Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Reality of This Side of Invisible

Since announcing "I finished my book" and then posting the first chapter online, I've had a lot of comments, really great endearing comments, about how awesome it is, how awesome I am for doing it.  I love the encouragement, but at the same time, the strokes to my ego rake down my spine with painful unease.  Please, let me explain why.

I am excited and amazed and humbled by my own accomplishment.  I am thrilled that after nearly three years, I was able to get my story out of my head and on paper... well, computer.   That being said, I don't want people mistakingly thinking that I did something they couldn't.  Nor do I want anyone thinking I'm some sort of super-mom able to do it all with grace and poise.  While the world (or at least my little corner of the world) sees that I have finished a novel, here is what they don't see:

The world doesn't see the days I spend at the computer in my pajamas with a red-headed afro and day-long morning breath.  The world doesn't see my children running a muck (in their pajamas), scattering food and legos and dirty laundry through the house.  The world doesn't hear my gruff comments and short commands from my computer chair.  The world doesn't smell the funk from my sink full of dishes or my overflowing garage bins.  No one comments on my unkempt lawn or takes note of our filthy cars.  No one sees the neglect that comes when I am absorbed in my writing.  In short, the world doesn't see my reality.

I had intended to put an actual picture of my messy house as it sits today, but alas my phone died and so...

I find no shame in my behind-the-scenes because, you see, it is mathematically and physically impossible to give 100% to everything all the time.  I simply can't be a great housewife, cook, mother, etc and be an accomplished writer, singer, sewer, crafter, etc.  I can be a good housewife who, on occasion, leaves the dishes and the laundry to be finished tomorrow... or the next day.  I can be a good cook and make nutritious meals for my children while at the same time teaching my kids to self-sustain on pb&j, particularly on those occasions when I don't get around to cooking those super nutritious meals.  I can be a good mother who nurtures, plays with and teaches her children... especially to entertain themselves and resolve their own conflicts... and who tunes them out so they can practice their skills.  I can even be a writer who accomplishes many things, usually after many hours of procrastinating on the web and while ignoring the rest of the planet.  But never, in any given moment, can I be my best of all of those thing all at the same time.  Because I'm not super human.

I've heard it said multiple time lately that we shouldn't compare our behind-the-scenes with another person's highlight reel.  How true is that?  And how often do we do precisely that?  Social media is amazing and uplifting and enlightening when we let it be.  But it is also damning in so many ways, and the habit of comparison is most damaging part.

Please, be kind to yourself.   Everyone is capable of having dreams, setting goals and accomplishing great things... and making a mess in the process.  Not that I'm advocating for neglecting all our duties, letting everything go to pot and selfishly doing whatever we want.  I'm simply saying: the path of life is a dirty and glorious thing.  And the dirt is part of the glory.  Promise.

p.s. a friend of mine also recently wrote about her behind-the-scenes.  you can read it at Keeping Up With the Chaos

1 comment:

Jessica said...

This reminded me of a post my sister did a bit ago. I also thought you might be interested in this one that she wrote about a writing workshop that she went to.