Sunday Struggles

I don’t usually write on Sundays.  It is my day off, you know?  It’s the day that I set aside to worship God in the best way I know how:  watching Disney movies and eating ice cream.

Today is different, though.  Some of you know this, but I recently had a birthday.  Yes, now I am 33 years old.  How old is that?  Old enough to know that you don’t know very much, but young enough to still make stupid decisions constantly.

I guess I realize that I have done both you and I a disservice.  When I started this blog, I thought that I would document my life and perspective of being a SAH mom and mental case and writer.  What I have ended up with is a string of semi-interesting rants about things that I think about when no one is looking at me.

It is time for a much-needed reality check.

So far, things are going pretty OK. Not great, not by any means, but OK.  I still love my daughter, which is a nice bonus.  My house (all 900 square feet of it) is clean-ish.  I have started reading my scriptures again.  For you non-mormon readers that means that I’m “on the right track” and “getting my crap together.”

This summer was an experiment.  I was going to do this artistic workshop, “The Artist’s Way,” that I borrowed from a friend of mine.  The whole concept was about finding the real you and exposing yourself to a bunch of new experiences.  Focus on your connection with yourself, then others.  In fact, one of the main tenets was to avoid seeing yourself as being selfish for putting your creative needs first.  I really tried hard.  I even started wearing a bikini, something I had always wanted to do.  It only took one month and I didn’t even feel really guilty about it.

Anyway, about a month ago, I was in the throes of this program.  I was taking myself on dates, buying things that helped me feel validated, giving myself time to reflect and write about my experiences.

At the same time, I was acting like a complete flaming neurotic.  I was a bi-polar mess.

Kyle said to me, “You don’t need a book to teach you how to be MORE spontaneous and self-interested.  Those are things you can do pretty well without extra help.  Besides, this woman has no moral authority to tell you how to live your life.  She might have some interesting ideas, but there are a lot more qualified people to teach you how to be happy.”

He was right.

The fact is, I learned some really valuable things through my experience.  I learned that I really don’t need help being creative and spontaneous.  I do those things pretty well on my own.  I also learned that,  while writing daily and making time to reflect is an excellent choice for my life, I am much happier focusing on the world outside of me than spending time thinking about myself.

When it boiled down to it, I realized that happiness is something I am very familiar with.  But my greatest inspirations of happy lives don’t come from rich and famous people, or even writers.  The people I idolize are not creative geniuses alone.  I am happier seeking to be like the ones of truly look up to: my mother, my father, my sisters and brothers, my husband’s cousin Cana.  These people represent the best humanity has to offer, I believe, and I would rather be like them than rich and famous any day.

I look at people who are famous writers, singers, and actors.  I am sure that some of them are very happy.  At the same time, I don’t know them well enough to want to pattern my life after them.

On the other hand, I know my mom very well.  We have been through a lot together.  She has prayed for her children, sacrificed for her beliefs, and made service to others her most important life’s work.  When she was younger, she was beautiful, creative, talented, and traumatized.  As a result of events out of her control, she was forced to give up many of her dreams.  She chose to raise a family and be the kind of mother that she believed her children deserved.

I am not saying that giving up dreams is necessary to be a good mother, but her sacrifices taught me that it is okay to give up things that I think are important for the good of my family.

I have a friend named Cana.  She is kind and sweet.  She is creative and loving and makes everyone who she talks to feel like they are the most interesting and wonderful person in the world.  She brightens my day and supports me like I think God would do if he lived close enough for me to call him on the phone.  I want to be like her.  She is a real person who is actually happy.  Even if she is not a multi-zillionaire, she has an attitude of joy that will keep her happy regardless of the amount of money in her bank account.

Then there’s me.  Do I want to be a writer?  Yes.  Do I want to have a big house on the ocean?  Yes.  More than that, though, I want to have a life that ends in “happily ever after.”  I think that is a life I can only get if I seek to find happiness first, not talent or wealth or fame.

Is it possible that God wants me to be a writer?  I think so.  But, I still haven’t figured out how to make that goal fit inside the concept of happiness that is so desperately important to me.  There is no purpose more important to me than making the world around me a more beautiful place by my touching it.  Of course, I want to have true, deep happiness as well, but I think the best way to find it is by sharing joy with the people around me.

What does this mean to you, oh Reader?

I don’t know.  I just wanted to put it out there.  Being insecure and overly-emotional is hard on a soul.  Having the need to analyze your desires on a constant basis is difficult and stressful.  I hope that my blog entertains you a little.  I sure stress myself out over it enough.

At the same time, I want to say what’s true.  Sometime’s what’s true isn’t that evocative or engaging.  I want to tell you secrets, sometimes.  I want to say things that really keep me up at night or make my eyes sparkle.

But, I’m conflicted.

What if I tell you the truth and you hate me for it?  What if I tell you the truth as I see it and I end up being wrong?  What if I don’t set a good example?  Whatifwhatifwhatif….

I guess it’s not really that important, but I feel like there are things that only I can say.  I just want to say them in a way that tells the truth and provides me a way to still be happy.  I don’t know if I can sacrifice truth on the altar of happiness, but I am thinking there is some suspended believability that is required for true happiness.  Maybe there are some colored glasses that have to be put on in order to see the best possible side of this world.

Are truth and happiness mutually exclusive?  I don’t know.  But I guess that is the object of my lesson here today.  I want to tell the truth.  I want to write the facts.  I also want to find happiness and joy in my existence.  Is it necessary to put blinders on in order to live a joyful life, or is it possible to find goodness in the harsh realities of the hand that has been played to us?




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5 responses to “Sunday Struggles”

  1. You are so awesome, Gladys. It is nice to know that I'm not the only one who is dealing with low self-esteem issues. You are a great friend, and I am so glad you are reading my blog. You are my perfect audience: interesting, intelligent, and analytic. Thank you for listening to my thoughts. Hopefully they give you a little insight into another random person's brain.

  2. I enjoy your blog. It's more than entertaining. It makes you think. I have a lot of concerns like you. I am very insecure, there's thoughts and feelings I have that I don't dare express. I've always struggled with self-esteem. I do know that when I put myself in situtations where I am thinking of someone else's welfare and forget about myself, I am happier. It makes me feel better about myself. I think my biggest problem is that I feel I need to be a better person than I am. But I also know that I can't give up and that I have to keep trying no matter how bad I feel about myself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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