Monday, January 9, 2012

Shattering the Facade of Perfection

I read a blog post on Momastery by Glennon, a mother of three young children. She wrote that we should not feel guilty if we do not enjoy every moment of motherhood. Some moments are justifiably hard and the old women who tell us to "Carpe Diem and appreciate EVERY single second of parenting because it flies by" only say that because their children are grown up now and they have forgot the temper tantrums. Amen. Read the article. She is a gifted writer.

Here's the real reason behind this blog post. I saw Glennon's picture on her blog. She is thin and beautiful. Somehow that made her less relateable for me. I know that reflects my own insecurities screaming to be freed. Imagine my jaw-dropping shock when I read on Glennon's biography that she struggled with bulimia and alcoholism for 20 years. Her turning point came when she discovered she was drunk, alone, and pregnant. She changed her life, married her baby's daddy, and found God. Wow. This woman is incredible. Suddenly, I wanted to be her friend more than ever! I wanted to reach through the computer and give her a hug!

This being said, why the HECK do some of us strive to hide our weaknesses and pretend like our lives are perfect? It leaves us subject to stereotypes. It makes it all too easy to misjudge one another. Our trials and the chaos in our lives provides us with empathy that links us together as brothers and sisters. God never meant for us to travel the road of life alone. Our burdens need to be shared. I believe that creating a facade of perfection alienates us. A perfect person is a lonely person. If my neighbor was sick but refused to tell me, how could I bring her dinner or babysit her kids? If I never asked my friend to teach me how to make my bread rise, how would I know I had been killing my yeast by boiling it? (True story.)

When I want to talk to someone about how much I miss my brother, I tell someone who has lost a loved one and felt the ache. When I want to express how difficult it is to live within a teacher's budget, I talk to people who have struggled financially. I am not saying that we lay all of our soul bare for all the world to see, or that we whine too much about our trials; I'm just saying that it is difficult to connect with someone who "seems" to live a perfect life. We flock to blogs like Glennon's because her indomitable spirit inspires us. Her honesty is refreshing. Who wants Barbie for a friend, anyway?

So here is some straight-up Emily:
I am passionately in love with my husband. I have the most beautiful, smart, and creative daughters in the history of the world and I play with them every day. I can't smell. I love to talk and write, especially about the gospel of Jesus Christ; maybe I will write a book someday. My house is never completely clean. Reading is my catharsis. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing enough with my life as a stay-home mother, but then I look at my daughters and I feel peace. I know God loves me. I cook from scratch and love to eat my creations too. I wish I was more secure about my body. I would travel the world if I had more money. I love my smile. I am cranky when I am tired. I often forget how blessed I am and wish for a bigger house with a real backyard, despite having witnessed real poverty in the world. I suffer from post-partum depression after every pregnancy. I get anxiety if I am overscheduled. I am a bargain shopper extraordinaire. I naturally love people and think the best of them. I make and cherish friends easily. I try not to say unkind things about other people, but sometimes I still think unkind thoughts. I hate it when people blame their actions on others, so I always take responsibility for my mistakes. I wish I was slower to take offense and quicker to forgive. I love to be the center of attention if I am making people laugh. I do not love to run, but I do love triathlons and my road bike. I have strong opinions and like to be right, but I can admit when I am wrong. I can say sorry. I have always loved to sing, but was insecure about my voice until recently. I cry when others are sad.

Will you tell me more about the true you?


Jessica said...

A-freaking-men! I love that through our trials we can help others. I see God's hand in my trials and in others as they've helped me (if only I'd allow people to help me more). I've been able to help so many people because I'm open to share what I've gone through. Emily, you are so amazing! I love this idea for a blog. The true me is I'm so insecure about myself, I hold myself back from doing things I want to do and making friends I want to make. I struggle with thinking positive thoughts so I believe inside my silly head that no one would want to be friends with me. It takes me a long time to let someone really get to know me. I offer advice freely and sometimes people take offense. Anyway, you are awesome and I wish I could get to know you better and live close to you once again.

Abbey said...

I am so happy you've started this blog. I have LOVED reading your family blog and have gained so much from your insight. Can't wait to hear more! You are a talented writer and you make me remember some very important things about life. I totally agree with your statement of perfect people are lonely people. It's hard to be good friend with someone who doesn't open up to their insecurities and struggles. You're an amazing person Em!

P.S. I've always loved your smile too :)

Catherine said...

I am sitting here crying because I have so much love and gratitude for you, my dear Emily. I have always felt like you were one of my soul sisters since that first day we met in middle school. We are so much alike! I'm thrilled you're starting this blog because you truly do have a gift for writing and authenticity.

There's a reason I author "Sunshine In My Soul" every single day, Em. Like you, I have insights, authentic and real, that I feel inspired to share with the world. And now strangers are finding me and reading daily my cheesy, but honest thoughts of gratitude and sunshine. And it's humbling to know I'm doing some good out there, and SO ARE YOU.

Love you and the sunshine you spread! :)

n8 and Aubrey said...

Em. I love the way you write. Keep it up. I'll be a frequenter for sure.

Cheltz said...

That was a great post by Glennon, wasn't it? Ok, I better stop commenting now, or I'll scare you. Sorry :).