She had the audacity to tell me I have it all together…if she only knew

 

I wrestle my hair into the straightener cussing after the hot iron brands my neck like a middle-schooler slinking into gym class with a hickey on her neck. I decide it’s too tender to put makeup on it and rush to get dressed, tripping over my own feet because apparently I still haven’t learned one should really put her pants on one leg at a time. 

I run downstairs to usher my kids out the door with less than 20 minutes to get them to school and myself to work, not to mention my morning coffee run. MUST. HAVE. COFFEE. Otherwise I stumble around like a drunk on an ice skating rink for the morning. 

I get to the office just in time to greet my co-workers and boss. Before I know it, I’m checking emails before one makes me catch my breath. It’s long and loud, painful and humbling. 

“You seem to always have it together.” I get this a lot.  That’s like saying I’m Miss Universe with perfect teeth tackling world peace. My instinct is to tell them “thank you,” and back away slowly as if they were a rabid dog foaming at the mouth. 

I want to invite them into my crazy morning which includes missing keys, melt downs, and snarky attitudes with yesterday’s school issue on my mind. Tori decided to tell her classroom how babies are made. I sigh, wondering where the heck I screwed up on that issue. 

I think it’s time to set the record straight like a public declaration of a crazy man on the corner with a sign saying the world is coming to an end. I want to say something because it’s been several months of riding a roller coaster. Marriage, career, new home, leadership responsibilities and writing. 

I DON’T HAVE IT TOGETHER. I’ve battled rejection, anxiety and a mood disorder most of my adult life. 

I have checks and balances that keeps me hanging onto my sanity. I take medication to keep my mood stablized because otherwise every emotion or stresser feels more intense like Armageddon. I have to make sure I get least 9 hours of sleep every night. I have to be careful about eating too much gluten, sugar and dairy. I have to make sure I exercise daily in order to increase serotonin levels otherwise my anxiety and depression start beating down my door like unwanted door knockers selling a new religion, plants, cookies, or vacuums.  I have to make sure I get quiet time to decompress from the day’s events otherwise I’m a bird running into walls, anxiously trying to find a way out as I battle three of the biggest enemies of my life. 

Guilt 

Perfectionism 

Fear

On days like this, they rumble in my head battering my soul as I smile and converse with whomever it may be.

Guilt screams, “You’re never gonna get it together.”

Perfectionism snarls, “If you kept a better list, you could be that person; better yet, change everything, your calories, your clothes, your entire to do list,

Fear insists on being the loudest, “Look at all the bridges you’ve burned, you’re out of chances. They’re going to find out who you really are.” 

When life gets this way, I try to silence the voices by organizing every room in the house. Towels folded perfectly, kids rooms clean, the counters bleached. Or I take the edge off with a big heaping glass of wine paired with cubes of cheese and french bread. Neither works and later I feel guiltier for not sticking to my diet plan. 

Eventually I fall apart and I wave the white flag as I let Jesus pick up the pieces.

He whispers, “Chase me, I’m your perfect.”

Suddenly the ache between my shoulders fades. I then text my closest friends who know just how irrational I can be. I go for a run before bed. As a drift off to sleep I remember what He said.

“Chase me. Love me. Look to me. Keep your eyes on me.” He says this because he is the only constant in my life. The only one who can make all things right. And think I think of that email which has echoed say many women’s comments over the years. Women who come up to me after I speak with tears in their eyes, acquaintances who don’t know the real me and complete strangers who read my columns and follow me on social media. “You have it all together.” 

But here’s the thing, NONE OF US DO. No one, not one person. Nada, Zip, Zilch. 

Perhaps the best thing we can do for each other is not judge a person by what seems to be.  Can we declare not to compare? Can we hold each other up without judgement? Let’s declare our sisterhood and fiercely defend our village from the comparison game and the enemies: guilt, perfection, and fear.

 

 

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