The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth

Stop hoping for inspiration and it will come to you, I guess.

I'd been looking forward to my Cooking month for about a week now, when all of a sudden it got sunny outside (Yes, SUN in SEATTLE before MAY) and all my desire to stay inside the kitchen went out the window. This Sunday I poured a packet of Crystal Light powder into a thermos of water, threw some vinagrette over veggies, chicken, and spinach (okay, and then ate about 3 bowls of cereal), and called it good for the afternoon. Today it's disgusting outside again and all I feel inspired to cook is macaroni-and-cheese. Out of a box.

Soooooo, since what I love to cook most is hot food, I'm thinking it might be best to postpone April's original plan until fall returns in-all-its-spiced-glory. I'll do my best to post recipes that come to me this month, but right now, more than ever, I feel I just need a mental break from my Renaissance Woman plan.

Which brings me to the point: this article.

This was shared on Facebook by a woman whose blog posts, ironically, I always envy. She handcrafts clothing and home decor akin to what you'd find in an Anthropologie magazine. She lives with her husband and small dog (with whom she seems very happy.) She has a tight-knit family and really cute clothes and really great hair. No one better could have posted this article. Except maybe Jane Aldridge.

All too often I do compare myself to the Instagram/Facebook/Blogophere/LinkedIn world. With some billion profiles floating in cyberspace, it's no wonder I constantly feel I'm not "doing" enough -- not exercising enough, not cocktail-ing with friends enough, not vacationing enough, not shopping enough, not having sex enough, not cooking enough... I'm a bit of a defeatist by nature, and since I joined the ranks of Facebook, Instagram, and, yes, even my humble blog, I've found myself increasingly difficult to please. I loved this part of the article:

"I so easily fall prey to the seduction of other people’s partial truths and heavily filtered photos, making everything look amazing. And their amazing looking lives make me feel not amazing at all."

Yes. Yes, yes yes. How many times a day do I think these stupid thoughts? Several. How aware am I that I have many good qualities to feel grateful for? Very. And yet somehow the allure of the internet fairytale keeps my esteem spiraling ever further from that awareness. It's as though I am heaving back a ship that keeps sliding away from shore.

So, new project for this month: I'm going to tell the truth. Only the truth. You might see some photos, recipes, and lists I'm proud of, but I promise I'll give you the dirt too. Don't get me wrong -- it's not like I lie normally, but I certainly don't tend to highlight the moments or areas of my life I'd rather forget.

Par example:

Here are some photos I've shared on my blog in the past few months.

What you see: Some genuine, if not slightly grannyish, wintertime relaxation.
What I said: I believe my exact words on Facebook were: "Welcome to my End-of-the-World Me Party."
What that suggests: I'm totally cool with being by myself. I chose to have a bubble bath, finish a knitting project, and watch a movie tonight. I am dealing with being sick as best I can.
What I didn't tell: I remember this night well. It was December 21st, and the world was supposed to end. I'd come home from a miserable show (it's awful trying to sing while your throat is raw) to an empty house (my roommates were gone for Christmas.) For the past week I hadn't been able to taste anything and I was quite anxious that I'd lost that sense forever. My boyfriend had other plans for the night, and I was maliciously reflecting that if the world really did end, he'd have to feel pretty darn bad for leaving me all alone. Yes, friends: The only kind of party that was happening here was a capital P Pity-Me Party.

What you see: A delicious vintage looking cocktail in vintage-looking light. (Thank you, Instagram.)
What I said: "There's nothing quite so classy-feeling as sipping a cocktail to the soft beat of live music and laughter amongst a great group of friends, and all three were sensational."
What that suggests: My friends and I are wonderfully close. When we get together, we grab some expensive drinks and head to a local bar like in "How I Met Your Mother," then shoot the shit in wonderful witticisms. Also, I know where and how to order a great cocktail.
What I didn't tell: I have no idea where or how to order a great cocktail. Generally I can hardly get comfortable enough in bars long enough to enjoy them. (Though, speaking fairly, Lucid was an exception.) I have to be in the right mindset to be happy amongst a large group of people -- even those I consider my friends. In large groups I often vacillate between not getting enough attention or having absolutely nothing interesting to add to the conversation. The time after this outing dissolved into a completely unexpected, totally mortifying fit of anxiety that I hope to never experience again. My boyfriend and I had one of our worst disagreements. It was a terrible, terrible night for me internally. Granted, this all happened after I took the cocktail picture, but certainly not after I shared it here or on Facebook.

What you see: More fabulous filterage; this time of me looking contemplative.
What I said: "Pincurl night in honor of L---."
What that suggests: Okay, I have to give myself credit for this one. I was honoring my grandmother by practicing a skill she taught me. Still, it simultaneously says I'm able to look effortlessly put together, and I still find time to have deep, honorable thoughts.
What I didn't tell: This pincurl night was at least a one hour project, and by no means did it start out as an homage to my grandma. It started off as "Gosh, what can I do to my hair to make it look different... cuter..." The pincurl un-doing day thereafter was essentially 4 HOURS of me sitting in my room fussing with myself -- clothes, hair, makeup, the works only to go to the theater and rehearse in it. It also probably involved about 20 pictures for each one I posted. I'm sure I'm not the only one that cares that much about getting the "perfect angle."

The truth is not that I'm fully capable of entertaining myself or that I have lots of friends or that I have the skills to effortlessly pull off a vintage hairstyle. The truth is I worry a lot. About my future, about my relationships, about my looks... about probably everything you worry about and maybe even a little more. Kind souls in my life have blessed me with complimentary terms such as "bubbly," "energetic," "happy" -- but if they saw to my core, I think they'd find a rather nervous bird of a creature, flapping its wings just to stay in motion, worried that if she stops, she might fall.

I hope this isn't coming across as more pity-me fodder -- that's not my intent. Only to declare it here that I am human, and I'm still learning what it means to be a grown, good, full person.

I doubt anyone out there thinks I'm perfect anyway, but in case I gave you the impression that any of my nights were, know now that they had their flaws as well.

To April imperfection, I give drink.

Love, R

1 comment:

  1. And I wonder now, what new perspectives you have these 8 years hence. Has the "nervous bird of a creature", flapped its wings and learned that even if she stops, she can now land softly, with grace, and take flight just as easily again?