When you manage a page on Facebook they offer all sorts of really interesting tools. If I go to my site I can click on a button that says, “Insights.” On that page I can see all sorts of information about my posts. It’s only a tiny bit big brother-ish. But that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I’ve come to two conclusions… Firstly, y’all are as crazy as me. Secondly, you think I’m a total smoke show. Ha! I kid… For real though. The realer I get (Is ‘realer’ even a word?), the more clicks my posts get. Yeehaw! And apparently you guys enjoy my selfies. So here you go:
No filter. No makeup. Unbrushed hair. And sweats on the couch. I ain’t scared.
None of us are perfect. Yet, simultaneously, we are all perfect. I’m realizing this more and more each day. If I truly want to get to a place of self love, I need to do it not despite my flaws, but because of them. Because they help make me, me. You know? It wasn’t really until I came to this conclusion that judgement of others started falling away from me. I very rarely judge others… I didn’t say I never judge others, but it’s not very often. And when I do, I notice what I’m doing and I don’t like it. When you start noticing that you don’t enjoy judging others, it’s the first step in self acceptance, as well as acceptance of others… Because really, they’re kind of one in the same. Did I just confuse the shit out of you? Here’s a story to clarify:
So the other day I’m in the family locker room with my two kids. They are slightly out of control and being mildly obnoxious, but I’m cool as a cucumber. For whatever reason, I was not at all bothered by their shenanigans. They’re kids. It’s a family locker room. There are times when there’s countless screaming children in that space. Whatevs. Right? But then there’s this other mom. Her kids, who in my opinion, were behaving much better than mine, were driving her batty. After a couple failed attempts at taming her kiddos, this mom totally loses her shit. Yelling, accusing, angry, and honestly, pretty mean. I glance over at some other moms in the locker room, who give me the eyeball. You know the one. It says, “Wow. What a bitch.” I return an affirmative glance, confirming my agreement with their judgement, then turn toward the angry mom. We make eye contact and suddenly, I see myself in her. I give a sympathetic smile and move on with my kids. As I walked out of the locker room I found myself feeling guilty for having judged her in the first place. Who am I to judge? It’s not like I haven’t lost my cool with my kids, like seventeen million times.
Last winter I went on a grocery shopping trip with both of my kids. I never do that. Ever. Grocery shopping with kids is a nightmare. Grocery shopping alone is a dream come true… Especially at Whole Foods… In the bath and body section. Right??! Anyway, so I’m making my way through the store with my kids, and Ceci decides she’s going to become the spawn of Satan. No joke, she had a meltdown in every single aisle. She wanted the chocolate cereal. The cinnamon rolls. The cookies. The candy. The potato chips. You name it, she had to have it. I was so fucking irritated. Throughout the whole trip I managed to keep my cool, but anger was bubbling up inside. We finally make our way to the front of the store and Ceci notices the advent calendars. You know, the ones that cost like $30 made with organic, fair trade, dark chocolate. I’m sorry, but I ain’t paying $30 for a cardboard box filled with 25 bite sized pieces of chocolate, unless that shit is individually wrapped in genuine gold. Who’s with me? Ceci adamantly disagreed with my assessment of the price, and when I refused to buy the Godforsaken box of fucking chocolates she went off the handle. She was no longer my child. I was waiting for her head to start spinning.
After a battle that felt like it lasted an eternity, I picked her up over my shoulder, and carried her as I pushed the cart with Ryan in it, to the nearest cash register. I plop her on the floor where she proceeds to act like a lunatic, and quickly unload my cart onto the register. I apologize profusely to everyone in the area for my daughter’s behavior, ignore her, and wait for my stuff to get rung up. The cashier, clearly trying to help, turns to Ceci and says, “Do you want some stickers?” Say whaaaaat?! Umm, no! She can’t have fucking stickers! “Oh, no maam. She can’t have a sticker,” I say as I quickly pay. She apologizes and quickly helps to bag my stuff. At this point I’m sweating, my heart is pounding and I’m ready to get down on the floor and tantrum alongside my maniacal daughter… But I don’t. I calmly pick her up, sling her over my shoulder and make my way to my car with the help of the bagger, pushing my cart.
Ceci continues flailing, screaming, hitting, and kicking as we make our way to the van. The bagger waits as I haul Ceci into my van, then thanks me and walks away as I get Ryan and my bags of groceries. I buckle Ryan up then proceed over to Ceci to buckle her. She flops on the floor and refuses to get in her seat. A five minute wrestling match ensues, which I eventually win, but not without a lot of effort and a fair amount of screaming… “Get in your seat. Get in your seat! GET IN YOUR FUCKING SEAT!!!” Yup. I said it. Don’t care. Game over.
As I buckle her up she’s screaming, “I HATE YOU! You’re a terrible mother. I hope you DIIIIIIIIIE!!!”
“Stop SCREAMING!!!!!!!!!!!” I scream at her… Because, you know, screaming at your child to stop screaming is totally effective. Big sigh.
As I step out of the back of the van, I glance over and see a middle aged man walking towards Whole Foods. He stares me down with disgust on his face, rolls his eyes, and shakes his head as he walks past. “Fuck you, asshole,” I think to myself as I get in the driver’s seat. Then I cried. The whole ride home, I cried. There’s nothing worse than feeling like a bad parent, coupled with the feeling that others agree with that sentiment.
That was the moment I flashed back to as I walked out of the family locker room. For a brief moment, I was the asshole walking past my van. I have no idea what sort of shit that other mom is dealing with in her life. Or how she was raised. Or what types of struggles she’s endured in her life. Know not, judge not. I just keep telling myself that. And when I do judge, I ask myself what piece of me I see in the situation I’m judging.
I’m totally unafraid of getting real with all of you. If you choose to judge me for my mistakes, you’re really just judging a different reflection of yourself. You’re no more perfect or imperfect than me. And maybe if I’m not afraid to show my flaws and mistakes, and can love myself because of them, others can start to accept their own flaws and find that place of self love too.