Real is the New Perfect, But is it Fair?

I hide away sometimes within the safe confines of my own mind. That’s not fair, is it? I tell myself it’s easier to sweep my thoughts clear as opposed to sharing every single whim, plan, thought, or dream with my husband. Why do I do that? I share most things with him. And still, I don’t bare it all.  Just last night we were talking about our future plans. He’s really betting on me and that’s scary, right? No. It’s actually quite the confidence builder. But certain things I keep to myself. I don’t think he’ll judge, in fact quite the opposite. I think he likes to encourage my crazy. “Whatever makes you happy” he says. So then what’s the hesitation?

Certain things I share here on my blog with you, and there’s lots that I keep to myself. I wasn’t always like that. I didn’t always pull a Mary and ponder all these things in my heart. I was an open book.

Real is the New Perfect, But is it Fair? by @fillpraycloset #goodenoughmom #friendships #marriage
By Smallbones (Own work) [Public domain or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Is it age? You know, as we get older we are more afraid to take risks, or to seem like we’re throwing caution to the wind, because we’re settled and mature. Going back to the chat with my husband last night, I kept repeating the word “settled”. I just want to be more settled. Granted, the most stable thing in our lives is each other. Yes, my faith is too. But he doesn’t have that. So jointly, all we have that we can count on is, each other. So where is all of this “settled” coming in from? We’ve moved quite a bit, I’ve changed directions in my career quite a bit, the boys have changed schools, we’ve had our parents tornado their way in and out of our lives countless times and he even noted that we never have the same adults at the kids’ birthday parties. Our lives, as adults aren’t perfect. Nor do I want them to be. I trust him and know that I can be completely myself when I’m with him. He understands the quirk that makes me work, in all of its idiosyncratic splendor (it’s not really splendid people, that man is going to be canonized as the saint for atheists married to Catholic women if he’s not careful).

I think it’s something closer to “picking your battles”.  It’s not to say that sharing is a battle (maybe it is?). But if we shift that perspective a little bit, maybe we just pick things we want to share because those parts that we don’t are still being chewed on, processed or polished. Maybe we need that time, that space to feel it out, make it real within ourselves. Vet it to be sure it’s something we want to push forth into conversation with people we love and trust. People who will help nurture that polished idea into fruition.

He says I have to ease up in my zero tolerance approach to things. It’s true, I am that way. But it’s not without reason. So much of my life was spent at the mercy (or lack thereof) of others, that naturally, if it doesn’t work, I shut it down. Friendships, I mean. Save one person, I don’t really let people know when their chances have run out. I just remove myself from the equation. Enter in, online communities where I can connect when I want to, and disconnect when I need to – and it’s an understood rule, people just disappear and no one wonders. You know?

Is it fair? Maybe not. Maybe the combination of getting older, needing to feel “settled” and not being one for confrontation has taken root. As loud as I seem, it’s all smoke and mirrors. I crumble where confrontation is concerned, except with, you guessed it, my husband. He’s right to wonder about that. In fact, I wonder about that. Why can I confront him when I feel my feelings have been hurt, but not with anyone else? I even took racial slights from a past boss for a year, and still another was able to toss their card at me in the morning and cry “I need coffeeeeeeeeeee” and slam their door in my face. I wouldn’t say a word. Eventually though, I just left. It’s kinda just what I do. I leave things, unfinished, unspoken and unsaid.

This is me. This is real, and it’s not perfect. It may not even be fair and maybe I should just come with a warning label. “She may phase you out if you hurt her. Don’t ask questions.” I’m a protector. I always have been since I was a little girl.  I think I’m realizing that the same protection I unceasingly gave to my younger siblings, then to my children, has transferred to a fierce protection of myself.

And maybe I’m the reason why we don’t have the same people at the kids’s birthday parties. But keeping safe is what I do best.

Join the rest of the Good Enough Moms at The Wounded Dove.

#goodenoughmom link up via @charitylcraig

 

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28 thoughts on “Real is the New Perfect, But is it Fair?

  1. Cristina, have you read any books/posts on the Benedictine vow of stability? What you wrote here makes me think of it. It seems like there’s a lot of wealth to be found in the meaning and living of that vow. I’m not an OSB myself, but “stability” appeals to me.

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  2. Your husband’s support of you is beautiful and I definitely think after having kids our mama hearts experience a whole new level of protector as well as seasons of friends like never before. Family life is busy and the world is pretty crazy. Our time is precious and who we share that time with is a big deal. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Cristina, I really like the idea of “stability,” too, in this chaotic life. I have found, though, I’m getting a bit louder again with age, only this time, I have something (hopefully more wise and godly) to say. You might say I’ve grown bolder as I’ve grown older! Are boldness and stability mutually exclusive? Inquiring minds want to know. 😉

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    1. If by bold we mean a more complete and comfortable sense of self – unapologetic? Then yeah. I can see that too. As to whether they’re mutually exclusive? Depends on what your boldness is about. Do tell.

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      1. LOL. I sort of asked for it, didn’t I?? 😉 Well, I would say I have a boldness for, well, the Truth and the truth. I am bold about Jesus, the Church, Mary, the Sacraments, the Magisterium – the Truth. And by “truth,” I am much more likely to be bold and unafraid about what is real about my life and what God is doing – the truth.

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      2. Yeah. I think that sounds right. I think getting older will do that to us. 🙂 I’m real about my life – as in, I’m casting a very magnified lens in the dark places. That’s something I can’t be doing alone 😉

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      3. Amen. Nor, do I think, should we be doing it alone. If we do it without Love, we’re just a clanging gong anyway! 🙂

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  4. I think we just grow and move on, it’s the natural thing to do. It would be wonderful if our lives were like the movies. Same friends, home, job, all our lives, and then our kids grow up with our friends kids and start the whole process all over again but more often than not, that’s not the case. You’ve got a great husband, great kids, in the end all that matters is that you don’t “phase” them out.. 😉

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  5. I’m pretty sure we were cut from the same fabric (and our husbands too. Matt just asked if we could sit down tonight and discuss how he can help me achieve my goals. WHAT?! I’m still trying to figure that out about myself.). I thought we were the only ones who had revolving birthday doors and the only ones who’ve had a lot of changes in our lives. xo

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  6. …that said, I’m glad you’re protecting yourself. That’s an important, positive step. And though you want to be settled, that’s a transitional step TOWARDS ‘settled’, I think, when you can begin to feel secure.

    Sounds like you are secure enough in your relationship with your husband and that enables you to confront him. Seen like that, it’s a good thing.

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  7. This probably sounds really cold, but in my opinion, there are two kinds of people – those who energize you and those who sap your energy. I need to reserve my energy for the people I care about the most. I just can’t waste it on people who are always coming back for more.

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  8. I think it’s normal to “hide away” and keep some things to ourselves until we’re ready to share, or maybe we’re never ready to share some things. And some people–sounds like your husband– are put in our lives to be that person we can unload everything to.

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  9. You sound like my introvert husband. 🙂

    I don’t share every single thing with my husband, nor would I expect him to do to me. My thoughts are my thoughts are my thoughts. Most of the things that run through my mind I share only with God, and He knows them anyway. You can be intimate and vulnerable with a person, but still keep things to yourself. I think it’s the only reason some marriages survive.

    As far as being a protector, I am as well. I’ll do anything to protect myself from heart pain. Physical pain? I can deal with that. Vulnerability? Hell no. I learned at a very young age that closeness to people can breed pain, so I’m like you. I move on far too easily. As a military wife, I leave behind friendships too easily, and actually feel guilty about it. My communication isn’t that great either. When I’m done, I’m done, and I just remove myself from the equation.

    You’re so not alone.

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    1. Exactly. I just become invisible. I don’t see you therefore you shouldn’t see me. I expect people to understand that. How can anyone understand the language when I am unwilling to give them a translator? More thought on this, I guess. xoxo

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  10. Christina, this sounds exactly like me! Seriously!

    “But if we shift that perspective a little bit, maybe we just pick things we want to share because those parts that we don’t are still being chewed on, processed or polished.”

    Yes, I’m quite “reserved” with what I share because I’m still hashing it out, or like you said still chewing on it. When I wrap myself around it, I am then able talk about it with others because I have already established my position on it. I don’t wait on perfection, but I would like to know what I think about things before I share them 🙂

    I too keep a limited amount of people around me, but that’s because I do protect myself, and I know that being around a lot of people does sap my energy. Being online does help that, but I can engage and disengage when I need to.

    I have learned (over time) is to address the person who has hurt me and let them know about it. Many times they are unaware they have said / did something wrong. Never looking for an apology, I just never wanted to leave a chapter unfinished.

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    1. There are so many unfinished chapters, from the other person’s perspective I think. For me, I quietly close the book so to speak, and put it on the shelf with the others, never to be picked up again. I don’t care for apologies either, which could sound very proud, but as a person who was raised with no apologies (as in I never heard one), it’s hard for me to expect, let a lone say it. Oh Kalley, what are we to do?!

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  11. We NEED to get together. For real. We are twins separated at birth. identical? I wish!
    Oh and I read your note you left for me in the library when I need a boost.
    🙂

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