Personal Growth

Freedom in the journey

I write a lot about the things I’ve learned as I go through life, how vulnerability has been changing me from the inside-out. They’ve all been true; however, I think I might be giving a slightly skewed perspective overall.

It’s easy to think, when reading my blog, that vulnerability comes easily for me. That openness and hospitality come as naturally for me as breathing.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that sometimes I can barely get out of bed in the morning, let alone host a party. The truth is that talking to a stranger is often the last thing in the world I want to do. I fight, I act rashly, I take things personally when I shouldn’t. I am as much a human, with all the normal human struggles, as anyone else.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I’m tired of keeping up the pretense that I have it all together. No one has it all together, and we all know that; so why do we all try so hard to look like it?

Perhaps it is because we find value, however superficial, in being perceived as “better” than others – whatever that means. I’ve fallen for that trap many more times than I’d like to admit. Gotta keep the house clean, the friends happy, the online pictures pretty, the balls in the air. If you don’t, what will people think?

Well, here’s the truth. In the last few days I’ve had a squirrel trapped in my apartment, my car’s been in an accident, and was ecstatic to finally say goodbye to guests who had been with us far too long. I’ve had a fight with my husband and grumbled profusely while I deep-cleaned my apartment. I’ve gotten annoyed, stressed, and irritated.

They are things I’m not proud of, and yet I refuse to be ashamed of them.

Why?

Because I am human. These things happen to all of us. Being able to admit it without shame is such an incredibly freeing, empowering feeling.

The advent of social media and platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have seriously warped our perception of people. No life – none – consists solely of beautiful beaches and well-coordinated wardrobes and beautifully made Starbucks cappuccinos. Yet how are we to know that, if that’s all we see of those people?

A friend of mine is a frequent poster on Facebook. What I appreciate so much about her, though, is that she posts the good and the bad. Last week she posted a video of how her kids had gotten themselves covered in dog poop. A few months ago she posted a similar one, this time showing the destruction that had been wrought throughout her home when her children found the inkpad from the art closet.

It was so refreshing to see someone being willing to show their true lives, not a sanitized, beautified version of it.

That’s what I’m aiming for. To be willing and able to show my true life. To be ok with messing up. It’s been challenging and will no doubt continue to be so, but I’m ok with that. There is freedom in the journey.

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