Becoming a Friend rather than an Inspiration

Completing the Boho Berry Challenge for October 2018 here on the blog meant I was able to pre-schedule a month's worth of posts. It was kind of awesome.

During that time, I was able to draft several other blogs also- one being my fear of normal. While I wrote this post several weeks ago, it's still something I think about multiple times a week. Figuring out an issue and writing about it is helpful, but it doesn't always immediately solve the problem.

This morning on my way to work, I had another realization.

Not only does normal feel uncomfortable and lazy and close-minded...it feels shameful

Again, I'm supposed to do more and be better than...someone. Or something.

Sounds real stuck-up when phrased that way, but it's how I feel. I don't necessarily know who or what I'm competing against, but it's important to my pride that I...am basically perfect, according to pretty much everyone. Well, not everyone, but most people.

I've pushed this reality down with a lot of excuses over the years.

Oh, I'm just different.

Oh, I don't want to be the kind of person who backs away just because things are hard.

Oh, it's one of the great things of human nature that we can choose to constantly improve instead of remaining stagnant. 

And like...all that is true- to a certain extent.

But in reality, I have linked so much of who I am to what I'm doing externally. You would think after quarter-life crisis due to not getting into grad school originally that I would have learned not to base my entire self-identity on any one aspect of my life...but I didn't.

My husband has this super annoying habit where I will ask him to do something, he'll sigh and say yes but grumble, then tell EVERYONE how demanding I am and what a saint he is. He plays it for comedic relief, but I fucking hate it. JUST SAY NO, JACKASS. Or say yes, and accept that YOU SAID YES and stop painting me like tyrannical bitch.

TBF, he does this almost every aspect of his life and it's just become his nature. It's just most clear with me and with his job. He will volunteer/accept a lot of shit almost on purpose so he has something to complain about later, probably not as dramatically as it seems to me because I take it personally.

I absolutely cannot stand this trait. But while I may strive to not do this on a small daily basis, I did it on a large one by constantly adding more to my plate.

Part of this is culture-I have a friend who has kind of been frustrating to deal with lately. She seems to need to win the "I have it busiest/worst" game. Maybe it's because anytime I hear this now, I think of the Girl's Girls podcast where they flat out said "WE ARE ALL BUSY, NO ONE GIVES A SHIT," but I'm over this topic of conversation.

We are all the star of our own movie. We all think we have it the worse. And sometimes we have it bad, but we don't get to look at one scene from someone else's movie and tell them that they have it good/bad/better/worse than we do.

We don't get to decide when someone else reaches too bad.

And that means we don't get to decide if they are currently struggling because they are on the road to too bad either. 

Until very recently, I felt like I had to play that game and win too. The difference in my friend is that she thinks she automatically is winning just with her current state, and I spent years going "Well if I can't win with my current state, I'm going to one up everyone by adding XYandZ to my plate!"

To be clear, this friend has been a very good friend and helped me out a lot and I love her. I just can't help her right now because I am currently having to help myself (and probably vice versa) and as a helper I want to do that but can't which is frustrating on top of the issue itself- it will smooth out. This is a small, concrete example that recently highlighted a bigger issue I was already reflecting on which is why I'm discussing it here.

I think part of the reason that game is so appealing is because we think it is going to lead to a twisted sense of admiration. "Oh my gosh, look at everything she is dealing with. I just don't know how she does it."

Ugh, even as I type it I want to smack myself. THERE IS SO MUCH WRONG WITH THIS. HOW BLIND HAVE I BEEN. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, BRITTANY.

I mean, I want to think of another reason...but I can't.  Why else would we voluntarily punish ourselves?

(I'm sure there is another reason/tendency that is just not coming to me because this is my truth, so feel free to share if you have a different answer)

And that was my long and winding road to the thought I had this morning, which is:

If I start leading the calmer life I actually think feels good and right, I won't be the modern/on-fire type of woman I think I should be.

But while I won't be an inspiration, I feel I'll be a much better friend.

Repeat that sentence, but change the word friend to mother-wife-daughter-granddaughter-Christian-person

I'm always adding labels to myself. And that's fine- I fucking love labels, guys. I know it's super unpopular in today's culture but I do! I like being able to clearly define different aspects of my personality.

But I've been so caught up in adding labels that I have been neglecting the ones I already have.

I've been so caught up in having impressive titles that society-at-large would recognize and respect and validate that I neglected myself and the people who are already in my life.

Guys, I've built a pretty nice life for myself. 

One that lots of people would probably kill for. On the outside it looks totally normal- house, husband, kid, job, church.

But here's the thing- that house, is a home. It is a sanctuary that I still look around after 5 years and go "Ahh." It is a place where I have loved my husband and raised my child and watched drunken Jeopardy with my friend and cried and lived and I am so damn grateful for it literally almost every day. That is sadly not true of all houses.

That husband? I like him. I love him. I am attracted to him both physically and mentally. He stands up for me and teaches me and listens to me and challenges me and drives me crazy and always has my back and he is the one I want by my side for all time. That is sadly not true of all marriages. 

That kid? Physically birthing her changed my mind and body. Some of those changes were hard and some lead to good things and some lead to bad things. But she is so amazing. And I get to see her grow even more amazing every. single. day. She is funny and smart and beautiful. And while the thought of being her mother is incredibly intimidating, the idea of having her on my team* fills me with a crazy unbelievable of joy and excitement! That is sadly not true of all parent-child relationships.

Leslie: It’s not about trying to make your life perfect. Nobody’s lives are perfect. You have kids because you and Andy are a team, and you wanna bring in some new team members. [Parks & Rec, 7:12/13]

That job? To some I would seem overqualified, and to most it sounds dreadfully boring. But it actually fits great with my personality and skill set. It lets me listen to podcasts all day and provides a great work-life balance. That is sadly not true of all jobs.

That church? It can drive me crazy and concern me and challenge me and it's definitely not perfect. But it's a group of people that I truly believe care and wrestle with faith like I do. It's introduced me to some of my best friends, and provided us with a framily here where it could have been so easy to remain outsiders. It provides an opportunity to reach out to the community in small but impactful ways. It nourishes my spiritual growth as a Christian which is vital to my desires and needs and mental health. That is sadly not true of all churches.

My life may look normal...but that doesn't mean it's not kick-ass and amazing, or that I'm not kick-ass and amazing.

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