Recently, I’ve had various people comment on aspects of my personality. I’ve been told that I’m “mellow”, “laid-back”, and “never complain”. I’ve had someone remark on how I’m “incredibly disciplined.”. I’ve had a friend tell me that I’m “always organized” and “always doing great stuff with the kids”. Now don’t get me wrong, these are all flattering and very nice for people to say. But I’m beginning to feel like a total fraud.
I think that the “mellow” and “laid-back” comments imply that I seem to have it all together. That I don’t worry about the little stuff. That I have confidence in my decisions. I’d like to be like that but the truth is I often worry and stress about very insignificant things. For example, I really would like John to do Cub Scouts this year as I think he’d love it and I’m hoping it will be a good social outlet for him. I have worried about finding the “right” troop way more than is necessary. I have contacted several troops and worried about whether it will work out and spent way too much mental energy on it. I tend to think in terms of “if this doesn’t work, he’ll have no friends and then he’ll hate me for homeschooling him and when he finally leaves home he’ll never come back and will be emotionally crippled for life.” Now, I know that’s silly. At least most of me knows that’s silly, but there’s a part of me that thinks it just might be true. I think this way in terms of discipline issues also. “If David doesn”t obey me now then when he is 16 he is sure to be living on the street and a heroin addict.” A lot of this stems from me being a control freak. I tend to think that if I can control everything then everything will be ok. Clearly, I can’t control everything but I certainly try. I tend to forget in all this that God is really in control or even if I remember that there is a part of me that doesn’t truly trust Him. In all honesty, I often believe that my plans are better than His.
Luckily, H. has a better perspective on these kinds of things and is truly a non-worrier so he is able to pull me back to reality when I start worrying about the minutiae of life. One of the best and most humbling parts of marriage is having someone who does know the real me and still loves me despite it all. I would guess that “laid-back” isn’t how H. would describe me. I’m also pretty sure that he wouldn’t say that I “never complain”. Especially now at 37 weeks pregnant. I complain. A lot. Enough said.
It’s also nice to have people tell me I’m organized and disciplined. I like to be seen that way. But in reality I often feel like I’m doing 3 or 4 jobs and not really doing any of them well. I think of all the things I’d like to do or meant to do and it seems like so much more than what I’ve actually gotten done. I often look at what I’ve done in a day and am ashamed of how much time I’ve wasted. I don’t necessarily mean in any one activity. There are lots of things that could all be considered time-wasters but I think are ok in small amounts. It’s ok to have some purely guilty mindless pleasures. But I’m often ashamed by how unintentional my use of time is. How easy it is to sit down at the computer and then look up and see that an hour or so has gone by and I haven’t really done anything, and I don’t feel particularly refreshed or rested. It’s disturbing to me how often my “best intentions” end up with me making excuses to myself for not doing what I’d like to do with the boys or not getting other things done that I’d like to.
So, why do I feel the need to bare my faults here? I guess because lately I have had people say these things to me that are complimentary. And I realize that I LIKE being seen this way. I like people to see me as easy-going and laid-back. I like them to think that I never complain. I like them to think that I’m disciplined and organized and doing amazing things with my time. And I’ve wondered if I’m purposedly portraying this self to the world. I realized I probably do.
And that’s what disturbs me a bit. I often say that I want to be real with people. That I think that women, and in particular Christian women should let other women see our failures and our faults. I think there is so much pressure on women in general, and on women in the church in particular to be perfect that I do believe the more we can let others see what’s behind the mask it’s a good thing. But I’ve realized that if I’m trying to be seen as the person I want to be instead of the person I really am that maybe I’m too comfortable hiding behind my own mask.
So, here I am. This is me.