Do you have an intention word for yourself for the year? Every year, for the last few years, I have come up with a word that I am going to try and embody for the upcoming year. Last year, my word was perservere and that I did. I had some pretty incredible highs and the lowest lows of my entire life, which have left me reeling. The year before that, it, and I, was strong.
This year, however, after struggling and despite having a rather long list of words that I think could frame my intentions for the year quite well, nothing seemed to be quite right. That was until I was having a conversation with my husband about the direction I want to continue to move in with One Crazy Kid and my personal “brand” ( oh how I dislike that term, I am not a brand, but a real person) and he said “that’s it! There is your word right there.” I thought about it for a few days and kept coming back to it.
The word is Real.
Real: actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.
– not imitation or artificial; genuine.
So often when you have an online presence, everything that is talked about or described or depicted isn’t really real. The pictures are staged just right, and the ones that aren’t perfect get deleted or discarded, the ones where someone is smiling with too many teeth or not enough teeth or caught in the middle of a laugh. The ones with bunny ears or scrunched up noses or double chins. The ones that show the moment as it actually happened, not as you planned for it to look. I’m guilty of this, of course I am. I don’t want to show anything less than our best sides to the world for all to see. But why do we do that?
I am not that girl who can’t leave the house without makeup on and hair done perfectly. I’ve never been her. My getting ready usually consists of running a brush through my hair, throwing on an outfit and heading out. Makeup? What’s that? If I am feeling really snazzy or getting dressed up, I will chuck on some red lips and maybe some eyeliner or blush. Pretty much the only time you will catch me wearing full makeup is when I’m getting ready to hit the stage or just came off of it. It’s just how it is for me.
Sometimes, before my injuries, when my hair was long, I would straighten it, but I found that I fried my hair more often than not and I honestly didn’t love starting my day off with the smell of burnt hair burned into my nostrils. It just wasn’t worth it for me to do on a daily basis. Of course I am telling you all this in the spirit of keeping it real. I’m sorry if this shatters any images you had of me (but chances are you’ve seen pictures or read this blog at least once before, so I I doubt it).
Again, in the interest of being real, I will let you in on a (not so secret) secret. My kid, the illustrious Q-man (as he has named himself, a la George Costanza from Seinfeld) isn’t perfect. This doesn’t mean that he isn’t a bundle full of awesome, but he’s also 6. There is no such thing as a perfect kid, despite what we try to portray. Things are messy, and loud, and yes, I have to raise my voice from time to time. It’s all kind of real life.
I also live with chronic pain, and just lost my Dad to cancer. I’m sad, a lot. For some reason, though, I’ve been afraid to share much of that with you guys. I’ve tried, for the most part, to put on a cheery face and pretend like my heart didn’t hurt or that some days it is all I can do to get dressed or get out of the house if there are no appointments or anything scheduled for that day. Why? I don’t know. I highly doubt that I am the only one, and I have found that the posts where I open up, really open up and let you guys in are the ones that are the most popular and resonate with people. You’d think that I would have figured it out by now.
Things in the blogging world are competitive. There are a million posts and sites telling you what to do and what not to do to be popular and get your page views up and how to turn off readers. There are people who will tell you that you need to have pictures that look like they have been taken by a professional, that you must do these things at these times and on these days, and that if you talk too much about yourself or your kids or what you do, or if you write too many words (oops!) nobody is going to read you and you might as well pack up your keyboard and go home. The thing is though, I’m not a company. I don’t have employees (aside from my trusty sidekick/assistant, whom I also happen to be married to, haha), I don’t have a budget for font design and professional lighting boxes and courses and and and… I’m just me. Like it or leave it, me. I write for me, and for you. If people like that, then great. If not, I am no longer going to try and change myself to fit into someone else’s mold.
I say the wrong things, or make slightly less than appropriate wise cracks from time to time, or laugh because I’m nervous. I get mad when I cry. I shout, I snicker, I may start singing at random times in random places, I dance with my kid in public, I (gasp!) swear on occasion, I get distracted easily and forget things all.the.time but I don’t mind if you remind me too. I’m tough and sensitive and more than a little weird but I’m ok with that. I have serious body image and self confidence issues but I know that and I like to think of myself as a work in progress. I’m loyal, to a fault sometimes, and care too much about others opinions. I’m awesome and I am going to do my best to embrace all of these things that make me real and who I am, and let you get to know them too. Life is too short to worry about silly stuff like that.
I want to be real in my words, in my actions, in my portrayals and accounts of life. I want my words to mean something, to be trustworthy, to be true.
So, even though I think I am usually pretty good, I know that I can do a better job of worrying less what others think and embrace the quirkiness and the faults and the weird that makes me me. And the same goes for my family. I would rather be seen for who I am, no major surprises, than curate this perfect fantasy life for myself that doesn’t exist and maybe leaves people feeling a bit bad about their own. I will write about what I want, and not worry about whether it is not the right thing at the right time. Nothing ever is exactly right, is it?
My goal this year is to make you laugh, cry, shake your head and say “yup, I TOTALLY get that”. If I can do that, I will succeed in being real.