Great Pretending

It’s amazing how easy it is for us to show up and be a carbon copy of who we really are…

I am 30 years old and for most of my life, I’ve been a version of myself. I’ll be who I think I need to be in order to fit in whatever environment I’m in. I keep many masks, like people keep many hats. I don’t want people to know the real me because I don’t want to show up and be seen. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to subject myself to the reactions of others about who I am. But is that really the way to live a life?

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I’m a Christian. I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m a writer. I’m Black. I’m a female. Those are concrete details about myself, but I won’t really pull back the layers beyond those details. For instance, I don’t always go to church, I don’t always read my Bible, I don’t always display the love of Christ, I get mad at my husband for dumb and petty things, I’ll forget to pay attention to my daughter because I’m caught up in housework, I don’t always write when the words are there, sometimes I hate being Black because of the social and political climate we live in, and sometimes I hate being a woman because I just need a dumb reason to be upset.

 

From my mother to some random person on social media, I’ve let people have too much control over something about me. My mom has always gotten onto me about my hair and wardrobe if it’s not to her approval and that has been something that has made it hard for me to just be myself without being self-conscious. If my own mother gets in an uproar because I’d rather a ponytail and sweatpants over curls and a skirt, h

ow will the rest of the world react? If I take a chance and share some of my not serious writing and someone dumps all over it, how will people react to the writing that shows the serious side of me? I double down on the notion of not being known and just continue pretending to be something I’m not.

But again, that’s no way to live a life. Being vulnerable and transparent (but not too transparent) is a part of living. I actually feel alive when I’m just being myself. If I’ve been made to feel a certain way that I don’t like, I know not to do that with other people. I will never make my daughter feel about her hair and wardrobe the way my mother made me feel. My daughter is not a clone of me and I cannot expect her to conform to who I want her to be. My daughter is a gift from God. She is not mine to twist and mold into who I think she should become. My daughter is to be raised according to thepurpose God has for her and however her journey in life goes, it’s my responsibility to steer her in the right direction, not set up detours and roadblocks that suit my fancy. When I stop pretending, I start seeing reality and the reality is no one is perfect, so I’m learning to get over past hurts and be better as a person.

For me, the mask is coming off. The pretending is going to stop. My experiences in life are a part of my story and they contribute to who I am as a person. I can be a jerk, but I can also be sweet and thoughtful. I can be random. I can be sarcastic enough people think I’m actually dumb. I can be funny and silly. I can be serious. I can be sensitive. I can be controlling. I can get unrighteously angry.javardh-740705-unsplash I can flat out be rude and mean. I have good along with the bad. I’m constantly learning!

Sharing about my mother wasn’t easy. But the reality is, I’m not the only person on the face of this earth that has had a parent do something that has a serious effect on them into adulthood. And telling a person to get over something is no way to go in life. Go through that something, process it, learn from it, forgive it, and then move on in life for the better. Share your story. Be seen for who you really are. Be vulnerable. And show other people it’s okay to do the same thing.

 

An Abundance of Words

I tend to do this thing where I convince myself that I have nothing to write about. I act like it’s a massive dread to sit down and start punching away at the keys on my laptop and just type one word after another until, viola!, I’ve actually written something. I just don’t get myself sometimes. But whatever, I’m still growing up.

The best thing I’m learning for myself is to jot down my ideas. And even if I don’t do anything with that idea in the moment, it’s written down and not forgotten. I can work on it over time and eventually turn it into something more. Not forcing the words is always the best case scenario. And I’m finally figuring that out, but like I said, I’m still growing up. So, some of my blog posts will just be “dump posts” in which I’m just writing for the sake of writing, but I still like it enough to share with the world.milkovi-444287-unsplash

So this is my first official “dump post”. This is a reminder to myself that I am capable of writing something because I’m never truly in short supply of words. I just need to remember to take the words that are swimming in my head and just type them out or hand write them out, depending on what suits my fancy in the moment.

As time progresses and I get better and more comfortable with my writing, I won’t consider any of my writing “dump posts”, but in the meantime it is what it is. I want to write because I love writing and I love finding ways to inspire people or just make them laugh. I’m working to become a master of my craft.

Mother of Imperfection

Oh, if there is one thing motherhood has taught me very quickly is that failure is inevitable! And in learning that failure is inevitable, it’s freed me up to learn as I go and it’s teaching my daughter, that yes, sometimes her mother sucks, but her mother loves her very much! I honestly don’t know why the thought of  “getting it right” ever went through my head. Now, I’m obviously not going to fail in the department of my child’s well-being, but sometimes I’ll forget to let her food cool off a little longer before giving it to her. Apparently, when she was a crawler, I dropped her once not realizing it while I putting her down, but that’s according to my husband, and she showed no indication of having been dropped, so the jury is still out on that one.

Failing has also taught me to roll with the punches. Learn from the mistakes and don’t make them again. How I respond to those mistakes is what makes me stronger and draws me closer to my daughter. Once I accidentally made her bath water too hot and I beat myself up over it for hours. I was distraught enough that my husband had to run the bath again because I didn’t trust myself. I’m passed that fear now, but my daughter never got mad at me. She wasn’t looking at me like, “You savage, you tried to burn me with the water.” No, she splished and splashed in the bathtub, fought us while we dried her off and got her dressed, cuddled with us during storytime, and kissed us good night before bed. Where I saw myself as a failure, my daughter just still saw the mommy she loved very much. So, I don’t beat myself up over the mishaps. I make sure they don’t happen again, I remember my child loves me, and remember that I’m not a terrible person.

I have no intentions of screwing my children up to the point they cannot be functioning adults. I have to remember that’s not what’s happen when I fall short of my expectations. My daughter knows she’s loved and taken care of and she’s one of the happiest babies I’ve encountered in my life, so I thank God for that! And when my son gets here in December, he’ll learn along the way just how much he’s loved and taken care even though his mother is going to make a whole new set of mistakes with him.

I’m not a perfect person. Only perfect person I know of is Jesus Christ. I will not get everything in this life right, I’m not supposed to. And I’m thankful I’ve learned this two years into being a mother because it frees me up to remember I’m still loved even when I make mistakes!

 

Fall Into Place

I’ve recently come to two conclusions…

The first conclusion is now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I don’t ever want to have to punch on to somebody else’s time clock. And as a result of that first conclusion, the second conclusion is that I need to work extra hard on that which God has created me to love. 

tom-holmes-556809-unsplashI am passionate about writing, photography, and art. And I am passionate about travel. It’s time to stop being afraid of doing and actually start doing. I’m not living my life if I’m just sitting on the sidelines waiting for everything to perfectly fall into place.

Life would definitely be much more fulfilling for me, if I stopped being afraid of mistakes, shortcomings, setbacks, and the opinions of others. Life would be much more adventurous if I stop waiting for the right moment and just create the right moment. Sure, I have a two-year-old daughter and another one due in December, but they can come along on the adventures. I have to stop using motherhood as an excuse to stay home all the time and not go anywhere or do anything. I also have to stop waiting for my toddler to be 100% cooperative before we get ready to go anywhere as well.

I can take the easy route and wait for things to fall into place before I just get up and go and start doing things. But I’ve been taking that route for awhile and nothing that was truly amazing has come of it. So now is the time to take the road less traveled and start making things happen. If I want an adventure, then I simply need to start taking an adventure!

 

The Writing that Scares Me

I was driving home from the library today, when I realized that I need to become more serious about my writing. Even if I don’t share the writing, I need to start taking the time to write the things that scare me. One big reason why I love writing so much is because it allows me the freedom to be whatever voice I want to be. And while I’ve grown comfortable with the many different voices I can be in my writing, the voice I’ve come to fear most is my own. It’s not so much that I won’t like what I have to say because I’m with my thoughts all the time. I’m perfectly fine with what I have to say, it’s just the fear that others won’t like what I have to say. But being fearful of the opinion of others should not keep me from taking a more serious approach to my craft.

So, even if I don’t post anything serious for a long time, I can at least start practicing. And when I get comfortable with balancing being a goofball and being serious with my writing, it won’t matter what I write, when I share it, or the reactions that I get. I just want to become more comfortable with every aspect of who I am as a writer.

 

Hover Mode Deactivated

I’ve come to the conclusion that if I want to accomplish anything during the day, I cannot keep hovering over my child. Yes, she’s two. Yes, things happen quickly. But I do not have the time to hover over her every move. Now, I’ve recently come to this conclusion, so I’m still getting used to the decision I’ve recently made as a mother.

The first reason why I cannot hover over my daughter all the time is because it doesn’t teach her independence. It also means I will never get anything done throughout the day. If she’s in the living room watching Frozen or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, I’m not a bad mom for going into the kitchen to clean it up after breakfast or lunch. I can see her in the living room from the kitchen and if she’s glued to the television, I know she’s not going anywhere. I check on her periodically and she’s either still glued to the television or she’s messing with the television. Do I trust my two-year-old? Definitely not! But is she learning that even though Mommy is not right there, she’ll still get caught doing something? Absolutely!

The second reason I’m learning to stop hovering over my daughter is she has moments throughout the day where that independence I want her to learn is actually showing up. She will go in her room and start playing by herself. That leaves me open to start a load of laundry or fold the load I just took out of the dryer. Granted, there are times where her playing in her room turns into throwing diapers and shoes on the floor, but there’s nothing breakable in her room, so it’s “Clean up, pick up, put away,” time and we go from there.

The third reason why I’m learning to not hover over my child is because I don’t want her to hover over people. She learns her behavior from her parents. I have to realize that as long as she’s under our roof, my husband and I will be the first example she sees of something. My daughter is a strong-willed individual. When it comes to her snacks and toys and television time, she knows what she wants. When she wants to play by herself, she does. When she wants time and attention with her parents, she’s going to get it with no-questions asked. But while she’s off doing her own thing, I’m doing mine. And my thing is usually cleaning up, cooking, attempting to go the bathroom, or trying to do something on the creative side.

The biggest realization for me though about not hovering is the bigger accidents that have happened with my daughter, her father and I were within arms reach to grab her, but she moved faster than we could. I cannot protect her from everything. But if she makes it through the day alive then my job as a mother has been executed well.

Stay-at-Home Mom

So, my journey as a stay-at-home mother will begin at the beginning of September instead of the end of October. Doctor’s orders have a way of changing things, so for the duration of my pregnancy with my baby boy, I’ll be home having fun with my daughter, freaking out about where everything is going to go in the apartment, and pouring over Crockpot recipes to figure out which one I’ll finally make first.

Granted, all of this is happening sooner than expected, and yes, I’m totally freaking out about it, but I’m also really happy and excited. I have to trust God in this next chapter in life. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know Who holds that future, so with that knowledge alone, I know my family and I will be okay! We will be more than okay, even when we don’t feel like we are.

I’ll have to get into a new rhythm once I have my weekends back. Instead of leaving for work at six in the evening every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I’ll be eating dinner with my family and getting my daughter ready for bed. Instead of sleeping half the day on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, I’ll be up and cooking breakfast for my family or negotiating with my daughter as to why she can’t have pudding for breakfast. Not coming home at seven in the morning on Sundays means I can start going back to church and that is something I’m very excited about.

Getting used to not bringing in an income on a regular basis is also something I will have to adjust to as well. I have to realize that my worth and value are not tied to a paycheck. Being home with my family and making sure they are taken care of is important to me. Also, I can look for ways to become more creative from home, which shouldn’t be too hard with a toddler.

Life as I know it is about to become more interesting. And I’m looking forward to every moment of it!