It was several years ago that I was sitting on my friend from college’s couch. I was about three months into “big girl life” along with two of my other friends, while my friend whose apartment we were at was in the middle of grad school. We were just sitting around talking and laughing and I literally have no idea what brought up the conversation, but somehow in the middle of it, it was stated and agreed upon as fact by three of my best friends that I would “be that wife that always has dinner perfectly done and set out when her husband (Christopher) comes home.”
I just stared at them. Then I rebutted their comments, to which they just laughed and remained adamant that I was definitely that person.
I wasn’t though. I wasn’t then. I’m not now… just ask Christopher.
I knew then, even three months into working girl life, that my love for getting home, grabbing a beer or a cold glass of milk (my tastes are varied/my days are too), and watching a Netflix episode was probably going to override starting “dinner.” And I put dinner in quotations because that’s another thing… I wouldn’t exactly say that the kitchen is an at home area for me. Don’t get me wrong, I can cook all the normal stuff and it be just fine, but cooking from cans and boxes, must be considered cooking, in order for my kind to count!
I reach back for this story because every so often I would think back to it and again shake my head and at how strange it was that the three people who supposedly knew me best, had this part about me so wrong, even if it was pretty trivial. But now it all makes sense.
It was me.
Figuring It Out
I have always had a need to get it “right.” Everything. If I knew why, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog – that’s just the way I am wired. Believe me, the go with the flow gene was on vacation when I was born. But when this is the case, and everyone knows you like to plan things out, organize them perfectly, and have them go “just so,” unless you communicate to them otherwise, they are going to make up their own assumptions about you.
Christopher and I tell each other occasionally, “Use your words.” This is our reminder that neither of us are mind readers and if you wanted to do something or not do something the only way for the other one to know is to use words. I wasn’t doing this back then and I still struggle at times to do it now.
The problem lies in that fact that back then I would rather you think I was fine or had it all together, than really get into what was wrong or how I really didn’t have it together. It has been a learning curve for me to learn to open up and share the hard parts and blemishes in life. I blame part of this on small town Southern ways… and the other half just on me being me. Something had to have gone majorly wrong for me to open up.
And that really didn’t change until marriage. I realized early on that the only way Christopher and I were going to get through arguments and disagreements was if I actually told him in plain English what was wrong. Which for someone who has spent a lifetime having trouble communicating when and why they are upset, this is easier said than done. Oh you know something is wrong, but what is the question? I could venture to say opening up about what is bothering me is one of the hardest things I do. Christopher will be the first to tell you I have come a long way in almost three years, but I could definitely still stand for a few more paces forward.
A Favor to Ask
I have a point, I promise. In the last couple of years I have noticed that my favorite social media posts are ones where folks are capturing and sharing moments that haven’t gone exactly right. Or maybe they have! If you post about your kids’ meltdowns or catastrophes, your Pinterest fails in the kitchen or craft worlds, or your “Blonde” moments, chances are I LOVE reading your posts. You are being real and relatable, and I find that both refreshing and necessary for my life. Thank you!
My PSA to everyone is if you are going to share, don’t make your social media life and the real one separate worlds. Be mundane, be messy, be you. It makes the rest of us feel not alone..and at the end of the day folks we are all just trying to get by. Life is hard, so if you are going to share a piece, share a slice of realness.
Also, I am about as up for some small talk as I am a colonoscopy. Okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Seriously, the older I get the less equipped I am to handle this task. I prefer good, genuine conversation (especially when a cup of coffee is involved), where we are both sharing life and debating thoughts and opinions. Good conversation is unparalleled in my book, you just feel, well full!
And I am fully in the camp for being honest when someone asks “How are you doing?” While I normally still refrain from saying “Actually the (four letter word) snow on top of my car fell onto my windshield twice, while going down the main boulevard by my house, which rendered my (piece of four letter word) wipers useless and forced me to pull over twice and look like the freakin’ ill-equipped Southerner, for which I am. But alas, I typically refrain from going into such honest explanations,
My advice though, to find at least two people who you can be this honest with and you can sit and have enriched conversation with. And when they ask how life is, you own up and give it to them straight. You need this! I am not saying tell the mailman, McAlister’s cashier, or Macy’s attendant your day’s drama, but make it to point that you do share the ins and out, ups and downs with a few close friends and family. It’s necessary for sanity and happiness. Don’t be afraid to be you, you would be surprised when you open, just how much everyone feels the same way!
Thanks for reading this long guy. I think this will conclude my honesty sharing for a bit. It takes a lot to put these kind of thoughts into words that attempt to illustrate my experiences and lessons learned. Hard, but necessary and therapeutic for me! Cheers!