I haven’t taken many selfies lately. Why?
Because I haven’t looked good, that’s why.
I’m vain. And I’m afraid.
Not because I think you’re shallow. But because I think we all are.
Here is the truth. I don’t have it all together.
NO ONE HAS IT ALL TOGETHER.
About six years ago, I started getting deep and painful cystic acne. The kind I can’t keep my hands off. About two years ago, the circles under my eyes went from just dark to dark, puffy and purple.
I was tired. I’d had two reflux babies that never slept, we’d been through 3 major earthquakes and about 20,000 aftershocks, and we’d moved and tried to re-establish in a new place.
Actually I was beyond tired. I was exhausted.
But you know those signs, “Keep Calm and Carry On”? Those fuckers were everywhere.
So I did carry on, although I was not calm at all. Not just because of the signs. But because that’s how we’ve learned to live. Keep going. Keep pushing.
Holy anxiety and fatigue, Batman.
I NEEDED a nap by 12:30 pm every day. If someone dropped by, or I had to make an appointment at that time, I would get really anxious.
Before my girls were in school, I’d put on the Disney channel and say “Mum is going to have a sleep. Please, please, please don’t bother mum, okay? If you need something I won’t be long.”
Depending on the day, usually they did bother me. They’re kids.
Depending on the day, I would either be very calm, or completely lose it.
If I had to stay up past 9, I’d pre-count the hours of sleep I’d get, knowing it wasn’t going to be enough. Contemplating a couple bad nights sleep in a row (beyond the normal bad sleep that mothers get - like if we were going away or going camping), sent me into a total spin.
Eventually, I figured out what was happening, on an emotional and a physical level. Well, I figured out as much as I needed to right then.
We learn in layers.
I was chronically fatigued, because my gut was not working and neither were my liver and gallbladder. They had a toxic buildup. What’s happening in our body affects our mind, and what’s happening in our mind affects our body.
Annoyingly, the stuff going on inside of us will generally show up on the outside of us. The acne? The puffy eyes? It was right out there for everyone to see.
Everyone could see that I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER.
Also, probably not that many people cared - because mostly people are busy living their own lives, worrying about their own stuff.
This is important to remember.
We learn. Slowly but surely. We learn to live differently. Better, I think.
Here is what I have learned about those words, I need to have it all together.
Those words are failing us.
We cannot show up as better human beings unless we accept exactly where we are first.
This whole perfection thing - where we think that if we show up as less than perfect that we are less than? It’s just getting boring, boring, boring. Being a human, I think, implies that things are going to be messy and imperfect. Otherwise, what would be the point? What would we have to learn?
Perfection is failing us too.
You are a good person, parent, or professional, if you are showing up. Showing up implies that you are doing the best you can.
- It is enough to show up.
- It is enough to know you are doing the best you can in each moment.
Other people might not think it’s enough, and we know that rejection sucks. But so does shame. Because shame prevents us from doing the real work of being human.
Less shame. More showing up.
We can do this.
P.S. This also appeared on the Huffington Post.