A friend recently told me she was struggling with a case of identity. Her sexual orientation came into the conversation. She told me how much she struggled with this aspect of her life, especially with her family.
Some of them know. Some of them don’t. Some have told her to be happy. Some have told her they love her, but it’s unacceptable in the eyes of God. Some may never find out because she’s scared they will completely disown her. This is some deep stuff she’s going through.
But I’ll be honest, I’m overjoyed and honored that she told me.
I can’t imagine carrying that burden alone. Whether you agree with how someone else lives their life or not isn’t the big picture here. The big picture in this scenario is that someone reached out to me and told me they were really struggling.
I would much rather a friend reach out and say that they’re not sure what’s going on in their life or that they are having a very difficult time rather than read about a fatal mistake they made.
The same goes with someone struggling with addiction. The “easy button” choice is to hide it and not tell anyone there’s a problem. But this decision will only burden us all further down the road. Whether it tears apart our families or the side effects eventually tears apart our bodies, we can never fully be whole again living in secret with such a disease.
Please get help if you need it. Surround yourself with people who will love you no matter what you struggles are in life.
People often think they have individuals figured out from the moment they meet them. “I’ve got them pegged as a ____________,” has slipped into my mind more times than I can count. But people continue to surprise me.
The homeschool mom who recently put her children into public school isn’t as kooky as I thought. She is actually one of the nicest, most direct people I’ve ever met.
The lady at the soccer game who wants to steer every single conversation towards her own life doesn’t seem to do it maliciously. I think she really just wants someone to talk to. (Maybe she doesn’t get much focused attention at home from her family.)
The person at an Over-eaters Anonymous meeting who is super skinny and doesn’t appear to have any real issues with food. She just whines a lot. (Okay, maybe I stole that last one from the TV show “This Is Us”. But it’s still valid here!)
We don’t always know people and their stories. Friends who have only recently met me would be shocked and need to pick their jaws off the floor if I told them all of the titles I keep behind closed doors: an alcoholic, an adulterer, a cussing machine, and a liar. So, it’s safe to assume the people we meet in our lives every day have a skeletons of their own.
And that’s okay.
What’s not okay is judging anyone…anytime…for any reason. I’ve messed up. You’ve messed up. The lady down at the donut shop has messed up. The more important thing to remember is who we are today. The best versions of ourselves.
Progress, not perfection…
There are days when I don’t shoot for the stars. There are days when I only do the absolute bare minimum in order for my family to be fed, the dog to be take care of, and for my husband to notice I actually got out of bed for the day. On these days, I settle. I settle for “survival mode” and don’t try to get much accomplished. We all need one of these days every once in a blue moon, but I believe too many of them and we start to form a habit of settling.
This practice of settling for things isn’t limited to our daily habits at home either. We settle in our careers once we get comfortable enough to not get fired, but not put ourselves out of our comfort zones. We settle in our marriages when we start seeing the years fly by without much of a spark in the relationship, but there’s not a lot of fighting either. (That’s okay then, right?) We settle in our dreams for ourselves, making sure they are not TOO big because then we might actually have to try harder than we’d like.
As a society, we like the idea of waking up every morning, doing what we love, being surrounded by the people we love with them loving us back, and making lots of money in the mean time. Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but this lifestyle isn’t sustainable. (Or at least I haven’t found anyone who has it that easy.)
There are discomforts and hard times when you try to be anything more than mediocre. There are obstacles and challenges we face almost every day when we are vulnerable and put ourselves out there, but it’s also worth it every single time.
So don’t settle today. Don’t settle for that terrible relationship you have just let happen. (Make a change to help bring the spark back!) Don’t settle for that job you really and truly hate going to every day! (Trust me…I’ve been there! It gets more toxic as the years go by!) Don’t settle for the easy button when it comes to your dreams. Make the BIG ones happen, even if they scare the crap out of you!
If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”
-Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
When life gets in the way and we all get super busy with all of our day-to-day tasks, we often forget to stop and say a sincere “Thank You” to the people right there with us. I’m more guilty of this than anyone! I get caught up with the kids and the household demands that I often forget to tell my husband how much we appreciate everything he does for us and that his hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Sometimes we may feel we’re giving the people we love that gratitude and appreciation, but if those words never cross your lips how do they know your thoughts?
It feels good when people verbally acknowledge our efforts and our strengths out loud. I’m not saying you have to grovel for someone else, but a nice “Thank You” every once in a while doesn’t hurt.
Social media has its faults. I’m sure you are all well aware of this. One of the biggest is how much our society has become reliant on “likes”, “shares”, “tags”, and “views”. Another big reason I’m waking up a little perturbed with the interwebs today is that the drunk lady in me really doesn’t like seeing all of those happy drunk girls out on the town in their cute little outfits and no inhibitions.
I used to be that girl. I was fun when I was that girl. Does this mean I’m not fun anymore? Look how much fun they’re having. They all have such tight and toned little bodies that haven’t been ravaged from three pregnancies. Their cute little outfits that make them look like they belong on a freaking magazine spread about “girls night” or some shit like that. All of them with their over-sized glasses of wine filled way higher than what would be socially accepted at a fancy place, but then again, we never hung out at fancy places. I miss being one of those girls.
Then, I snap back to reality.
I realize those girls are all waking up with hangovers the size of Texas, probably mad at each other for saying something stupid that shouldn’t have been said in front of a large crowd (even if it only had to do with someone really needing a tampon). There was probably someone who peed the bed (in my experience there’s always one in the group). There was probably someone who messed around or even slept with a questionable mate. I’m sure they will feel their “partying” for a few days even after the last drinks are gone and there are no more cute dresses and uncomfortably cute shoes.
Yeah, I don’t miss all of that. And that is what reminds me that I’m happy to be here – settled into my own little life with my responsible/SOBER/hardworking husband, our dog, and our three little monsters.
Yeah, I’m perfectly content right here.
I don’t know about you, but I thank God every day that my life is drastically different than it was in the past. I’m not saying that this is something self-promoting and I’m awesome for realizing what a disaster my life used to be. Just simply stating how grateful I am to not have to live that kind of lifestyle any more.
“What kind of lifestyle?” you ask. Let me paint you a little picture.
Several years ago, almost 4 to be exact, I was living a life of total chaos, only I didn’t realize it until the ticking time bomb was ready to detonate right in front of my face. My marriage was collapsing right in front of me, I was binge drinking on the weekends to drown my sorrows, I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be with my career, I was dying inside emotionally from the passive-aggressive/co-dependent relationship I had created and encouraged with my husband, and I was just downright unhappy with where my future was headed.
Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with myself or where my future was headed. I needed to make a change. I had spent so long trying to change everyone else around me – my husband, my parents pending separation and divorce, and even the uncontrollable situations at work – that I forgot I’m only in control of myself. Realizing only I can make changes in my life, I finally felt that time had come.
I’m happy to report that today our marriage is solid and strong with a foundation we tore down and rebuilt ourselves from the ground up. We are different people today than we would have been had we not decided to drastically change our lives. I quit my job that was ultimately toxic and very hazardous to my life and my marriage. We made a fresh start in a new community and continue to keep growing and improving ourselves.
What’s your story? How are you different today than you were 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
Life as a stay-at-home isn’t all that glamorous. (Shocking, I know!) I’m not waiting to go to dinner parties when my husband gets home from work, or trying to get ready for the ball everyone other weekend. I try to get out of the house as much as possible and go places that both work for my schedule and help me get stuff done – the gym, the grocery store, the post office, etc. (Calm down. I know I should have told you beforehand this was riveting stuff!)
There are some people, moms specifically, who choose to get together ever so often for drinks or a “girls night”. (Although, I do know some moms who may meet too early in the afternoon, on a school night, to call it “girls night”. But I digress.)
For a multitude of reasons, I don’t go to these types of gatherings. I’ve been invited to go to an early dinner at a beautiful winery to enjoy the scenery. Pass. I’ve been asked to go have margaritas at the local Mexican food joint. No thanks.
So, why not go? Maybe you are thinking, “You don’t have to drink. You have enough will power to just say no. Just go and be social.” There are two reasons why I don’t and won’t go to these kinds of activities.
- I still don’t 1,000% trust myself when I’m sucked into the vortex off a girls’ night out. (Plus, have you seen girls when they get sloppy drunk? And you want me to be the DD and take care of everyone? No thanks!)
- Drinking and being around drinking has a very personal connection with me. I realize some people have a healthy relationship with alcohol and can stand to be near it, but I am no such people. I don’t like to smell it. I don’t like to see what it does to people. And I especially don’t like it when people offer you something to drink, you politely respond with “No thanks. I don’t drink,” and then that’s followed with the infamous question, “Not even a glass of wine?”
I realize this may not apply to everyone’s situations and my reasons may be completely different than yours, but they are valid nonetheless. Don’t put yourself in awkward positions unless you are 1,000% comfortable in your own skin and know that you are in control of yourself.