Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Perfect Life

 Summer is an incredibly disgusting and beautiful time.

I hate the heat. I can hardly stand it most days. I always feel sweaty and dirty. I can't allow the kids outside as much. It's just annoying and gross.
But then there's the element of fun. School is out. The kids are home with me and we spend a lot more time together. We take vacations and learn new things and fill our nights with sleepovers and late bedtimes.

The way I feel about summer is the way I feel about life.

It's hard and stupid and amazing, sometimes all at the same time.
I can go from irrational fear to giggling in minutes. {This does not make me crazy...or maybe it does.}

Sometimes the days are extremely, painfully long while other times, they seem to pass by too quickly.

 I think that's why I've always loved Glennon from Momastery's description of life as my "messy beautiful".

Because it is both.

The sun can be shining and the birds can be singing but sometimes, everything around me feels so dark.

There are afternoons where a storm will sweep in and instead of allowing the clouds to hover over me and dim the light, I go out and dance in the rain.

 It's been amazing to be able to mix the things I'm learning in school with my every day life.

Because I used to feel so ashamed when I would have meltdowns. I used to think adults didn't do that. I used to think hard days made me weaker.

They don't.

The ability to talk about the hard stuff and allow my emotions to go to those dark places sometimes is actually a strength.
I don't often stay in the dark but it's ok to visit. In fact, visiting the dark places helps me to brighten the light places.
And if I do end up staying there for a while, that's ok too. It's ok to feel weighed down by life. Life is hard. It's ok to feel anger and sadness and fear. All of those things are valid.

 I just try and make sure that whatever emotions I'm feeling, I allow them to stay for however long it feels productive. Once those emotions become unproductive and even destructive, then I reach out to others to help me reset.

 The beauty of life is that we CAN reset. We don't have to be stuck. We have the opportunity to change if we really want to.

Among the sadness that I feel, I also feel so much joy. I feel so grateful to be alive, to be living out many of my dreams right now.

On my hard days, I try to remember the good stuff too. I try to remember that even though there seems to be a lot of bad, there is even more good.

Life won't ever be perfect, although that'd be super nice. It won't always be rainbows and sunshine and butterflies. But maybe that wouldn't be "the perfect life".

Maybe life is perfect. Because life is doing exactly what it was intended to do. Life is teaching me and pushing me to grow and allowing me the ability to feel compassion for others. Life is giving me hard days and easy days, happy memories and messy ones, and even though it doesn't always feel perfect---maybe it is. Maybe this is a perfect life.

 I guess until now, I've never really thought of it that way.

When I look back on the events in my life, the hardest ones have taught me the most. I hate saying that because my goodness, I do NOT want hard things to come my way, but I can recognize the growth within myself.

I can look back on the little girl that I was and how much love and compassion I had for other people. I know I talk about how hard I was as a kid but the truth is, I was an amazing little girl. And I'm not being sarcastic. I was often worried about other people and trying to help others. But I didn't have the knowledge or patience that I have now. I wasn't mature enough to hold my tongue when angry words were ready to spill over.

And although I'm not perfect at it now, I try really hard to be the type of person that loves others, even those who hurt my heart.

My kids and I got to have a short conversation about this today. As we were leaving church, I saw a lady whom I truly admire and I called out to her and told her she was gorgeous. As soon as we got in the car, my little girl asked why I had said that and I told her it was because this lady is one of my heroes. She may not know that I look up to her but I do. Princess asked why I like her so much and I said, "Because she is so kind to everyone around her and that is the type of person I want to be."

And it's the truth. I want to be kind and loving, patient and slow to anger. I want to see others how Heavenly Father sees them.

And maybe it sounds easy on paper but it isn't. I still find myself getting frustrated when I'm feeling misunderstood by someone. It isn't easy to hold my tongue when others are saying hurtful things.

But it's a process. In this perfectly messy life that I live, I am slowly becoming the person that I want to be.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Blues

Summer is kicking my butt so far. 
The house is a sticky mess. It already feels hotter than hell outside. And my theory of being more relaxed and letting the kids stay up later has made us all a lot grumpier. 


I've been trying to get into a summer rhythm. 
I have a lot of things I'm trying to recover from---pretty much all of them being emotional messes---but being out of rhythm really throws off my recovery groove. 

So far, my statistics class seems like it's going to be my easiest which is ironic because every time I've considered signing up for statistics, I put it off another semester because I've been told how hard it is. I'm hoping this means statistics is one of my "things" and that I won't end up being a failure this summer with my classes. 
ASU is calling my name in the fall and I want to prove to myself that I can handle this whole online thing even with harder classes. 

This next part is going to make me sound spoiled and for that, I'm sorry. But the truth is that I've had a cleaning lady for the past 8 months. Yup. When I started working again last August, I realized I couldn't keep up with my gym membership because it took too much time and energy to try and go after school/work every night, especially since my kids are normally in bed by 7pm. A few weeks after juggling the school/work/mom circus, my house was disgusting (quite literally) and I found a cleaning lady who could help me out for a close enough price to the price I was paying on a gym. 
Well, now that I'm home more and doing school online, I cancelled the cleaning services because I can handle all of this...right
Well, so far, I kind of suck at it. I mean, online schooling is still schooling and it still takes up time and energy and I'm actually working more hours and my kids aren't gone most of the day at school. 
So our kitchen floor is sticky. Our family room carpet has crumbs on it. The kids room is all sorts of disastrous. 
But we try to clean every day. We try to push forward with whatever messes we get to. 
And when I don't clean up a mess for a few days, I forgive myself---because there is a lot going on and sometimes we choose other activities over cleaning. 

They'll only be little once, right? This is their only summer at these ages and I plan on being there for as much of it as I can be. 

Along with my summer blues, I've been trying to find time for myself. Time that does not include school or work or children. 
And that is NOT easy. 
It usually involves Netflix and ice cream. Or maybe blogging or going on a bike ride or talking to my friends on the phone. 
And once in a while, I make decisions to change my hair color. 
Case in point:
 *above-before, below-after*
As hard as it is to remember "me time", I know that I need it. 
I know that I cannot just function as a mother and a student and a biller and a dance teacher. I need to function as Suzanne. 
Sometimes I forget who she is or what her purpose is because it seems like I do everything for everyone else but when I have chances to remember her alone, I am reminded of her purpose. 
Of my purpose. 
I've questioned it a lot, what my purpose in life is. And maybe it sounds odd that this blog is a part of that purpose but I've always felt like writing was my thing, my way of helping others and reaching people whom I never would've met any other way. 
I don't need a million followers, I just need the right followers. 
I just need those of you who read this to know that people go through hard things and they can come out on top. It is possible. In fact, it is necessary. 
We have a chance to live and learn while we are on this earth. We have a chance to help others, to be teachers and colleagues and friends. We have a chance to be students to the people we come in contact with. We get to learn from them. 

Everyone has these unique experiences and since we can't all experience the same things (and trust me, we probably wouldn't want to), we can learn from the experiences of others.

To me, life is all about love and learning and rising above. It is about making choices that will make a difference in this world to make it a better place for our children to live. 
That is why I talk about uncomfortable things like pornography addiction and eating disorders and failed marriage. You might think I like talking about those things but often times, I struggle with knowing what to say and how to say it. 
But because they are my experiences and I'd rather you learn from me instead of going down that path yourself, I want to talk about them. I want to open up about how hard life can be---but I never want to forget how beautiful life can be too. 

I hope you never forget it either. 

And if you do forget it, I hope you can find that beauty again. 
It will always be there.