Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Ideal Self & the War Within

In this post here by Jess I am reminded of all the things that I "should on myself" about.

How in my low moments I get lost in what "I should have done" or "Should have said" or even "Should have felt." But those things are mostly, 99% bogus. They all flow out of the struggle between Me and My Ideal Self.

Have you met her? Let me introduce her to you then. My Ideal Self homeschools her kids and loves it. She also takes them to the park and to lessons. My ideal self likes to hike and garden. She can afford all organic products because she knows how to pinch her pennies 'till Lincoln screams. She doesn't work, well maybe a little. But only as an artist in a very vague way and it never interferes with her home life. She enjoys reading to her children for hours on end. She doesn't overeat or overspend. She likes to exercise and she gets pedicures. Her house is always clean. Even the baseboards. And she never minds anything. She can just go with the flow, never frustrated or anxious or tired.

She sounds lovely doesn't she? Well she is who I thought I would be when I grew up. When Nathan and I decided to start a family 7 years ago, this is what I thought my life, and I in it, would be like. Boy was I wrong. Let me pause here and say that if you do do those things I listed above and you like them, and maybe even love them, and they come naturally to you, then hurrah for you, and I mean it. I don't hold it against you one bit. Be who you are and be proud, but here is the the truth about me; The truth is that I don't homeschool cause I think I would claw my eyes out. I am tired a lot, probably because I stay up too late. I do overspend and overeat too often. I hate to hike and I hate to garden. Sometimes I fall asleep reading to my kids. Sometimes I suggest the TV instead. And we never go to the park. Ever. That is what grandparents and school is for, right? I don't clean my baseboards much, and I do get very anxious, especially about once a month. But the biggest shocker of all?
I do need to work, and I do like it mostly. I don't like having to, but I hope that I am past the point of being petulant about it and can just enjoy that I get to do something that I love. How many people can say that? Cause the truth is even if I didn't "have to" work I probably still would somehow...I would need something to filll that creative and entrepreneurial space in me, to push me beyond my comfort zone. I like working. And I am not ashamed. There I said it.

It has been a rocky road to be able to admit all these things out loud - to you and to myself. Letting go of Her has not been easy and at times been very humbling. But the truth is I am a lot freer without her looking over my shoulder all the time. Without her shadow always behind me. Being who I am, authentically, is a daily process. One that I am growing in more and more. And hopefully one without a lot of should-ing on myself.


  1. *with a knowing grin*

    my ideal self would sit on her porch and knit and play guitar. except that I haven't bothered to learn to knit, I quit guitar lessons after only 3 months... and I don't have a porch.

    my ideal self would also do most of the things you listed, except that she hasn't bothered to find a husband and kids yet...

    however, I happen to think that your real self is pretty fabulous

    Just as you are? Not thinner? Not cleverer? Not with slightly bigger breasts or slightly smaller nose?

  2. oh, we all have one! mine would have a house that looked like yours! why can't we all just be happy with what we've got??? you're right...it's a daily process to celebrate who God made us to be. i'm in for ditching the shadows!

  3. man that bitch would drive me crazy.
    i'd have to like shoot her in the head or something. lol.
    i much rather prefer you.

    i bet she doesnt over indulge in her cosmos either.
    who needs her.

  4. What? People actually clean their baseboards? I just pray that the dust somehow magicly gets sucked up when I rarely vacuum. Yeah, I'm getting over my "ideal self" too. Maybe it comes with the age. I recall back in my early twentys days a woman saying to me that she would much rathe be in her 30's than her twenties- knew who she was, more self-confident. I thought she was just jealous. :) There may be truth to it, though... I love who you are. Thanks for the reality check.

  5. I think your ideal self and mine may be long lost twins. I'm working hard to cut her out of my life too. It gets easier as we get older, I think.

  6. Jerusalem, I've never met you in real life but i feel like i know you - through about a million people who have said "what? you don't know jerusalem greer?"

    anyhow, i hope i do meet you someday in real life, but until then, i bop over here every once in awhile (led here by alison chino, of course) and when i read this post i just wanted to say yes, that's so it. she is so annoying! and I struggle with her all the time...(not alison, but the 'ideal')

    it made me think of an artist friend i met in california once, at a time in my life when my children were babies and i was feeling much guilt over how much i loved my work. shouldn't i want to drop it all and be with them? but i didn't want that, not all the time. my friend hyatt said to me - God gives us all gifts, and you can't just put that gift on the shelf for 20 years until your kids are grown, that would be rude. You have to grow your gift as you grow your kids...

    I've always loved that thought. Sounds like you are doing just that.

    and i can't wait to meet you someday!

  7. You go girl!
    It's always nice once we get honest about ourselves and let go of what we think or what others think we should be.

    Love your blog. Anything creative is great by me.
    You will love my new blog.


ok, really. tell me the truth... do these comments make me look fat?

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