A new friend recently said to me: “After our first-ever conversation and a cruising of your Facebook page, I thought to myself, ‘That girl’s got it all together.’” And then I laughed. Loudly. She and I have had several conversations since then, and she now knows the opposite is true. But I hear it on occasion. Something akin to “how do you keep it ‘all together’?” It makes me cringe. And it’s so bizarre to me that I would ever come across that way; my mind can’t really comprehend it. Because the statement implies that the person making the comment has a notion that I’ve got all my ducks in a row and that my life is perfectly ordered.
I know what it feels like…to observe certain people and get the distinct sense they “have it all together”. So I want to nip this in the bud for anyone who’s ever thought such a thing about me. Most mornings I wake up anxious, so much it makes me queasy and I have to force myself to eat breakfast. Does that qualify as “having it all together”? I’ve had quirky physical symptoms antagonizing me off and on for two decades, and they scare me and I have no idea how to seek out the most effective healing and sometimes I talk about it incessantly to my husband. Yes, yes…very “together”. Both the anxiety and the physical symptoms (an ear issue, specifically) affect my sleep on a significant level. My struggle with insomnia affects everything: how I feel physically and emotionally, how I interact with people, my daily productivity. “All together” you say? Yes, all together in the fetal position.
This morning I visited a class devoted entirely to prayer and wept through the whole dang thing, especially when words were spoken over another mother that she be healed of her “physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds” and that God would infuse her with strength to love her children when she was weak. Yep, cried through that whole shebang…probably because it’s my deepest desire at this stage of my life. Yes, yes…very “together”. Later at a restaurant for lunch, surrounded by tables full of fellow churchgoers and feeling hugely invisible (as the hubs described, like we were standing awkwardly at the front of the school cafeteria waiting for an invite) and with the three kids asking rapid-fire questions (like kids do), I had to excuse myself to our car before our food arrived for a full-blown sob-session. How very “together” of me.
I have trouble letting go of friends; change does not come easy to me. I have trouble letting go of hurts; a spirit of forgiveness does not come easy to me. I get my feelings bruised easily. I spend way too much time trying to figure out what other people are thinking. I ruminate on people’s words and actions regularly, to the detriment of my health. Sadness, jealousy, irritation, and worry appear to me on an almost-daily basis. I get frustrated with my friends, I yell at my kids, my house is often in disarray. I go to therapy once a week; I probably need to go more.
I’m thankful for my life. For so many reasons. And I ENJOY it too. I laugh easily. I love the challenge of making my kids laugh. I love spending time outside soaking up the calm only nature provides. I love hearing people’s stories. We blast music and have dance parties. Occasionally – when I “get it all together” – we eat dinner all at the same time. But my life is equal parts joy and grief. Really. EQUAL PARTS. So please, please…to anyone who’s ever thought I have it “all together”…and who may think my life is one big joy bubble, let me go ahead and burst it for you. Put it out of your head. “All together” ain’t my thang. I’m limping through life, like everyone else – with occasional bouts of running through the house in a Forrest-Gump-like stride in an effort to entertain my offspring.