Simpler Days

Friday, June 22, 2012



"Voluntary simplicity is a manner of living that is outwardly more simple and inwardly more rich,
a way of being in which our most authentic and alive self is brought into direct and conscious contact with living;
the objective is not to dogmatically live with less, but is a more demanding intention of living with balance
in order to find a life of greater purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction."
- Duane Elgin
June 6, 2012

Today is an anniversary of sorts - it's the day your Papa and I's dreams became something bigger than both of us, the day I stood staring down at two lines, bleary eyed and in shock. Who knew such a marvelous stepping stone would be added to our journey there - in the tiny half bath of a two bedroom apartment in Wichita Falls, Texas? When I started this blog over a year ago, it was nothing more than a journal of sorts, a modern day baby book if you will. I wanted to post a few pregnancy pictures and record your milestones here to share with family members who are spread all over the country. It has become much more than that to me now. There are an uncountable number of things vying for my attention each day and that number continues to grow, but writing has become a release for me. So I squeeze it in during the little alone time that I get - most of the time, like tonight, I write after you have gone to bed, even though I desperately need to sleep with you.


Some days are rough, and some are a joy. Some nights are long, and some are refreshing. With a camera in hand and words to accompany, I want to document them all. I can't decide whether I'm cursed or blessed to feel this way - to constantly mourn over life passing, to try in vain to capture it all and remember it all before it gracefully slips away, like sand through my fingers. It's here that I show you the moments of life that you can't remember, the grains of sand - some stuck to my skin, not quite ready to pass, some falling away, slipping through the cracks of time, and some laying at my feet, gone and lived. Through the lens of a camera, I build a deeper connection with you, with myself, with our dreams as a family. I fall more in love with life. Because I continue connecting with the important things around me regardless of my mood, how little sleep I got the night before, or what arguments are still in the air, I remain deeply in love with you and your Papa. Creating makes me a more patient mother, a more grateful wife, and a more passionate woman - it washes from my soul the dust of everyday life. When the walls of life seem to be closing in around me, sitting down to write to you brings them all down. It revives me - a quiet, hot bath, good book, and cup of coffee can't even compare. With a pencil in my hand, poised to sketch, the empty bank account, the piles of laundry, and the dirty kitchen all fall away. Recently someone referred to what I do here as 'crap on the internet.' I admit that it bothered me at first, but I've had time to dwell on it and now? I admit that I'm no professional writer, but this isn't a teenage angst-type, dump every thought I have in one place kind of blog either. I put a lot of effort into what I write here and I know my work is pretty good, but I don't do it to be good. I don't do it for everybody or anybody - I do it because I can't not do it.


In the year that you have been a part of our lives, you've turned us upside down. I've been met with a few challenges in my lifetime and have never failed to swim through them, but parenting - wow - I've never sunk to the bottom and drowned so quickly. Some days I think I may have gotten my head above water, then I'm met with another set of challenges, and the reality of this new life pulls me back under again. The hardest part about becoming a mother for me was not the late nights and exhaustion or even the incessant crying. My love for you and the reminder that each stage is temporary was enough to get me through those. It was and still is the feeling of losing or not recognizing myself. Before you were born I was fearless, strong, and passionate. I would spend hours dreaming big, mapping out the adventures I wanted to experience in life. All of those things have been put on hold for one reason or another lately and it has gotten the best of me. I hesitated to write all of this here for fear that you would think I blame you - I don't. I think it's important that you look back and read the words of struggle along with the ones of joy. I would still do this a thousand times over, to hold you for the first time, look into your eyes, and experience the moment when my soul met yours and kind of went, "Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you."


I am everything I was before, but better - deeper in love with your Papa, stronger in the pursuit of my dreams, and more devoted to finding the path that leads to a simple, happy life, but sometimes I let doubt creep in. I start to fear that I'll never be anything more than what I am now, that the list of books I want to read, things I want to create, goals I want to accomplish, things I want to learn, and places I want to go will sit stagnant, and in my heart, I feel that if that happens I will have failed myself and you. Motherhood has definitely pulled me in the right direction. It has given me more personal confidence because I know without a doubt that I will be a good mother. I have a lot of love to offer you, but I don't want to be only your mother. I want to offer you more than that. I want to show you that while being a mother is one of the most important things you'll ever do to contribute to this world, women can and should be all kinds of things - strong, courageous, passionate, adventurous. I want you to see what hard work looks like. I want you to experience the joy of a dream coming true. One of my biggest fears is that you'll grow up and say, "I'm determined not to end up like my mother. I won't be just a housewife." I want you to see me living every day to its fullest. I want you to be proud of who I am.


The short version is that I feel that I need to put my life through a cheesecloth of sorts, to strain out the impurities and focus on the rich, authentic parts, not the watered down versions of myself. Mostly I need a pep talk, to know that I'm doing alright, or at least desiring the right things and heading in the right direction. I'm in the process of writing out a few dreams and will share those with you when I'm ready, but for now I'm dwelling on a few specific questions - like what am I doing here? Lately I've found myself pointing fingers in different directions and calling out flaws in people. I've become much more negative than I ever desired to be. If I'm at all honest with myself, I can admit that to see these faults in others is to essentially see that same fault in myself. I can easily point out what I don't like about other people's lives or behavior because I am capable of that behavior myself. I can point out jealousy because I've felt it myself. I can point out selfishness because there is a desire in me to be selfish. I can feel anger because I've observed anger in another as a result of my actions. Instead of being kind and understanding these flaws in the people around me, I hold onto certain opinions of them, opinions that are grounded in things I've done and said myself.


The land of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Pinterest are places where people, including myself, search for inspiration. They search for direction. They assemble pictures, boards, and words to try to paint a picture of what they want their life to look like. As you can imagine, this brings about a lot of dishonesty and a lot of self denial.  What I'm getting at is this - am I here for myself? Am I here to try and paint a picture of what I want my life to look like from the outside looking in? Or am I here to tell our story? Our honest story. Am I here to leave words for you, my daughter, to treasure years down the road? Or am I here to leave words in hopes that I will awe somebody with my way with words? There are so many voices out there. Sometimes it becomes difficult to hear your own over the hum of thousands of pictures and ideas telling you what you should wear, think, and eat. Lately I've wondered how people would live if they weren't constantly sharing their every move with the outside world. What would I take pictures of if no one were there to see them? What kind of words would I write if no one were there to read them? What would I dwell on if my mind wasn't always being crowded with social media sites and iPhone apps? All of these thoughts have left me wondering whether I should continue down the path I'm on. I know I need to reassess my priorities. I know that I spend too much time examining other peoples' lives through a computer screen and not enough time examining and sorting out my own. I know I spend too much time collecting ideas for the future and not enough time treasuring the right now, and I know that part of these feelings of inadequacy stem from seeing the skewed portrayals people choose to put out there day in and day out.


When you were born, I started a project. I planned on taking a picture of you every day and posting it here with a few words. To say that I've failed is an understatement. I'm over three months behind on posting and I've missed a few days here and there. . . but I'm okay with that. The purpose of the project was to pick up my camera more often and I've accomplished that. What's important is that I have these pictures for you to look back on one day. I may not have words to accompany each one and I may not be able to create a perfect timeline of your first year like I had planned, but you'll have more pieces of your childhood to treasure than I ever had. You may have a dresser drawer full of loose pictures to sort through one day like your Papa did, but the point is that at least they'll all be there. Trying to keep track of it all has become too overwhelming and it's time to slow down and just live in the moment with you.


I am constantly making lists of things I want to do and ways I want to change. I haven't gotten around to the majority of them and it's time that I do. I will still be around to share some pictures and words, but it will be on my own time. I'm ready for my days to move a bit slower, my mind to be a bit quieter, and my life to be more simple. I'm hoping that all those minutes that are usually lost in glances across a screen will come together to give me an extra hour or two to focus on the things I've been longing to accomplish for too long. I want to draw every day. I want to make time to shop and eat healthier. I want to put together more videos of you experiencing each day. I want to paint. I want to sit in a hot bath and read a book without picking up my phone a dozen times. I want to take you for walks and bike rides every day. I want to make our house a home. I want to know what's it like to write with a pencil in my hand again - not with my fingertips on keys. I want to sit and dream.


All the Love in the Universe,

Mama


"Comparison is the thief of joy."
Theodore Roosevelt

2 comments:

  1. Katie E. LansfordJune 22, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    I love your blog and I think what you are doing is wonderful. I know Your daughter will be so thankful to have this to read one day. Personally I find you to be an inspiration for when I am a mother one day, it's a few years away for me but I am very much looking forward to it. Keep your head up and keep doing what you do!

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  2. Love reading your posts... your honesty is what makes it so beautiful! I'm pretty sure you could have a career in writing. This post is such a good reminder to everyone to enjoy the life we have. You are blessed in so many ways!

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