READING BETWEEN THE PINES

If life's about the journey, does it matter how many bathroom breaks you take along the way?

I’ve always been a glass half full kind of person with a world view that skews toward the brighter side of life. Now, thanks to the northern light-like glow of filters, editing, and effects, that perspective is exponentially enhanced. Sort of.

Too often, we present our perfectly angled poses to the world and broadcast them on a social media stage that allows us to tell our story in our voice to our audience. The beautiful vacation. The accomplished children. The enviable life. And yet, so much of it is fiction.

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What mom doesn’t look like this when she heads out the door to pick up the kids?

So I’m gonna get real.

Last summer, my husband and I took our three children to dinner to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I was tired, (what brilliant mind paired teenagers with menopause?) and as argumentative voices grew louder from the back seat, my fuse shortened in the front.

As we pulled up to the restaurant, my husband frustrated, me exhausted, and the kids oblivious, I lost it. In a full-on meltdown no filter could fix, I told the kids to walk two blocks to McDonald’s for dinner, and I refused to go into the restaurant. For reasons both inside and outside our car, ones that had everything and nothing to do with its occupants, I completely shut down.

Ronald M

YOU go have dinner with the creepy clown. I’m doing shots at the bar.

I questioned the decision to bring the kids at all. I mean, they weren’t even there when we got married and really? Why did we feel the need to have so many of them?

As a I cried, my husband began to put the pieces of our celebration back together. He pulled the kids aside and whispered threatening words of wisdom that changed their course. He wiped away my tears and reminded me why, 20 years ago, we decided to start this journey together in the first place. We made our way to the table, started creating memories instead of ruining them, and the night ended on a high note.

And that’s the point in time that I showed the world, via Facebook, the next day. Our best side. The happy family. The ideal minus the real.

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Would you guess I was at DEFCON 5 and in full ugly cry face about an hour before this photo was taken?

No one’s perfect. Not you. Not me. I love meaningful moments, yet I wonder how much deeper life could be if we shared the backstory behind the fairytale ending. If we sometimes connected through our misses, not just our hits, and removed our carefully placed filters to expose our messy and complicated, yet beautiful selves. 

In addition to the multitude of things that inspire me to write, I’m a contributor to our local community paper, The Castle Pines Connection. Come check out the neighborhood and people who make it meaningful at www.castlepinesconnection.com.

14 thoughts on “The Misconception of Perfection

  1. Anonymous says:

    Amen sister! xoxo

      1. LDR says:

        Right on! I believe many of the issues our kids are facing are brought on by this misconception that everyone, besides them, have the perfect life, as portrayed through social media. I love that you shared the story behind the picture. It is infinitely more real and interesting! Thanks for having the courage to be authentic!

      2. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment – if we can all be more real, maybe we can all breath a collective sigh of relief. =)

  2. Diane Keely says:

    Soooo true and I definitely have a back story to my “perfect” Mother’s Day! Great piece and thank you for sharing !

    1. Thank you for your support Diane!

  3. John Maholm says:

    I really enjoy your writing.

    1. Thanks John, I appreciate your support!

  4. John says:

    Good insights…and we wonder why our kids are driven to drugs and alcohol, video game escapism, and gun violence. Not an excuse, but we’ve created the world they are trying to deal with without safety nets, and in many cases not well.

    1. Well said John. I truly worry about our children’s generation and all they carry that we’ve put on their shoulders, intentionally or not. =/

  5. Dani Heart says:

    I think this is why I do my wtf Wednesdays, trying to keep it real while making people laugh. 😉 Love this.

    1. Love that you’re keeping it real Dani. Thanks for stopping by and keep up the good work!

  6. Stephen Yolland says:

    There is a lot of work being done at the moment on the vulnerability required to admit that we’re not perfect – none of us – and that life can sometimes be just plain tough. What matters, of course, is not perfection, but the resilience to make a success of our imperfect lives, families, friends, world.

    If only we could teach our children resilience first, then imagination, then they’d have a chance.

  7. You are so spot on Yolly. I worry about my kids’ generation. Where is the resilience? Where is the imagination when so much of their world isn’t real?

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