I wrote a facebook post yesterday that went like this;
Although perfection is something we all strive for, none of us are. I am growing weary of a world that portrays itself as perfect via facebook, twitter and blogs. It results in widespread feelings of inadequacy amongst everyone who look at their life and say, why can’t I be like that? The truth is- they are not like that either. I wish we all could embrace our strengths, proudly say where it is we excel, while being able to admit our shortcomings as well.
It has received quite a response, mostly in agreement. Although some have worried that what I am saying equates to griping and complaining about one’s life. That worried me, because that is not at all what I meant, and could not be further away from how I feel.
I am a firm believer in striving for greatness in whatever you choose to do. Whether that be motherhood, the Olympics, writing a book- whatever. This is your life, and you get to pick what you want to be great at. And you should be great, don’t settle for mediocrecy.
That being said, there is a problem with our society that is leading to wide spread depression and feelings of inadequacy. We are blasted with magazine pictures of “perfection” that are airbrushed to unobtainable standards by anyone on this planet. We are told our hair should be thick and shiny, our makeup perfect, our bodies ripped, our houses impeccably organized. Then we make our way over to Facebook and the blogs so many of us follow, only to be accosted by pictures of smiling, argument free, children. Brand new cars, perfectly decorated homes and so on. We then look at our own life and think; why can’t I be like that? We look up from our computer screen, thinking about our limp ponytail and that fact that our children out fighting over the Wii remote while rubbing an elbow through jam smeared on the counter. We fail to see- because no one wants to show it- that we are just like everyone else and it is OK!! We see only what they want us to see, and if we were a fly on the wall, well- it might not be very pretty.
And here is where I want to deviate. Up until now, I feel the messages we get are either A; be perfect. Or B; gripe and complain about your horribly miserable life and be an overall negative Nancy because that makes you “real”
Well, my friends, I beg to differ. I have this quote on my website and it is one of my favorite,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianna Williamson.
I believe this with a fervor. But what we see in today’s society is not this, but some warped version of false perfection. What I would like to see, what I would really like is this; What would happen if we not only recognized and acknowledged the good about ourselves and the blessings that we have while saying, “YES! I can do that!” And, “Yes, I am good at that.” But also simultaneously having the humility and good grace to laugh at ourselves and say, “My life is not perfect, my house may not be perfect and that is OK.” And then, maybe, just maybe, when we realize that perfection is a myth, and that others fall short of that perfection they try to exude, we can rejoice in what we are and WHO we are- awesome yet imperfect. We can give others around us permission to do the same. Instead of looking at Miss Sally Jo’s immaculate house and crying- we can look at Miss Sally and think, “That is one of her strengths, she is such an amazing housekeeper. And that is ok, because I happen to be phenomenal…… at what ever you are.”
We need to love our lives, love who we are, and are be ok to ADMIT who we are, both good, bad, and lacking perfection. We need to recognize everything that we have been given and if we do that, we will be happy. Do you think that by not recognizing who you really are, by denying your gifts and trying to be someone else that you will be happy? No my friends, you will not. Not ever.
I have experienced life from both sides of this coin. Looking at others and sobbing to my husband that I will never be good enough, that I can’t be these women who are completely perfect. He has patiently told me over and over that what goes on behind closed doors is not what I see.
And now, I am on the receiving ends of those looks. “You teach preschool, teach voice lessons, write novels, take care of your kids, the house, your husband? Wow, I don’t know how you do it, I could never do that.” And you know what? Yes! It is pretty awesome. YES! I need to recognize the extraordinary things I have been able to accomplish. However, I laugh on the inside because if you only knew! I feel a little guilty for making others feel about me the way I have felt about others. But I should not have to hide my accomplishments, I just need to be able to also admit my shortcomings so that others can be happy with me, without being pushed to the brink of depression.
Think of what a place this world could be if instead of putting on a façade of perfection, we actually try to perfect those things we are meant to do? And cut ourselves some slack in the other departments?
We have had some hilarious and wonderfully relaxing posts going on via my Facebook page titled Keeping it Real! I would like to share a few really quick,
Yesterday Our choir sang, I am the director ( pretty funny story given that I don’t read music and can’t keep time) I got up to the stand with the choir and they all looked at me like, “where is our music” I had left it all at home, Thankfully it was based on a hymn so they could read it from the hymnal ( enter mad panic as everyone is grabbing hymn books and trying to find the page)
I can make a pretty dang good meal but on occasion I tell the kids “there’s hotdogs in the fridge-help yourself I’m not cooking”
I have baskets of laundry in 2 different kids’ closets that just keep getting piled upon with more clean laundry. And I too have those boxes of misc stuff that should be sorted & put away…they usually end up in the garage.
My office is a sty!! I shove all “papers” and misc. crap in there every time we have company over. I may or may not clean it…ever! Ha!
I am pretty sure there are several science experiments growing in my fridge but I’m too scared to look. The rest of my house looks like a tornado hit it all the time. But hey my kids are healthy and happy, and my husband doesn’t complain so that’s good, right?
So….honestly! This room in the back of my house I call ‘ My Craft Room’! My husband & kids call ‘The Crap Room’! It’s the catch-all for things that have no place! If only I could motivate myself to dig in & master it! Not
Thanks Devri…you’re helping us all realize how much we have in common! It’s refreshing, a relief, and put a smile on my face when I was just about to think it was going to be one of “those” days. Now I know it doesn’t have to be. Wahoo
I made a pretty good dinner last night but had no desire to clean up the mess afterward. I got to wake up to a kitchen disaster…yeah
Today I wore a skirt to church that I can no longer zip up. I tried to hide it with like three layers of shirts. Just keeping it real
And here is mine! Not only do I totally wear spanx to church every week to look less rolly polly. I am sitting on a couch in my room doing work next to a pile of pillows, blankets, and robe, what may be a child’s drawing (kinda hard to tell from here) and a empty pepsi bottle that may or may not be from a week ago.
Yes , I am still in a bit of shock that I admitted to the spanx thing. Oh well, it is the truth.
SO guys, I would like to up the ante on our #KeepingItReal posts. I want you all to summon the courage to not only admit what makes you completely real, but also what makes you completely extraordinary! You are NOT ALLOWED to feel bad at anyone else’s extraordinary, because you have your OWN! This world would be a very boring place without you, and every single talent and gift is needed. And so help me, if you try to tell me that there is nothing you can do, you have no talents, or you are not extraordinary- I may have to drive to your house and smack you. ( In a completely loving way, of course.) Because you DO! We ALL do! Whether you are exceptional with children, patient, loving, a good friend or a superstar- not one of these is more valuable than the other. The world may say they are not equal- but the world is wrong, wrong, wrong! Where would we be without fantastic mothers? Without great friends? Without chefs or singers? Every single one of you is special in your own right and I want you to recognize it. And then I want you to recognize, that it is ok to not be someone else.
Here is me in a nutshell. I am a very talented singer (yes, I had a hard time adding the “very” to that. It is just not natural yet.) I am a great teacher. I am a good- soon to be great-author. I have an AMAZING marriage. I have smart, beautiful kids. I have a wonderful life that is full of more blessings than I think I deserve. I can cook- pretty darn well too. I am intelligent. I am very sensitive to others emotions and can often read people and situations. I think I have very nice eyes. I have a good work ethic and work hard at what I do.
I also can’t do everything- my plate is full. My car is scary, crumbs have overtaken the back seat. My bedroom is often in a state of chaos because it is the last room I get to, therefore I do not get to it. I can not draw a straight line (not kidding) and any artistic discipline is out of the question for me. I yell at my kids sometimes. My laundry does not get done until the kids are out of clothes- period. Mopping is really more optional in my mind than a necessity. And often, I leave ridiculous things, (like old Pepsi bottles) lying in strange places because I am just too dang tired. I work the equivalent of four jobs, something has to give somewhere. And although sometimes these things bother me, the truth is, I am not perfect and I simply can not do it all. There is not enough time in the day or strength in my body, and that is ok. Because what I do, I do well. And that makes me real AND awesome, all in one neat Spanx filled package. (Nice visual, eh?)
What do you say guys? Can we do it? Can we truly keep it real by being extraordinary and normal all in one wonderful confession?