I like to think of myself as a writer, not so much in the have-been-published or working-to-be-published kind of way, but more so because I have a compulsion to write, to get words and thoughts and stories and memories and feelings out of my head and onto something more stable and concrete. When I write, I feel more grounded and relaxed and understood (even if just by myself)...and when I write, I feel like I finally say exactly what it is that I wanted to say, I finally figure out exactly how I feel (sometimes I just write to figure out what I'm feeling and I don't know until I read what I've written).
I think it's this reason that also causes me to be a voracious consumer of other's written words. I LOVE to read...books, articles, magazines, essays, blogs, emails, text messages...I love written words. And my favorite thing is when I read someone else's words and feel as if they say exactly what I would have said, or would have LIKED to say, or something I feel or felt but didn't really know how to put into words the right way. I like that connection.
Here's some words I've really connected with recently...
"No one can ever prepare you for what happens when you have a child. When you see the baby in your arms and know that it's your job now. No one can prepare you for the love and the fear. No one can prepare you for the love people you love can feel for them."
(Ok this isn't written, but it's a movie quote and YES. When the character, Tim, said this line, it about put me over the edge. I rewatched the scene with this quote multiple times. It hit me exactly where I am right now. I can't even read it without welling up with tears. It's from the movie "About Time" and if you haven't seen it yet, you should.)
I love this quote. I can't even talk about it because it's so overwhelming and so true and so huge that I just don't know what other words to add to it. It is everything true about the first moments of parenthood and about seeing family and friends meet and fall in love with your child.
I'm reading the book "Bread and Wine" by one of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist. My dear friend Anna introduced me to this author a few years ago, back when Z and I were still dating. I read her first book, "Cold Tangerines", at Anna's urging. I fell in love and have now read her other 2 books and follow her blog. She says a lot of the same things in slightly different ways, which sometimes makes me a little frustrated (to solve this problem, I just try to read her books with a few years in between them), but then she'll have a sentence or paragraph that just SPEAKS to me. So those nuggets of gold keep me going back to her writing.
"One thing's for sure: if you decide to be courageous and sane, the healthy people in your life will respect these choices. And the unhealthy people will freak out, because you're making a healthy choice they're not currently free to make. Don't for one second let that stop you.
Either I can be here, fully here, my imperfect, messy, tired but wholly present self, or I can miss it--this moment, this conversation, this time around the table, whatever it is--because I'm trying, and failing, to be perfect, keep the house perfect, make the meal perfect, ensure the gift is perfect. But this season I'm not trying for perfect. I'm just trying to show up, every time, with honesty and attentiveness."
-Shauna Niequist, from the chapter "present over perfect" in "Bread and Wine"
This resonated with me because it's so easy to get caught up in trying for "perfect". Clean house. Dinner ready. Baby dressed in adorable outfit. Me dressed in adorable outfit. Plus showered and makeup. Picture perfect family, baby, life, etc. etc. But perfect is EXHAUSTING. And not real. And really does lead to missing out, not being fully present. And, at least for me, it leads to a LOT of stress and anxiety. So this touched me. I WOULD rather be kind of a mess, living fully in the moment, saying no to certain things, letting certain spinning plates drop, not having it all together...than exhaust myself and miss out on moments with my family and friends because I was trying so hard to maintain some level of perfection. That's a distraction and a stressor that I just don't need.
"I want to be the kind of person who makes peace with her body. Also, I just want to fit into my pants."
-Shauna Niequist, from the chapter "on scrambled eggs and doing hard things" in "Bread and Wine"
Gosh. YES. There have been many wonderful, encouraging, empowering things that have been written about women and the post-baby body. And that's great. But that doesn't give much comfort or encouragement or empowerment when you're standing in your room, surrounded by every dress you own and realizing that NONE of them fit. And you have a wedding to go to in two weeks. SIGH. There was frustration and tears and self-pep-talks. And then I just walked out of the room, leaving the dresses and shoes strewn about all over the place. (Poor Zach, walking into that mess when he got home). But when I got into bed that night, I read that line and had to laugh. Because yes. I want to be empowered and encouraged and give myself grace and cut myself slack and all of those things that you should do when you just had a baby 3 months ago.
But also, I just want to fit into my pants.