Wednesday, March 7, 2012

catching snowflakes.

i am a "talk it through" person. hearing the sound of my own voice bouncing off of someone gives me insight into my own demons. my husband is that sounding board. he loves me no matter how naive or idiotic or selfish or rude or unreasonable or sensationally impossible my thoughts are. so i can tell him anything.

right now he is working. always. (he was just teasing me about my "one word sentences" yesterday, so i can't help but smile while i write this.) anyway, we don't get much time to talk beyond the "how was your workload today" and "how was your stroller-load today" exchange.

it's no wonder i'm feeling so flighty, antsy, distracted, and insecure as of late.

i know i'm insecure. i know because i check my blog several times a day to see if someone left a comment. i know because i am constantly thinking about ways i might possibly have unintentionally offended someone. i know because i can't handle the thought that anyone might be mad at me, or frustrated with me, or tired of me.

i know i'm insecure when i am so worried about whether people like me or not, that i can hardly focus on anything else.

it's silly, isn't it? that's why i need my husband. because i say these things out-loud to work them out, but no one else ever has to know that i'm so self-centered.

i feel so self-conscious as i walk through town with seven children every morning. on top of the basic worry that the kids will run into the street or destroy the well-groomed yards we pass, i worry that onlookers will think that i can't handle all of them. i worry that the stylish and peppy moms that are dropping off their kids along side of me will think that i'm a frumpy-old daycare on legs.

i worry that the girls i watch will think i'm mean if i'm stern. i worry that their mom will be sad if i'm so sweet to them so that they don't want to leave at the end of the day.

i'll bet you've noticed i'm busy. still not too busy to book my face. get it? (in between diapers and kitchen messes and dressing/undressing a gaggle in winter garb several times a day, i check my facebook.) what is wrong with me??

some moments i can put other people's peepers out of my mind. i forget who's watching and i can focus on the richness of the life i'm living. i can marvel. i can shout at the top of my lungs while pushing my boys around, "thank you, Heavenly Father for the surprise snow!" i can see the signs of spring around me. when i forget what people are thinking when they see me, i can stop the stroller on a busy road, tie my yellow scarf to a pole and give the kids a science lesson about the way the earth (me) moves around the sun (scarf).

one morning this week i felt like singing. i have an okay voice, i think, but nothing fantastic. when i start singing my sons say, "stop singing, mom" and i tell them that i just gotta so too bad. the girls were over that morning. when they come the oldest (8) follows me like she's my shadow. i sang every song that came to my mind even though i knew she could hear me. i thought "she must think i'm so weird."

after a while she interrupted me to tell me i should be on a show. then she started making requests. i realize now, thinking about it, writing about it, talking it out with myself, that i assumed she was thinking negative thoughts about me. and i was wrong. i bet i'm wrong more than i'm right.

now i am remembering my resolution for this year- that i would "live oblivious to critical opinions." that i would "assume everyone is friendly inside their own head."

i just thought of what my husband would say right now if he was home. he would say that line from titanic. you know the one. he would say, "You're so stupid, Rose." and then he would give me a big kiss.

i renew my goal to be like my children. i will catch the snowflakes of life with my tongue hanging out of my head like a crazy person.

Long ago, before I was married to Duke, I listened to a speech given at a church conference that hit a nerve in me. my vain nerve. (oh, an unintended play on words. funny.) the part of the speech that stuck with me was this:

"I remember well the insecurities I felt as a teenager with a bad case of acne. I tried to care for my skin properly. My parents helped me get medical attention. For years I even went without eating chocolate and all the greasy fast foods around which teens often socialize, but with no obvious healing consequences. It was difficult for me at that time to fully appreciate this body which was giving me so much grief. But my good mother taught me a higher law. Over and over she said to me, 'You must do everything you can to make your appearance pleasing, but the minute you walk out the door, forget yourself and start concentrating on others.'" -Susan W. Tanner

i wouldn't say that my focus now is entirely on the physical, but these same principles can apply to my current struggle. i must do everything i can to have my act together as a human being, but the minute i answer my door in the morning, i must forget about myself and concentrate on loving others and appreciating the beauty of this world.

oh, these are all just thoughts. but i feel better.

thanks, sounding board blog. you're not as good as my husband, but you'll do in a pinch.


Liz said...

I think it says a lot that you even feel able to share these insecurities with the world! That's a lot more admirable than simply trying to present an unrealistic vision of perfection!!

(And I wish we had snow here often enough to be able to spend lots of time with my tongue stuck out trying to catch flakes!)

leigh said...

I admire your honesty.There is a book called A New Earth, it is amazing. It put my ego in check and set me free. True story.

I read your blog everyday but rarely comment. It's such a refreshing space. So, thank you for putting it all out there.

I'd like to invite you to join in the 52 Weeks of Happiness Project. I host a weekly carnival on Tuesdays where we all go on a quest to find happiness in our lives. Just post a photo of something that makes you happy and tell us all about it. I just completed my second year of scouting out joy and it's has transformed my life. Here is a link to my project and the info. I'd love to have join us!

Kathy said...

I'm so insecure I hesitate to comment because I can't think of something that is even remotely fitting to say... you've said it all (as always) so simply and eloquently.

I love your posts, your pictures, your outlook on life!
Hang in there! You are doing an amazing job!

Domesticated-Bliss said...

I really appreciate this post :) It's easy to get caught up in what others say, think, feel about you and it's refreshing to hear that other women besides me have those same insecurities. I read your blog every day and I admire your uniqueness and the way you are raising your kids to be individuals. I've literally thought before "she has got it figured out" so be comforted that your insecurities don't show!

Anonymous said...

I, for one, love you just the way you are!

Laura said...

I understand. Totally. :) May I venture a guess? Your main love language is words of affirmation isn't it.
I personally feel so insecure about how much I want to comment and connect with the people who's blogs I follow that I'm afraid they'll think I'm a weirdo stalker-person, so I restrain myself and don't make all the comments I would like to.
You're awesome, and just because you don't know about it, doesn't mean you don't affect a lot of people's lives in a positive way. Mine for instance. You've inspired me countless times. I love how you share the joy and beauty in the seeming drudgery of meeting the needs of multiple small children, but also manage to keep it real, and not in a whiny way, but in a thoughtful and realistic way. Not to mention how creative and artistic you are. I love how you live and share your faith in such an uncomplicated way. I admire the relationship that you and your husband share, and you are a great example to me. And I love how open you are about things -- like this post. Even though I've never met you*, I feel like I know you so well and I wish I could be your friend.
Of course, the insecure me says I wouldn't be cool enough to hang out with you, so we'll just be content with the impersonal personalness of the blogosphere.

*Have I ever mentioned that my father-in-law was the bishop of your married student ward at BYU-I? I may have even met you on one of our visits to his ward.

P.S. Where did you score a 4-kid stroller? That's like haulin' over 100 lbs. of baby-flesh around. You must be buff!

Bridget said...

You should read Rebecca. (In all your free time.)