Self Discovery isn’t as pretty as I thought it’d be

Goodness!  Do you ever feel like an amazing rockstar who’s nailing this whole “I’m a powerful woman who is living her best life and I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m gonna be me” and then BAM! You get knocked off your high horse so hard that you feel it reverb in your teeth?  No? Not you?  Oh ok, you can stop reading now then because you are basically perfect and we should all bow down to you.  The rest of you, and please for the love of everything holy, tell me there are “the rest of you” you can keep reading:)

I’ve recently decided to take time for myself and to figure out how I can be the best me possible.  I’ve been writing more and singing at scary little open mic nights, because these are the things that give me life and bring me joy.  It’s been AMAZING!  I was on my journey to be this empowered woman who didn’t need anyone’s approval.  And then I realized that I may not need the approval, but I sure do want it.  I fight these feelings a whole lot but they are so engrained in me.  I wrote a blog post recently, and I felt like it was my best one yet.  Someone very important in my life has already decided they won’t read my blogs, so I don’t even ask if they got around to it.  And when I did my first Open Mic Night I made the decision not to ask them if they watched it, because I knew they wouldn’t, and I was totally at peace with that. But that nagging little voice that tells me I need their approval and praise wouldn’t go away.  So when they mentioned they saw that I did an open mic night, the first words out of my mouth were an excited “Did you watch it!?” That excitement quickly turned to mortification, regret, shame, and hurt.  I knew not to ask that question, but that part of me that craves approval from this specific person, isn’t as dead as I thought it was.

A few days ago I told a friend that I was just an insecure person by nature and there wasn’t really much I could do to help it.  That insecurity is just engrained in my being.  This friend, who so easily looks straight thru all the walls and facades that I put on as my armor, looked at me and said, “You are using your insecurities as an excuse to never try and to allow yourself to always fail.”  If you are wondering if I kept my composure, that would be a NEGATIVO! I straight  up ugly cried my eyes out.  I really wish I was a pretty crier but I’m not.  I get all snotty and my face scrunches up in these weird not so flattering poses.  It’s not pretty.  Good thing I wasn’t in public to make these beautiful faces for everyone to see.

I never really thought of me being an insecure person that way.  I knew where my insecurities came from.  A broken home, with a dad who left me at the age of 8 and lots of other things that weren’t made to foster a well adjusted and healthy self esteem in a young woman.  But when this friend said that I was using it as an excuse to never try and to never succeed, that hit me right in the gut.  I am still allowing the things in my past power over my present.  I am allowing myself to give up before I start because I’m still that terrified little girl, hiding in a corner with her brothers, while ugly things happened on the other side of our bedroom door.

ENOUGH! I have had enough of this mentality.  I have had enough of living in fear of the things that seem too big for me to ever accomplish.  I’m so sick of being so scared to do the things that excite me and make me want to be something more.  I am MORE.  I am more than a scared little girl.  I am STRONG, I am SMART, I am CAPABLE and I CAN DO BIG THINGS.  My brother told me, “We have to stop being afraid to try.  Fear of failure shouldn’t stop us from trying.”  He’s right.  He recently invested in a business and it didn’t workout, but at least he tried.  He said “So what, I have a little debt because of it, at least I know I have the strength to try and to dream.” He is my hero for that.

I feel like Hollywood paints this very pretty picture of self discovery for us to look at.  That we are going to end up learning all these amazing things about ourselves by riding a motorcycle across the country and meeting someone who pushes us out of our comfort zone and makes us dance on a table in a crowded bar, or skinny dip in a lake.  And through all these fun adventures we learn who we are as a person.  But they rarely show us all of the ugly parts of self discovery.  The tears when you realize you aren’t as whole as you thought you were.  The agony when you discover the things you have worked towards your entire life are not in fact the things that make you happy.  And when you discover that you are actually too scared to ever dream, it kind of breaks you.  I have been discovering all these things about myself.  It’s been a tough road.  A very humbling and scary road.  But I’ve also discovered that I’m worth the work.  I’m worth this painful and character building road to a better me.  The reason I write these words and put them out on here for whoever to see, is because, 1. It’s very therapeutic for me to write my thoughts down, and 2. I never want anyone to feel like they are alone.  It’s hard to admit these weaknesses to people but if I can encourage just one person by letting them see my struggles, then I feel like I’ve done what God has called me to do.

OH MOTHERHOOD

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Dear Motherhood,

I dreamed of you since the time I was a little girl.  I had big plans for you Motherhood.  I thought we could do crafts together.  That we could plan beautiful meals and have them with beautiful, clean children.  That the beautiful clean children would enjoy every organic bit of that meal.  I thought maybe we could have a house together. Not a grand house, just a house big enough for us all to live in, full of love and laughter and pretty things.  Maybe we could even have a clean house that’s nice and organized.  Where everything has a spot and is easily found when you need it.  Oh Motherhood, I thought we would be able to learn to sew and make elaborate Halloween costumes for the adorable children you blessed me with.  Motherhood, I feel like we have failed each other.

I think back on all the failures I had from the start of my journey as a mom.  From the c-section that brought my twins into this world, making me feel like less of a woman because I couldn’t push them out myself.  To the failed breastfeeding attempts which led to 6 months of pumping for those sweet little girls.  To having 3 kids under 3, living in a 3rd floor apartment and falling down the stairs with precious Ronin who I may have dropped on the way down.  My start as a mother wasn’t the magical start I longed for.  Looking back at my 24-year-old mom of  3 under 3 self, I wish I could tell her one thing, CALM DOWN.  Well maybe two things, CALM DOWN and PERFECT IS STUPID.  I carried this insane pressure to be “Super Mom” with me for years, and it very near killed me.  I literally had a nervous breakdown when I turned 27.  I was a stay at home mom of 3 kids, a wife, and a church member.  That was my whole identity.  I realized that I had no idea who I really was.  I knew I wanted more out of life but felt stuck in all 3 of those roles and they were demanding roles.  I couldn’t keep up with other moms.  I couldn’t keep my house as clean as other people’s, and  my crafts weren’t as cool, and my kids didn’t eat their vegetables like other people’s kids, and my husband and I fought a LOT about the house being in a constant state of disarray and other wives didn’t have that problem, and, and AND….. Needless to say my anxiety was thru the roof and it all just kind of came crashing down around me.  BUT GOD.  But God came with me as my whole world fell apart.  And when I couldn’t get out of bed he gave me children that needed me to.  He gave me a husband who was also tired of living miserably together and pushed us to go to marriage counseling, where we learned how to talk to each other in a manner  that was non threatening and could convey how we really felt.  God helped us see each other’s point of view and the fact that I had 3 young kids meant MESS.  We were at our absolute lowest point and I can’t help but thank God for that.  Living the way we were living was killing us and we were on a path to end up as a broken family.  Something had to happen and my breakdown, though painful and shameful, was what we needed.  God’s amazing healing power swept thru our lives and changed us forever.

Going through such a life altering situation brings everything into perspective.  I’m so relived to learn that I don’t have to be perfect.  I don’t have to have this whole motherhood thing figured out completely.  My house is still a mess, but it’s getting better as the kids get older and can help more.  I’m still a mom, wife, and church member, but now know that I don’t have to be the “perfect” mom, wife, and church member.  Comparing yourself to other people is a good way to drive yourself insane.  I will never be anyone else but me, and I’m ok with that now.  Do you know how freeing that is??  Living in a world where you can appreciate the women in your life and their specific strengths and not be jealous or wish you could do what they do, is such a beautiful place.  I encourage you to speak into people, not about people.  I encourage you to find the strength in you to be able to truly love and appreciate your friend who is a tad more organized than you, or the friend who’s house is always a bit messy but always has an open door.  Motherhood and Wifehood, isn’t easy, that’s why God gives us friends to help us survive it.

Oh Motherhood, our start together may not have been everything my little girl mind imagined, but it’s definitely an adventure.  Sometimes you are magical and sometimes you make my hair fall out.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.