Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Beyond the Highlight Reel
Have you happened to see this little morsel floating through the Pinterest community? I saw it a few weeks ago, and woah, did it hit home.
The older I get, the more I recognize this to be true, but it's taken until I'm nearly 40 to really get to this conclusion.
I think it has been a huge benefit to me to not have been exposed to Facebook until I was in my 30's. I can't imagine what it would have done to my issues of anxiety, insecurity, and not-measuring-up were it constantly in my face in my teens and 20's. Because, at that age - I would have taken everyone else's pronouncements of achievement as representations of their entire lives being ones of ease, perfection, or success in contrast to my own feelings of inadequacy.
There is a person I was asked to be a friend with on Facebook about a year ago. I have very limited interaction with her, and quite frankly she never gives me the time of day when I'm in her presence. It didn't take long (especially when given a heads up by others) that her reason for asking me to be her friend was just to expand her audience so that she could have even more people to brag to about to regarding the achievements of her children or career path. I found myself so bothered by her constant posting that I ended up "hiding" her - which is appropriate for me as I became quite judgmental whenever I saw an update from her. What changed my perspective, however, was getting a little bit of background on her and what inspires her need for others to see her and her family as successful. It stems from insecurity. While it explains a lot, it is still hard to stomach her antics - and for the record, she remains hidden so I keep myself from thinking negatively.
I mention all this because I have my own avenue of sharing my life in the form of this blog. While I've made it clear that the purpose for this blog is first and foremost for our own family's history, I still would be very sad to be perceived as anything but transparent with the highs and lows of our family.
Obviously, I'm going to want to record more of the good than the bad. But, it's not all sunshine and roses (especially not sunshine in Oregon!!!). On the flipside, I don't want to turn into "Debbie Downer" blogger either. I would hope that despite the days where circumstances don't result in happiness, in general you would see an aspiration and sense of contentment and joy in our lives that is only by the grace of God.
As a caveat, though, I'm just going to put it out there, that when it comes to pictures, I'm just enough insecure in my appearance to not pick ugly ones to post. We take thousands and thousands of pictures with our camera - and if it looks a little unbalanced towards the good poses and smiles, it's because I've picked the best. Sorry. =)
So, I'm going to try and be intentional of sharing more "behind the scenes" (especially after quite the Maui highlight reel!). Part of my concern in sharing is the judgment that may come back at me through comments from folks wanting to "call me out" or "share their opinion" over my circumstance. So, it will be a balancing act to share situations that I feel confident enough about to not get upset if responses come up like that. (I've even gotten wound up on comments from readers on other bloggers I care about, getting defensive about the attacks these bloggers have taken when they've been transparent....I need to chill out sometimes!).
As promised, my first BTS ("Behind The Scenes") moment will be about that "discussion" John and I got into while in Maui. Let's call it for what it was, a full on verbal sparring. I will set the scene. John had had very little sleep the days prior to leaving. He woke up at 1am the day we left and while he napped on the plane, it still didn't amount to as much as he needed. I was not impressed with his driving (too aggressive) or his snarky attitude by the time we finally got to our beloved hotel room. I was critical of how he unloaded the luggage. We narrowly avoided a major issue that night.
About 36 hours later, after the first full day of busy-ness, we came to a point of question as to what our day would look like. I was itching to go exploring, but felt a reluctance from John to want to do much of that - and so that set up an internal defensiveness within me. I felt insecure about pulling the whole crew into an activity I was pushing, I was disturbed that he didn't seem to be having fun, and therefore I judged him for not being more of an active participant. For the record, he was content, but wasn't necessarily having the time of his life watching me try to snorkel while the kids weren't even successful. Things were brewing.
By the time we got to the restaurant that night, he had specific expectations for where he wanted to sit. It was in contrast to the comfort of others in our group (though he wasn't aware). I tried to bring that up but he thought I was addressing something else. That ticked me off. I felt like it was "all about him". Then, the waitress came. He wanted to know what he should order and took five minutes asking questions. I used to be a waitress. I know what it's like to have tables and orders waiting and this woman probably had better things to do than answer his questions pertaining to switching up menu items. She made a comment, I rolled my eyes and made a comment I thought was benign. But NO, that's not how John perceived it. John wanted to settle it in front of everyone that I had disrespected him. I refused to drag our group through that, especially because it was clear everyone was uncomfortable with the tension mounting. John persisted, I resisted. We got over it for a while, but then it resurfaced as we returned to the hotel.
In the process of over 60 minutes of working this thing out, we did our best to avoid raising our voices, generalizations, dragging up past mistakes, character assaults, cussing, or exaggerating. However, outside of cussing (that's become a form of "default win" between us: if the other resorts to that...it's kind of an indicator between the two of us that if you are so out of control you are cussing, then you are obviously wrong...it's funny, but true, therefore it doesn't happen often!) all of the rest DID happen at some point. My favorite line (not going to say out of who's mouth it was uttered), "If you wanted to ruin my vacation, you've done a darn good job succeeding so far!!!".
The core argument pieces are nothing new or creative. I can be controlling, defensive, and potentially indifferent to saying things that would hurt his feelings in a group setting. John can be oversensitive, impulsive, and not always aware of how others perceive his actions/body language. Both of us are very self-centered - selfishness is the number one sin issue we both struggle with. I like to have a plan and see it completed. (Both a positive and negative). John has the kind of effervescent personality that when he is "on", it's hard not to smile and soar at his level, but when he is "off", it can take the whole group down with him. (Both a positive and negative). There was also an issue of him saying "I'm sorry" a lot more in our relationship than I do. (Obviously, a complex statement in and of itself).
We battled for a long time. There was lots of body language of exasperation and "I can't believe you just said that". We re-hashed all of the issues. But, when it came to that whole apology thing, a new tactic of explanation came to mind. We are our kids. Our kids are us. We have a family in which Brayden is very much like John in his tendencies and Mikayla is very much like me. By taking a step back and looking at how they function and what we see in them and how we approach correcting them, it helped us see ourselves. Brayden can be impulsive and often says "I'm sorry" for actions he does without thinking, but not huge issues. Mikayla is methodical, a planner - she doesn't need to say she's sorry for a whole lot of impulsive actions. But, Brayden is also so much more "present" and in the moment than Mikayla - who is frequently caught up in her planning or anxieties over the future. He, just like his dad, can make or break the mood in a room very easily. Mikayla, not so much. Who knew that our own kids' behavior could be the catalyst for understanding each other? It also took both of us getting down on our knees to lay it out before the Lord together. (Another BTS moment, we don't do that kind of praying together like we should). It's pretty hard to keep pretenses of righteousness and faultlessness up when you talking to the Almighty Lord who not only created us, but knows our thoughts and innermost being.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the resulting healing was huge. John tends to dwell longer than myself, so it took him a bit longer (I'm often the practical one when it comes to resolution, ready to "call it good" as soon as its hashed out) - but, by the morning after more processing, we were so glad to have gotten through our personal garbage....until, at least, the next time! (Not to mention, it's circumstances like that that takes a relationship from mundane and taken for granted, to all of sudden so valuable and intimate....).
Long blog post which, honestly, it's fine by me if you choose to ignore. But, I think these are the sort of history "lessons" I'll want preserved for our family just as much as the ideal times. =) Stay tuned for the next BTS reveal!!!
P.S. - Just read this post aloud in front of John (and Brayden). John approves and agrees with what I wrote, so you know that it's not all slanted to my point of view and am authorized to share =)