In Jr. High I took a Home Economic class with a very intense teacher. She was half my size and intimidated the hell out of me. We made our own dresses which we were supposed to model in front of the school and I ended up sewing the upper arm hole shut so that I couldn’t attach the sleeve, or even slide my hand through. The teacher fixed it for me by tearing out the thread with a little tool that I cannot recall the name of today. When we baked muffins, I used two cups of baking powder instead of two tablespoons of baking soda. This was all occurring while I was impressing my creative writing teacher, along with making lead roles in the skits and plays we performed in drama. Home Economics and Biology were not my cup of tea, but obviously I excelled in the creative arts. During this time of my life I became very depressed and withdrawn because I felt lost.
When I wore my homemade dress in front of my schoolmates, I was happy that all the holes and seams were in the correct places, but the dress itself was a little Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz-ish, minus the pleats, and it was a much more novice version. I chucked that dress in the garbage after wearing it once. I didn’t want the reminder of my failure as a seamstress. In retrospect it was a good experience because it taught me something about myself. I wasn’t interested in sewing or baking. To this day, I do not enjoy either of those things, unless I’m eating the cookie dough during the baking process. In that class, I got a D, which is one notch above failing. I’m certain my teacher would have given me an F, except that she didn’t want to have to deal with me again the following year.
The thing that I don’t enjoy about baking and sewing is that it creates a big mess, and I have a difficult time looking past the mess in order to create a masterpiece out of the chaos. This week as I was moving, I took things really slowly, only moving a carload per day, as not to overwhelm myself. I do not own a lot of “things” because I don’t like the burden of having them. If I decide to move to Greece on a whim to write a book in a window overlooking the Mediterranean sea for a year, I don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of “stuff.” I just want to get on a plane and go. My daughter, on the other hand, doesn’t get rid of anything. When I opened the door to her bedroom one afternoon last week, a rush of panic took over my sanity. That evening I ended up eating a ton of chocolate candy for dinner, and then headed to two AA meetings. It was just too much for me to take in.
Lucky for me I have a former boyfriend who knows how to place things in boxes without having an emotional breakdown. The next day I came back to a very clean and organized bedroom. Everything was taken off the walls and neatly rolled up into boxes. Toys and books were neatly compiled and I was off the hook. (Sigh of relief inserted here). All I had to do was move those boxes into my car and sweep the floor up afterward. I was a little disturbed at how easily my ex cleaned up the disastrous room. He did it in one evening. I’m certain that it would have taken me at least two or three days, and I would have been cramming M&M’s down my throat in the meantime, or chewing through packs and packs and gum just to withhold an impending panic attack.
The really ironic thing is that the packing for me was way more intensely difficult than the move itself, or the breakup. I understand that there are greater things awaiting me when I let go of burdensome relationships and hefty rent payments, but it is terrifying for me to clean out a dirty refrigerator. On another level, I am extremely comfortable organizing my random thoughts into words on a computer screen, and I enjoy the process of putting on a performance in front of an audience, although both of these things are tedious and time consuming endeavors. I am not a chef, or a very good housekeeper. If my kids need something sewn, I would rather toss the item of clothing into the garbage can and go shopping for a replacement. I am actually envious of people like my ex, who know how to focus on one thing at a time rather than overwhelm themselves in the details. I’m quite the opposite. I focus on the bigger picture, but get very overwhelmed with the small details during the process of getting there.
So how do I go about my life without feeling incomplete? I can beat myself up all day long for not being a detail oriented person, or I can accept this about myself and focus on my assets, which is making things happen. I’m an artist. I envision end results. I put things out in the universe and watch them come into fruition. I don’t get hung up on people, places and things. I’m good at helping others understand their soul journey. I definitely understand my own. I can interpret dreams. As a mom, I’m very accepting of my children. I am more of a guide than a dictator. I laugh more than I yell. Although I’m not the best housekeeper, I certainly know how to make a place feel like a home. Wow, these are all positive things that I can say about myself. Why do I stand back and beat myself up for what I consider “flaws?” There has to be people like me in the world, and there has to be those who know how to turn some thread and material into a lovely costume. Together, our contrasts and differences create a beautiful tapestry throughout the planet. This is why it is so important to stop comparing yourself to others. You have a purpose here. You are a light to others through your dynamic gifts and talents. Focus on those things and learn to connect with others who compliment you by doing what you are not exactly good at.
I think it’s incredibly amazing that the world is made up with so many different people who all make up the wholeness of the planet. We have doctors and teachers, musicians and speakers. We have givers and helpers, lovers and wise leaders. No one holds all of these gifts in one package. We all came here to offer something to the world in order to create a harmonious planet. Sadly this is not how it exactly works out, but it isn’t up to me to worry about what other people are doing, and what they aren’t doing. It is up to me to stop beating myself up for not being a good baker, and to focus on my writing instead. If I have a difficult time packing because it overwhelms me, I should feel confident enough to ask for help from someone who doesn’t find it overwhelming. If I can’t bake a cake for a party, I should offer another service, like making the invitations. We are all in this together, and rather than envy the soccer mom who is a dynamic organizer, I should do what I know how to do, which is coaching the team.
I wrote this today because I’ve been annoyed that I couldn’t clean that room without melting down, when I should be pleased with myself for being brave enough to make an enormous change in my life to benefit my children and my own well-being. Life is not easy, but it is more difficult when you focus on the negative, instead of seeing the big picture, or realizing your own worth. I’m not a detail oriented person by nature, but I can write a manuscript no problem. We all have something that we excel in. This is where we should place our focus. This is what we should offer to the world. Simply do your part. Then and only then, will we discover harmony in the midst of universal chaos. Like they told us in drama class, “There are no small roles…”