Transparency

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

As of late it seems like my blog posts primarily consist of anecdotes from my daily life. I so love writing about my family and friends while sharing our current events, but I think that sometimes I do so instead of sharing what is really going on in my heart. I worry that I might reveal too much. Because of my past hurts, I like to decide what information is disemminated, to whom and when. I have no way of knowing who views this blog so I want to be self-protective. Yet the subtitle of my blog is: "ideas, issues, inspiration". I started thinking about how much the "inspiration" part is lacking. And I began to ponder how much I am inspired and encouraged when I read a post on another woman's blog that is real and transparent and yet I hesitate to do the same on my own page. Why do I want others to think my life is glamorous and easy? No one's is and yet there's this part of me that still struggles with desiring to be viewed this way. This helps no one and only puts undo pressure on me to maintain an image. It's silly.

Everyday, in my inbox, I receive an inspirational short email from Internet Cafe Devotions. At the end of the email is the author's bio and a link to her blog. Last week I received one of those that really stood out as inspirational. I linked to the lovely woman's blog page and one of the first sentences in her profile stated "my 17 year old daughter had a baby boy at 18 and became pregnant again when he was 6 months old." My first thought was "why is she sharing this with total strangers?" and then my second thought was "I want to read more of this woman's story." As I read on, I was amazed, inspired and humbled. Surely this wasn't the path she had envisioned when raising her family. You know she was beat up inside with the "you're a bad mother. This is all your fault" talk. And yet here she is airing it out for all to read. All I had to do was view the comments that followed her story to realize that we need to share our disappointments as well as our victories. She allowed God to use her pain to encourage others. Even if it's only one who is changed by our transparency, it is worth it.

So where is this leading? To my own "Ah-Ha moment." Last night I was re-reading an old journal from 2001-2003. I think that period's journal is the fattest one I own. During this time, I had also begun counseling. In the page I first turned to, was a recounting of my session and the reasons I was seeking a counselor. She asked me what were the main issues I wanted to work on. I said, 'anger, forgiveness and expectations.' I don't want to be an angry person. I want to see things from another's perspective more easily and not be so judgmental.

This woman was a very gifted counselor who was ready to get to the meat of my issues. In one particular session she wanted to tackle EXPECTATIONS--especially the unmet ones. One of the exercises she gave me was to list what I believed my life would look like at this age (35) contrasted with my current reality. It was a bit embarrassing to put all this on pen and paper and reveal it to a total stranger but as I began writing, I quickly realized how unrealistic my expectations were. At the same time, some of these are pretty hilarious. With the intention of transparency, and the hope of encouragement and inspiration, I hope you'll enjoy what I recorded.

MARRIAGE
Fantasy: Happily married with lots of affection, passion and a deep friendship with my husband. Still taking romantic getaways and having a fulfilling intimate relationship.

Reality: A strained relationship where the resentments resurface from time to time especially when a crisis comes into play. Lack of affection on my part because of constant disappointment and unmet expectations. Relationship priority lagging due to finances and demands of motherhood.

HOME

Fantasy: We would own a home in a warm climate. A home in which I would have ample room for my family and guests and one where I could fulfill my love of baking, cooking and entertaining. A home where I could decorate and make it a safe haven from the world for my husband and children.

Reality: We owned two homes at one time in two different cities, one of which sucked us dry emotionally and financially. Was forced to sell the home in which we started our family in and where I always saw us growing old together. Have since moved four times and rented for four years. Came within weeks of beginning to build a home, which we designed to meet our family's needs, only to be forced to sell the lot (and give up our dream) when job loss #3 occurred.

FAMILY

Fantasy: I was going to have a boy and two girls at 28, 30 & 32. At this point in time two would be in school, and, of course, excelling. The last one would be potty-trained and we'd be entering the next phase of parenting. They would have adorable bedrooms, be obedient and going to Christian school.

Reality: I struggled to conceive for close to two years while everyone around me was pregnant at their first attempt. I had three boys at 29, 30 & 34. They are full of energy and insatiable in their quest for constant activity. One of them breaks something on a daily basis and my oldest attends public school. The two older boys share a room with bunk beds and mismatched bedding. A plastic bin acts as their dresser and the closet is full of unorganized toys--most of which are broken. The youngest has more energy than the others put together and won't go further than five feet away from my side.

PERSONALLY/PROFESSIONALLY

Fantasy: I would be a full-time homemaker yet doing freelance writing on the side and maybe have published a book or two. I would have a clean, organized home. I would be showered, make-up on and fully dressed every morning prior to the kids waking up. Their clothes would be laid out the night before and lunches made. I would be driving a Suburban or other SUV as all fashionable/hip moms of the time.

Reality: I rarely sit down from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning. The baby usually wakes up before i do. I'm typically rushing the kids out the door wearing a ball cap, no make-up and exercise clothes that have some degree of snot on them. I am often overwhelmed at the amount of laundry, dishes and general responsibility of raising a young family. The monotony of life is not something I ever expected. The most writing I do is the daily to-do list that rarely gets done. I drive a mini-van.

Boy did I have a fantasy with a capital "F" or what? No wonder I was always disappointed. At the end of this discourse, I had written another list entitled, "What I have now that I wouldn't have had if my life went down my self-directed, unrealistic path:"

  • A deeper walk with God and an understanding of total reliance on Him.
  • A heart for others who have suffered disappointment and unmet expectations.
  • A true longing for my true home in Heaven.
  • The ability to hold my hands open with my material possessions and give them proper priority in my life.
  • The knowledge that trials only make me stronger and that with each one I have been able to look back and see God's hand in it.

Trans-par-ent: Open. Frank. Candid. There you have it.

2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Transparency”

Sasha said...

OOOOHHHHH! I am dying here. I LOVE YOU. I love the transparency. I, of course, am the opposite, and am working on being slightly less "vomitously open" to all people... :)

You are such a woman of worth. To have come to the place where you recognize what is most valuable. JUST LOVE IT!!!

Thanks for trusting "us" with your thoughts.

Sash

Andrea said...

I love it Dana! Way to be bold. I feel like I learned so much about you in just one blog!

This is inspiring to me as I will be writing more blogs and struggle with the "being vulnerable" factor. So thank you!

I love you cuz!