Monday, April 24, 2017

All the Things I'm Not

I'm not a size 2 or even a size 10, but I'm healthy, medically speaking. I've always struggled with body image for a variety of reasons - and probably always will - but I'm trying with all my might to be a good example for my daughters, so I'm working on it and, most days, making progress (albeit it in teeny tiny baby steps).

I'm not an extrovert. I probably never will be, but I'm not as introverted as I once was. I don't shy away from social situations like I did many years ago. 

I'm not exceptionally talented musically or artistically speaking, but I'm good at my job. I'm organized and efficient. I can get up in front of a room full of preschoolers and feel right at home. Not sure what that says about me, but it's something that would intimidate a lot of people.

I'm not at all fashion forward, but I've learned that comfort and quality are more important than style and a closet full of clothes - at least to me. 

I'm not twenty-something anymore. I'm not thirty-something either, but I do think that older really does equal wiser and bolder. It's a trade-off that I'm generally content with.

I'm not a gourmet chef and, lately, we've had more take-out than I care to admit. I can cook, though, when I have the time in our crazy schedule and I make a fabulous banana pudding and a pretty good lasagna. I enjoy it- except when the family sucks all the joy out of it by complaining about the menu. 

I'm not a socialite. Usually, I feel like I'm on the outside of "the circle," but, that's okay. Most of the time, anyway. I've always been on the outside and I'm comfortable there. Except when I'm not. Then, it's tough.

I'm not a famous blogger. Once, I thought that someday I might be. Now, I just write because I like to and because it makes me feel better. It helps me sort through all the crazy thoughts in my brain. It has given me friends and an outlet; a hobby. It has taught me a lot about the internet, social media, myself, other people, and truth. It hasn't given me fame and it most likely never will. I've accepted that and decided that, maybe, fame isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway.

I'm not a perfect mother. I yell and get frustrated. I give up too easily on fighting some of the daily, minute battles with my kids. I don't orchestrate "quality time" as often as I should. I nag about insignificant things. But, I love my kids fiercely and I can assure you, you do not want to awaken the Mama Bear in me. I'm extremely proud of the people my girls are becoming and I'd like to think that I have just a little something to do with all that. 

I'm not a perfect wife. I sometimes harbor resentment silently and I forget to say thank you for all that he does. I frequently ask for a foot rub and rarely return the favor. I scoff when he tells me I'm beautiful. But, he's my best friend and I am wildly in love with him. All the time. Even when I don't say it or show it.

I'm not a perfect person. I'm flawed and I have weaknesses abounding, but I am a child of God, wonderfully and fearfully made, despite - or, perhaps, encompassing - all my imperfections. 

It's funny, sometimes, what things come together in a writer's mind to inspire something. 

A couple weeks ago, I had a conversation with one of my daughters about not always seeing the glass half-empty, because she always tends to focus on the negatives. However, after dropping her off at a tutoring session one afternoon and taking a little time to go walk around a park by myself, I found myself doing exactly the thing I had tried to discourage in her. I'm pretty good at seeing the glass half-FULL, until it comes to myself. Then, I have a habit of focusing on the negative and, as I walked that day, I found myself silently berating the person I see when I look in the mirror. 

As I attempted to re-direct my thoughts, I remembered two things. One was a sign I had recently seen in a local donut shop. It looks something like this:

The other was a song called, All The things We've Never Done. In it, a husband laments all the things he and his wife have never done (traveling, building a mansion, etc.) as they celebrate an anniversary. The wife, however, celebrates all the things they've never done (being unfaithful, lying, etc.). It's a beautiful song that I heard many, many years ago, but have never forgotten. (It's so old, I couldn't find a video with lyrics, but you can listen here.)

As I walked that day, my mind swirled and whirled with the all of these thoughts - the song, the sign, and my listing of all my shortcomings. Eventually, my list began to include some "buts" and some positivity. The list above is what was hurriedly typed into the Notes app on my phone - in a shorthand version that took me a while to re-decipher. 

There's a lot of things I'm not, but that's alright because what I'm not leaves space for all the things I am. It's taken a full 40 years with lots of ups and downs for me to get here, but I'm finally beginning to accept myself for who I am - and who I'm not. Sometimes I slip back into old habits and I need a sign, a song, a blog post, or something else to remind me that I am just exactly what I'm supposed to be - and that who I am is actually not so bad. 

Thi post seems to strike a chord with many people and it inspired this week's Finish the Sentence Friday topic! Join me & Kristi or Finding Ninee in finishing the sentence "All the things I'm not . . ."


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