I’m ok, you’re ok…

photo-1438979315413-de5df30042a1There is a virus, or exhaustion, (or perhaps a virus by exhaustion) making its way through our house, this week. We’ve each got a touch of it, somehow. These are the sort of things which don’t seem to fit into the to-do lists and planners, thus leading to frustration. Yesterday, (which I’ll get more to in a bit) found me waking with a massive headache, 2 hours AFTER I wanted to wake. Sleep had been rocky up until about 3 hours before I actually got up, so that was pretty awesome. I had half an hour to dress and head to a class I am taking, led in video sessions, by Shauna Niequist. Also factor in the emotional and defiant teen, who has been a bit of a struggle this week, and it made for not the best half hour. I showed up, to the class, barely dressed, without make up and crowned with crazy, curly hair. Who knew it would be a class filled with gorgeous, fit, SAHM’s, all so put together I double checked to see if I had walked into a magazine spread shoot.

I made it through the class and breakout session somewhat managed. Yay me. On my way home I had to stop by the supermarket for a cake. See, yesterday was our Family Anniversary with Gen. For those of you not familiar with adoption stuff, it would mark the day (13 years ago) that Gen came into our family. We do something special to mark the occasion every year, usually on the weekend. Even so, Gen and I had decided we would have a little cake or something to mark the day of. So, off I went to buy a tiny cake. And crusty bread, to go with dinner. And bananas, because the other day they were all not the best looking. And Ice Cream, to go with the cake of course. And $70 later, my quick trip for a cake added to my frustration.

Upon getting home, the awesome dynamics of the day, the hormones, the defiance and my headache all meshed together quite lovely, leading me to abandon everything on my agenda and crawl into bed. (Now, the night before I had another class, with my husband. And I was making a delicious dinner for him and his coworker before hand. And that all went downhill rather quickly causing me to melt down into fits of sobs and why me’s… It was incredibly attractive, I’m sure. Yesterday honestly felt more like a continuation of Tuesday and the same sorts of things.) I made a new recipe last night, which the family loved but I just couldn’t stand the taste. When the cake, later, also sat on my palette flavorless I had to admit I’m headed towards needing to take sick leave, only- PLOT TWIST- no sick leave here! So, I kept trucking. I cleaned the kitchen while the family vegged. I woke up early to take care of other sickies, make tea and distribute meds. Nothing major, except that after three days of what feels like minimal rest, I’m feeling achy and done.

This morning I sit in bed, cup of tea (Wonder Woman cup, no less) with my laptop, two classes of homework and my planner all spread out before me. Laundry will not be put away today. I will only get dressed, in yoga pants, when it is time to go take Gen to work and pick up last-minute ingredients for homemade chicken noodle soup. Here’s the thing though, guilt is weighing on me worse than any 3-4 day headache, back pain or muscle ache. Why haven’t I done this or that, which has been shuffled on my to-do list daily. Why is this basket of unfolded laundry sitting here? What is wrong with me, I never had unfolded laundry! Why can’t I simply take care of these things, there isn’t that much! Why have I managed to watch a collective two hours of The Mindy Project on Hulu?  I have friends who work real, actual paycheck jobs and take care of the house and parent the kids and make it work. What is my issue this week?  Truth? There will always be someone who seems to have their stuff together, someone who manages to juggle it all flawless without a strand of hair out-of-place. I think that up until everything fell apart last fall, I seemed to be that person to a few. It’s not that they were wrong, and it isn’t that I was wrong. It is simply that we can’t compare because we all have different shoes, with different tread and walk on different surfaces of life. Who cares if this girl seems to have it all together, and who cares if that girl clearly doesn’t. Let’s not compare and not compete. Let’s acknowledge that in our genuine authenticness we are women and we are beautiful. What makes us beautiful is not our perfect hair, or flawless skin or our airbrushed appearance makeup application. Each of those things can be nice, but none of them equal beauty. When we are stressed, or tired, or alone- there is no amount of product or shopping which will make us look stunning. We wear this in our posture, in our face and in our reactions toward others. Womanhood is beauty. Period. Womanhood is also meant to be sisterhood, which means we are a community of women knit together to help one another, share burdens and love and make it work because one woman’s success truly is another’s.

I am tired. My head hurts. I don’t feel well at all. My back is killing me and I just feel worn out. There is nothing wrong with me, as woman/wife/mother/writer authentically stating this. We think there is, because it has been heavily implied that we need to appear as though our crap is together 24/7. If we don’t, (and even when we do) we run the great big risk of internet trolls trashing on our photos/posts/tweets. Let the haters hate, it very well may be the only skill they have. This applies to the ones hiding on the internet as well as the snooty women we cross paths with out in the world. I am a woman, with this one shot at life, I think I’ve decided to do it authentically. Behind on laundry, to-do list ignored, fifty loads of dishes per day and my house looking lived in while I plant myself in bed for an hour to watch Catfish– this is authentically me, from time to time. And that is ok…

Slow learning, since 1976…

What I’ve learned in May is kind of a tricky topic. I feel it’s likely, on any given day, that I could have a varying degree of answers. One day I’d tell you that I learned to master the most amazing sandwich recipe, the next I’d cry into my sourdough bread and tell you how I’ve learned nothing and I’m a huge failure, doomed to repeat the same disastrous mistakes day after day.

I live with a fifteen year old girl, who is the barometer of our house. I’ve learned this.

I kind of, sort of, pretty much, definitely hate it. {learned that too.}

In all seriousness, it’s been a tough month. My instinct is to lay it all out for you and prove to you that I’m a failure as a wife, mother, writer and _________ (insert every other area here), but the truth is, I’ve learned the damage thinking such things can do. While yes, it has become painstakingly clear that I am not an awesome mom because apparently awesome moms have their stuff figured it by now, I have learned that I daily become more and more of the person I’m destined to be. Labeling all of my steps along this journey, until this moment, as failure only sounds spoiled and ungrateful.

I already knew I didn’t want to be that…

I’ve learned that love is patient. Most of us know that. It’s something ingrained into our brains and yet, I’m only really starting to understand what that truly means. I’ve learned that saying “no” to the stuff we should say no to is tough, and saying “yes” to the stuff we should agree to is even tougher. This realization hit me like a Mack truck to the face, and I still think it sucks, but something about knowing it helps me when I’m faced with the question and that’s a good thing.

I’ve learned that intentional dating is an awesome thing to do with my husband, but sometimes life is heavy and hard and we just need to escape and zone out at the movies together. Feeling guilty for that isn’t healthy.

I tried to learn to make fried chicken again. (the last time was 20 years ago.) I will not try again. I realize there is nothing healthy about fried chicken but I grew up on fried chicken picnics and Chw grew up on Sunday fried chicken dinners. Nostalgia inspired me to try it again. I did learn that I’m a really great cook, when it comes to some things, and fried chicken is not one of them. I am ok with this…

Regarding writing, and working from home, May has been quite an educational month. I’ve learned I work better when I’m working. Novel concept, (no pun intended) I know. It’s that simply, though, so I’ve begun scheduling my hours and it works like a dream. Because it’s the end of the school year oddness, a few things have been tweaked, but it’s been a pretty great and I’ve been more productive and taken more steps forward this month than I have in well over a year.

It all falls under the same lesson though, one I think that I’ve been learning since I was seven years old… That’s the lesson of grace. Grace for myself, grace for others… I’ll wake up and need to learn it again tomorrow. I think I’m stuck in my own version of Groundhog Day over here…