Emotional Vomit (or Purge on a Page)

Gosh, I could talk for months about emotions. In fact, Rob and I have been doing just that. I usually have a pretty well-thought-out idea of what I want to say when I start writing, but when it comes to this subject my mind goes all over the place and I can’t nail down what it is that I actually want to say. So this time I’m rambling.

One thing I’ve been working on recently might seem small and petty, but that has helped me tremendously. It’s this:

I’ve riddled myself …my entire life…with substantially overusing the phrases I SHOULD do this. I SHOULD be like this. WE SHOULD. THEY SHOULD. IT SHOULD be this way. Also, I NEED to do this. I NEED to be like this. WE NEED. THEY NEED. IT NEEDS to be this way.

You get the picture.

I’ve come to realize how damaging this has been to my psyche/spirit, because when I say those things I’m not giving myself (or others) any wiggle room, any acceptance, any consideration, any way to ever be anything but an impossible, optimized version of what I deem to be “perfect”. 
I used to tell myself I was just an optimizer and if I wasn’t doing my best ALL the time then I wasn’t good enough. The problem is…not only is no one perfect (which I did already knew), but it’s not even possible to try my hardest to be as perfect as possible all the time (which I didn’t already know). In other words, I knew I wasn’t perfect, but I thought I had to try SO HARD to be as perfect as I could be all of the time.

Trying so hard…because I SHOULD be and I NEED to…is exhausting. And painful.

One day I just woke up to what I was saying and realized how unnecessary, how untrue, and how damaging saying those seemingly little phrases over and over again have been to myself and others. I started changing those two tiny little awful words to I COULD do this. They COULD. It COULD be this way. Also, I WANT to do this. I WOULD LIKE it to be this way. It WOULD be nice if.

Doing that slight little shift has opened my eyes and heart to other possible answers and solutions. It has taken so much pressure off of me to always do the perfect thing or to be the perfect way. 

What am I getting at? I don’t know, honestly. There are a thousand other things I could type about.

Honestly, this last year of emotional growth has been an amazingly eye-opening experience for me and Rob, one that has brought so many answers to so many questions regarding:

  • Who we have been
  • Why we have been who we have been
  • Who we really are
  • How to be who we really are 

After all the emotional turmoil Rob and I have both been working through together we’ve learned so much more about ourselves than we ever thought possible. I mean, it was freakishly crazy when one moment we thought we really, deeply knew ourselves and each other…and then suddenly realize that we have to start all over from scratch. We abruptly came to find out that a lot of who we thought we as individuals were, is not really who we are, but a “part” or a “character” we’ve been playing to help us get through life.

We used to think to ourselves, “This is my just my personality.” Or, “This is just who I am.” As it turns out, there are reasons we have certain personality traits and they have more to do with coping mechanisms rather than the true person we actually are at the core.

Sure, maybe we’ve gone our whole lives thinking we are “like this” but what if we don’t want to be “like this” anymore? Guess what? We can figure out why we are the way we are and be honest to ourselves about how our life circumstances have affected us. Once we clear out those closets, we can hit reset. And breathe.

It’s been a miracle to finally realize that just because “I’ve always been…” doesn’t mean “I always have to be…” There’s a surprising amount of freedom we have found in finding out about, and learning how to let go of, the parts of ourselves that don’t accurately reflect who we are and who we want to be. 

Admittedly, it’s been an awkward and even a downright hard transition at times. Fortunately, we’ve both been entirely committed to working through it together. Two or our true personality traits are commitment and hard work. Thankfully we’ve both still got those pieces firmly in place. 
I’m fairly certain that every single marriage goes through a period of tear down and regrowth. If not, then there are probably some serious issues that haven’t been admitted or allowed to surface. Because…when you marry (especially when you’re both so young when it happens) how can you possibly expect either one of you to remain the same person throughout decades of life? If you do expect that, then there is obviously some emotional maturation that needs to take place. 
Emotional maturity. Gosh. I thought I had it. Rob thought he had it. Turns out, neither of us had a clue. But…now we do have a few clues along with a few tools that we are learning how to use. And you know what? It feels right. It feels real. It feels like we are finally learning how to really care about ourselves and each other in healthy, genuine ways. 
Yes, these last 9 months have been growing months for sure. Uncomfortable. Scary. Selfish. Maddening. Sorrowful. 
These last 9 months have also been incredible. Tender. Honest. Loving. Selfless. Healing. Forgiving.
Over my lifetime I’ve heard, thousands of times, people saying they’re grateful for and stronger from their trials and that they’d never trade them for anything. When I’d hear that, I’d always want to raise my hand high and shout, “I don’t believe you! I’m JUST fine just the way I am. I’ll grow on my own without needing any prodding from trials. I can make that growth happen all by myself and save myself from hard things, so I’d rather not test out that theory, thank-you-very-much!”
Well. Now I finally understand what everyone is talking about. My eyes have been opened to how God uses our own failures and shortcomings as opportunities to bestow bounteous blessings upon us. The stuff people say about being grateful for the lessons learned from trials is all true. At least, it can be if you’re committed, hard working, and humble. (I can also see how easily it would all go awry, depending on specific situations.) 
I’m not trying to get at anything here. I’m not necessarily trying to make a point and wrap this up all pretty. I don’t have any final words of advice or motivational quotes or helpful tidbits. Just rambling…for my own sake. Just getting these chaotic thoughts out so I can think and feel more clearly.
This is my emotional vomit, my purge on a page…because sometimes we’ve just got to let it out.

A New Table Flow Chart

BEFORE

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AFTER

I purposefully wanted some mismatched stools. I don’t yet have enough seating for when the table is expanded. But even at the smallest size, it feel so expansive to us!

We ordered these stools knowing they were a bit too tall (in the pic below they look taller than they actually are). We will be sawing off a couple of inches so they fit the table a little better. We just love them so much that it is worth it. They are SO comfortable which was my #1 priority. I hated my last chairs and couldn’t sit in them for long at all.

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Underneath the table does look a little “busy” but comfort and clean-ability trumps. They wipe right off! No crevices for food to get stuck in! Speaking of clean-ability, feel free to ignore the dishes in my sink…

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If you’re in the market for furniture or decor, I ordered these from France & Son. They have really great stuff. Much of it is kind of pricey but these stools were on sale for 1/2 off which made them doable since the table was so cheap. Rob and I are both impressed by their quality. I initially only ordered 2 thinking they’d be used on the ends of the table but we all kept fighting over who got to sit in them. We may end up ordering 2 more at some point but I reached my budget and like how this looks.  Oh, and they were shipped mostly intact! All we had to do was screw the seat on top of the legs. Phew! Since when don’t you have to put the whole dang thing together yourself?

Home Improvement Disdain

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I (Julie) don’t like home improvement. At all. I blame it on the fact that while growing up my parents had a large home improvement project every few months. At least it felt like every few months. I enjoy watching home improvement shows because they always make it look so easy, fast, and fun. But, boy, it sure isn’t. It’s dusty and disgusting and messy. It’s expensive. It’s muscle-tiring work. It takes 3 times longer than your best estimate. It makes me grumpy. Rob does all the hard labor and I complain when he asks me to go to Lowe’s for supplies.

We are currently replacing old tile, linoleum, and a strip of carpet with new tile. We (by we I mean Rob) started taking out the old stuff on Thursday night. This continued Friday afternoon and night, and allllllll day Saturday. Just to get 300 square feet of old flooring out!! That doesn’t include installing the new stuff!

I kept asking Rob to tell me what I should do to help. He gave me 4 different jobs and I wasn’t able to do any of them. I’m small and pregnant…so it didn’t go so well. Finally he said I could chisel out some of the old tile adhesive that was as hard as concrete. I sat there on the floor chiseling away (barely) and steaming mad about how I’m not a slave in ancient Egypt so why am I doing this??!! I told this to Rob and he apologized saying he didn’t know my “chisel capacity” when he assigned me the job. I told him he expects too much of me when it comes to home improvement. He told me not to worry…he doesn’t have any expectations of me when it comes to home improvement.

So now the floors are concrete, appliances are all over the place, and tomorrow is Monday. Great. We considered working on it today but then Nate asked us what day it was and that he thought we weren’t supposed to work on Sunday…

But Rob’s worked very hard and we can tell how great this is going to look when it’s finished. Here’s to finishing!!

Julie’s Favorite Things

After my (Julie) horrible post yesterday I thought I better do something lighthearted and fun. Here’s a list of my favorite things (instead of Oprah’s). Unfortunately, I won’t be giving any of this stuff away to any of you. Sorry 🙂

 

Anything Aveeno

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Dreyer’s Smore Ice Cream

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Real Simple Magazine

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Simply Orange Juice

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Ann Taylor Loft Cami

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Streetwise City Maps

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Joovy Caboose Stroller

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Arrow Fitted White Dress Shirt

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Nutella

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MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer

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These are just a few of my favorite products. I have more, so maybe I’ll do a second edition sometime. Or maybe a LEAST favorite product post.

I Do…I Don’t

Mommy version:

I DO make my kids try any food they haven’t tried before. I DON’T want them to be afraid of trying new things.

I DON’T make them eat too much of what they don’t like (but some). Rob and I are picky eaters so who am I to force on my kids what I, myself, am not willing to do?

I DO let Nate chose his outfits most of the time. There are so many other important things I have to nag him about.

I DON’T give my kids a bath more than twice a week. I probably should…

I DO make them brush their teeth every day.

I DO give Nate the freedom to play outside without my constant supervision; although, I DO check up on him every so often.

I DON’T let Madeleine play outside as much as I should because she needs constant supervision. She is a wanderer and so I have to follow her around and, quite frankly, I get bored. Especially when it’s just so hot out there. 

I DO apply sunscreen on my kids 80% of the time they’re in the sun. I should do it 100%.

I DON’T let crying get to me.

I DO let whining get to me.

I DON’T play with them very well. I’m not much of a player.

I DO read to them, cook with them, color alongside them, and cuddle them.

I DON’T buy movies. We own maybe 10 and all but 1 were given to us.

I DO take them to the library every week for movie rentals and a big bag of books.

I DON’T talk about Jesus and the Gospel enough in our every day conversation.

I DO have prayers, scripture study, and Family Home Evening with them.

I DON’T worry about Nate being a mean kid to others. He’s a very nice boy.

I DO have a good bedtime schedule for them; 7:15 and 8:30.

I DON’T mind them waking up at 7am (even though I’d prefer 8). I’d rather have the quiet at night when Rob’s home.

I DO clean my house frequently.

I DON’T think you’d be able to tell.

I DO take a nap every day whenever I get a chance, mostly during a cartoon.

I DON’T nap as much as I’d like…which would be 3-4 times a day.

I DO get bored of the routine.

I DON’T get bored of being the mom of two fantastically fun and smarter-than-their-own-good kiddos.