From where I sit, life is good. There are fresh flowers, there is bright sunlight, and there is order where everything is in its right place. It is so zen in this little corner of my life. It brings me peace and happiness and just a little bit of pride in my space. You see, just about this time every year, when the rest of the world wants to get cozy with pumpkins and plaid, I start to get sick of the swimsuits and sunscreen and long to be cozy too. So I nest. This weekend I moved some things around, purged other things, and created the spaces that reflected our family’s growing needs, and also my seasonal longing for all things cozy. I’ll share more about these shifts another time. For now, I keep staring at the new open and airy layout of our living space and I am pleased. I snap a quick picture to share later.
Yet behind me is a kitchen with dishes on the counter from two meals gone by already today. In my bedroom down the hall a basket of clean laundry has not found its proper place and the bed linens are still strewn about and boxes that need to be sorted through wait for the inevitable stubbed toe situation from the dance of maneuvering around them. So in a word, it’s a disaster.
I could photograph that space. I could share how I’m ashamed that I don’t make my bed every day or that I leave dishes piling up. I could send a shout out to the moms who are struggling too. I could hashtag and emoji all over that picture, send it into the ether world in not so subtle pleas for the virtual hug or prayer or “Amen, sistah.”
But today I just don’t want to. I want to close the door. I want to take it off my to-do list. I want to sit and stare at this lovely little corner because right now, I want peace. I want to focus my lens on this quiet space, cropping out the shoes and socks trailing from the door, of course. I might even throw a bright filter on that picture because a little extra sunshine never hurt anyone.
But what does it mean if this bright perspective is all I share, with myself and the world, when I know full well there is chaos behind that closet? Can we appear that we have it all together, and still be a hot mess? Can we only share the celebrations and humble brags and shiny happy faces and still have an ugly side too?
Or what if we don’t hide the ugly? What if we put it all out there, the messy home, the children that don’t listen, the exhausted and brutal reflection of our day to day, maybe throwing a wide eyed face emoji in for good measure, or a cry face if it’s been especially bad? Can we share the honest truth without sounding negative, or unappreciative or even dangerously unstable?
The answer is yes. Yes, you can celebrate. Yes, you can brag. Yes, you can use your words for joy and praise and sunshine. But yes, you can also share the hurt. Yes, you can be honest. Yes, you can be vulnerable.
Or you can say nothing at all. You can be quiet. You can be private. You can be political or religious or scientific or pop cultured. Yes, you can do those things too.
Because it is so easy to crop and filter and fluff our world, I think there is also fear that maybe we are doing too much of that. We need to be more real, more honest. Lift up the vail. Truth talk. Because if we don’t we may cause someone else to think we live a life of perfection. We can’t have those lies out there!
But I think we can, just not call it lies. I want to give permission to turn that lens to what you need in that moment of your day. Is it joy? We’ll celebrate with you! Hard knock life got you down? We’ve all been there. Maybe you process your life through other’s words sharing articles and blog posts that resonated with you. Maybe you need to share your own words. Maybe, like me, the moment when you are the most vulnerable and honest is when the words hit the paper, or screen. Or maybe, you just really had a phenomenal meal and you can’t hold back! Share it. Share it all. Or a little. The internet is a very big space with room for it all. Words are mighty and powerful and subtle and simple and you can use as many or as few as you want to share whatever snapshot you need to share. We need to remember this for ourselves and we also need to remember this about our neighbors and friends.
I have discovered lately the beauty and vulnerability that words brings me. So my writing is often a space to share when my mind is trying to make sense of my heart. Like a couple weeks ago when the notion of goals and dreams and understanding all of this weighed heavily on my heart. But then sometimes, I just want a little more sunshine, and good food, and happy memories. So I wrote about great recipes and the friends I share it with. Both were important parts of me, images I wanted to place focus on. And I could do this because there is room for both. The heavy and the light. The deep and the simple. The frustration and the joy.
This is life, one snapshot at a time. This is what makes our lives so diverse and beautiful and inspiring. There is room for all of it, the good and the bad. You can love the life you have been given while also still wish for it to be a little bit better. And you should feel safe to feel it all. Because we know your kids still won't eat their vegetables even when they smile so sweetly for the camera. And we know your job is amazing for you, even if you have a case of the Mondays. We know this because we feel it too. The good and the bad all at the same time.
Sometimes our lens focuses on the not so bright sides of our days. And sometimes, we need to crop that image, slap a bright filter on it or smiley face emoji and celebrate the good. I give you permsision, show me it all. And I will whoop it up or ugly cry or laugh out loud right along side you. Show me the snapshot of the little corner of your life. You have my permission to focus where you must, and I hope I have yours.