We are going to start with story time today boys and girls!
Once upon a time there was a perfect woman with her perfect family.
One day, the perfect woman said to her perfect husband that they should take their perfect children kayaking. Something they all love to do because it was always so easy.
The perfect woman always had so much energy and couldn’t wait to pack up everything so her family could have a magical time on the river.
Her perfect husband put everything exactly where it was supposed to go in their jeep and didnt forget one thing when they left for the magical river.
Her perfect children made everything so easy and there was no way she would ever think of raising her voice at them.
Without any hiccups or arguing at all, they got everything in their kayaks and paddled down the magical river where they happenend upon a water fall. It was a magical time.
The husband and wife gazed into eachothers eyes and whispered sweet nothings to each other about how lucky they were to have this beautiful moment with each other and their children. They knew they were so blessed and soaked in every moment.
There was no stress, no fear, & no sadness in this moment or any moment for a matter of fact. They continued to kayak down the magical river where they came across an opening where beautiful trees draped over & shaded the river. Of course the water was the perfect depth so their kayaks glided through the beautiful scenic area with ease. They stopped to let their children frolic in the water and again the perfect woman and the perfect man soaked in all the blessings they had been given.
The perfectly tempered sun was beginning to set and so it was time to head back. You wouldn’t believe how smooth and easy it was for the perfect woman and perfect man to paddle back. up river. The current was on their side and they sang happy songs all they way back and continued to live out their perfect happy lives.
Here are some pictures that were NOT staged AT ALL to prove to you how true this story is!
Wasn’t that the cutest little story that made you just want to barf.
As much as I wanted this day to be exactly this for my family…. it’s an absolute lie.
Well, most of it.
This kayaking adventure took place in July of 2020. If you have read anything about me and with out sounding like a broken record, I was working on a COVID ICU in downtown ATX and was really struggling to be in a good mental state.
The root of most of it was that I was feeling like a failure in every aspect of my life.
- I wasn’t the perfect/ patient mom
- My marriage wasn’t in a great place
- I was to tired to clean anything
- I wasn’t wanting to cook… like everyone was lucky if I made cereal.
- I wanted my friends and family to just magically understand what I was going through
- I felt like a constant failure at my job
- I couldn’t get ahold of my anger
- I felt like my faith in God was lacking
- And most of all, I just wanted a different life.
If you’re not picking up on my subtleness here, I thought that I sucked at ALL the things.
These emotions are what caused this kayaking trip to come to fruition. What’s better than dealing with your mental health??? Planning a strenuous kayaking trip the day after you get off a 12 hour shift with your 2 kids and husband… duh. I felt like I needed to make up for what I was putting my family through, I needed my husband to look at me like I wasn’t broken anymore, and I needed to prove to myself that I could get through a day without being sad. We love kayaking as a family, so I knew that this was a sure fire way to make myself, my marriage, and my family whole again… or at least for the day.
AND then the problems started… uhhh, from the beginning. I had worked the night before and I was exhausted. Super smart decision, right?
I was frustrated as soon as I pulled up to the house because my husband wasn’t done packing things like I had asked. I thought things like “why can’t he just help me, he doesnt care about anything I’m going through” so I automatically started criticizing him.
My kids were so excited but I couldn’t deal with the screaming and all of the questions that kids have when they are about to go on an adventure and so I started their fun trip by asking them to ”just be quiet” and I remember how it drained all the life out of my daughters adventurous eyes.
You know those moments that just randomly pop back in your brain, you know, the ones that just make you cringe… this is one of those reoccurring moments for me. Just writing the beginning of this trip is so brutal on my heart and so I think you can get the picture.
- Husband and Wife arguing the whole time
- Not being patient with our kids
- forcing family pictures
- having to get out and drag kayaks and stubbing toes
- kids slipping on algae & crying
- having to paddle up river on the way back in the dark
- BASICALLY EVERYTHING WENT WRONG.
Comparison leads to Regret.
I was angry at myself and literally everyone else around me because I was watching all of these families on social media get to be home together during the pandemic. My husband is a Football coach and is gone quite a bit during the school year and I was watching all of these families and other Coaches wives live MY dream. Their husbands were home, they were all home together… and I imagined how wonderful it must be. My husband was finally home but now… I wasn’t. I felt so alone.
Listen, I know I sound dramatic and honestly, there were moments that were so good with my family and those small moments would make me smile but I couldn’t seem to make those little moments last. I posted those little moments on my social media accounts as if my whole day had been perfect. My day was FAR from perfect and my depiction of this false life on my social media accounts is something I regret.
This isn’t a blog that I wanted to write and I have cried my way through most of it, but the need to be transparent about how I compared my families life to other families, how I compared my husband to other men, and how these comparisons pushed me to be so critical of the day that I wanted with them, well…it needs to be out there.
Why? Because even though this wasn’t the end of my struggle, it would be the start of me noticing the toxic cycle of “Comparison” I was having a hard time getting out of.
This moment and this realization is what actually led me to start this blog on transparency in the first place.
I felt a conviction when I would hear things like ”you guys are so cute” or “The Rowe’s always look like they are having so much fun”.
I started realizing that I felt alone because everyone thought my life was doing just great because of how I was portraying it. They had no idea what was going on behind the scenes, just like I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes of those I was seeing and comparing to.
Listen, I don’t know your life but I feel like I’m not alone in the comparison game, so my goal here is to give you few tips on how to break free of the “Comparison Choke Hold” that so many of us get trapped in.
Love your past.
- Your past might be full of mistakes, anxiety, and fears but who’s isn’t? All of those where opportunities for you to learn who you are. Embrace your story and remember where you started, so that you can truly embrace who you are.
Grow Your Own Grass
- I love this saying. We lose so much of our selves when we focus on someone else’s personal life. Invest in yourself and find solutions to make your grass greener where you stand. Will it take time? Yes! Will it be hard? Yes! Will it be worth it? Yes!
- When you find yourself looking at what other people have…Stop and think about what you’re grateful for in your life. When we are constantly wanting more, whether it be our families, our jobs, or material things, we are never satisfied. Taking time to be grateful will help you see what all you have been blessed with.
Hey, Perfection is an allusion
- Instead of getting down on yourself for your flaws & imperfections….OWN THEM, ACCEPT THOSE BABIES FULLY. Free yourself by first being transparent with yourself and stop hiding! Every where we look there is this ridiculous allusion of effortless perfection (SOCIAL MEDIA) When we are consumed with comparison, we so often forget that social media isn’t an accurate depiction of reality… and even when it is, someone else’s success is not your failure.
Compare yourself to you
- This one is hard because truthfully you already know what to do but most of would rather look outwardly rather than inward. No one knows you better than you. If you need to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself with you. How can you be a better you, how can you change you quality of life. Make a list if you have to!
Remember that healing isn’t linear
- No person is 100% healed from past traumatic events. Why? Healing isn’t linear. We go forwards, backwards, and sometimes we don’t even know which direction we are heading in our healing process. A lie that we tell ourselves is that we have to be 100% healed to deserve love, affection, or all the good things in life.
Submit your thoughts to God
- Since I am a christian, this is probably the most important on my list. When comparison shows it’s stinking ugly face and starts to whisper destructive thoughts like “you’re not good enough.” STOP THEM, Submit your thoughts to God every moment of every day.
- Find the good in each day and ask God for what He wants you to learn. Be content with where God has you but eager to move forward to be better. To be the woman, wife and mother that God wants us to be. To be the person God wants us to be.
SO TAKE BACK YOUR LIFE
All of this is so much easier said than done and it is something that I am continually working on in my own life. It’s a struggle to be transparent about struggling in your life but I believe it’s an important step in taking back your life. You will probably find out some things about yourself that you are not to fond of and even things about others that might hurt you, but at least you will know and you can begin to start fresh.
Every stinking minute that you spend comparing your life to someone else is a minute lost on creating your own. When we compare ourselves to others, we are often left feeling empty, paralyzed, anxious and inadequate to live our own life.
So take it back. Quit trying to live someone elses life and start creating the life you want for yourself. We can decide that our energy belongs to us and then we can start creating and not destroying, loving and not hating, believing and not doubting, and we can start being transparent and not faking.
You got this!
The Irish Tulip