Wednesday, July 10, 2013

NOT Fine, Thank You

I'm feeling the pressure.  Hubby said that he will put the kids to bed every night for a month if I use the time to write a blog.  I can't miss an opportunity to avoid mama duties.  Nor can I NOT write a blog, since I'm always complaining that I want to write, but I can't find the time.  So all excuses are gone and it's writing time.  I'm assuming that if I write 30 blogs in 30 days (except for a few nights when I go visit my sis) that a bunch of it will be crap, but some gems will hopefully emerge.  So sit tight, and let's all get through this together!

Life has been... challenging.  There has been good.  There has been great.  There has been horrific.  And mostly, there's challenge.  Why?  Because I have three kids who drive me absolutely insane!  And I have a husband, and we drive each other insane.  And there's always sh*t that needs to be done.  And people everywhere are hurting.  Badly.  And life is hard.  Glennon Melton (my most favoritest blogger and person I haven't met yet) says We Can Do Hard.  We can.  But it's not easy.

So in this life, with all it's challenges, hardships, beautiful moments, heartbreaks, I have seen my choices, read my self help books, and decided I want to be a Whole Hearted person.  That's what Brene Brown calls a person who embraces all aspects of life and chooses to be vulnerable, rather than hardening yourself.  It's a lot more than that too, but that's what resonates with me most.  It's about seeing yourself and everyone around you as worthy of love.  That doesn't mean throwing your heart on the chopping board to be butchered by anyone out there.  It just means embracing it all.  It means being a Truth Teller.  I would like to be a Truth Teller.

So in that vain, today the check out girl, at the amish store down the road, asked me how I was doing, as she checked out my groceries.  It was your ordinary, 'Hi, how are you doing today?'  But hey, I'm trying to live as a Truth Teller, so I said, 'Well, I'm here.  And that's saying something.  It's not much of an accomplishment to some.  But right now it's all I've got.  And it's good enough.'

I'm sure a 'Finethanksandhowareyou?' was expected.  Well, she looked at me at first and kind of nervously laughed.  But then her face dropped and she started to tell me, in a really long run on sentence, about how 'yesterday I said goodbye to my boyfriend, he left for the army, he's going for training, it's so he can get to college, but he'll be gone a few months, and I know he has to go, and I tried not to make it hard for him, I didn't want to cry in front of him, but it was so hard, and the second he turned to go I started bawling, but I didn't want him to see, but I think he did, and I feel so bad, and I didn't want to come in to work today, it just keeps hitting me, you know, I don't know when it will come, but then it hits me and I just want to cry, you know?'

And there it was.  We were not finethankyou.  The world is mostly NOT finethankyou.  In fact, is anyone REALLY finethankyou?  Don't we all have so much that we are dealing with?  We're either sleepless and exhausted from kids and family or heartbroken from longing for a family, or lost without direction in life, or struggling really hard with this whole marriage thing that is supposed to be the support that gets us through the hard stuff, but, more often than not, IS the hard stuff...  We are not fine.  I am not fine.

But sometimes we need the invitation to say it.  Check out girl was just waiting for an opening to take off her finethankyou mask and let her heart spill out a little.  It's messy.  But at least you can breathe easier with the mask off.  And if there's anything I want this blog to be, it's a place where we can take our masks off.  Breathe in the full and messy air of each other's lives.  Often I get messaged privately after a blog, with many of you sharing things that relate to what I write.  I love that you share it with me.  It feels like a really special gift.  But I wonder what would happen if we all shared it with each other?  (But if you're not ready, please continue to share with me privately!)  If we all got a little messy together?  Like those cheesy scenes in the movies where they are baking cupcakes or some other unmessy food and then a bit flour here, a cracked egg there... Next thing you know, perfect goes out the window and every counter, floor and person is covered.  But they are laughing, and sometimes crying too, because laughing and crying are both from an open heart, and you feel so good watching them BREATHE without their masks.


Here's why I'm not finethankyou:

My kids drive me nuts.  So nuts that I wonder if I really love them the way a mother is supposed to.  Now I know that whenever the words suppose to or should show up, that there is a non-truth, usually based in fear, showing up again.  And I don't like to talk about the fear of not loving enough because I think people will say that I've taken too much on.  I shouldn't be homeschooling.  I shouldn't be homesteading.  Obviously it's more than I can handle.  But when I let go of what I think love LOOKS like, what good mothers LOOK like, my fear ebbs, and I can feel love.  It's just under a whole lot of immaturity, impatience, exhaustion and anger.  And those are parts of myself that I am continually working through.  And what better teachers than my own children?

My husband and I fight.  A lot.  What this looks like is me being passive aggressive and him pulling away or getting angry.  It's painful.  It's beyond painful.  At times I wonder why the hell G-d put us together.
At other times I see that, if we stay present and don't give in to fear, the potential between us reaches beyond the stars.  But it will take a LOT of courage.  A lot of strength.  A lot of pain.  And a lot of growth.
And a lot of letting go.  I need to let go of the idea of romance.  I like the picture of husband and wife slow dancing after a long and hard day with the kids.  I like the idea of husband watching me while I sleep.  I like the idea of being treated like the most valuable, special, rare thing in the world.
This is not my reality.  But if I let go of that and see what is in front of me, I will see:
My husband taking care of bedtime for the next month because he believes in my writing=romance.
My husband still desiring me after 15 years of being together=beauty.
My husband working his ass off day after day to provide for me=valuing me.

All this doesn't take away my longing for all the other stuff, but it is important for me to step back and see what I have.  I have a lot.  And amazingly, my heart seems to be big enough to hold gratitude, longing, hurt and pain, together, in one messy hug.  But only when it's open.

Am I messy enough for you yet?  Are you ready to get your feet wet?

And for all of you who keep telling me that I am brave for putting this out there... It's a kind of brave.  But only one kind.  The kind that comes easy to me.  I wish I were more brave in my marriage.  I wish I were more brave in person.  I would do anything to eradicate my nervous laugh.  I wish I wasn't so embarrassed about how unclean my home is when I have visitors.  And I wish I didn't tell people with messy homes how much more messy mine is, to try to make us all feel better.  I wish I didn't pretend that I'm all about 'just keeping the kids alive, hahaha' when really I am trying SO hard to raise them in a conscious way, with healthy food, wholesome influences, non-electric and plastic entertainment and NO DISNEY PRINCESSES.  And I want to say all that without saying that I am a better mother than you are.  As Glennon said, "that mother was feeding her child an avocado AT me!"  (That's how she felt when she was feeding her messy children a bunch of crap food at the mall, and she thought the crunchy granola mom was feeding her child an avocado brought from home AT her.)  No, I want to be proud of my small accomplishments, without doing them AT anyone.  But I don't have the confidence or bravery yet.  So I laugh about how neglectful I am and at how half-hazardly I do everything.

So you see, there are different kinds of bravery.  And writing on the internet is my kind.  So is moving out into the middle of nowhere and trying like hell to give my children a holistic, wholesome, G-d centered life.

But telling my husband that I am not OK with him leaving his dirty dish in the sink?  Nope, not my kind of bravery.  Yet.  Confrontation scares the crap out of me.  I get physically ill when I think about any kind of confrontation.  When I had to tell our live-in that it wasn't really working out, I had to run to the bathroom 5 times in one hour before I got up the nerve to do it.  Yes.  Confrontation gives me diarrhea.  Is there anything else you would like to know about me?

What I'm trying to say (and I'm probably over sharing while saying it) is that if you want to try to be THIS kind of brave, go ahead and share your messy here.  On this blog.  It's welcome. Because we are ALL messy.  And we are all NOT finethankyou, sometimes.  And the more we can share with each other, the more we can take off those masks, the more it makes it OK to be NOT finethankyou.  It's a gift we can give each other.

And here, on the GoodList, we can share some of our Not So Good List.  Because it's hard to feel the Good and appreciate the Good when we are stuffing the Not So Good behind our masks.  So now that you know some of my Not So Good list, here is tonight's Good List:

  1. The opportunity to write more
  2. My upcoming visit to my sister
  3. Finally made a dinner all the family enjoyed (borsht and baked potatoes.  who knew?)
  4. 15 minutes of peace during storytime at the library
  6. The way my kids' room smells like breath and sweat when they are all asleep and I sneak in there


  1. Tovah, I will share my messy.

    But not here in the comments, because I'm not ready to be messy in front of a crowd.

    I value honesty, authenticity and genuine expression, and I also value my privacy. And worry about what Others Think. See, that's messy right there.

    This is a great post. Well worth your hubby's taking over of bedtime.

    I will write. To you. Get some paper towels...

    1. I love you for that honesty! I look forward to some real time with you my love!

  2. Hannah KinderlehrerJuly 10, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    oh. tov. this is too good. i love you. and i'm working on this in my encounters of the daily kind as well. let's get messy together. hell, we really already are.

  3. Love love the honesty and rawness of this post!