I have been thinking about the subject of this post for quite some time. I have hesitated writing it because it may seem hypocritical or judgmental and that is the last thing I mean it to be. I am also not looking for compliments or reassurances, because lovely as that is, that is not the point of this post. I know I have good qualities, really I do! It is just that sometimes, you need to do some hard thinking and talking to yourself.
Lately, I find that I am at odds with myself. Shocking, I know. I’ve been in a place where I am analyzing everything about my life. When I analyze, I am pretty thorough. I say things to myself that would crumble me if they were uttered by someone else. See what I mean? I’m even analyzing my analyzing. Geesh!
What good is analyzing something if you don’t put those thoughts and revelations into some sort of action?
Action, especially efficient action, is not something that I excel at. Taking action often requires competition, whether with others, or yourself. I do not compete. DO NOT. I have more than a sneaking suspicion that this has something to do with a lot of choices I have made about my life.
When I was in high school, I got ok grades, if graduating with a 3.3 is considered ok, but I never studied. This pattern continued on through college and my career. It’s true that walking away from the life of an opera singer was the right call for me. I wanted a family and the life really sucks, but there was a huge part of me that knew that I could not bear the endless competition that it would require. I think that it is partially why I am inactive from the LDS church. A perpetual feeling of failure.
So? I don’t try.
If you don’t try, you can’t really fail, right? How bad could it hurt if I tried and failed?
Well, I know the answer to that one. It hurts a lot. I think a lot of you would be surprised at how scary and hurtful I find the world, how inadequate I feel. Then again, maybe you wouldn’t because I am in the habit of wearing that inadequacy like a badge of honor. A badge that weighs heavier and heavier on me every day.
Being a mother is so frigging hard. Being a homemaker makes me want to howl, shriek, and put a fork in my eye on a regular basis. My home on a great day is so much more cluttered and disorganized than most people. I am not a natural at mothering and struggle so much with keeping house. I think that my outlook on parenting has been to keep my head down, get through it, do the minimal basics and feel grateful if my kids stay in school and don’t become crack-dealers. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating somewhat, but seriously? There is a lot more I can do.
When I say I have just been in survival mode and doing the basics, I mean it.
I am not the worst mother in the world, but my kids deserve more. There have been periods of my life (Like my service as Parent Organization President) where even though I failed at times, I knew, KNEW in my heart I was giving my all! Even though those failures still hurt and stung, I had an overall feeling of peace because I was doing my true best. I do not have that feeling very often anymore. It is replaced with doubt, inadequacy, hurt feelings and guilt. Because I know I am not trying as I should.
To combat that guilt, I look for ways to feel justification. It’s pretty easy to do. All you have to do is go online and there are tons of people to commiserate with. There is rampant blogging trend going around that most people are familiar with-Taking pride in faults, failures and dropping the ball. Especially in our personal, home and mothering roles. “I’m a slacker!” “I dress like a slob every day!” “Failure, one day at a time!”.
I rejoiced in it!
These people understand!!!
This is someone who knows how hard it all is. They will accept me and be ok with the fact that I suck. They will commiserate about wearing pajama pants 24/7 and laugh about how the kids mixed cereal into pudding cups because there wasn’t any milk in the house. Oh, I have plenty of “Reasons” for perpetual failure. My house is so tiny! I have no storage!! It’s my personality!!! I raced around, reading everything, feeling better and better about my slobbish status quo. Even though I still berated myself about my failures, there was a whole lot of me that felt justified because person A, B and C had the same issues and they weren’t terrible people!
Somwhere along the way, I took having people who understood how hard it was to balance everything and turned it into justification for being ok with being a perpetual slacker.
I’m not sure when it happened but, slowly, ever so slowly, this mindset of mine has really started to bother me. It bothers me that somewhere along the way, I stopped taking pride in moments where I could aspire to be THIS. And started to accept THIS- Someone who celebrates being a slob and who stays like this (And this is key)the majority of the time. (And yes, it is a blatant shallow comparison that is focused on the physical. I wanted to use some photos to break up this frigging long post. Try to look beyond that and view the photos as representational of a much deeper issue. )Do I want to be a slacker? To be inept and helpless? Do I want to be a slob? Do I like the fact that a lot of people around me pat me on the head and give me a lollipop because I’m so adorably inept? And worse, that I have given them every reason to think that? Don’t I deserve to have more internal peace that I am doing the best I can?
Because this? This is not my best.
The light is finally starting to dawn that there is a fine line between being overly concerned and consumed with image and success and being too complacent with mediocrity and failure.
I write this with not one shred of smugness or superiority.
I’m one of the worst offenders out there. I tend to shout my flaws from the rooftops. Look at the name of this blog, for Pete’s sake. I started blogging after I checked myself into a hospital to help deal with the fallout of my son dying. I was incorrectly diagnosed as having bipolar disorder. That title stung and hurt. So, what did I do to deal with it? I told everyone, EVERYONE within ear or eye shot that I was a certifiable loon. “Loralee’s Looney Tunes”. If I called myself a crazy person first, it wouldn’t hurt me so much when other people did it, right?
This post isn’t a testimonial about the flaws and negative way of life I conquered and left behind me, either. I am just at the very first stages. Admitting it’s a problem. I’m writing this because I want to be better. I want to succeed! I want to know that I have times where I fail, and drop the ball and it’s OK because (YET AGAIN) it is the exception rather than the rule. There is nothing wrong with realizing that perfection can’t happen, but there is also nothing wrong with shaking off complacency.
I also know that people have different priorities. What bothers me may not bother you. If you wear pj’s all the time but are rocking at your mothering or job and have that inner peace, then great! I just know in my heart that I am holding myself back from what I want to be. What I could be with some more efficient effort.
So? What does this all mean, exactly?
Well, I’m not totally sure.
I know that there are some things that are bigger than me, things that will probably always get in my way, ways I will fail in huge, ugly ways, but does that mean that I give up in every area? Because that is exactly what I’ve done.
I do know that I want this change in my heart to last.
I want to do everything I can to not burn out with this feeling, go too fast or bite more than I can chew. I want to be steady, deliberate and not give up, which pretty much goes against my entire nature.
I can handle back sliding, but I am sick to death of doing nothing but slide deeper into complacency. I have already made huge strides in so many areas, especially with my kids. Jon and I are doing more teamwork about goals than we every have before. I’m looking at so many things and possibilities and most important, implementing them. Even if it is something oh, so tiny. Which, a lot of the times it is.
I’m hoping I didn’t hurt any feelings or come off as judgmental because I mean it to be encouraging and hopefully a bit inspiring. Hopefully you know me well enough to KNOW that I understand. I understand how sometimes? You just DON’T have it to give. That life circumstances or medical issues (And yes, I consider depression a medical issue) hold you back and down from living the full life you deserve. Unless it helps you through that muck, this post is NOT FOR THOSE PEOPLE.
This post wouldn’t have been for me, even six months ago and there will be times that come up that I probably won’t be able to remotely live up to it. In fact, I’m even going to give the same disclaimer to myself: Loralee! If you have things happen that are unavoidable and horrible (Because they happen. Oh, yes, they do.) and if you cannot deal despite all the trying and Diet Coke in the world and are punishing yourself by re-reading this, you can just close the window and walk away, Missy!
Just writing this “Jerry Maguire Moment” has taken courage, but I don’t look at that alone as success. I’ve said a LOT of things before that have lead absolutely nowhere. Still, stating it means I’m putting myself out there and opening myself up for failure and/or success. I’m competing and that is hard , even if it’s just with myself. Writing it here makes me accountable. Not just to me, but to you all. I really hope I don’t totally suck at it or give up. I don’t want to.
Having that desire? That feels good, my friends.
(**This is a positive post for me. Really, it is. Difficult to write, sure, but still a really good thing. I am not sure that this is clear so I’m clarifying)