When you’ve had a bad day

Today was not my favorite day. In light of my last post, this one is going to be honest.  It may be painfully honest. It feels a little painful on this end, at least.

What happens when I’ve had a bad day? Allow me to give you a glimpse of the end and work backwards:

I arrived at the school parking lot with tears in my eyes.  I had just shoved the last McDonald’s french fry in my mouth and slugged down some sugar-laden Sprite while I called my sister.  Dear Reader, did you know that I am allergic to McDonald’s french fries? Well, I am.  This is in addition to the fact that they aren’t remotely good for you. It didn’t matter to me. I was sad and those fries were my tonic.  Every bite was delicious.

My last few moments at work today involved crying to my boss while I blew my nose. There’s nothing that says professionalism quite like runny snot and a quivering, can’t-catch-my-breath voice that says, “I’m sorry I keep crying.”  Awesome.  I’m pretty sure I scared him to death with my specialness. I knew french fries were going to be part of my day after that.

This Hallmark moment was preceded by me walking at Olympic race-walking speed down the stairs to Mr Darcy’s office. I was trying my darndest not to sob hysterically along the way nor make eye contact with anyone I encountered. I made it to his office – where he was not – when the eye contact occurred with a co-worker. Cue waterworks. She asked me what was wrong and I tried to pantomime getting a phone call that was not delightful. There is no game of charades that could adequately prepare you for acting out “I had a disturbing phone call.”  It was more like a mixture of “hang loose” and “Help, I’m trapped in an invisible box and I can’t get out.” All because I was terrified of opening my mouth. So now I was doing a ridiculous hand jive and crying. Fantastic. I’m all for honesty, but my hubby’s office is smack-dab in the middle of CounselingLand. It’s similar to CandyLand, but without the Peppermint Forest. Seriously, I did not want the people who have devoted their lives to helping people get past their “stuff” see me having a breakdown moment. That’s a little twisted, isn’t it?

Within minutes, Mr Darcy magically appeared. I am quite sure he was not thinking, “In just a few moments I’m going to round this corner and my precious wife will be having a meltdown in my breakroom.” But yet, there I was. He listened while I cried and talked and then he hugged me and prayed for me. At that moment, I was so very thankful for two things: First, that my hubby loves Jesus and me so much. Second, that we both work in a place where praying during work hours is actually part of what we do. I decided right then and there that my workday had ended. The french fries weren’t even on my radar.

Prior to my speedwalk downstairs, I received the not-so-much-fun phone call. The caller was not intending to be unkind, I’m sure. Right? It happens. I won’t give you details on the call, but it wasn’t my favorite moment of the decade. This phone call from the pit of Persephone’s vacation home was preceded by several nights of poor sleep and exhaustion. I’m sure that didn’t help.

So what’s a girl to do after she’s had a rough day, scared her husband, boss, and several co-workers, and made herself sick on french fries? She blogs. She blogs because she thinks it’s important that people know that we ALL have bad days – bad moments – bad phone calls. Sometimes, we’re the instigator of the unkind phone call. Sometimes we’re on the receiving end.  Either way, it’s rough. Sometimes, french fries seem like a great temporary band-aid.  But this is real. It’s part of life. So, at the end of a bad day this girl will sing. I”ll sing at the top of my lungs if that’s what it takes to feel better. I’ll sing and I’ll remember this verse from Psalm 59:16:

But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.

 

Here’s to finding our voices.

~Janna

 

 

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One of the most important things I’ll ever write

I was scrubbing my waffle iron this morning, thinking about *things* and pondering the “why’s” and “what-if’s” of this blog.  You haven’t heard from me in a long time and while I go back and forth with never writing anything here again, I always come back to it.  I can’t seem to help myself. Cue Rick Astley’s “Never gonna give you up…”

All of this pondering brought me here today – actually, it brought me to last week. I started writing a book.  I’ve asked my sister to write it with me. I have chapter outlines and everything. It’s fun. And scary. And terrifying. All wrapped up in one package.  So, there I was, scrubbing the waffle iron (after making some AMAZING grain/egg/ dairy free waffles) and thinking about it all. The book. Me. My sister. You.

I was at a wedding last night – sitting at a table that was assigned to me and talking to two ladies I don’t know all that well.  As I looked around the room at ladies and girls of all ages, some were dancing, some were enjoying delicious cupcakes, and some were just sitting at their tables watching it all. I couldn’t help but wonder what they were thinking.  I really wished I could tell. I hope they knew how beautiful they looked. How amazing they were on the dance floor. How awesome it was we could all just enjoy a night off with a yummy cupcake or two.

Here’s the heart of the matter…everything we see and hear and are inundated with tell us (the females) that we should be comparing and measuring and striving to be something that isn’t what we already are.  It makes me sick. We are convinced we are the only ones who feel or think or act or dream the way we do and we are an isolated, lonely, and terrified gender. I hate it. HATE it. I want to be brave and tell others that I know…I KNOW what’s it’s like to be so sad because there is no baby in my tummy. I want to be honest and say, “You aren’t the only one who doesn’t have her house clean because she’s so exhausted from being the mommy that she’s stopped caring about whether or not there are week-old Cheerios glued to the kitchen floor with Mrs. Butterworths.”

I think if we stopped trying to be who we think we are supposed to be and started embracing who we were CREATED to be, we’d be healthier, happier and less lonely.  We are so afraid to show who we really are that we’ve stopped inviting other ladies into our lives in any way.  We won’t open up our homes because we don’t feel like they are decorated like Pottery Barn and we sure as heck don’t cook like the Food Network hosts and we are all suffering for it. Sure, we’ll meet for coffee at Starbucks and a salad at Panera, but who are we asking over for a PB&J just to enjoy their company? We hide online and only post Facebook statuses that reflect who we think we should be.

We are eroding ourselves. We are destroying the very core of what we were created for. We were created for relationships. If that wasn’t true, there would have only been one human in the whole world. We’re so afraid that we’ll be rejected if others knew who we really were. We have to stop this. We have to start being honest with one another and tell each other that we want to throw in the mothering towel or the wife towel or the whatever towel for the day (or week).  We have to be real. REAL. Real enough – brave enough to say, “You aren’t the only one who drove the kids around until they fell asleep, so just you could put the car in park and cry without being interrupted.”  Real enough to say that you fed your kids chicken nuggets for all three meals in one day and you are actually good with that. Real enough to whisper that you don’t know how you got to where you are. There was a song in the 80’s by Talking Heads that I think of sometimes. It’s called Once in A Lifetime.  One line says, “Well, how did I get here?” I think of that song periodically. Of course, if you ever saw the video, you’d be making the same chopping arm movement as I am right now…(Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.)

Years ago, I was at a ladies’ retreat where the speaker was admonishing us to stop going out without makeup on and our clothes not looking good. It made my stomach ache. Why can’t we let someone else see us without makeup on? Why can’t we let them see how beautiful we are without a facade? When we say things like this, we are saying that you aren’t good enough as is. “As is” is exactly who I want to know. “As is” has the ability to make me laugh when I can’t see past my tears. “As is” can get in my face and tell me to get over myself.  “As is” can make me feel like I am not the only one walking on this path. “As is” is okay with my laundry being undone and Mrs. Butterworths stuck to my table. “As is”  is real and is my friend.

Our outward appearance – and that includes our homes and our Facebook statuses- are temporary. Stop trying to present a version of you that you think you should be.. a version you think is acceptable.  If you like blue country geese in your home decor, stop Pinning modern, sleek couches because it’s what you think you are supposed to like.  Embrace the geese, friends. I don’t have to like the geese. I like YOU.  I’m convinced this is why every third Facebook status is a selfie. We want to know that we’ve measured up. We are desperate to hear it. Are we good enough? Are we pretty enough? STOP IT! You are someone’s EVERYTHING. You are a friend, a daughter, a mama, a lover. You are enough.

So here is a sampling of me…I don’t like matchy-matchy jewelry.  I hate sunflowers. I love 80’s music and showtunes. I love singing at the top of my lungs. I will watch Pride and Prejudice, Notting Hill, and The Holiday pretty much anytime I see them on tv – even though I own two of them.  My kitchen floor is in a perpetual state of grossness. I don’t like it that way, but the guys I love don’t care and I’ve stopped fighting with them over it. Sometimes, I don’t serve any vegetables with our meals. Sometimes, I serve cereal as the entire dinner meal and I’m good with that. I don’t sort my laundry – except whites (sometimes). I don’t fold my fitted sheets. I stink at decorating. I have a pile of books and magazines next to the couch and my side of the bed. I love to laugh.  I have grey hair and I can’t color it because I am allergic to hair dye. Our townhouse is NOT my favorite place in the world to live in. I long for real friendships.  I love Jesus with my whole heart. My kids’ rooms don’t resemble ANYTHING from a Pottery Barn catalog. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life – some of them were really, really bad ones. I have hurt people and I pray daily they will forgive me. I have been hurt. My name is Janna and this is who I really am.

~Janna