29. How Do I Form Deep Connections With Others? With Kelle Hampton

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You’re not weird. Making friends as an adult is just hard. But sometimes all it takes is opening up a little bit. Author Kelle Hampton knew when she wrote her memoir  “Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected” that she was putting herself out there and revealing the most vulnerable part of her life. When the book came out, she realized her story resonated with more people than she expected. Our shared struggles bring us together both as a community, and one-on-one in our personal relationships. This episode’s practice is about sharing your story, forming new friendships, and keeping the ones you already have strong.

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Claire, Kelle Hampton

Claire  00:09

Hi, I’m Claire Bidwell Smith. Welcome to NEW DAY. So before we jump into the episode today I want to tell you about last day the award-winning podcast that zooms in on the last day of someone’s life and out to view the larger deadly influences that led them there. It’s hosted by Last Day’s executive producer and Lemonada co-founder Stephanie Wittels Wachs. This season, the series is tackling the American gun crisis by zooming in on communities in rural Montana, impacted by a high rate of firearm assisted suicides. The Last Day team also covered the high murder by firearm rate in Atlanta, Georgia. Last Day poses the question of how do we live safely in a country where there are more guns than people? Last Day is out now wherever you get your podcasts with the new episodes premiering every Wednesday. Okay, that’s it for updates. Let’s dive in. I think one thing we’ve all come to appreciate on a new level during these last two years is the power of connection. But how do we go about making deep connections with others in the first place? I met my guest today when we were both nominated for the same book award. I’d known of author Kelle Hampton for a while but when we met in person at the books for a better life awards in 2013, we connected instantly. We both credit a trip to the bathroom. When I grabbed her arm and opened up about some very private details in my personal life. I hardly knew Kelle at all, but I went out on a limb anyway, hoping she would be receptive. She immediately opened up in turn about some things in her life. And in doing so we jumped right into a deep friendship. Kelle is an author and blogger most known for her memoir Bloom. In today’s episode, Kelle talks about birthing a daughter with down syndrome, grieving the loss of the child she expected to have, and then fully embracing the unexpected curveballs life had thrown her way. You’re also going to hear us talk about what it means to be vulnerable. How we both go about creating community and all the ways we try to embrace the messiest parts of our lives. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to rely on my friends for support of all kinds. The world feels more divisive than ever these days. And as someone in a professional role with a public profile, I really rely on certain people I trust to discuss all the changes that are constantly coming our way. Both in my work and at home. Kelle Hampton is one of the best people for me and her warmth, integrity and genuine curiosity are all the reasons I love her. I think you will too.

Claire  02:42

Hi, Kelle, welcome to New Day. So I start every episode asking my guests how you’re doing, but how are you really doing?

Kelle Hampton

You know, I’m, I’m doing fine. I think I’m someone who always answers that question as fine. I’m a pretty happy person, I think, since the pandemic and now with everything going on. You know, I’m like, eight fine days to all of a sudden just like I’ll wake up and I’m it’s kind of, I don’t know if you remember during the pandemic, in the beginning, we were texting back and forth. And like how you feel that I am an a, I’m a two today and whoever was the eight was the one that would take over. So mostly good. But yeah, just with everything going on, there’s a lot more anxiety. And then sometimes I think maybe it’s not the pandemic, maybe this is just like mid-40s. Maybe with our kids getting older and everything we’re facing maybe this is maybe I was so naive before to always feel so comfortable and lighthearted. And maybe this is just how it’s gonna be.


Yeah, I think you’re right. Some of it definitely is middle age. I cannot believe how old we are now. So I was reflecting on when I first heard about you. And it was in 2010, which is 12 years ago now. And somebody forwarded me your now famous blog post about the birth of your second child, nella. And, you know, it went on to become so viral, but I just, I wanted to read a little piece from it. And then just kind of talk about it. So it says, your post read, I pushed and watched as the tiniest little body came out of me, arms, flailing lungs wailing and then they put her in my arms. And I knew, I knew the minute I saw that she had down syndrome, and nobody else did. I held her and cried, cried and panned the room to meet eyes with anyone that would tell me she didn’t have it. I held her and looked at her like she wasn’t my baby and tried to take it in. And all I can remember of these moments is her face. I will never forget my daughter my arms opening her eyes over and over. She locked eyes with mine and stared bore holes into my soul. And I was just so struck with your vulnerability and your honesty and your you know, openness about the messy process of you know, understanding all the ways in which your life had changed. And I know this was a long time ago for you and so much of what you went through in those first moments have nothing to do with who you are now and your relationship and all of that and everything to do with it. But I was wondering if you could speak about the experience of writing that and putting it out in the world and how it’s changed your life.

Kelle Hampton  05:18

First of all, I’m so glad I wrote it, because I don’t feel that at all anymore. And now when I look back, I’m like, Oh, my God, you know, that was really dramatic. It’s not that big of a deal. We don’t even think about Down syndrome that much looking at now at today. I mean, it’s been a long time, I don’t feel those vulnerable, that sadness. So I’m so glad I wrote it when I did, because I don’t think I could tap into that now. I was devastated. I was. And it was, I think at that time, too. This was like back when blogging was sort of, you know, still kind of new. And everybody was sharing these beautiful birth stories and photos. And it wasn’t something and I’ve heard this from so many women that have gone through it, that it wasn’t something that people talked about, I think it’s one of those things that you almost feel, you feel grief, but you feel guilty for feeling grief, because you have a baby. And a lot of women who have children with Down syndrome really don’t have that experience. You know, I have friends that had babies with Down syndrome. And they said, you know, it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. And I was just so glad I had to have a healthy baby. And so my experience wasn’t that, it really was like, grieving the death of a child, I think, you know, ever since I was little, I dreamed about motherhood, I wanted to be a mom so bad. And then I had a first baby and had this amazing birth experience where everything was just perfect and kind of went into it expecting that again, and was so happy to have a sister for my daughter. And the devastation of just, first of all, it was lonely. You know, nobody else knew I knew, and everybody just kept telling me it was okay, but to hold this baby and to feel no connection. No, I mean, I felt like I was holding somebody else’s baby, I felt like this dream of the baby, I thought I would have just sort of, you know, it was like grieving a death. But then the importance of going home and writing it I mean, I did. And again, a lot of women are different, a lot of women, it takes them a lot longer, I feel like I came around really quickly. And I had incredible support. And I processed those emotions in a very heavy way. I was very important to me to write the birth experience, I wrote it a week after she was born, have incredible family that was there and felt very bonded, and just so in love with her within a few days, but it was so important to write those feelings and then what it did to hear from so many other women that came out of the woodwork and saying I felt the same thing in the community that I’ve built. But I feel like if I didn’t write that experience, you know, I would have been shoving it under the rug. And I would have had to deal with it later.

Claire  08:05

Yeah, yeah, for sure. But that that vulnerability of putting it out there and speaking what so many others had been afraid to voice you know, I think, again, like you said, it’s not the same for every woman. But there are some women who’ve gone through it just like you did. And they were surprised and shocked and devastated. And or other things like that, you know, too, there’s all kinds of ways we can bring children into the world. And I think that often there’s this expectation, whether we put it on ourselves, or we feel it from our culture, to move through that really quickly move through that grief or that shock or that whatever the feelings are, and just, everything’s great, everything’s good. But you let yourself really recognize it, acknowledge it, sit in it, grieve, and also shared that with everyone. And by doing so it just seems like you gave so many people permission to also recognize their own process and their own grief.

Kelle Hampton 

And there’s so much to it just around motherhood and birth. And there’s a lot of pressure on women to do it a certain way. And it’s interesting hearing from women to what their, they might not have had a child with Down syndrome, but they’re sort of fill in the blank and what their experience was. And it could be as simple as you know, I wanted a girl and I had a boy and it’s seems trivial. But there’s a real process around you know what we expect what we thought our life would look like what we thought motherhood would look like and having to grieve the feelings of it looking different.


Yeah, no, for sure. How did it change your, I don’t know your relationship with the internet or your relationship with your own vulnerability or other women? Sure.

Kelle Hampton

First of all, let’s say, when I wrote this, I wrote it for like, I thought five people were reading. I wrote it for myself. And at that time, you know, I had a very small readership. And it was, I mean, within a week it went viral. And that was one thing that I was not prepared for was the onslaught of mostly supplies. But definitely the trolls and the shame and the how dare you and people picking apart the way that you welcomed your child and then picking apart everything else. And this went on for years, and the internet has changed since then. But definitely putting yourself out there and getting the immediate feedback, which isn’t the healthiest thing, or you’ve gone through it too, I’m just like you really have to get to a place of building a thick skin and knowing who you are, and knowing why you’re sharing. Praise can be, you know, also damaging to get that instant praise. And to think that that’s what makes you valuable or to share your story and to look for feedback and to look for people to approve. But I do think the internet has become a lot kinder, or a medium more of a sense of community where you don’t have criticism that was so present back in 2010. But it’s still there.


Yeah, it’s still there. I don’t think we’re quite out of canceled culture yet. The trolls are still out there. And you and I have had a lot of conversations about how to deal with that. And it’s never easy, you know, but I think that you can get into a place where you just, I mean, they’re always there, right?

Kelle Hampton 

You just don’t care. Yeah.


So what is your life like now? How do you describe yourself these days?

Kelle Hampton 

Like you said, I think in the beginning, when that happens, I thought that was my story. I felt like this is my defining moment. And this is what I’m going to be known for. And it is such a small part of my story. Now, I find the pattern of what I learned through that repeated so much just in life, not always looking like how we expected. And I think one of the things that was so helpful that I learned when she was born and processing that was just it’s that gets a Scott Peck quote of life is hard. And the minute that you accept that life is hard, it instantly becomes less hard. And I was so I got so caught up in just that expectation of a comfortable life and things looking a certain way. And so that’s definitely helped me a lot with just, you know, everything, whether it’s motherhood, or things and marriage and professional, whatever it is, there’s, you know, oftentimes life doesn’t look like what you thought it would look like. And it’s hard, there are a lot of challenges and growing kids and teenagers is hard. And but that continued, just trying to let go of the expectation and accepting challenges has been something that I’ve learned through that. Now, I’ve got a teenager add another child after […] you know, I’m busy raising kids, I’m still writing and sharing online. Done, you know, I still have a great community of women that I communicate with every day and talking about you know, the issues that we’re all dealing with and vulnerability and building community and making friends and keeping our home and marriage and you know, this stuff, it’s a full-time job.


It is and you still continue to write really openly, I think and help others engage in conversations around these things and help them recognize and acknowledge their own struggles, which I think is really important. I saw a lot of like toxic positivity, I really struggled with, I can’t stand this like idea that we have to be positive all the time. And I saw a lot of shaming during the pandemic, when people would write about struggling with something or another my kids home from school or, you know, missing going to a wedding or something and people jumping on top of them and being like, wow, you know, you could have it so much worse. And, you know that really, I just think that that really does a disservice to all of us. You know, I think we all get to grieve, I think we all get to struggle. Whether we’re Gwyneth Paltrow or whoever it is, you know, I think we all get to have those things. And I and I feel like a lot of your work is continuing to put that out there while also being really positive and creating this magical life for your kids.

Kelle Hampton  14:24

I think the holding bolt and we’re going through it again right now with just everything that’s happening in the world and you feel that sort of guilt that you can’t enjoy. You can’t go on vacation. You can’t share something fun when there’s so many people that are suffering right now but it is a disservice to them and it’s the one thing that we have to learn how to do is to hold both those things and for me, I found that like the most important time to hang on to those moments of celebration are when you’re suffering are when things are really hard. That is when you know you get the kids and bake them cake or have a little party or invite girlfriends over to something so special, you have to learn to hold them both and this comparing you know, you can’t be happy because somebody else is not happy or it’s you know, that the fighting and the divisiveness that goes on in line is ridiculous. And we did see a lot of it in the pandemic.


Talk to me about like, where did this come from for you, were you always the kind of person who was easily vulnerable, were you always the person who would maybe like go first with talking about something you were struggling with before waiting for others?

Kelle Hampton 

You know, I had a really interesting childhood, I was very sheltered. I was homeschooled. I grew up and I had, you know, a smaller period of my life. And we had a little regular family. And then parents got divorced. And I grew up in a I mean; it was a cult. And so I had a very sheltered life. And then when I came out of it, and moved to Florida, and started my family, I think maybe I was just naive. And you know, didn’t I never had the experience of high school and high school girls and cliques. And so it felt normal to me, you know, to walk in a room and be like, you know, just bare your soul. I think, you know, when I had my first job, I was a fifth-grade teacher and one of my favorite things to do was to just get people together and get teachers together. And I used to always bring those little cards and like the conversation starters, where you know, you get everybody around a table, and what’s your biggest regret, and there were many times we had, like Friday, our happy hours after teaching where we’d be sitting around a table, and pretty soon, there’s just teachers crying and talking about their past. And I love that, like, I find that I get bored, when we’re not making those deep connections, I want to know, everybody I you know, I want to know, my doctors, you know, I’m becoming friends with my doctor and my hairstylist and I want to know, you know, beyond the surface level, and so that I would say that’s very normal for me. And it’s so surprising to me how many women don’t have that. How many women are, you know, will ask like, how I don’t understand how do you do this? How do I get women together and ask these sorts of questions. Recently, I had just texted a bunch of random women that I know and ask them to come over and had everybody bring a book, or a quote, or you know, some sort of piece of writing that has meant something to them and read it around the room and throughout drinking wine. And so many people were so nervous to share and had never done that before. But it was so beautiful after you know, the first person goes and gives permission for the second person to go and the stories that came out. That never would have come out just you know, had somebody not initiated that conversation.

Claire  18:13

Yeah, no, it’s amazing. I do I do something similar in my in my world, but I’ll see this kind of spiral that deepens. Right. So like, everyone kind of goes around. Like recently, I had a bunch of seventh grade moms over because seventh grade is hard. And you know, I’m going through a lot with my seventh grader and I asked them all like, what you know, what’s going great with your kid and what’s hard. And there was this like, initial round of like a little bit of vulnerability, you know, a lot of like, here’s what’s great, and like a little and then the more that people talked a little bit about the struggles, then there was like a second round where everybody really started to talk about the struggles and then like a third round, and it kept getting deeper and we all left that night feeling so connected and heard and like supported through a lot of what we were going through, it was so meaningful, you know, but it really does take somebody to kind of initiate that, somebody to kind of pull those things together.

Kelle Hampton 

Sure. And there’s like a right way to do it too. And I think with social media to you’re seeing some like forced vulnerability and sometimes it doesn’t feel genuine and there is a right way to get people to share in a meaningful way that is important. I like to make people don’t some people get really uncomfortable with it, too. So it’s like an art to get the environment comfortable and to share first and let people know that it’s a safe place. You have to have the right you know, the right women to do it. But I think the biggest thing is just once it’s always the one person who shares like, this is a little bit scary, but I think we’ve seen this, you know, in our groups of like, I’m going to see how this goes. I’m going to share something that might and you know, might be a little uncomfortable for people to listen to. And once that happens immediately everyone starts pulling out.


Yeah, absolutely. So you and I finally met for the first time in 2013 and we met at the books for a better life awards where we both had books nominated neither of us one. We didn’t care at all. We were so excited to be there. We were having so much fun. Your book was a book based on your experience with […]. Bloom, that came out then. And but you and I met and connected so easily and so quickly. And I think a lot of that was just given who we were and who we are. But we went on to create a series of retreats for women. And you and I held those retreats for what three years in Ojai, California. And it was a really I know, for you to it’s just such a fascinating glimpse into what’s going on for women in our age range. You know, we gathered together with what, 25 women each time, and the very first night of the retreat, we would you and I would always open up first, right? And I think they were often shocked. It was like a lot of women who’d read our books, or followed us online, and we would sit down in this room with a fireplace and you and I had come up with this plan that we would always share something really vulnerable first something maybe we had never put online or that they wouldn’t normally know about us and then maybe about our marriage or kid or whatever it was. And then that that room and the way that it just opened up, like, what did you learn during that time about women in friendships and this time in our lives, I mean, women were coming with grief with, you know, marital struggles with kid problems, with just so much going on.

Kelle Hampton 

There were several things I learned. One of them is just I think it’s so easy to judge a woman, you know, you see someone come in, they look a certain way, they’re dressed a certain way, they have a certain career, and you definitely think like, they don’t have any problems. And it was always surprising. You know, it was the women that you would think they are so put together when they share, you know, this very intimate thing about their marriage or whatever it is. I think immediately people it made me realize never to judge that everybody has a story. And then just the need for that sort of thing. And though the women that came to that retreat, I mean, they met Fred, they’re all friends, they drive across the country to see each other now the friends are like, so many of them said, I’ve had women in my life for years that I see every week. And I’ve never had friendships like this that I made, and just a weekend of really sharing your story. I think so many women are carrying around so much that they want to talk about and don’t know how to get it started. You know, I think you and I both saw that women went back home and said how do I do this? You know, I have a mom group or whatever. How do I start this? How was it not awkward? How was it you know, it feels like Oprah or you know, Kumbaya to get everybody in a circle. But it was so easy for us. And we did I mean, a lot of it was just you laugh at yourself. You know, I whenever I do this, I always laugh and say like, Alright, you’re gonna roll your eyes. And I’m, you know, trying to Oprah thing here. But everybody has to get together and they will roll their eyes sometimes. But it always ends in connection and people being grateful that we asked them to share.


Yeah, I agree. I was at a moms night the other night this past week with have all these type these three moms circles that I’m in the preschool moms and the fourth-grade moms and the seventh-grade moms. And I was ever with the preschool moms. And we all started talking about our husbands and how much they struggle with friendship and like you and I are sitting here talking about women struggling with friendship, but that’s a whole another realm. Oh, and, you know, we were talking about how none of our husbands really have any close friends that they hang out with, like, they don’t really talk to anybody. What do you see going on there from your end?

Kelle Hampton 

I remember we joked when we first did this retreat Brett laughs and he’s like, can you imagine if I told you that I was gonna go to Ojai, to go on a men’s retreat where we were gonna sit and write and talk, you know, it’s so foreign. You know, it’s hard enough for women to share, and be open with each other. And I think for men, you know, they deal with the stigma and having to be tough. And we’re just now starting to, you know, break through that. And we have we both have little boys that you know, we’re hopefully raising them to be comfortable and comfortable being vulnerable. But I also see like, the problems that come from that, like what I have in my friendships is so important to me and what it does for me in my life and also just, you know, it takes the pressure off. You know, being able to have I don’t have to he doesn’t have to be the one to fix everything doesn’t have to always be the one to listen. And so to me and even you know, it makes my marriage better having these friendships and having women that I can talk to and I want that for him. I think a lot of times the shame that they deal with that can turn into all sorts of, you know, what can lead to them. Men have more issues with anger and all these things and so much of that I think is just not being able to talk about things and holding everything inside.


Yeah, I think I sometimes worry that they really feel alone and whatever they’re struggling with, even though I think there’s probably so many, you know?

Kelle Hampton 

Yeah. And I love when whenever you do see it, we just went like for a pizza night last night with some friends and their kids. And it’s so funny. Brett was talking with my friend’s husband and we’re all you know, we’ll whisper we’re like, oh my God, look at they’re talking like, it’s so fun to see men when they’re connecting. And they’re laughing and it shouldn’t be funny. It should be normal. But I love when you know when they can sit and they actually went off and went for a walk and talked and it’s so we did the same with Mark and Brett when they were talking you want that, I think we want it for our husband so much because we know what it brings to our lives.


Yeah, we got together again, a second night, the preschool families, but we got the husband’s together. And so and then the exact same thing happened, they were all standing around the kitchen counter and we all snuck off outside like strategically to be like, let’s leave them alone.

Kelle Hampton 

see what happens. We were


We were like peeking in through the window. They’re talking.

Kelle Hampton  26:02

I also think there’s, you know, they’re just even just like with the marketing and the magazines and everything we see they show women friendships, and there’s not enough of that shown. So I think some men feel silly, like they want it but they feel like it’s dumb, maybe or you know, for them, they would almost be embarrassed to say that they were going to go you know, a lot of guys are great. I do know I have some friends that their husbands are really good at like going to breakfast once a month with their guy friends and but I think that’s rare.


So, talk to me about raising a teenager, how is that going?

Kelle Hampton 

It’s funny. My teenager is I think the lessons that I’ve learned for […] and the beginning have almost applied more to Laney just in how important it is, you know, ladies, she’s a really shy kid. And the importance of just loving them for who they are and telling them whatever you’re going through the person you are now is exactly the person you are supposed to be, I find that the most repeated thing that I have to do in raising teens. My parenting a teen experience doesn’t necessarily look like everybody else’s. I know for a lot of people, it’s the boys and the you know, the slam doors. And it doesn’t look like that for us. But I think there’s a lot of just remembering what it’s like to kind of come into yourself and not be comfortable in your skin. And not to really know who you are and to compare yourself to other kids or to compare your confidence level to other kids. And so for me, it is just I mean, it’s, it’s a beautiful thing, and it’s probably the most prevalent thing in parenting for me right now that could bring me to tears is just how wonderful it is to have that 14-year-old child, that age is just so tender. And there’s so many things they’re learning about themselves. And there’s so many things they’re seeing in the world and with other kids and just to make sure that the mantra that we preach over and over and over in our home is to love yourself and to accept yourself and then who you are. Every part of you is beautiful. And to make sure that that our home is and the memories and everything we do is the foundation that she can always go back to know that she is loved.

Claire  29:03

Yeah. Vera is almost 13 and Vera’s using they/them pronouns now, and I’m really struggling to see them. Just go through the rollercoaster of everything. You know, one day, they’re super happy the next day, they’re in tears all day, there’s so many social dynamics. And I know I went through it too, but I feel so far on the other side. And you know, I don’t struggle with that stuff, body image or social stuff really anymore. And it’s I just, oh, I want to fix it all the time. And I can’t and it’s so hard.

Kelle Hampton 

That is the other thing that’s so hard is just wanting to fix it and even knowing that there’s times that I could swoop in and fix it and that you just have to let them figure it out and that you have to just be the soft place to fall. That’s hard and the range of emotions that is you know, one day’s a great day and then all of a sudden there’s tears and I have no idea why and you know, and sometimes it is you know the inner turmoil is taken out on us and to not take it personally.

Claire  30:05

Yeah. When you look back at yourself when Lainey was born or Nella, or even Dash, what do you wish you’d known then? Or like, what do you wish you could go back and tell yourself with everything that you know now? Oh, god, that’s a good question.

Kelle Hampton 

Probably just be that just to not, not to think ahead not to, to paint a picture of what anything’s going to look like, because it’s not going to look like that. I know, it’s cliche to say that it goes by fast but and I’m not one of those people that’s like, cherish every memory, that’s, you know, cherish every moment that’s actually ruining women, because we have so much on our plate, and we’re working and that just makes people feel guilty. But I would just, you know, just to be present, and not to look too much to the future, I’m someone that can very, can paint a very vivid picture of what I want things to look like, I mean, right down to like, before Christmas gathering, I know where people are going to be sitting at the table, I know exactly what song is going to be playing, I can paint a picture and be disappointed when it doesn’t look like that. So just to take today and not think about the future, not you know, whoever they’re going to be. I think that that lesson of you know, that not having the life that you expected or not having the child that you expected, you know that we see that a lot and, and, you know, parents think they’re gonna have grandkids, and then they’re not, or they, you know, they thought they’re gonna have a daughter in law and their son is gay. And you know, there’s so many times in life that we’re going to discover that and also that our kids are not ours. You know, they are their own person. They’re not we have, we get to watch them and guide them for a short period, but that they are not a reflection of us. And not to you know, that’s a big one, I think today, especially again, with social media, that our kids are not a reflection of us.

Claire  32:07

Yeah. For women out there who are feeling alone, and just kind of struggling in motherhood, or friendships, or marriage, or whatever it is what’s like something they can do, like what’s something concrete tangible they can do to start creating a community around them or bolstering their community?

Kelle Hampton 

I think getting out there and it sounds silly, but seriously, like, whatever age your child is. Go to the park to sit down and talk to somebody and share something about yourself. You know, that is always what opens the door to deeper friendships. I remember when Laney was little, I was in Banana Republic once. And I saw this woman with a stroller and it was like she looks cool. She looks like you know, she looks like somebody like me. And I just went up to her and felt stupid, but just said like, Yo, you look cool. Do you live here, and we ended up like exchanging numbers and just the vulnerability it takes to do that. But you know, and take it a step further. And just like, I’m uncomfortable asking you and I’ve done this for years, you know, like how’s your marriage and it feels inappropriate sometimes. But just that is how deeper friendships are made. It’s opening up and not being afraid to just send a text out, get people over, you know, I think entertaining is another thing, especially after, God after the pandemic, I was so hungry to have people over and just your house doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have this Pinterest worthy gathering but just to send a text out and ask women to come over and throw […] on the table and pour some wine and just start by sharing your own story and the rest will follow.


Yeah, it’s the best I just put out lots of cheese and crackers, and I let the kids like wreck the house and ya know, the moms I’ll just hang out and it’s great. Last question, what’s your like, go to when you are feeling depleted or disheartened. Like I know you’ve had moments I’ve known you for a long time now and you’ve had moments where you’re like, oh my god, the world is a mess or I just feel heartbroken by everything that’s happening or I just feel like I don’t have something to believe in. Like what do you do for yourself? What’s your number one when that happens?

Kelle Hampton  34:16

Which there have been many of those moments the last couple years. That was where the ordinary comes in. That is where it is my North Star is to turn off I’ll outside stimulus turn off the news turn off my phone. And to go back to those ordinary I mean, it’s silly how happy and grounded I feel. Just being in my home and lighting candles and cooking and silly creative things just like getting watercolors out with the kids or doing a puzzle and we’re on spring break now. That’s all our plans are, you know, I have a stack of books and puzzles and coloring books and crayons and just slowing down making something whether it’s in the kitchen or something with my hands or being crafty, that is always been, where I feel grounded. Those are the things that my kids will remember. Those are the things that I hope that I’m teaching them that that they, when they go out in the world, and they face hardship that they will go back to knowing how to create these magical moments from these ordinary things in their life.


Enjoying the small things. Thank you so much, Kelly, I’m always happy to talk to you, I miss you.

Kelle Hampton 

You too, I miss you too.


I loved talking with Kelly and reflecting on the friendship we built almost a decade ago. She’s still the person I turn to most frequently in my life when I’m trying to make important decisions and trying to make sure I’m living with integrity. At this point in our relationship, she is one of a handful of people in my life that I can turn to in moments when I don’t even trust myself. It’s the kind of friendship I most wished for others. So this week’s practice is about sharing your story, and getting to know someone else’s. sharing something personal about yourself is one of the most vulnerable things you can do. We walk around behind a facade so much of the time, we often think the people around us have everything together. And the funny thing is that they probably assume the same of us. But opening up to someone in a vulnerable way can quickly take your interaction and your whole relationship to a more genuine place. Something that can lead to having a really supportive friendship in your life. If you’re not used to being the first to get phone normal, though, it can feel uncomfortable. But opening up will be the very thing that will help someone else do the same. Many of us are living in a closed version of ourselves. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we can reveal deeper truths and live a more freeing life. So this week, I want you to open up to someone new, or someone that’s already in your life. Is there something you want to get off your chest? Is there something you want to celebrate? Did you go through something hard and need someone to talk to? Do you have a new endeavor you want to talk about to put this into practice, try reaching out to someone that you don’t normally talk to maybe it’s someone at work, or a family member you’ve never gone deep with. Maybe it’s another parent standing around at school pickup, or someone in your exercise class. Going first can be hard. You can try starting a conversation by saying you’re the first person I’ve ever told this to. Or I just have to tell someone about this. Or I’m going through some stuff right now maybe you can relate. Overall, follow your emotions go with what moves you if the person you’re opening up to reciprocates really listen to what they’re saying in turn. thank the person for sharing their story with you. Tell them that their stories important and tell them what moved you. Having meaningful conversations helps with isolation and loneliness and embracing vulnerability can strengthen your relationships with others around you, and most importantly with yourself. For more of Kelly Hampton, please check out her memoir Bloom finding beauty in the unexpected. And follow her on Instagram at @etst where she provides really beautiful and inspiring posts. I also recommend a couple of bucks about friendship, friend ish reclaiming real friendship and a culture of confusion by Kelly Needham. Also, we should get together the secret to cultivating better friendships by Kat bellows. As always, thanks for listening. And if you get a chance, send me a question through my new online forum at bit.ly/nowadays, it’s totally anonymous. You can literally ask me anything and you can find the link in the show notes. Or if you just want to tell me about one of your weekly practices, call and leave me a voicemail at 8334-LEMONADA, that’s 833-453-6662, or email me at newday@lemonadamedia.com


NEW DAY is a Lemonada Media Original. The show is produced by Jackie Danziger, Liliana Maria Percy Ruiz and Erianna Jiles. Kat Yore is our engineer. Music is by Hannis Brown. Executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Lily Cornell Silver and Claire Bidwell Smith. NEW DAY is produced in partnership with the Well Being Trust, The Jed Foundation and Education Development Center. Help others find our show by leaving us a rating and writing a review. Follow us at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms, or find me at clairebidwellsmith.com. Join our Facebook group to connect with me and fellow NEW DAY listeners at facebook.com/groups/newdaypod. You can also get bonus content and behind the scenes material by subscribing to Lemonada Premium. You can subscribe right now on the Apple podcast app by clicking on our podcast logo and then the subscribe button. Thanks for listening. See you next week.

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