February 24, 2008

Finally Ready to Be Okay. (LPA*)

*Loooooong Post Alert

Oh, Lordy Lordy Lordy you guys. It's is 1:30 in the morning and I am supposed to be sleeping but I just absolutely CANNOT because I feel like my life is completely changing right this very moment and the last thing I will be able to do is bed myself back down in the face of something so profound. That would be like trying to sleep on a big comfy bed of crocodiles.

Here are the things that have changed my life in the past few hours. I am realizing that:

1) God really is in control of everything. My life is a bunch of little puzzle pieces that He's meticulously connecting. (This applies to my EVERYTHING. ALL THE TIME.)

2) Despite my greatest efforts, I am not my mother.

Allow me to explain. Here are the recent puzzle pieces that have brought me to where I am now- in the dark office at 1:30AM on a Saturday night.

--A few weeks ago I got this idea while sitting at church. A little idea of something I might organize- a publication of sorts. But the idea was blurry so I tucked it away in my brain somewhere.

--Then, a few days ago, a friend of mine came over and said she'd had a similar little idea tucked away in a pocket of her brain, too- so we started to talk about our ideas and give them a little more shape. This left me feeling *gasp* inspired for the first time in, oh, 987467q8640 (is that a Q in there?) days, and this little burst of creativity and inspiration led me to this little, teeny tiny inkling in my heart: I am right where I'm meant to be.

This is not a feeling that I have often, so I babied it and gave it food and a warm sweater and then clung to it like it was my last ticket out of GOING-CRAZY-VILLE.

--Then, lo and behold, a new thought popped up in my brain. It said something along the lines of "All of this discontentment that you've been feeling is coming from an impossibly high standard that you've set for yourself."

"Interesting!", I thought to myself. "I wonder where this standard I'm setting for myself is coming from?" Then I ate lots of cookies.

--Then, an amazing thing happened at exactly the right moment. A thing that occurs so rarely in the universe, it is considered an absolute scientific phenomenon.

It's called DATE NIGHT.

--My husband and I dropped off the baby child and drove towards the movie theater. We were going to see Juno. But then, my husband (whom God in all His infinite wisdom brought to me years and years ago so that he could help me not cave in on myself) told me he did not want to spend our precious free time staring at a screen... that he would rather spend that time having actual conversation over a good meal.

Part of me dropped. This meant I would have to, you know, talk about stuff. Outloud. And I hadn't brought any cookies with me.

--We end up at a fancy restaurant that we had a gift card for. Chris shows no mercy. "Why do you think you've been isolating yourself so much lately?"

I fear the worst: Melting into a puddle of messy cry right there on the fancy restaurant floor. AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN GOTTEN OUR BREAD YET.

Instead, I keep it together and I tell him that I don't really know... I just feel like whenever I get a moment to do what I want to do, I can think of nothing but being alone. All day long, I crave these moments. I feel like I NEED them to survive. But, I keep denying myself these moments or I feel guilty because of them... I mean, shouldn't I be doing something more productive with these free moments? When I drop Ezra off at school- shouldn't I be grocery shopping? Why do I (without fail) end up at a coffee shop- staring out the window and getting lost in my never-ending stream of thoughts? Why do I end up wandering through stores or reading or sitting in my quiet house writing? Why can't I just get my butt in gear and go buy bread?

--As I am sputtering talking like this, I start to realize something. I am (and have been) trying desperately to be my mother. Because I respect her with ever fiber of my being. She's organized. On top of things. Productive. Orderly. Task-Driven. And when I don't measure up, when I end up sitting in coffee shops for hours staring out of windows when I should be calling doctors, I feel like I'm failing. I tell myself I am a failure. At life.

My mother is amazing at all of these productive organizational things, because she has had to learn to be. Her mind is sharply brilliant and logical- she is wise and tackles problems with dexterity and a level head. (Whereas I usually take more of the bumbling and ful-a-baloo approach.) When something needs to get done, she does it. This is simple logic to her. And I envy her for her abilities.

Suddenly, while sitting in this fancy restaurant, I realize that maybe... just maybe... I'm wired differently. And, what's more: Maybe That's Okay. (Maybe?)

My family is a perfect split of artists and logicalists. (haha is that even a word? That pretty much PROVES I'm not a "logicalist", eh?) One brother is a starving artist. The other is a successful civil engineer. And I've always felt like I'm somewhere in the middle-- not sure which side of the fence to plant my feet on. And I've seen my parents grapple with understanding where my artist brother is coming from. Because they are more logical and don't understand the 'eh, it will all work out' mentality. So, I've been afraid to embrace the artist in myself. Because I don't want them to worry about me.

At the same time, I know that all they want for me is to be happy. And I AM happy where I'm at- if I could just get myself to accept that it was enough.

What would happen if I stopped putting all this pressure on myself and just started being who I am? I am an artist. I need time and space and quiet to wander through my thoughts so I can write them, sing them, get them out of my skin. I have a husband who takes care of me and understands this part of me better than I do. He sees that the thing I'm struggling against so hard is nothing more than me arm wrestling MYSELF. The Me I Think I Should Be VS. The Me That I Am.

Chris is constantly telling me that he can help take care of the little things. That I don't have to stress so much about everything. He enjoys taking care of me in that way. But something in me won't let him. Something in me says that if I let him help me in these things, I will be sealing the deal forever:

I FAIL AT LIFE. F minus plus plus.

Here's the thing: I am at a point in my life where I have the freedom and ability to explore these things about myself. My house is in working order, my husband is not starved, my boy is cared for, and after all of this, I still find pockets of time to sit and just be. To think and write and think and sit and be. So why will I not allow myself to do that? Why can't I just embrace these times and use them guilt free? Gobble them up like the hungry artist that I am? Why do I keep telling myself I have to have a job? When will I realize that depriving myself of these times is doing more harm than good?

If circumstances were to change, and I were unable to have that time, if I suddenly HAD to be in charge of all the little things, I know I would be okay. I would do what needed to be done (with god's help) and spring to action where needed. I know how and I am a capable and intelligent human being.

But in this season of my life, I am taken care of. And I think that's okay. To rest in that. Chris is my covering. And... for now? I think I've got some writing to do.

I think I'm finally ready to accept these things and move on with my life already. I think I'm ready to pick up the reigns and tell this thing where to go from here.

I think I'm finally ready to be okay.


Misguided Mommy said...

em, just breath babe. you know, rob and i have a happy medium, i cook, he does dishes (most nights) i do the kids laundry, he does the whites, i take care of the kids all day, he lets me sleep in. we have a happy medium. and while at first i hated that he did dishes, or folded clothes, now, i know that i needed that, and that it is okay. i had to learn to just breath and realize i'm better with a book then with a dish scrubber.
i think you know who you are in there, your just afraid to show the world, for fear of rejection, but i also think, we would all embrace the real you more then the you your pretending to be! the world needs more artists anyway, this place is too serious.

Candace said...

More writing.....yay! I bet you slept so well after getting all those wandering thoughts written down. Once again your articulation is amazing.....I can't wait to one day sit down with a book written by YOU and laugh, cry, hope, believe, and all that other good stuff your wisdom and artistic ability are capable of creating! I love your more than you know and can't wait to see you again.

Marianne Elixir said...

Great thoughts and great post. I am happy to hear you are embracing who God made you to be and where he has you at. You reminded me of a good book, "The Sickness Unto Death" by S. Kierkegaard. It is artistically/logistically about despairing verses sitting transparently before God AS YOU REALLY ARE. I.e. it's about being okay with who you are. I think you would like it.

Awake said...

Our minds are able to put into action God's plan for us when we simply stop and listen. You've done a lot of listening lately and opened yourself up to some great possiblities. The greatest is the possibility of happiness. Lovely post.

Talia said...

you are SUCH an artist. I marvel at you and the gifts God has given you!
So, so glad that the Lord is opening your eyes to all the things that will help to make life wonderful for you.
and I just have to say-- thank you for letting all of us out here share in this continuing journey of yours. It means a lot, and I've learned from you. It's so great how God uses people, even those I've never met, to play a part in my life and help me to grow.

R-becca said...

yea! go emery...go emery!

I guess my inner never-ever-seen cheerleader just came out. All for you. I'm stoked about your new realization..run with it.

Andrea June said...

Hooray, I'm so glad that you'll be writing some more! I <3 your blog...you have such a gift! And for the record, I always just assumed you knew you were an artist. A real one.

anna joy said...

so good, so true. i am at a point in my life where i have bounds of time and am a little scared. so many things i've always wanted to do, finally, a chance to be myself, all by myself, and its scary. But God has a purpose for you and for me and for everyone else and we are where we are for that exact reason. in church today we learned the 3 basic basic fundamentals of being a christian based on paul's life. the first two which i wont go in depth about were 1. being a reader AND A do-er of the word 2. be a man/woman of prayer and 3. be a fighter. at the end of our life, we should be like paul and say 'i have been poured out like a drink offering, i have fought the good fight..." he strained against what was behind and what was all around and would fight the good fight of faith, pressing on. if you stay, in the lukewarm nuteral zone, there is too much time to think about yourself, your past, the scary future, etc etc. we must keep the momentum of pressing on towards Jesus and lay hold of the things he has for us, JUST for us. over analysis (i.e. being critical of yourself) = paralysis! Anyways, super long comment, sorry. but that is where I am at today after the sermon, and i thought it would help you too! I'm so glad to see that the sun is breaking through the clouds in your heart :) Praise the Lord!

Cheatwoods said...

what a wonderful revalation! Briliant Emery, you are! God is speacking to you and he loves you! Lve you girl!

davi* said...

I always imagine people giving me the stink eye(you really must see Juno if you have not already)when they hear my hubby does the grocery shopping--it's just my worst chore right now. I vote it's ok for hubbies to help us:)

AHS Photography said...

I truly hope you never stop this blog. You are such a blessing. God has been speaking to me about the #1 you mentioned. And I've had such a hard time trusting he is in control. But this is so crazy-last week at church the pastor used the example about the puzzle and then I read it on your blog! How amazing is that!

Cam said...

Love it. So happy that you've come to this epiphany.

Flo Oakes said...

YAY!!! Amen to it all, and cheers to you.

I want to tell you about a huge skill I see within your amazing writing:

When I first read this entry, I thought I couldn't believe it was yet ANOTHER entry that I feel so connected to, like I could have written it myself (only not half as well).

Then it occurred to me - it's obvious from the comments on here, that so many of us have found some message, some thought that we needed to hear, that is exactly what we are trying to put into words, but can't - totally specific to what we are going through.

That is such an amazing skill as a writer..something I struggle with as a songwriter - being able to write about something personal, while at the same time, delivering it in such a way that everyone not only reads it and appreciates it, but is able to make it their own, and feel like it was written solely for their situation.

I really think you have that specific gift in writing, so I'm glad to see you'll be writing more, and we'll continue to gobble up the little nuggets of truth you leave for us along the way:)

Not So Perfect said...

You are gifted in many ways and a true inspiration.

anna said...

Thank you for another blog that I could completely relate too. I often find myself wanted to be the person my parents would like to me be (and I would like myself to be) rather than being the person I AM.

Also, your idea about a publication of sorts got me really excited. I know we don't know each other super well, but if you want to email me or chat I have experience in magazine publishing. And I've started to dream about doing it for myself rather than just for my boss! (annahosking@hotmail.com)

Anna Hosking said...

sorry. forgot to link my blog in case you forgot who i was! annahosking.blogspot.com (RJ's wife from Upper Crust!)

Katy said...

oh my dear. I can relate to you so much from a far away place. LOL! From what seems like lightyears away across the U.S. I can relate.... LOL!

I am tired of crying everyday about this point in my life. Crying about how hard nursing school is and studying and still failing. Questioning whether this is what God wants me to do... questioning... questioning... fighting with God... riding the fence of my relationship with Him. It is so hard.....

Thank you for your wisdom of this post! :-)


Jennifer said...

Emery, you are blessed and gifted. I hate that you struggle with inner peace so much. Just try to breathe and look at what you have around you. I really think you need to talk to your doctor. Not necessarily take medication for anxiety or depression, but talk to him/her and see what his/her professional opinion is.

Momo Fali said...

Yay you! I think you're amazing, and you are who you are for a reason. It's good to surrender things to God and just KNOW, just have faith, that you're on the right track, because it's His chosen journey for you.

Deb said...

Oh. My. You're right. You know how I know that? Because that's precisely what I needed to read today. That... is... me.

I have to go pick my jaw up off the floor now and think. Thank you.

Emily said...

Wow. As I read this I got goosebumps, and by the time I got to the end my face was like 6" from the screen. I so struggle with everything you said, except that my husband does NOT think it's ok to be like I am. LOL (kind of). He needs order and I am not so good at providing that. Thank you for sharing something very real.