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A Formal Goodbye

18 July 2013

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching the past few weeks – sometimes intentionally, sometimes not – and this past Sunday evening I laid in bed, watching our miniature ceiling fan darken the ceiling over my feet, and realized – fully, completely, accepted and incorporated into every fiber of my being – that I am not the person I have spent three decades trying to emulate.

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I am not the girl in the stories I read growing up. I am not any of the young women from my favorite movies. I am not the homemaker in the magazine or the mommy from that one blog or the wife from the sermons. I’m not the one on the cover or the Pin or the big screen. I’m not Jane or Julie or Jean.

And yes, I realize how sad it is that I finally had this revelation just months before my 30th birthday. I knew it, we all know it, but something happened, and it sank in deep, and I let her go.

But let’s be honest – there is this constant pressure to be her, whomever she is for you, which ever model or ideal you happen to like in this season of life.

The feminist poster-girl
The hippie chick
The hip young mama
The anti-religious Christian wife.

She’s awesome. Her hair and skin shine. Her kids are adorable, and dressed better than you, and well-behaved. Her husband loves her passionately, her house is beautiful and bright and always clean (except for the one basket of laundry, or a few toys on the floor – because she’s so fantastically authentic too), and her garden is always watered and weeded. She cooks well, she’s crafty, and her photographs are flawless. She just threw that outfit together and put a clip in her hair, but she looks amazing. 

She’s always happy. She has that smile you always hear about that, “lights up a room.” People like her. Everyone likes her. You even like her. What’s not to like?

Spiritually, she’s killing it too, although you only know this from the clues you’ve picked up – side comments about her prayer time or something – because she is much too humble to talk about herself. Especially like that.

I don’t know who she is, but she lives in my head – some weird Frankenstein’s monster of Martha Stewart and Joan of Arc and Emma and a dozen other mommy bloggers and Pinners and wives I actually know.

She lives, because I made her, and I don’t know how long I’ve been trying to become her.

And then a few weeks ago I had this random thought while the Meatball and I were out for a walk. Several days later – also on a walk, maybe I need to go for more walks – the Lord spoke clearly to my heart like I haven’t heard in a long time. I’ll tell you about those tomorrow, but somehow, Sunday night, they came together in my head and I sighed a big sigh and rolled over (because I actually could, because Meatball had rolled and was pressing up against Husband for once) and laid my imaginary idol to rest.

I’m all for self-improvement. I’m probably too for self-improvement, maybe that’s what this is about.

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I’m all for trying to do better and be better. I want to be a better wife and mommy every day. I want to become a better friend, a better writer, a better housekeeper, a better baker. I want to grow in faith and love as long as I’m alive. I don’t ever want to quit on myself.

But there is a fine line, I think, between inventing ourselves and discovering ourselves.

Not everything that I discover about myself needs to be reinvented, and not every blueprint that the media or the blogosphere or Pinterest provides, needs to be followed.

I’m starting to think my weaknesses make me who I am as much as my strengths (if not more so). I think my short-comings are supposed to be life’s comic relief, not the rising action/tension. I think, maybe, my setting is not supposed to be my story, and that my days should look more like sub-plots than To Do lists.

So I’m done with her – and I’ll share the details tomorrow – but for now, this is just a formal goodbye. Because I didn’t say goodbye Sunday night, I just enjoyed the sensation of laying on my back for a moment, and smiled at the person I was discovering I am, and fell asleep.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 18 July 2013 3:11 PM

    Lex:
    This has to be one of the best bogs you have ever written. I love the candidness, the acknowledgement that freedom is when we begin to to love and appreciate our uniqueness. It is ouR uniqueness that makes us special and our loving Father gets a kick out of it. “Contentment with godliness is great gain” – Paul
    Blessings to you!
    PJH

  2. 18 July 2013 3:11 PM

    Yes!

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