Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Blogging my fabulous life!

Okay. Let's start by saying that I really do believe I have a fabulous life. But it so does not look like a Pinterest post. (Read that 'so' with valley-girl intonation.) Right now, as I sit here with my coffee, I have dust on the mantel (on one of them, the other one I dusted yesterday for the first time in four years), dirt in the corners, stickers that have been stuck to the linoleum (oops, that's right - linoleum on the kitchen floor, not sustainable and eco-friendly but it was there when I bought the house) for so long that they almost blend in to the rest of the stains, a pile of laundry that - even though I've been doing about six loads a day for the past two weeks - never completely disappears, piles of papers from five school-aged kids' backpacks that are sitting on top of my dirty crockpot, a hamster ball belonging to a recently-deceased hamster that needs to be cleaned and put away (at least out of the kitchen) for if/when I take my daughter to pick out another hamster, seven baskets of laundry waiting to be sorted and put into kid-specific baskets so children have clothes for school tomorrow, groceries still on the counter from a Sam's Club run yesterday, pictures on the counter that need to be hung (a project started a few days ago and not finished), coats to be hung up, shoes to be put away, bills to be paid, and a preschooler who has been on an iPad for far too long this morning. And that's just what I can see from here.

Point is, I'm a mess. Some days when I sit down and scroll through Pinterest or Facebook I feel so completely inferior to what I perceive to be the normal lives of the rest of you. I feel like you all are crafting nifty Fall decorations from reclaimed wood and repurposed mason jars. I feel like all of you have dinner in the crockpot, probably something organic and super-healthy that you froze weeks ago and that your children will eat with smiles on their faces and words of praise for your culinary skills. I feel like you have your clutter managed, your houses cleaned with non-toxic environmentally-responsible and herb-scented cleaners. I feel like you have great abs, perfect self-control with food, and know off the top of your head any number of ten-minute workouts to perfect whatever area of your body you want to work on. I feel like you know how to have great hair, great makeup, great clothes, great accessories, and that you pull it all off season after season looking like a New York City ballerina.

I know you don't do all these things that I think you're doing - not that you aren't wonderful people - but I know you are no more perfect that I am. Sometimes I think we're all sitting on our couches living these fabulous imaginary lives online, thinking of all the amazing things we could be doing (or think we should be doing) and then we get up from our computers and feel dejected that our real lives are not equal to our imaginary lives. I usually have to talk myself off the ledge if I've spent any more time on Pinterest than it takes to open it up and find a recipe or look for something specific.

It sounds something like this - except in my head: I hate my life. I'm such a loser. I need to go work out, and I need to hardcore diet. My hair is stupid. I should wear makeup. My kids look like little hoboes. My house is a wreck. I hate my kitchen. I need to landscape my yard. I need new flooring. I need a manicure. Maybe I should get fake nails. My furniture is disgusting but if I get new furniture my kids will just wreck it anyway.

Okay, I'm exaggerating a little. Usually I just pick on a couple of things to rip apart - but you get the idea, right? Everything feels pretty grim when I compare it to perfection.

Then, the talking myself around begins: You don't hate your life, you love your life. You have great kids. Life is a blessing. It's not about the stuff, it's about the people. There's more to life than externals. You have great friends. You have Jesus. You live in an amazing place. On and on it goes.

I'm forty. I'm way past high school. But sometimes social media makes me feel like I did back then - like everyone else has it all together, and I'm over here drowning in the trying to figure it out. And even though I know that's not the truth, it feels pretty true. I know what I feel you all are doing, but what's more, I know what some of you are doing. You're struggling like I am, but in your own set of struggles.

You might be trying just to get out of bed in the morning, overwhelmed by difficult times that loom over you. You may be aching over children who are troubled - or are in trouble. You look in the mirror and see flaws, not beauty. You step on the scale and hate yourself and the number you see. You feel torn between loved ones who are fighting, or who are far away and need you. You feel desperate, hopeless, or afraid. You wish you could run from the stress and problems in your life. You have things deep in your heart that hurt you and you think no one in the world could understand. You aren't where you thought you would be at this time in your life, and you wonder how you can keep going.

So do I. Not exactly like you, but there's lots of crossover between your struggles and mine. Because I know that I am not special, not unique, not the only one who feels like a schitzo having these mental conversations. Lots of us are.

Here I am, at forty, daily reminding myself not to compare myself to other people but to do my best to be me. I don't usually spend an hour on Pinterest anymore because I know that for me it's a lot like eating six brownies - it's fun at the time but I'll feel terrible later.

Instead, I'm trying to do what's in front of me the best that I can - whether that is working out or listening to my kids or burying a hamster and finding a great rock to mark its final resting place or sitting on my hammock watching the yellow leaves fall from the birches in my neighborhood and enjoying the beauty that surrounds me in my REAL life. I have lots of beauty around me in friends, family, neighbors, nature - and so do you. Let's take joy in it! My laundry can wait.

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