I Know You are, but What am I?

05097b015c05b098865644f0373367737a2382-wmJust sayin’….or just making excuses?

There was a time where I was more than a bit neurotic when it came to housework. Part of it was my upbringing. I don’t often remember being allowed to have friends over…unless we played outside. My mother was a clean freak who stood over us while we did our chores…dusting, vacuuming, the application and polishing off of that gawd awful paste wax on old battleship linoleum. I can remember dusting the same shelf five times because I wasn’t doing it right. A tyrant in a house dress and apron, my mother ran a tight ship.

Some of that rubbed off on me….unfortunately. I remember standing over my teenagers making them wipe the counter over and over again because they hadn’t done it right. A tyrant in a business suit and earrings. I am so very sorry for those times….I remember one evening my husband wanted to go visiting right after dinner and I burst into tears because I hadn’t yet done the dishes. Ridiculous? Absolutely! Difficult to stop? Unquestionably.

It took me years to get to a place where my house didn’t have to be spotless, perfect. I still have to work on it.

But there is a flip side to this desire for perfection which is just as bad.

Everyday I see posts on social media or hear people, women especially, justify living in a cluttered, dirty house. “You’re not a good mom if your house is clean and organized”. That’s as delusional as the search for perfection. It’s an excuse and a cop-out …no matter how busy you are your home can be tidy and clean.

700fb301643451547312c04165b28da8There is a happy medium between where I was and being a slob.

Making your bed everyday does not make you less of a woman or a man. Picking up after yourself and expecting the same from anyone that lives in your home doesn’t mean you are less fun, less caring, or that your priorities are screwed up.

House_clean_enough_healthy_messy_happy_signWhat it means is that you like an uncluttered, calm place to call home. A refuge where the chaos of the world stops at your door. It means you are organized; a good time manager.

There are lots of other things that are vague or thinly disguised excuses that annoy me.

Where does it say in the rule book of life that in order to be a kind, decent person you must be poor? There are kind and generous people in all walks of life, just are there are users and abusers. Because I have worked hard my whole life and done well, I am not a thoughtful and caring person? Just because I won’t bail you out of your own laziness and spend thrift ways makes ME the one to be loathed? Nonsense.

Why do we look at the fit, healthy Mom and try to belittle her?From Facebook to Moms and Tots groups across the country, we post her image and ridicule her efforts and toned, fit body. She works hard at staying fit and healthy AND is as engaged and loving with her children as we are…the difference is she stopped making excuses. She knows that to be the best she can be for her children means that she must be healthy to live a long, active life. Caring for yourself doesn’t make you an unfit parent….it makes you a shining example for your children. Go get off the couch, turn off social media and the gossip club and join her. The reason we feel so inclined to discredit others is our own unhappiness.237072367854404259qCeGSjvCc

So go ahead. Put your sweat pants back on, hike up your shirt to show your tummy that has stretch marks from carrying your three children…and by all means be proud of yourself…but for God’s sake….stop criticizing the Moms that work at being fit and healthy. It doesn’t help make you a better Mom, it makes you a jealous, mean-spirited crank that I find annoying.

You’re so Vain…I Bet You Think this Blog is About You

37f3b98d3c005c57395f830973e0eaf3A while back, I had a private message on Facebook from someone who had read my blog posts and wanted to know why I was “airing my dirty laundry’ in public. This wasn’t someone on my “friends” list …just someone who took issue with some of my posts….. or perhaps all of them…they weren’t clear.

At first I was stunned…and angry, but then, slowly, I started to understand why that person…and probably others…feel that way.

It was a difficult decision…and still is…deciding whether or not I should write about specific things. I struggled with the ‘what will people think’ aspect of some of my posts. I also struggled with how much detail to write.

f6a203a6552795725bfc56a330229bf7The conclusion that I have come is is this: There will always be people who will disagree with how you live your life, what you say, what you do, what you write. They will try and make it about you…but it isn’t about you…it is about them. To reveal some things about my life will serve no purpose and so I choose carefully what I write. It is a fine balance to determine what will be enough to heal me without being so much that it harms others.

It is only when you have secrets that you can be blindsided…and hurt. Life is what it is: the good; the bad; and the ugly. We must embrace all of it to become whole. To deny or cover up the ugly parts is to try and deem ourselves less than human, which is ridiculous. Remember the old adage “To err is human. To forgive divine.” ‘Tis true. No point lying about it Having ugly bits to our personality doesn’t make us unworthy. It makes us human.

I think it takes courage to face your whole self….warts and all. Most of us like to put all that isn’t perfect in a closet, turn off the light, close the door, lock it and hide the key. I don’t know about you, but there isn’t much of me that’s perfect, so there’d be a whole big chunk of ugly awesome in that closet!!

Burying, covering up, hiding and lying about who we are and what we came from is fodder for all the head doctors out there! You can’t bury ugly things and expect them not to take root and eventually rear their nasty selves. You have to bring that stuff into the light….face it, smack it down if need be…but deal with it. Only then will it lose it’s power over you.10356263_621300841298787_5130570590089182306_n

Most times, our ugliness doesn’t come from within ourselves…it comes from without. It comes from what other people have done to us, then we bury it and let it take root….an unwitting participant in their plan to sabotage our lives and damage our souls. That is stuff of broken spirits, which results in broken people.

I was badly broken…I just didn’t realize it. I am working to heal, to forgive, to improve and to laugh again. One foot ahead of the other; one word after another; one story at a time. Slowly, I am reclaiming my power.

So if you are worried about what you might read in these posts…concerned that you might show up in the ugliness that I am still dealing with, all I can say is this: Maybe you should have treated me better.

Close the Door Behind You

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2014, you came to kick my ass didn’t you? You were a wild ride and there were times it was difficult to hang on.

I had no idea…so full of hope and optimism as 2013 ended. Tremendous highs…we squeezed in a trip to visit our older son, daughter in heart, and our grandchildren in Australia; received the gift of our third granddaughter a few days before Christmas; we sold two huge houses that had become a drain on us emotionally, spiritually, and financially.

Debilitating lows…we lost two dear friends; felt the pain as a dear friend lost her son; grasped for answers when our niece’s husband was gone too soon.

In between, we had waves of mediocrity, melancholy, mayhem, and madness. We worked hard, cried too much, played a bit…and laughed. Oh, how we laughed!

2014, you did your best to kick us when we were down, to hold our dreams at bay, and to break our spirits. It didn’t work.

We never gave up hope that things would work out; that all things happen for a reason, even if we don’t know what that might be in the heat of the moment, swallowed by grief and sadness.

There were days when we thought the world had gone mad…inclusive of our own country. Just when our faith seemed misguided, misplaced or lost, a story restored it…yes, often, even raised it…and we were grateful.

images-2Messages came in the way of feathers in my path, candles refusing to burn, whispers on the wind…and believe it or not….wolves at the door. A pack. Almost literally at the door!

Some days were easier than others, some more difficult…like today, the last of 2014. Saying farewell to my girls; my daughter, granddaughter, and our grand dog today left me a mess of tears, fears and worries. Thrilled for them, terrified for me, as they begin a new path in their own journeys.

Through it all, I tried to listen to the message. The lesson. I didn’t always hear what I hoped or wanted to, but I found myself more tuned in and grateful than ever before.

I never stopped believing that in everything there is a purpose. As the year flew by, more often than not one word kept creeping into my consciousness. I began to notice it popping up in conversation, in articles and books I read, in my thoughts and in my musings. As usual…my One Word chose me … images-2 copy

I believe in dreams, in truth, and in kindness. I believe in courage, compassion, and love. I want to believe in the future, in justice, in equality and freedom. I need to believe more in myself, my intuition, my purpose and possibilities. I must believe in miracles, in magic and in enchantment. I wonder if I believe in ‘life after death’, in extraterrestrials, in unlimited power of the brain.

As we enter 2015, I believe I will push myself and my current beliefs to new boundaries. In these, the last few moments of 2014, let me tell you…I shall open the door for you as I usher you through, for there is another,standing just ajar, waiting for me to open it in just a few moments, and I am excited by what it hides. I believe it will be wonderful. And, 2014…close your door on the way out.