I’ve been in a creative rut for a few weeks now. I temporarily took a break from writing down my every thought, to enjoy the rest of the summer and clear my head. By the time I felt ready to get back into the zone, I couldn’t even string together simple sentences down on paper. No matter how much I tried to force it, it just wasn’t happening. Whenever this occurs, I always start to wonder if the famous saying is true…
“If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
Having writers block is always really frustrating for me, because I feel like I’m not being as productive as I should be…which is a ridiculous thought. I write a personal blog that gets read by less than 1,000 people a month, and write for a small Hudson Valley online magazine. I absolutely love doing both of these things, but let’s be honest. No one is sitting by their computer waiting for my next post or article. I do it mostly for myself. I do it because I love it. I do it because it makes me happy, it heals me, and sometimes even does the same for my readers. So when I set certain goals for myself and then fail to reach them, I’m really hard on myself. In fact, I’ve always been my own worst critic when it comes to a lot of things in my life. Motherhood, marriage, work, friendships, personal reflection…you name it. I just want to be the best version of myself, and express that to everyone around me.
I think we all feel that way sometimes, right? We want to be at our best. Going, going, going…forever trying to move forward and keep the wheels spinning. Always wanting to be on our game, stay one step ahead, and show the world we’ve got this.
But sometimes, we just don’t have it.
In a world of social media facades, Pinterest-worthy parents and judgmental people, we’re stuck feeling like we have to have it together 100% of the time. You have to be as perfect as this one, or your life must be identical to that ones. You feel pressured to display everything that is ideal, and keep the bad moments under wraps. God forbid someone realizes that you’re an imperfect human being with flaws. If it’s not worth taking a picture of or boasting about it on the internet, then it should automatically be hidden. You’re tempted to please people, or afraid of their negative reactions, and you’re not even sure why. We have to look a certain way, act a certain way, raise our kids a certain way. It’s exhausting!
Wouldn’t it be great to wake up every day like those women in the movies? Who wake up feeling beautiful with “no makeup” on (I see your mascara), get out of bed with a “can do” attitude, ready to take the world by storm…and then do so, effortlessly? Yep…I hate them too.
It’s not for lack of trying. I wish I could do it all. I want to wake up bright and early, teach my toddler educational lessons every day, give him the attention he needs, play with our energetic golden retriever, clean the house, run errands before 10 a.m, get outside, stay connected with friends and family, make picture frames out of duct tape, clean up the spilled milk, treat my body like a temple by making myself a kale smoothie, throw out said kale smoothie because it’s disgusting, keep my kid away from electronics, make organic meals for our family, and still find time to take a shower.
Motherhood has taught me that I’m going to want to be the very best I can be every single second of the day – it has also taught me that although it’s a nice idea, it’s just not going to happen. I don’t know what it’s like to be a cookie cutter mom, who’s got all the answers and can handle everything with a graceful smile. For awhile, I thought I needed to be…but once I realized that it wasn’t true – that I could be the mother I was capable of being, instead of the one I thought I was supposed to be – the pressure was off my shoulders, and I felt free to do it my way.
No one’s perfect, and if they claim to be, they’re probably completely the opposite. They’re all overcompensating for something. Some are self conscious; others have been faking it for so long, that they just don’t know how to stop. Or maybe, in rare occurrences, there’s nothing wrong with them. Maybe they really are just annoyingly perfect. And if that’s the case…you need to cut them out of your life immediately.
I’m obviously kidding.
No really, say goodbye.
Why is there so much competitiveness? Why do we feel so compelled to impress everyone around us? Why do we feel the need to be anything but ourselves?
I’m not perfect. I’m not the smartest, the prettiest, or the most talented. I’m not always prepared, and I fall short more times than I care to admit. I’m useless before 7 a.m, and need a caffeine drip to get through the day. I’m not a size zero. I wear minimal amounts of makeup, if any. I don’t get my hair or nails done every other week, I wear the same outfits over and over, and I love when summer ends so that I can wear leggings on a daily basis and pass them off as pants. I’ll write every appointment and play date in my planner, down to the scheduled minute…but still can’t remember where I put my keys. I’m not a perfect mom. I cook my son healthy meals all week long, with a starch and vegetable on his plate…but we also have pizza on Friday nights, and he’s even allowed to have cookies sometimes as a snack (as long as he shares with me, of course.) Sometimes, in order to get things done, I’ll put on his favorite show and let him *gasp* watch the entire episode! Cue the “screen time hater” head shaking. I love spending every second of the day with my boy, but there are moments that I call him bad names under my breath and imagine drawing on his face with a Sharpie while he sleeps. The house isn’t clean every second of the day, and when it is all actually clean, it doesn’t stay that way for long. I’m not a perfect wife. I adore my husband and he adores me, but we also drive each other crazy. I take care of him and love him, but I also talk his ear off while he’s trying to watch TV and push his buttons the way only a spouse knows how to. We bicker over small, stupid things. We have struggles and hardships, bad days and good ones. We don’t dish out our trials and tribulations for everyone to hear, and we do what works for us.
Again, I’m not perfect. I give up wanting to be. I see people attempting it all around me, every day…and it seems REALLY tiring. I’d rather be me. I’d rather admit that I have holes in my armor, and admit what it took to get them there. Keep your excessively filtered selfies, your exaggerated stories of your fairy tale life, and your parental lessons on how to balance 4 kids while being the perfect, working mom. Please, stop acting like you’re not over there in sweatpants, ripping your hair out on bad days and being a hot mess like the rest of us. Because while others choose to pretend to be happy for the whole world to see, I’m over here ACTUALLY being happy with exactly who I am – no effort required.
No matter how many things you do right, and no matter how hard you try…there will always be someone looking down on you – ready to give their criticism, and show you how superior they are to you.
So, you know what I say to the peer pressure of perfection? I’ll pass.
Just like being asked to go out, when you’d rather stay in for the night on your couch – just kindly refuse the offer. Thank you, but no thank you. Thank you for attempting to make me feel less worthy because I gained 10 lb, or because I fed my son chicken nuggets for lunch, or because our home is smaller than yours. Thanks for silently saying that you don’t agree with choices I make, or the things I do, or accept who I am as a person. But I won’t let your opinions make me feel inferior. I’m not better than you, just the way you aren’t better than me. (Shocker, I know.) But I AM better than your sidelong glances and judgmental comments. I’m better than the negativity you feel the need to burden others with, in order to make yourself feel better. I appreciate that you can’t see that I’m a loving mother, a committed wife, a loyal friend, and a good person. It’s okay…because I know it. And I don’t need to show off those facts to prove it’s true.
Thanks, but I won’t be participating. I won’t accept your invite to misery.