when we are ready, but I can’t help but being petrified. Thank you for your honestly.

  9. I’m glad you participated! I relate with so much of this. I think you are an inspiration – but that doesn’t mean I expect you to be perfect. Hope you have a good Monday!

  10. Erika, thank you for sharing all those things with us! I feel like I know you better already and that we’re all in this together! I relate to most things in your post (especially 1, 3 and 7). I’m not a parent yet but if I was, I’m sure I’d feel the same way! And how courageous of you to share the story of your miscarriages. I feel like so many women have gone through this multiple times yet we only rarely talk about it. As much as those stories break my heart I think they’re important to share among women. I’m really looking forward to meeting you in a week! Big hugs X

  11. and now I like you even more! Thank you for such an open and honest post… I hope you had some catharsis from it too!

  12. Wonderful post, Erika. I love learning more about you. As you know, I’ve had multiple miscarriages as well (after I had my son) and I’m a firm believer in being open about it. It’s something many women go through and it’s so comforting to share. I haven’t found the place to discuss it on my blog but I like the fact that it’s such a natural part of this post. Have a great week! xx

  13. As if I didn’t already thinking highly enough of you, Erika!! This warmed my heart, I feel blessed to know you and call you my friend (even if it’s only electronically….) 😉

  14. So I am not going to do this on my own blog but I will comment on others with something different. My day job is insurance and they know what my degree is (interior design). They know what I do on the side (interior design) & they know where my heart lies (interior design). My manager even has my business card, lol. But I still can’t say what I want on my own blog because they know about that too. Basically I graduated in 2009. Great for me, since my first major was art-education and I had to start over somewhat. I felt like I wasted years in college and to finally get a degree, in the damn recession. I had a coffee date with an old classmate. From what she said none of us found jobs in our fields. This was last year but it’s very discouraging. Very thankful for a job but I want my career. Been here 7 years. So my side hustle is what I want my main hustle to be. The blog was started as a creative outlet like most people and I’ve “cyber met” great folks. I’ll be glad when I can start participating in some of the conferences. Hopefully something works out soon. I can’t wait to do what I love full time. I’m glad I’ve had about 9/10 projects including a wedding and anniversary reception but I want to do what I love full time.

  15. Lastly, we are here with the reading party. I love to read but the last year or so I haven’t finished the books I’ve started. And nothing that I’ve read has been something anyone would be impressed with. It’s something I’m working on. As for the miscarriages, that hit home too because of my sis in law who had several before giving birth to my niece who is 1. It seems to be way more common that we think, unfortunately.

  16. so many of the things you listed are making me breathe a sigh of relief…thanks for sharing your “secrets” with us 🙂

  17. Erika, thank you so much for sharing all of these things with us. Like many have said, it’s so important to hear these things, especially being a woman, and know that everyone is dealing with their own battles. There was so much on here that I can relate to it’s crazy. Thanks for being so brave and really putting yourself out there. Another reason why you are one of my idols, a true inspiration for me. Thanks for being you! You’re absolutely amazing.

  18. Thank you for opening up. You made me feel a whole lot better about my reading habits. I thought I was the only one who got sleep after a few pages. Studying in school was a struggle. I think that’s why I was better with design. I had better focus with the on-hand projects.

    I trim my gray hairs. I don’t pull them out because of that stigma that more will grow if you do. So I just cut them until you almost can’t see them. Pretty soon it’s going to be too many to keep up. I lose track of where they are!

    This is such a great post.

  19. What an utterly refreshing post! So many of your points could easily describe me, as well, and there have been too many times that I’ve let those same things discourage me from pursuing some of my goals (both career and personal). Thanks so much for sharing and bravo!

  20. #8 Really stood out to me. I was just talking to my mom about this very topic yesterday. She and my dad were married 10 years before they had me at 36, there were miscarriages and doctors that had said she couldn’t have kids and that because of her issues IVF was not an option either, but they continued to tried and finally had me. Five years later at 41 they had my sister. I guess little miracles do happen all the time 🙂

  21. I’ve been enjoying this series so much. Thanks for opening up about yourself Erika and I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriages. 🙁 I am happy that your daughter arrived safe and sound and because of all of the things you do, even your imperfections or sometimes because of them, she is one fortunate little girl. Also I have SO many grey hairs. Sigh. Good thing for hair dye.

  22. Oh man… I adored you before but even more now. My 20th HS reunion is not that far down the road for me either. And my heart goes out to you for your struggles. But the best parts were: “Then he and I will eat in front of the TV, at 9pm.” AND “I drink wine most nights than not.” Thanks for keepin’ it real. xoxo

  23. I can’t tell you how happy this series makes me! And I learned a few more things about you! Your husband’s lack of romance rivals my husband’s lack of anything even remotely romantic or creative so I feel you.

  24. I’ve been enjoying these posts a lot because it’s a way of getting to know all of you better. I can’t imagine what a miscarriage must be and it’s something I’ve been frightened forever, when I was pregnant with Matthew I kept telling people that anything could happen, it was on my mind constantly (I have friends and relatives who had bad experiences too). Loved reading this post Erika 😉

  25. Thank you for being so brave and sharing this with all of us. I wish more of us women had this kind of courage and that we weren’t so judgmental of each other. You are inspiring and I look forward to more from you!


  26. Gosh I can’t say enough how inspiring you are! I admire all your courage to put it out there. #8 really got to me… we’ve haven’t had any luck at all and i’m so burden by the fact that we might still be trying and trying years down, let alone any miscarriages. I do relate with the constant cryings, yet every month I torture my self with the test and the negative line. But I’m so glad you got your precious daughter! Have to say after reading this, I’m smiling ear to ear at all the instagram pictures of her!! adorable! And I love how you look so young still!!

  27. Thank you for keeping it real Erika; I love how honest and raw your post is. I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriages, I can’t imagine how awful this must have been for you. I think its awesome that you don’t want to take your daughter to sports matches that you don’t want to watch! xx

  28. Hi Erika! You are a rockstar. Every time Tamra and I get together we gush about how beautiful you are and wonder how you do it all with such a cute little peanut by your side! I totally laughed out loud at number 2 and 3. They prompted a visual of the Mr. and I’s living room..sitting at the dining table aka our sofa eating take out while I drink wine over going to the gym. ha!! Thanks for being so honest too 🙂 Can’t wait to meet you next week!!

  29. Erika- this just made you so endearing to me – really. Every person’s blog that I read who did the Afriad series just made me even more loyal to them. I love this. It mustve been so cathartic. And despite what you think you may be telling people about your innermost dark sides… it makes us love you more because you arent plastic and you are real just like each of us.


  30. i’ve read several of these posts, and i love what they are accomplishing within the blogging community. it often does seem like i am down here with my hand-me-down sofas and stained rugs and mini-blinds, and everyone else seems to have schumacher toilet paper and louboutin bedroom slippers. somehow in a digital world of billions it gets lonely. but i read these posts and it kinda slaps me in the face and back to reality. like hello! of course they don’t always have 400 fresh flowers and zero dog hair in their home. but anyway. i applaud you for putting more of you out there. honestly, i feel like it shouldn’t be necessary, but when you are dealing with mostly women, i think there needs to be that emotional connection.

    ok i’m done. and my husband is completely emotionless 99% of the time. good thing i have enough for us both.

  31. THANK YOU for sharing this!
    I had two miscarriages in 10 months and I felt so alone. NO ONE talks about it. I smiled when I read your blog because I would just cry and cry in the shower. For months. I felt awful because my husband couldn’t make things better and the shower seemed the best place to grieve.
    I’m pregnant now and am hoping third times a charm. Most people can’t understand why I’m so nervous and they don’t get the pain from my past losses.
    Your honesty is refreshing and much apprecaited!

  32. So glad I found you through participating in this project! I love your work, from what I’ve seen, and I love your honesty in this post even more. 🙂 Happy to now be following along. XO

  33. How great, you’re normal! I can relate to so much of this. My daughter is the only one i’m going to have and I am ok with that…now. Just too many complications. I am so sorry about your miscarriages, I can’t imagine. My mother had three after she had me and I can still remember being at the hospital with her for the last one and her hysterectomy. It’s no joke.
    Unselfish parent? me either…and that’s a hard one to admit. The up side to that is that my “only child” doesn’t think the world revolves around her…most days. So your actually doing her a favor…my justification at least.
    Thank you for your transparency. I’m so glad you participated in this, I think its amazingly brave and inspirational and it just make me respect you more.
    On a side note, I have sucked at leaving comments lately because I have just been so busy but know that I haven’t missed a post and I always comment nice things in my head. xo

  34. I absolutely love this series, not because I enjoy in any way seeing that others have struggled, but because it forces everyone to think about what is “real” and fantasy and how the things that are real are the things that actually bind us. I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriages – I experienced two before having my kids, and would cry in the shower for the same reason. We share a very similar aesthetic and I always enjoy your blog, but felt especially compelled to reach out today.

  35. Love your post. But really what I can’t get over is your age. You look amazing! I so hope I look as good as you in 10 years, even if I have to cover up my gray. Beautiful inside and out.

  36. thanks for sharing this! wow! you look so young! I relate to the not DIYer, the unselfish parent and the uber cool girl! not to me!

  37. Everyone here has said it all, so I don’t know what to add. You amaze me and I think you are great. My sis lost two babies (one at full term) before having two kids, so I know that is the worst. I am so proud of you and so happy to know you! You are absolutely all those things you listed as not being!!
    xoxo -e (modern24seven)

  38. Thank you so much for sharing Erika. I’ve had 5 miscarriages and am amazed when I hear of other people that have gone through the same thing since so many people don’t talk about it. I’m so glad that you finally had your little one and success stories make me hopeful that I will one day as well. Your willingness to share made me (and I’d be willing to bet, a few more women) feel less alone in their struggle, so thank you.