A Dose of Real

Recently over on Single Dad Laughing, author Dan Pearce wrote about what he terms a disease of Perfection. (Please take the time to check it out and read through it. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)

In the article (that you just read), Dan discusses examples of very real situations, but that we are unable to reveal our true selves for fear of what people around us will think. For a long time, I’ve thought the same thing with regard to Facebook and other social media and wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that when we use social media, we tend to compare our real, messy, uncensored life with the highlighted, glossy, highly edited version of everyone else’s life. This only sets us up for feeling, well, like crap. In Dan’s examples, there are even fatal outcomes in situations when being less than authentic becomes the status quo.

There is always someone out there who is better, more giving, smarter, more fit, less selfish, richer, prettier, stronger, bigger, smaller….whatever adjective you like. Ultimately, there is only one YOU. There is only one Me. If we choose to be someone we are not, if we choose an inauthentic life, even virtually, then we are robbing the world of our voice, our talents and our contribution – whatever those may be. I get that, but it’s still so hard to be our authentic, let-it-all-hang-out selves, isn’t it?

He asks us to take the challenge and add a dose of “real”. So here goes:

I lost 50 lbs in 2011. I have over the last 3 years, gained 35 of it back. I loved the way I felt when I had lost the excess weight. Something changed along the way, however. I still feel pretty darn good most days. I continue to workout, I continue to gain strength, and I can still run half marathons. I still pursue health and fitness. I love moving my body, getting enough sleep, running, and being active with my kids. I care way less what the scale says. I was down to a size 6, now I’m a size 10. I started at a size 16-18. I sometimes feel like I failed because I didn’t maintain that 50 lbs loss, even though I’m in better health than I ever was before my weight loss journey began.

I struggle with depression. Yep. As a person who gravitates to the “light” and the “funny”, I still struggle with it. I’ve even seen a professional to gain tools to deal with it. It sucks. (Which is another reason I am fiercely passionate about healthful food and fitness – it keeps the darkness at bay.)

I am not perfect. We all know this intellectually, but seriously – I am not perfect. I post cute kid pics like most parents, but then there are some days that make me want to tear my hair out. I try to be the best parent I can be. There are days when I am definitely not.

I was fired and was crushed. I was told that my spin class was to be cancelled after only having taught 6 classes. The attendance wasn’t sufficient to continue to offer the class. I love spin, and was just starting to get comfortable. I was fired via email the day before Christmas. It sucked. Last week was the first spin class I have taken since being fired. It felt great to be back.

I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up. I love to write. I love to teach. I love health and fitness. I’ve done combinations of all three. I do feel that when the kids are both in school full time, my windows of opportunity will be opening a bit wider and am sensing a shift. I don’t know what I want to do, but I’m excited about future possibilities even though the unknown scares me.

This whole post scares me and I do not want to publish it. Which is exactly why I need to.

Here’s to being real.  What’s your dose of reality?

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What Homecomings Are REALLY Like

Most of us are familiar with this image:

With all the romance and nostalgia this photo evokes, you might be led to believe we military folk lead extraordinarily dramatic lives.

Well, we do. Sort of.

For some, the deployments get easier. I don’t agree. The longer we are together, I seem to love him more and in different ways. For me, the deployments get harder. Yes, I know what to expect, and how to rely on myself and get stuff done, but I just like my hubby, I like to hang out with him and cringe at the thought of another chunk of time spent apart.  The drama of being separated definitely proves the point that absence makes the heart grow fonder. We miss each other. Desperately. We hang on the phone as long as possible until they have to head back to work, (or sleep as they are into the next day on the other side of the world) or the kids are just making it to0 dang difficult to carry on a coherent conversation.  We look forward to emails and calls and Skype conversations and feel lucky to be living in an age where we no longer have to rely on snail mail.

But what happens when the deployment is over? We live happily ever after until the next deployment, right?

Ha!

Well, yes, and no. There is that honeymoon period where it’s all romantic and fun and frankly, it does resemble a honeymoon of sorts. As much as we plan and prepare for that perfect homecoming; the outfit, getting “prettied up” with facials, waxes, haircuts, etc., getting the kids’ outfits right, doing all the stuff around the house (mowing the lawn, cleaning the car) so you don’t have to do anything pressing for a little while, the banners on the side of the house that say “Welcome Home” – all of it – it’s great. It’s fun, and a good way to get the kids excited and participating in the homecoming festivities. The anticipation is similar to waiting for Santa at Christmas, and it seems to be amplified each time we go through this process. But more often than not, it seems that despite all the planning – it never quite goes the way I imagine it.

Usually there are other factors involved:

  • He’s jet lagged, tired and/or sick.
  • The kids get sick.
  • The flight/ship home arrives at some ungodly hour so we are dragging sleeping kids/babies along
  • I want to go see everyone and parade him around, he wants to be home and just sleep
  • He wants to go visiting our family/friends, I don’t want to share him yet
  • I want to “celebrate”, he wants to have a home-cooked meal. (Hello, ship food?! Blegh!)
  • Gasp! He has ideas of plans HE wants to do. What?! I’ve been making all the decisions for a year! Now I have to check in with someone else?!
  • I’ve vacation/adventure plans for the months after homecoming, he’s made plans too – but they fall on the same days/weeks!
  • The kids end up staying up way too late, resulting in cranky behavior
  • The kids getting up way too early, despite being up past bed time
  • The kids interfere with “other” activities!

You get the idea. While homecomings are highly emotional, very romantic and dramatic, I’ve found that the fewer expectations I place on the actual event, the better off we all are. Laying low and taking the time to just be with each other as a family is really all we need for a while. The bills, the to-do lists and the summer plans can wait. There will be time for all of that.

For now, at homecoming, my “plan” is to just enjoy the moment, let it flow and watch the kids’ faces light up again when they get to see and be with their daddy.

And I can’t wait.