Yesterday, a book of stamps pushed me over the edge. I wrote out my checks and prepped all of my bills and my stamps were nowhere to be found. A little background: over the past few months, I’ve lost or misplaced three books of stamps. And each book costs around $10. I know $10 doesn’t seem like a lot, but, even going to the post office is an event in this town. So when I couldn’t locate my new book of stamps yesterday, I had a meltdown.
I emptied out the contents of my purse and kitchen drawers and searched through my car and J’s desk. Nowhere. Four books of stamps. Forty dollars. Gone forever. It is silly, I know, but it completely devastated me. It brought all of these feelings that I’m a horrible employee, housekeeper, daughter, girlfriend, sister, aunt, friend, blogger, woman. The frantic search lead me to see something splattered down the front of our white fridge and how unorganized our office and living room appear. It made me pissed off that we have yet to rehang our pictures in the front room after painting it in JANUARY and that I’ve had curtains draped over a chair in the bedroom since March. It made me realize that I’m behind in returning emails and that I’m not on top of my sponsorship program. It made me realize that I am desperately slacking in my job search. It gave me the feeling of “holy shit, I’m 30 and can’t keep up with stamps. How do I keep up with anything?!” That damn book of stamps snowballed into an emotional, hellish roller coaster of emotions for the remainder of the afternoon. Stamps.
Once I snapped out of it, I started thinking: WHY do we take on so much as women? Why does this stuff matter? I try to meticulously control every aspect of my life and sometimes all it takes is a small thread to unravel the entire façade.
We set these high expectations that are impossible to achieve and kill ourselves trying to do it all nonetheless. We craft white background images of our life so we can share the illusion that we have done it- we’ve attained “perfection”. Meanwhile, just outside the frame, there’s dirty clothes, clutter, infidelity, sickness, or a broken heart.
I read and hear so much about the lives of others and sometimes I think I am alone- does everyone else have it together and here I am, losing another book of stamps and eating 6 mini Milky Ways as a “coping mechanism”? Am I the only one who can’t keep dust off the furniture or the kitchen floor clean? Am I the only one unsatisfied at work and in a workout rut?
And who are we trying to impress? Has our social media preoccupation confused us into believing that we should all be the perfect employees/wives/mothers/girlfriends/sisters/daughters/hostesses/domesticated divas? That is the version of life we choose to share with one another. Should we all be married by 28, have a flexible and understanding boss, cook complicated Paleo-friendly meals, live in an immaculate home, maintain a budget while wearing $400 shoes, and bounce back to our bikini bodies one month after giving birth?
Because I can’t live up to the image. I burn dinner and spill coffee down my white shirt. I can’t make cartoon character shaped pancakes. I’m temperamental and cuss like a sailor. I forget to use my DSLR, don’t know how to style my hair, blow budgets, wear shoes from Target, and work out daily so I can squeeze my ass into a size 12 (and the waist of my pants still sticks out 3 inches). I spilled red wine all over my kitchen curtains on Friday night and become a real jerk when I’m too hot. I also cannot be trusted with stamps.
I can’t maintain the illusion of the perfect life because it does not exist. And I can’t keep comparing my imperfect life to the version of life someone else chooses to share. It feels good to be real, and I hope I’m not alone.
Where do you stand on this subject?