Last week I shared this picture of Leroy on Facebook with a caption saying something like, "Leroy reminds me to not take life too seriously". While the truth is that the moment I saw the picture I'd captured of this silly little guy I couldn't help but laugh and let loose, the other truth is that I have a terribly hard time doing so. Without even realizing it I find myself tight wound and hardened and then a picture like this comes along and makes me realize just how hardened I have really become. I relish in the idea of living life in a laid back way, of doing what makes me happy and not worrying about how that fits in to the rest of the world, of not worrying so much about every little thing, yet I often live a life far from what I imagine for myself. A lifetime of never measuring up has made me hard, has made me close myself off to the joy that surrounds me. From a young age I became a perfectionist, meaning not that I was ever perfect or even claimed to be, but that I was always unable to let myself go and not worry about doing things just right or making the right decisions, this inability to ever really be perfect often crippling me and keeping me from trying at all while other times just confirming to myself my lack of worth when I would try and then fail. And really the hard-to-swallow truth of the matter is that it didn't matter one way or another whether I failed or was top of my class, it wouldn't bring my father back, wouldn't keep my step-father from devaluing me, wouldn't make my mother truly happy. No matter how hard I tried it would never make things normal or create the stability, comfort, and happy family that I craved. All this perfectionism would do was keep me busy, give me a reason for feeling worthless when I failed, and make me strive even harder when I succeeded. I often wonder where I could have gone or what I could have become if I were ever nurtured in the way I needed. We were all fighting our own demons and I will never point any fingers, for we were all getting by and making it through the only ways we knew how, but I still can't help but wonder. Had someone taken real interest in my artwork or my stories would I have believed in myself enough to make something of them? Had I realized that flag corps, track, softball, that none of them would make anyone love me any more would I have continued to do them? None of my questions have answers, for things have happened and time has passed and there is no real way to know what could have been, but I do know one thing, I do know that I no longer have to treat myself the way I have learned to. While I love and nurture others without much struggle, finding love in my heart for myself is something that takes time, something I have been working on for years and work that will continue in those to come. I need to realize that who I am is enough. What I am doing with my life and how I am doing it is enough. Yes, it is okay to want to change and to want to continue to evolve and grow, but who I am today is beautiful and wonderful as is. Those are hard words to type because I don't always believe it, but I am trying and myself is not someone I will ever give up on again. I need to relieve myself of the pressures I have placed on myself, the pressures of needing to do more, do better, do perfectly and to dive in. Stop not doing things for fear they won't be good enough, but rather, start doing them and see what can happen and what I am capable of. I must realize that life is different now. I am an adult and am creating a family of my own. My actions don't need to move mountains or change any lives other than my own. What I do with my days doesn't need to have value to anyone but me, my husband, and our children-to-be. No, sorting yarn and paper all day may not bring my dad back, but it will make me feel accomplished and organized. Crafting a quilt won't make up for years of devaluing or erase the pain, but it will give me satisfaction each time I see it wrapped around my baby girl. I'm realizing more and more how imperative it is that I choose happiness, that I don't worry about how my story works into the stories of others, but focus more on doing whatever will bring life back to my face and lighten the load from my soul. Each stitch, drawing, or project I complete may not put my family back together, but they will move me ever closer to creating the family of my future, one with a mom who is truly happy, for that is all I really need.
linking up with just write
linking up with just write