I don't feel a sense of betrayal or unfairness when things aren't going well these days. You know, the "why me?", I am not feeling the "why me". And it's because of y'all. Because of this sharing that we do.
No matter what my logic told me, I always had a persistent, underlying assumption that pretty well everyone else was doing OK, or at least better than me. They were normal...somehow happier, richer, more stable, less changeable, less prone to illness, disappointment, bad judgment, and bad luck. That their pasts held fewer skeletons, and that there were fewer mistakes and unpleasant surprises in their day to day. Exempting those who had truly difficult and tragic lives, my impression was that the average joe, the "normal" majority, from which I was obviously excluded, sailed through life pretty smoothly. I was a minor league Job just struggling to get by, surrounded by Davids, who seemed to have favour no matter what they did.
Where did I get this bullshit POV? Maybe a little from television. None of us are immune to the Sanitized American Family, as seen on every commercial and sit com for the last 60 years, where the most pressing problem is how to get your whites whiter and avoiding that chatty neighbour. But just a little from TV, I did have Dickens and Steinbeck to counteract Wally and the Beav. I think that the bulk and depth of this impression came from having too few people around me who were willing to authentically speak their truths. I grew up with the myths and legends of the Sanitized American Family, and everyone putting on their company face...and I felt alone. Alone in fear. Alone in dysfunction and misfortune. Alone in feeling more than I saw other people feel.
I, of course, came to realize that this was not so. Everyone suffers and struggles, and it is all relative to their own experience. A broken leg might feel like the end of the world to someone who has never had worse, and there are people who rise with grace to meet tragedies that I can't even imagine. We are all in this human thing together, every last one of us. But it is amazing how the vestiges of that "why me?" mentality can hang on, despite all wisdom to the contrary.
Can the other mom's at school see how frazzled I am today? She looks so beautiful, nails manicured, dressed to the nines, and me, I'm a mess. I feel a mess. My kids both had meltdowns this morning. My husband is sick. My house is a disaster. My taxes still aren't done. I am worried, and oh so distracted. Life scares the shit out of me. I feel like I'm twelve, with pimples and skinned knees and an impossibly mortifying crush on the cutest boy, who has never even noticed me. And these other women are Grace Kelly's and June Cleaver's, but with Sex in the City jobs...and shoes.
But just when I start to go into an "I suck" meltdown...
I remember, that even Dooce has shingles...and a dog that poops on the bed.
I remember my friends here, who are really real women, that I admire. Who struggle and have stories, and have the cohones to share those stories...to speak their truths. I am not alone. And these other manicured women, they probably have shingles, or poop on their beds, or sick husbands, or are trying to figure out how to pay for those sexy shoes they bought on credit.
There was a time when I was turned off and skeptical about the whole idea of a personal blog. Ewwww, what narcissistic impulse could drive you to want to share all your bidness with the world?
Now I know better. Now I know that the sharing, the declarations of authentic self, the histories, and the hopes are like gifts. Gifts that draw us together in humility and understanding...in joyful recognition and solidarity.
Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being brave enough to tell your truths. You help me every single day.
11 hours ago