her vs me

Why do I do this to myself? This is one of the more prickly things I do to myself.

I am pitting her against me (in my head of course) and telling myself all the reasons why I am the loser. Why she is better, prettier, more together, more successful…..you get the idea.

Then there is the subsequent battle about why she is really terrible after all. Because I might just feel a tinge better about the fact that I am losing this battle in my brain if the truth turns out to be that she is terrible.

Then I tell myself all the reasons why her happiness and success in life came so easily. Anyone could do what she has done if they had as much money as her. If they had as much beauty as she does. If they had as much influence as she has been given.

And it all swirls together up there and becomes a disgusting mess. And I kind of want to throw up all over myself.

At about that moment, a light dawns in. I don’t know where it came from. I’m just thankful.

Wait. Stop. Think.

Do you really want her life so badly? So what if she has 20 million gazillion readers who email and facebook and tweet all of her great writing to all of their 100 million gazillion friends.

If you had her life, you wouldn’t have yours.

So instead of thinking about how valuable her life is, I start to think about the value in mine. My kids. My husband. My friends. My writing. My journey.

And I realize I really like my life. Comparing myself to someone else is maybe not the best thing for me. Because I have not been given her life. I have been given mine.

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naked

Today is not this day. Today I have my makeup on, a bright purple ruffle-y scarf around my neck with a cute pink necklace peeking out underneath, copious amounts of bracelets clanging around my wrist, a fun new pair of knee-highs, and of course the boots I feel so sassy in. And it’s fun.

Most of the time I like putting my best foot forward in the day even if that day involves dropping off and picking up children, doing dishes, folding laundry, and cooking dinner. Because although I graduated from UC Santa Cruz, fashion and makeup are fun for me.

But not yesterday. I didn’t have a best foot to put forward yesterday. All I had was a foot. And I didn’t feel like pretending or working my way out of it either. So although I showered, I left the makeup off.

The freckles that have taken over my face in a way that by this time in my life is probably called aging showed in all their glory.

My eyelashes remained invisible.

The wrinkles that have started to emerge were not minimized by foundation.

And my nose that likes to turn red was one that even Rudolf would have been proud of.

I have these days from time to time. I think everyone does. Days when the fun of getting dressed up isn’t fun. Days when sadness seems to loom over my head and sorting it out to get better and move through it feels overwhelming. Days when the wounds of life catch up and I just need to take a moment and let it be so.

And on days like that I leave the makeup in the medicine cabinet and let the people in my world see that I do not have it all together, that I am not indestructible, that I am not super-human. Because I think the people in my world need to know all of that. Including me.

We often think everyone else has life all-together, knows what they are doing, never has bad days.

We tend to feel alone in our struggles. In our humanity.

And it’s just not true.

And that is why I left my makeup off and took this picture and wrote this post. I needed the honesty of someone standing naked in the middle of the rush hour of life shouting, “I can’t do it all!” Even if it was me. Maybe especially if it was me.