Perfectionism.

I REALLY did not want to write about this. Not because I don’t desire to talk about it, but because it’s easier not to. I came to sit at a coffee shop to write about the chemistry of essential oils and I brought out my handy thumb drive which has my aromatherapy books on it. God disagreed with this decision and when I opened my files it was the wrong thumb drive, so here I am. Time to emotionally vomit. I’ve been going to therapy and talking about feelings and you know, feeling them more. Growing up in dysfunctional families everyone usually takes up a roll. Mine was to be funny, smooth things over and act oblivious to the chaos around me. For me to believe my Mom, with all my little heart, that the scale in the garage she was using to weigh drugs was just a “jewelry scale”. To go to school for months and hop from one hotel to another, while pretending it was an adventure. Given her abusive upbringing she did the best she could; however I still came out with a lot of scars.

For a long time, I’ve turned that emotionally vulnerable part of myself off as a protective mechanism. It’s easier to not feel… for now at least. As a result, like a bad comb over, I have acted as though everything is fine. I’ve been going through life forcing myself to be everything I thought would look normal and happy. I envisioned cheerfully waking up at five with rollers in my hair, quietly enjoying a cup of coffee, reading my bible, waking up my beautiful angelic children and husband and welcoming them to a table full of breakfast. My house would always be clean, I would never yell at my kids, my husband would always be happy and LIFE WOULD BE PERFECT. All because I said so. That’s where perfectionism creeps in. I’m not talking about the normal kind that takes pretty notes and makes pretty things. I’m talking about the maladaptive kind that makes you hate yourself when you fall short. I spend most of my days disappointed with myself, forgetting that I am trying to create an environment for my family that I didn’t experience as a kid. Forgetting that I had seven mattresses in my room and VCR parts everywhere making it difficult to clean. Forgetting that while all the crazy stuff was going on around me, I was just THERE. No chores. No sitting down at dinner tables. No waking up to breakfast. JUST. THERE. Yet I sit here and expect to do all these wonderful things over night. I expect to do things parents have been teaching their kids to do for years; since childhood. Those expectations I’ve set for myself are tearing me apart and most people have no idea.

I can walk into church with my hair done and my little row of ducklings in tow and I can perfectly tell you “I’m fine, thank you for asking”. I can make sure that the downstairs part of the house is immaculate when you come to visit. And when I’m struggling, I can perfectly and nonchalantly tell you “life is tough” with a smile on my face. Meanwhile, I have four laundry baskets upstairs that the kids keep knocking over that I haven’t put away in weeks, dirty dishes shoved in the dishwasher I have yet to scrub off, my garage is filled with a bunch of crap shoved away before guests come. And when I’m home I cry all the time. I’m like a perfect sunny side up egg that has a rancid yoke. By appearance everything is just peachy, but inside is something rotten.

I write this to encourage you and myself. God has a purpose for us and our families even if we can’t see it now. Our children will see our imperfections while also seeing how hard we work to be different. We are doing this whole normal family thing for the first freaking time and we need to lighten up, acknowledging that we are learning as we teach too. Whatever family we see that we want to exemplify has their own imperfections behind closed doors and has probably taken generations to get as put together as they are. I am in the trenches with you, friend. We are so messed up and that’s okay, there’s a beautiful vulnerability and understanding you have because of it. We can only improve from where we are. Stay hopeful.

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