I would like to start out by telling you that when I decided to write this, I envisioned sitting down at my table with a warm cup of coffee in the peace and quiet of my home. But that is not what happened. That is a filtered picture that you post on Instagram, not what the picture looks like in real life. In real life, I started this post at 11 a.m. calling a friend trying to even figure out how to start this darn thing, soon after taking phone calls about my business and then a few personal ones from friends that are going through some of the hard stuff in life (you know, the ones we don’t post about on social media), and then changed out sheets on three beds. IT IS DIRTY.
And by the way: My coffee is now cold and it is 1:30 p.m.
Now I’m not talking dirty like things needed to be vacuumed and dusted. Although, sometimes that is true, as seen in the picture of my home above. I’m talking dirty like it’s messy, just plain raw life. It feels unclean and it seems like something we need to pick up and make right and hide it so people can’t see it. It isn’t always perfect and it doesn’t always fit into that perfectly picked out wicker laundry basket we knew would look amazing on our laundry room shelf. It’s life. It rarely turns out how we planned. And sometimes we have to crawl through the trenches just to get through the day, or the moment. And that is OKAY. Because sometimes, that trench can be what leads us to the biggest blessings of all. Sometimes, if we look at that trench differently, actually see the dirty, we can sort through it to get to the good.
The biggest thing I have learned as a mother is simple: My kids aren’t going to act like I want them to.
Biggest thing I have learned in my marriage: It is not all about me.
Biggest lesson I have learned in life so far: We mess up, but we can fix it and start over again.
With the bad, sometimes comes the good.
It is a learning experience. All of this. And we are not the only ones going through it. But we sometimes feel like we are when we see those perfect pictures, perfect posts, and those dreamy filters. Seriously. Have any of you tried to take the perfect selfie? It’s just as hard as trying to get all of your children smiling at once in a family picture while the dog is still looking at the same time. So if we have to take 20 selfies, or have our family pictures Photoshopped and edited, why in the world, do we think life turns out right the moment we live it?
Over the winter, posted about a big snow we had in the town I live in. It was enough to shut most places down and the kind that makes everyone run to the store and grab groceries off the shelf. Everyone was so panicked about what was going to go wrong that most people didn’t even take the time to look at what was about to go right. In the post, I talked about pausing and enjoying the moment. And that is great, but what if we all went a bit further and we enjoyed the lesson, or the blessing that we were just given? What if (gasp) we enjoyed the dirty? The part we were so afraid to see.
What if we stood in that soft snow and breathed in the smell of it? We thanked God (or whatever we believed in) for the peace and quiet it brought? Or we shut all the doors and enjoyed the coziness of our homes and families, and having that unplanned day to just be.
Let us go a step further: What if we enjoyed those other 19 selfies that didn’t turn out perfect? What if we posted those and let people see our dirty, the life that isn’t filtered and in its rawest form? It is a scary thought, I know, but everyone has them. Why are we afraid to show them?
I know I don’t have a college degree in telling you what is and isn’t right. I don’t have professional training in woman’s studies and marriage, let alone in children, but what I do have is ears. I am a female in a mostly female-based industry, and though I would never share a personal story, I can tell you I interact with women all day. I listen to them talk about their day to day, their kids, their marriages, their careers, and their life. I hear the small things, the triumphs, and I hear the big stuff. I mean the earth shattering big stuff. The stuff that you never thought you would deal with in your own life. The stuff that makes you want to lay on the floor and hope it didn’t happen.
But what I have also witnessed is these women getting back up. Coming back in and telling me the next time that they are getting through it. That though it is dirty, and can be hard work, they are working towards the good. The moment they embraced their dirty and acknowledged it, is the moment they were able to start picking up the pieces and allowing it to pave the way to the next chapter in their lives. Don’t hide your dirty, girl. Use it. Use it to fight for the good.
Embrace it. You can’t have a picked-up house until it gets messy first. And if your house stays messy for a bit while you spend a little more time in other areas in your life, that is okay. That’s the stuff we don’t share. The funny thing is, we all live it and never notice it because we are too busy staring at those perfectly filtered and planned out pictures in other people’s lives. The ones we post too. The pictures we see make us think everyone is living these amazing lives that we are missing out on. I guarantee they have those 19 other outtakes on their cameras too. You just can’t always see them.
We all have our dirty, and it changes daily. Life isn’t filtered and it is far from perfect. But in that imperfection, we can find our version of perfect. So live it! Even the dirty part. And enjoy it. The dirty isn’t so bad, it’s just how we perceive it.