Thursday, September 24, 2009

The New Normal

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 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 joyful recognition and solidarity.

Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being brave enough to tell your truths. You help me every single day.

Chet Baker, Everything Happens to me from Luchinop on Vimeo.


  1. As I drop my son off into the throws of junior high, I pull out of the parking lot and look back at the casual moms with incredible envy. Relaxed hair. Runners. Jean. I look down at the designer suit, expensive shoes and manicured nails. I feel so over done. I dread facing the 9:00 meeting. Boardroom. Clients. Am I prepared enough? What if I disappoint them? I think about my son riding the bus home to an empty house. I won’t be there for him. Those other mom’s are so lucky. Blessed. To be home with the kids. What a luxury. They don’t have corporate politics, my never ending stack of files, my back stabbing coworkers or the pressure of multimillion dollar targets and budgets. Or my ice pick headaches and bleeding ulcer. They probably all fall asleep with the laundry done and the house clean. I am pulled in a million directions. They get to focus on what matters. Don't they?

    Thank you for the blog today. Thank you for letting me see some of the other side... we all have our poop shoe days...(Muses of a corporate single mom)

  2. That's 'zactly what I'm talking about! :) I need to know the stresses and worries behind the designer suit and perfect manicure, and you need to know that my house is NEVER clean when I fall asleep at night, despite the fact that I am a SAHM. It lightens the burden somehow, doesn't it? Knowing that we are all in this together.

    The truth sharing is such powerful important stuff. Thank you for being here to share yours. :)

  3. Amen, E. There is so much power in the shared craziness, in knowing we're not alone, it really helps me make it through the day sometimes, having my online friends to tell the truth to. I'm also learning there are very few people on the planet who are shiny and happy and have it all together. I'm just a mess, and I always will be. Thank goodness we found each other!
    ps I just blogged a thank you to my blogger friends too, w00t for gratitude!
    pps I'm going to get a shingles vaccination!!

  4. "I'm a mess, and I always will be" Can I get that on a t-shirt? ;)

    And shingles, I actually had shingles when the boys were nursing...not the funnest. Yay for vaccines! (in your face Jenny McCarthy!)

  5. Hi dear, thanks for your nice comment and for this posting, it's so much what I feel and I am so glad, that I started blogging.
    I wrote about that in this post, maybe you want to check it out:
    Ah and btw: if you want to see what's in the bags- it has already started!
    CU, BB

  6. Hallelujah!! I agree 100%, Evangeline :)

  7. Just wrote you a very long comment and for some reason it wouldn't post and disappeared. So, as frustrating as it is, it's life. Everyone has skeletons in their closets and skeletons under our clothes. But, they are still skeletons since we're all human. Clothes and manicures don't bring happiness. Neither do clean houses and fancy hair. Happiness comes from your inside, your thoughts, your ability to give and ability to receive- not as easy as it seems. LIkewise, happiness is found in your heart- and true riches are in nature. The sunrise, sunset, trees and flowers outside. Just step out your door. And what a gift it is that you are able to share your thoughts with the confidence that it's okay. That's one of the most sought after abiities that most people don't have. So, feel great about your talents and yourself, and look inside yourself, that's where true wonder and greatness is found.

  8. and thank you for sharing, if more of us (women) told the truth, we would be less isolated from one another...but it seems we are programed to say I'm fine even when we are not. I am trying to be more honest about the hidden costs of my life choices, thank you, thank you for being so brave!


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