Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Balance Really Is



I pace the halls of this middle place, so ready to dismantle the graffiti tree but lacking the enthusiasm to act. I think about crayon hearts dangling from every rafter while the new year radiates charm and possibility from the end of the tunnel.

I stew and whine over insignificant plans that didn't quite fall into place. I cry worthier tears over actual heartbreaks.

I'm scattered. Shifting. Unsettled.
My achy humanity throbs against everything I wish I was.

I'm no good at allowing myself to lean into these uninspired, mopey days. I want every day to be a barn-burner. When it's not, I call myself into question. I point fingers and tell lies. I survive these days since I must, but I sure don't do it wearing lipstick.

The problem is, I know living requires long stretches of angst. I know it in theory.

My favorite ex-boss told me once that he spends more time thinking about what he writes than he does actually writing it. 

I remember his words often, and not just because I'm currently trying to unlock something important from my head-space.

These days where nothing seems to happen must hold part of the magic of all those other days. Life has got to be more than a loop of cuteness/goodness/wisdom/cheer.

I need space for reflection, for quiet, for monotony.
I need to experience the mundane in order to cherish it. 

My bullish temperament demands reminders of my wimpiness.
My beating heart deserves to feel the burn of grief and the bruise of sadness.

We say we want balance and this is how it finds us. It's not in a schedule thoughtfully plotted and skillfully executed. It's not in exercising 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes or smaller dinner plates with veggies covering half. It's not regular date nights or girls' nights or bedtimes at the stroke of 10.

The scales never land motionless, in a dead heat.
They teeter and wobble, some of this, a little more of that.
There are two sides and both become meaningless without the weight of the other.

Balance is accepting each wave as the tide rolls in, then out again.
It's sniffling and snotting in the dark to Cory that all hope is lost, then grinning in the morning when the sun comes up anyway and all I can see is a kitchen full of promise and three faces perfectly immune to the complications of adulthood.

I've fallen into a weird pattern of telling myself that whatever is happening right this second is the way it will be now and forevermore, amen.

If I'm having a bad day, the rest of my life looks bleak.
If I'm a grumpy mom, my kids got gypped for life and just don't know it yet.
If I'm uninspired, I've lost my mojo. (It's never coming back.)
Forgot something important? Early-onset dementia.
Bad hair day? Early-onset oldness.
Can't string together a decent row of words? I used to be smart.

Balance is allowing myself to learn from my mistakes - to really get cozy with them, even if it means moping around for short stretch of days.

Balance is letting myself believe that sometimes, I just get it right. I nail it.

My Christmas vacation plans were kicked in the shins and people I love are hurting right now. In just one day, I've been emotional and irrational, overly sensitive like a child. My feelings have been hurt, and it feels silly to admit it. My kids have all gone rogue and I'm probably somewhat to blame. I miss my friends. I feel sorry for myself. I feel bad about feeling sorry for myself. I wore high-water jeans with running shoes and striped socks. My hair was flat. I wasted time when I could have been reading.

All of this is part of who I am, the actual, real me.

But there's more, and if I can accept all that, I can also believe in the parts of me that'll eventually turn it around.

Who knows? Tomorrow, I just might nail it.


52 comments:

  1. I very much needed to read this tonight. I have more I'd like to say - but not the words to go with it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well shucks Shanns, I left a comment, but I don't see it now. we need to talk up face to face. All is happening perfectly. Let's talk soon. xo

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had a hard time finding joy in this Christmas! It was the flu that robbed it from me... but you are so right. The sun comes up the next day. So thankful for second chances. And a faithful unchanging God who loves. When the world is falling apart, it's comforting to know who catches every last piece... the great God who made all the pieces and knows how they go together and what the finished masterpiece looks like. Love reading what you have to say. <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. me too.
    ME TOO.
    (tomorrow I'll nail it with you.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Replies
    1. It DOES????? OMW, I bought it at Aldi. haha
      It's a Lucky Money Tree. Or so they said...

      Delete
    2. Maybe it's just lucky!! Maybe you shouldn't house it in your window...you might start getting LOTS of visitors!! So funny!!

      Delete
  6. My vacation plans and my celebration of 21 years got booted right out the window. I am to be sitting in a cabin in a state park in the glorious state of Louisiana. I am sitting in my farmhouse in the middle of nowhere Nebraska looking at the bleak and boring dead fields that surround me. Trying to find beauty and trying to find joy. I got a surprise glimpse of joy for a full 8 hours yesterday. A drive down the interstate to a real town to a real restaurant with real food that wasn't meat potatoes or corn. A time to laugh @ the movie Frozen. I was floating on cloud 9 plus. Then the responsible adult of the group drove us home before the arctic wind blew and the storm that comes. Now at 1:30 am I sit in my living room and listen to my dogs snore and the wind howl. Reminding myself that there will be some Joy in the Morning.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for posting this! Good to know that we all seem to flow in and out of this kind of crazy talk ;)
    ...also, looking forward to whatever's brewing!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. You stare stuff straight in the face. I tend to cover my face with my hands and peek cautiously through my fingers, so I admire your direct approach. If you didn't nail the day ... you definitely nailed the post ... and the understanding of what it feels like to live those lipstickless days. We all have them. Love this (more real) version of what balance is. This is the day the Lord has made ... let us rejoice and be glad.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful words on balance - it really is something we must find peace with, learning to teeter and then totter rather than expecting to never do either.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have to stop myself from pointing out the things that go wrong with the meal when I put it on the table. Or the error I made while sewing a gift. I expect failure and when I get it, I wallow in it. Thank you for reminding me to look at the good and dwell on that. Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Southern Gal, I could have written your words, especially 'I expect failure and when I get it, I wallow in it's. Thank-you for sharing so honestly. 2014 is my year to change that try default thinking of mine, I hope it is for you too :-)

      Delete
  11. i love you. today, tomorrow, forever, amen.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The in-between can be a dangerous place, where our minds run away with fears, failures, loneliness, sadness. But we NEED that, as you so wisely pointed out, to balance out the times when we're ON. Thanks for the reminder. And HIS mercies are new every morning. Thank God.
    Blessings! Heidi

    ReplyDelete
  13. AND....you are not alone. We have/do all walk that road in some form or fashion. Thankful to be reminded of truth...Lamentations 3:22-24.

    Those curtains make me happy........

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm in a long stretch of angst myself. What if this is my new normal?, I sometimes think.

    Thank you for sharing days in the ditch and writing so beautifully about what balance really looks like. This made perfect sense to me.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Shannan, you have such a beautiful way with your words and expressing things I could never in a million years properly explain. What you said about things being "forevermore" - oh my gosh! I do that too...when things aren't going well, I just "know" that it means the rest of my life is going to go that way...that I'm meant for a perpetual state of unrest and frustration. Thank you for this beautiful post and for your beautiful blog...it's really speaking to me - especially today.

    HUGS,
    Jessica @ beingbarlow.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you Jessica - I read Shannon's blog just to see my own feelings and turmoils put into words - she makes sense of the world for me and I am forever grateful to her. xx

      Delete
  16. yes to this. all of it. my heart is a shifting mess of rubble. the where i was and where i will be next are in a constant battle to define who i am today. i am no good at in between. the problem is that none of us are. that's where the hurt feelings and changed plans come in. sometimes we forget that we're not the only ones who don't have it all together. trade your hurt feelings for grace, shan. you'll feel better. it would be great if i listened to my own advice.

    xxoo,

    joy

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's hard to remember in this Pinterized world that the middle place is where we often dwell.

    ReplyDelete
  18. WOW WOW WOW... Thank you for writing these beautiful words for my soul!

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's so, so true. I think everyone goes through a little fa-la-la-la-la-frumpiness when Christmas passes by. It was pouring this morning and I was feeling grumpy on the way to church. We passed this one yard in particular that goes BONKERS with decorations--and all of them were looking sad and wet and dumpy looking--and it reminded me of my mood. So pitiful.

    But, we must have the ebb to have the flow--thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I was having an awful day this morning..tried to shake it off, went to the grocery store. Not wanting to go home yet and be "mean mom", I went the long way and drove through Dunkin Donuts for coffee (of course there was a long line of cars ahead of me). Waited on the line anyway being too lazy and grumpy to actually park and go in. When I finally got up to the window was told the person in the car ahead of me paid for my coffee!...Really?? Was truly one of the best gifts I've been given in a long time.. at just the right time I might add. Can't stop smiling about it and telling people about it all day. All from a guy in a beat up looking Subaru in front of me. Why did he do it, just to be nice? Did he see my mean mom looking face in his rear view mirror..thinking this girl needs a break..or.. a wake up call ? Even in that nice act ...I question is it because I wasn't acting smiley enough? Crazy... We all have these insecurities...(I of course paid for the people behind me)...and will try to do so more often...really made me see what that random act could do for someone...we are all the same ...love your blog shannon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BEST!!! I've never done this for someone. Why???
      Just reading your story has me grinning ear to ear!

      Delete
  21. Well you definitely just nailed this post. Totally get you sister.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I feel this way all the time. All. The. Time. You put it perfectly.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Beautifully written. I feel some similar balance issues, like some of us just ride a rollercoaster a little more... and it's nice to hear you phrase it this way, because sometimes I really struggle with my ups & downs, especially as a mom. Writing helps with balance, I think. So does trusting ourselves. We are what needs to be, then and there. Thank you, and Namaste, woman!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I find it refreshing to read not only your "real life" post but also see how many comments you have from all of us going, "Yeah, me too!" I have a post-it note in my jewelry box that says, "You were made for more." It's from a Lysa TerKeurst book (Made to Crave, I think). It reminds me that I was made for more than feeling sorry for myself, for more than self doubt, for more than the mundane. Sometimes, just a quick reminder helps me shake off the balance blues. Thanks for your realness and for being able to articulate so well how most (all?) of us feel. Give yourself a high five from all of us!

    ReplyDelete
  25. i love that you said this. i couldn't agree more. and i woke up with words that i thought would never come. i wrote! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  26. Shannan, I read this yesterday and needed it so much as I have been wallowing alot lately in my circomstances, believing that things will not get better. Between living with my parents for the last nine months, waiting for a house to sell for the past six years, and waiting to bring our daughter home from Ethiopia for the last three yeas, I am sick of waiting!!!! And to add to all this, we got an email from our adoption agency friday saying that there have been rumors that adoption may close in Ethiopia. I don't even know what to think about that, truly one of my worst fears. Thank you for reminding me that this too shall pass. I will not always feel so unsettled and scattered as I do now. The unknowns I am facing now will soon be a thing of tomorrow. Your words are so beautiful and speak to me so often, only wish we could be neighbors!

    ReplyDelete
  27. well since there are lots of comments about struggle and bleakness and joy; i shall refrain from that. instead i'm sharing my non-resolutions new year's commitment (bc i don't believe in new year's resolution :) i am done with all my blogger stalking- that is reading great blogs, thinking what a great person and never making any contact with said great blogger person. i am endeavoring to become blogger friend rather than blogger stalker. and so shannon- hello, i'm jennifer will you be my friend? (sounds like you could use another these days- and if you accept- hooray it's new friend day!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So pleased to meetcha, Jennifer!
      I like you already. :)

      Delete
  28. Man oh man, I'm pretty sure we must have had a heart to heart because you said exactly what I've been thinking/feeling. I'm stuck in transition and wallowing. Feeling like what is now is what will be forever. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  29. HEY shannan... but i bet you looked CUTE in highwaters! i LOVE love LOVE your blog! i LOVE your style. i perused goodwill and value village today looking for cute stuff and trying to see things thru YOUR eyes! i LOVE your repurposing style! alas, i didn't find a thing. and b/c i've downsized and decluttered crazily, i cannot buy something unless i LOVE LOVE LOVE it. i can't even pull the trigger on the white dishes i want to buy. i want white. i want used. i want mismatched. but when i find things at the 2ndhand stores...i just can't pull the trigger! buyer's commitment phobia!
    anyway, i LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog. LOVE your style. love your heart, mama! so excited to (re)find your blog!!! God Bless you and your family!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I've been following along here for a while (and not commenting...I know) but I just have to thank you for being so candid. I always leave here refreshed AND discontent, but in the best imaginable way. I'm becoming more discontent with my contentedness...or perhaps "comfort" is a better word. So thank you for doing what you do. Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...and I have no idea why my comment is posting as "Anonymous"! I'm Gina! So sorry!

      Delete
  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  32. i can relate to not having balance when it comes to my emotions….
    bad days/hard seasons have caused me to circle the drain at times…heck, for most of life it's what has happened.
    my "hope" seemed circumstantial.
    when things are good, i have great hope.
    when things are bad or hard, i turn to mush.


    "Balance is accepting each wave as the tide rolls in, then out again."

    so true.

    there's been a shift this year. my hope doesn't seem as circumstantial.
    i'm learning not to trust my heart all the time…it really does deceive. right?!

    happy new year, friend.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I have two ceramic items that match your cow! I would be happy to send them to you.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I also have a ceramic Christmas tree!

    ReplyDelete
  35. and i whisper...thank you for letting me know i am not the only one..and i hug you tight...xo

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love the way you write. I wish I could think deep with such frequency like you do. I try, but. . . so many things competing for brain-space, and when I can manage it, I can't match it to words like you can. I just feel it all. It is ok, though, really. Everything really IS just the way it should be right now, even if it's upside down and not making sense. You're beautiful - all of you. And PS, I have a dress I want to send you if you want it. It needs a tall, thin person, and I am not!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Weeping and reading, because you have written the words my heart feels. It has been a hard holiday much of it caused by the things I whisper in my head, thank you for the reminder I'm not the only one.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you for these words. They express what so many of us feel. Such wisdom. Such grace. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I thought I was the ONLY on NOT burning barns every day. Just slogging around, barely making it - with my horrifically dirty floors and saggy boobs. thanks for this post. So often I just want a way out - I'm not that interested in staying put crouched on my haunches watching everyone else's fires blaze while I can't seem to get mine to even sputter.
    H'es got me here in this middle place for a reason. still do't know what it is, but at lease I'm not alone. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  40. you.have.a.gift. thank you thank you for using it.

    ReplyDelete
  41. i question why i can't live close enough to you to stalk you into a coffee friendship. :) kidding, i'm not a creep (but i do love a good balance convo). :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

ShareThis