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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

F*ck Perfect: Why I'm 'Good Enough' and Proud of It


Last week I called one of my friends on the verge of losing it with Ari. I was edgy, my patience was gone, and I was gritting my teeth. I had reached my limit. I wasn't being the Mom I wanted to be; I was grumpy and stressed out, and it was starting to slip through the cracks for my child to see. My friend, being the amazing person that she is, calmed me down, gave me the advice I was so desperately seeking, and reminded me that we all go through this, that it's ok to not always feel like we've got our sh*t together. In those moments though, it can be hard to remind yourself of that, to remember that we all have moments when we're not the Mom or the person we want/ like to be, but that's ok. To that friend: thank you, you helped me in a moment of raw, vulnerable frustration.

In the past few months I've gone through a personal journey. I spent a few months exploring some pretty deep, personal things and am now coming out of the experience feeling solid again; changed, reflective, and content as I move forward. It's strange trying to describe what I went through, but the best way I can is that I was combing through a variety of things I had pushed to the back of my mind. Tucking these things away was something I did thinking it was for the better, to help me stay strong, not realizing that I was actually setting myself up for a pretty rough experience when they all came tumbling out of the places I'd put them away.

I've come to terms with a few things and recognized some things about myself that couldn't have come from happy, pretty emotions; I had to be open and honest with myself, allow myself to feel pain and be vulnerable, in order to emerge stronger. I shared about some of this a little while ago (you can read about it in this post) and now that I'm feeling more like my usual self, the one who can see the upside to this messy, painful experience, I wanted to talk a little more about it. Not because it's pretty and has a happy ending tied up with a bow, but because we need to be real and honest about ourselves and our experiences- especially in a world where we see pretty snapshots everyday that show only a fraction of what's really going on. A close friend of mine and I were chatting recently about how we don't hear enough about the tough stuff, the real, raw moments that are as much a part of our days as the few snippets of highlights we see online. Well here I am openly saying: I wasn't ok, life didn't feel good for a while, and it was a really raw experience. But that's ok. We are built to experience a range of emotions, and sometimes we just have to allow ourselves to explore them. 

It took me a while to share about the topic here again, mostly because I didn't have the energy to try until now, to try and sum things up in a few paragraphs. It was an intense few months spent reflecting on many aspects of my life and I wanted to give it the time and focus necessary to properly sort through everything. And in those moments, you're not thinking about sharing them, you're just trying to get through. It's not until you've come through something that you may be able to share about it. I'm grateful for the life I have and the people in it, but I had to take a step back and look at a few things in order to understand why I suddenly felt like I'd been flipped upside down emotionally. One of things that I called into question was how I was performing in my various roles: as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as a person. Was I the version I strived to be or a hot mess? Or some combination of the two? Was I- am I- good enough? And on that note: what's within my control vs what isn't? (and that, I think is a key thing to think about). 

To give you a little background info into what led up to this whole thing: after reaching a solid place with Ari's health towards the end of the Summer, it was like my mind realized I could relax a little and went whoomf! I fell down hard. I was emotionally exhausted. Burnt out. Looking back over the months and even the past two years, I can see the cracks forming, understand how I reached burn out, but it wasn't until I hit the bottom and climbed back out that I could see everything clearly. I'd given of myself for so long, not knowing when (or if) the end was in sight, so I kept pushing forwards, stubborn in my efforts to find some sort of answer. And as Moms, wives, women, people, isn't that what we do- we fight until we are satisfied? Ari getting some good news with her health was an amazing, positive milestone that I'd been waiting for, working for, for so long. So why did I fall apart then???

I think the best answer I can give is this: I'd been so busy, so focused, that I hadn't looked around me and realized what I was doing to myself (there were some other things that contributed to my stress, but her health and finding answers was a major factor). The same friend who offered me sage advice last week with Ari is also one of the friends I confided in over the past few months as I sorted through my broken thoughts and emotions, pulling myself back together (and to her and the other amazing women I am blessed to call friends THANK YOU. You know who you are and you've helped me more than you can ever know). After what seems like months of serious internal reflection- well, 3 months I guess- I've come to peace with a few things, and one of them is this: good enough is just that. It's good enough. Without realizing it, I had been striving for things to be a certain way and was exhausting myself trying to reach an impossible goal. Even though perfect isn't necessarily the right word to apply to this, I guess I can admit that I had a certain idea of 'perfect' built up in my head and I was crumbling under the pressure I put on myself trying to attain it. Even when I knew something was impossible I would stubbornly reject it and try to find a way around it. And this way of thinking, of being, was toxic. Out of everything I learned over the past 3 months, this is what I really wanted to share, because I think it's an ongoing challenge we all face in our own ways:

Good enough means trying. It means doing what you can, when you can. It doesn't mean you're lazy or not good enough. It doesn't mean if you don't get everything done, the way you want, when you want, that you've failed. Not reaching perfection- whatever that means to you- doesn't mean you or what you've done isn't good enough. You tried. That's good enough. Perfect doesn't exist. It just doesn't. It's impossible. Accept it, move on, and be at peace. Stop worrying about the things you don't have, the things you didn't do and be present and appreciate the things (and people) you do. That, in it's own beautiful, messy, imperfect way, is actually perfect for you, you just may not always look at it that way. 

What I feel I've come to peace with, what I'm focusing on, since this emotional adventure pulled the rug out from under me and shook me up in my 28 year old boots is just that: acceptance and being content with good enough. Perfection is a myth; we can drive ourselves crazy trying so hard at so many things that all we end up doing is draining and harming ourselves. We put invisible pressures on ourselves all the time without even realizing it, on top of all the ones we're aware of, that we have to face out of necessity as grown ups (yay for adulting!). But why? To impress who? And really, are you happier because you exhausted yourself trying to do one more thing instead of being satisfied with what you've achieved?

To end this post, what I want to say is this: that you, me, we are doing just fine. We're good enough. F*ck perfection and the pressures and stress it puts on us, it's way more fun being our crazy, imperfect selves. To everyone reading this, whether you're in a good place, a vulnerable place, or somewhere in between, cheers to you and this crazy journey called life that we're on. Let's make it a good one.

...Did I make my point? ;)