authenticity

Life is always worthwhile when you cry or smile.

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When I die the most important thing I would want to say to my family is “I love you and I’ll see you on the other side.” If I was allowed more than one sentence I would probably elaborate on my wishes for them to live good authentic lives.

I would tell them how I hope for their happiness, and I would tell them I would regret not being able to be there for them physically in their times of sadness. I would want them to know that if I can negotiate something with God, I will and I will always be right by their sides watching over them until we are reunited.

The song “Smile” from Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie Modern Times is one of my favorite songs. (Did you know the lyrics were added later based from themes and scenes from the original film?) This song brings back a lot of good memories for me. LG gave me some Happy by Clinique perfume for one of our first Christmases together. It came with a CD full of happy songs. We used to lay in bed together listening to the CD. When “Smile” came on it always seemed so appropriate. Those were really happy times, some of my favorite from my entire life.

However while re-listening to this song recently I discovered how the message of smiling when you are in pain is just kind of screwed up. I thought about Michael Jackson and Judy Garland (both have beautiful renditions of this song – go ahead – hit their links) and how their lives came to tragic ends way too soon. I thought about how they both may have lacked the emotional intelligence and/or support they needed. Maybe nobody ever told them it was o.k. to cry? I wish I could have helped them somehow and see them die in happiness, not out of their desperate attempts to escape.

Crying is an important part of life. Without times of sadness we wouldn’t know how much to treasure the times of happiness. We don’t have to run away from sadness. In fact I’ve found trying to run from it makes things much worse. Sometimes we just need to take time to process our emotions. We need permission to cry in our pain. Everyone should have someone in their lives that will just hold them while they cry.

I’m thinking about the pains I’ve experienced in life. They have been my very best tutors. Not all my days have been spent smiling while laying in my bed with my husband. In fact, I would say that I’ve probably had a close equal amount of time laying in my bed alone crying over life’s sadness. (If you read my blog regularly, you know this. I often use this as a place to process a lot of my emotions.)

So, in short, what I am trying to say is. It’s o.k. to cry. In fact it’s as necessary as smiling is for your emotional health. So do both. When you are in the middle of either happy or sad, most of all, know that your life is worthwhile.

I changed the words of the song to reflect the healthier message.
I am not voice-trained so feel free to skip the video, I made it for my family. I love you guys.

 

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Authenticity

My really cool and really successful social media marketing friend Jeremy Floyd authenticjust got a new job. I was struck while reading his bio at the new job’s website by this line:

Experience has taught Mr. Floyd the importance of the core values of honesty and following through as well as being genuine and authentic in everything that he does.

I found it a little ironic that my favorite social media guru makes authenticity a priority. Not that I don’t believe it’s true because Jeremy is an honest guy, but because I personally believe the prominence of social media is causing a problem of authenticity in our society.  According to a recent news story citing Utah moms with greater depression, authenticity among a well-blogged society is a  real problem.

I struggle with authenticity. It is something I am trying to overcome with this blog. I want to be an honest voice to motherhood. It’s not all marshmellows and lemondrops. In fact at times it’s marshmellows all smashed into your carpet and lemondrops all over your walls. I think a lot of moms feel like they need to put on a show to feel accepted when really we all just need to be real and support one another in the hard moments.

I applaud Utah’s mom of the year having the courage to talk about when she  lost her temper. Authentic is beautiful and way more intriguing than the fake alternative.

Authenticity requires vulnerability and we all need to get better at it. In fact we need to get better at it so we can teach our children to love themselves. Authenticity has to come from a place of love and self acceptance and it requires an environment of love and support. When one person chooses to be an authentic voice then others will feel the safety to follow.

In the spirit of authenticity I will share some of my vulnerable moments in the past week:

  • On Monday at marriage counseling the therapist starting telling me that I needed to get in the middle of the house cleaning spectrum, especially with  my kids. Instead of letting them do whatever and then forcing them to clean.  I hated the whole session and found myself super duper defensive. How dare the lady who changes out her whole families’ towels every two days tell me how to NOT control my kids? Yes, I’m judgmental like that.
  • When Abigail got home from her 4 day long Pioneer Trek yesterday and told me she didn’t have a single spiritual or emotional experience, I had to stop myself from crying because it’s all my fault that the girl has no feelings, and then I immediately deemed it my husband’s fault and the genes from his non-emotional family. Self-protection.
  • While running on the trail last night I asked two women running the opposite direction to tell me their pace. I thought they looked like they didn’t run too slow and didn’t run too fast either. I was hoping they were around my pace so that I could pat myself on the back. Their mile pace was 30 seconds faster than mine. I was happy. Comparison is a problem for me.
  • My husband rarely talks to me about anything fragile or emotional. It gives me anxiety that he is unhappy with me.
  • I cleaned my showers yesterday. Remember that vlog when my sister visited in May? Yeah, that was the last time I cleaned the showers. Every time I do it, I tell myself not to wait as long, but every time it’s an awful task so I put it off as long as possible. Oh excuse me, it was at the end of April. The shame!
  • I felt really really really sad that there were at least 5 anorexic women at the pool on Wednesday. They broke my heart. And then I saw some extremely overweight women and felt sad for them too. I pondered how the skinny ladies in bikinis and the large ladies in their old-fashioned “cover the whole body” suits are both dealing with emotional issues of the same complexity. For a small instant I was proud to be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum and then my baby fat belly roll slipped out from over the top of my bathing suit bottom and I thought I am not so much in the middle as I would like. According to the BMI I am still considered obese. Then, I was mortified for even having the train of thought; I got angry that we are all just victims of an objectifying society and thought of my friends (including myself) who struggle with their weight (losing and gaining) and vowed to never look at a woman in a bathing suit again….I will only be watching their eyes because that is where the true beauty lies and I want to see the beauty instead of the flesh armor of pain.
  • I so wish that I have more than 26 followers on this blog, but all my followers are not my real-life friends and that makes me happy and I have to constantly fight the battle with myself that I am never going to be a famous blogger or author. Indeed I will be very very blessed to actually ever get my dream novel written someday much less published.
  • In the spirit of authenticity I think I am pretty entertaining and that everyone should want to be my friend, but also in the spirit of authenticity I can see why people are afraid of me, I don’t ever pull a punch and I don’t know how to NOT say things that are considered tactless. I really really really want to be a better listener and learn to control my mouth.

I challenge anyone who is reading this to blog, facebook, twitter, instagram something that teaches authenticity to others through your own vulnerability. Tag this post if you want, but just know I will secretly be hoping you all do it because then I will know someone is actually reading this. Just keeping it real. And now I am going to give myself the same very repetitive pep-talk that I need to LET GO of being validated and just be happy with my own authenticity.