Note: I have to be honest. I was half way to completing this section of my case study last night when a "friend" messaged me on FB and her message really upset me. I happened to be Skype-chatting with Steve and he was able to calm me down a bit. However, I was not able to return to my blog in the same manner at all. So I came back tonight and reread and didn't "feel" it one bit. So I did something I hardly ever do: I deleted the whole thing, save one paragraph I was fond of and will put in here even if it is at the end ruins the flow of the whole post. Regardless, I just wanted you to know...
Remember how you were taught in high school composition classes to make your writing flow smoothly and appeal to the reader. I never had a problem with that. I guess that natural flow came easily to me. Tonight though, I am throwing it out the window. Because, if you've read the previous two posts to my blog you will naturally know that the next section is going to be me listing what I think are the positives about myself. I so very much do not want to come across as a braggart and pray I still do not, but I am just going to cut to the chase and begin counting down the things I like about myself. It probably won't flow. I really don't care at this point...
1.) I have a body that works (for the most part) and am not truly ugly. I have Crohn's disease and will until the day I die, but thankfully (and you really have no way of know just how thankful I really am after last spring's severe bout with it), God put a great team of GI docs in my path that found a medicine that works for me and other than the prick of the IV being inserted into my arm every other month, I feel no pain from the disease. I wish I was more athletic and coordinated and could take up any exercise with confidence, but my body works for what I need it to do now and I know, deep down, that I could get myself to the point of running if I so desire someday. I tried to breast-feed my first two babies and it didn't work and I get down about it still, but at least I have other means by which to feed them and they did well. I get down about my looks, my face many times, but I know I am truly not ugly (God taught me an important lesson in vanity nearly two years ago on a flight back to the States--I'll share that in a new post soon). My point is this: for all the cringing I do when I look in the mirror or try to compare myself physically with others, deep down I know I have so much to be grateful for. I have all my limbs and they work. My brain is not injured and still functions well. I am not scarred horribly by disease, fire, or abuse. I can speak, see, and hear. I can taste incredible foods or horrible medicines but know the difference. I am not locked in a life or death battle with cancer. I am how God designed me and it all works and looks well for the most part and that is so much to be thankful for.
2.) I am talented. I am not the jack-of-all-trades, nor am I the master of any, but I still have God-given gifts. I can sing. I tend to do 90% of it in church as "just" part of the congregation or at home while working around the house. I have a great time doing karaoke or occasionally singing in weddings or community theater. But regardless of how it is used, it's still a gift that God gave me. I can act. I can do accents pretty darn well. I can and love to make people laugh. Combine the three and you have this temptation to try my hand at stand-up comedy, or even Hollywood (well...maybe not). I can draw, paint, and work with pastels and I am ashamed to admit that I have the tools to do all of them and rarely--okay truthfully, NEVER--use them. I need to and it's a bit too easy to blame the kiddos for not dragging out the easel and acrylics. I can do calligraphy. Taught myself to knit even, though the "scarf" died infancy over five years ago. I can cook too. I am not intimidated by new and strange recipes. And all but two things I ever made turned out well...pesky crab cakes and I-forget-what-else. It does me good to itemize this list as I am doing because if I spend five minutes on Facebook I am likely to walk away feeling like an untalented failure after reading post after post of grand meals, projects, and accomplishments of all sorts. The truth is, I am just as talented as the next person in my own unique way. I can't compare myself to every Tom, Dick, and Harriet that posts every accomplishment on Facebook. I can and should turn SOME (not all of them) into motivation to return to the things I enjoy doing and know I can do well.
3.) I am compassionate. Do I get pissed beyond belief sometimes? oh...you have NO idea. But I am rarely the person that will confront another unless it is absolutely necessary and although I am afraid of getting yelled at and subsequently crying my eyes out, a good portion of the reason that I am not a "chewer-outer" is that I (sometimes too much) put myself in the other person's shoes. I don't want anyone to read this and walk away thinking that I think I have never done any wrong nor hurt anyone. I'm human and I know I have and I am truly sorry. But I can say with all honesty that I find myself, multiple times a day, thinking about how I would feel if someone did or said "this" to me. It can be a curse sometimes. I often won't say things that can and should be said--for instance when a "friend" has hurt me--because I would feel awkward at best if someone approached me about hurting them. So I may not always seem compassionate but I am and I am thankful for it. The older I get the more I see people who truly don't care one bit how hard they might trample on others and it just hurts me to see it.
4.) I am pretty good mommy and wife. Here's what I had written yesterday concerning this: My husband, my kids, my family. Anyone can marry. Anyone can procreate. But not everyone can have a family. You've seen those public service ads aimed at young men and boys that say something to the effect of "anyone can be father, but not everyone can be a daddy." Those ads speak some very true words and I am borrowing that wisdom here. I am FAR FAR FAR from being a perfect mommy and wife, even the best one, and on somedays, even a good to decent one, but I chose to be here to be with them, and I love them and am so proud of them. Steve fails to pick up after himself miserably at times. He doesn't write me love letters that could inspire a Hollywood film. He seldom brings be flowers "just because," and don't even get me started on his gift giving prowess (or lack thereof, but not for lack of trying bless his heart.) Zeke is a smart and funny little boy, but he can drive me to drinking sometimes with his self-frustration and emerging attitude...not to mention the numerous moments of embarrassment he's caused me. And Levi...words can't quite describe him, but oh that temper and stubbornness! Yet, he's so cute. BUT...I try to imagine, just for one second, what life would be like if any of them were taken from me, and the thought just kills me. They are a PART of me and such a source of pride. Yesterday I was writing it from the perspective of what parts of me I was proud of, but I want to elaborate just a bit more from another angle. As a wife, I fail miserably at being the always loving, cheery, happy and pleasing wife, but I don't think Steve ever wanted that "perfection." I think that just being me and be honest about who I am and how I am feeling--good or bad--is what makes our marriage work so well and happily for us. As a mommy, I felt I got off to a horrible start with my oldest because I literally COULD NOT nurse. The milk never showed up due to a medicine given to me during labor. There was nothing I could do. And yet reading upon every can of formula that I was forced to buy, "breast milk is best," I was hurt to the core and wanted to bawl. Then came babyfood...the "mompetitors" came out again and made me feel like I was feeding my baby "crap" because it was in a jar from a store. I didn't worry that my baby/toddler might not be reading at the age of 2 or 3, or even drawing recognizable pictures. And so on and so forth. But the truth is, that stuff really doesn't matter! I love my kiddos so much and--barring pregnancy or illness--have no problem being goofy with them, wrestling with them, and just loving up on them. I may not have done what some people THINK I should have and for that I am a substandard mother. But deep down, I do what I feel is best and love them the best way I know how. I don't think they are suffering one bit for it either. ...although I'd still love to slug some of those "mompetitors"... ;-)
In the end, I may be flawed, but there is plenty about myself that makes up for it. The only real flaw is that I often forget the good things and find myself sulking about the negatives. This little bit of itemization was helpful...when someday I post something negative and horrible about myself, just remind be to come back here and check this one out!
I'm posting this now...typos and all!