Take Off The Mask

I have had some really great people come into my life in the last few months.  Add those to the amazing ones I already had, and I can’t complain in the least in this department.  There’s a few things that they have taught me recently that I feel may help someone else going through something tough.  Or just going through plain old life.

Every one of us has two faces. Hold on, stay with me. Has anyone seen the movie “Bad Moms”? There’s the one that we share with the world, the one that drops our kids off at preschool, that says hello in line at the grocery store.

Then there’s the other one.  The one that is hidden behind an artificial smile. This face is the one that cries at night, that is selfish, frustrated, angry and every other emotion that we all work so hard to hide and we think that no one else could possibly feel the same way. No one else could be like this, they have it all together. The perfect marriage, great kids, clean house. They do all the activities, work, mom life, all of it with little to no complaints.  Someone recently said that it takes so much more work to project an image of yourself than it does to just be yourself in the first place.  And you know what? She was right. It’s a lot of work to fake it.

Stop for a second and think about it.  Does any of this sound like you? Ok, maybe it’s just me.

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Over the years, (actually when I think about it, it seems like all of my life) I have tried to project this picture of what I thought my life should be.  Was it ever really like that? No. Most of my life I have been an anxious, up-tight, frustrated, and probably selfish.  I’m not good at letting people in because so often, the people that were supposed to be there for me ended up hurting me.  So I built up walls and created different “faces.”  There’s the outside face and the private one.

Seriously, it’s a good thing my poor husband can tolerate all this crazy. 

Here’s a little honesty.  I am a far from perfect wife.  I struggle with being a mom.  I feel guilty for working and for liking my job, especially when my kids would much rather me be at home.  I feel like nothing I do is enough. I feel awful when I want to do something for myself. I should be kinder, thinner, healthier, more patient, less selfish.  I should cook more and eat out less.  I don’t particularly like going and watching kids sports – I know, worst mom award. I struggle to sit and play with my kids (5 minutes feels like an eternity).  I am not good at feelings, mine or anyone else’s.  I struggle to be happy for others, but not because I want less for them.  I am really sarcastic, and even mean without meaning to be… sometimes.  People, as a general population, irritate me.   I am often bitter over some of the things that I have had to go through, while it seems that others are breezing through without issue.

That’s the point, right?  They SEEM to have it easier.  But we all know that’s probably not the case.  I believe those moms and women that have it all together have just perfected the public face.  We all have our own crap (I couldn’t think of a more fitting word).  You’re a mess and so am I.

I know this amazing woman that is beautiful, smart, kind and generous.  She shared with a097c65d-ca16-4b0a-a10e-f0b0d3208ebeme (and on social media — I’m not over here telling secrets) that she always felt less than.  Less than what? Just less.  She said that she always felt like she was in search of validation and acceptance and put more pressure on herself than the outside world ever did.  Guess what? It’s not just me.  And I’m guessing it’s not just us two.  I’m willing to bet it’s you. Or your sister. Or best friend. Or neighbor. Or the mom in front of you in car pool.

Now, I certainly believe there is a time for “fake it til you make it.”  There have been times that I felt like I was falling apart — and I probably was– but instead of staying in bed, I got up, put on make-up, fixed my hair, put on a bra (UGH!) and rolled through the day putting one foot in front of the other.  We all have those days.  I think it becomes a problem when you pretend that you don’t, that you have it all together.

Instead of each of us being our own little island, why don’t we just stop working so hard faking it and be real about the fight of life? Life is HARD.  Marriage is HARD. Parenting is really FREAKING HARD.  It’s better for us to be in this together than out floating all alone.

 

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