Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Shine: Doing What Makes You Sparkle

I am so ready to sparkle, y'all!

And by that I don't mean I'm ready to put on my shiniest party dress and dance all night, although that might help me accomplish my true aim.

No, what I mean when I say that is that I'm ready to really and truly be me and do the things I love and to do even the things I don't love in such a way that I can feel good about the effort I made. I want to live in such a way that other people feel better when they're around me. I want to be enthusiastic and joyful. I want to sparkle. One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from a man at my high school reunion. He said that he had "always admired my zest for life." That's what I want people to see: an enthusiastic embrace and gratefulness for all that life gives me and a constant desire for more. More. Of. All. Of. It.

I have felt as if I were in limbo for the last month and a half. Hell. Let's be honest. I've felt like I was in limbo since January when my husband high-tailed it for Chattanooga and his new job and got started living what is supposed to be our new life. Meanwhile, I was back in Atlanta elbow-deep in the drudgery of packing, purging, and selling our home while keeping the kids and the dog and the cat alive, getting the young humans through the school year, then figuring out what the hell we were going to do for the two months between closings. And did I mention the emotions? Oh – not mine – but my 13-year old's. Sweet Mother of Mercy! This child has been beside himself. For the first month, all I heard was a litany of how much he hates Chattanooga, how his new school is the WORST(!), his life is ruined, and IT'S ALL MOM'S FAULT!!!

After a month of travels that have included the beach, Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans,  back to Atlanta (hometown with our homies), and now, Birmingham, Alabama, I think he's too tired to fight. Or I'd like to think that. The Angry Teenager does rear his head every now and then, but mostly he's back to being my sweet kid who, like me and his younger brother, just wants to be home. You know, home? That place where the heart is and all that jazz. That place you get to stay in for more than a week at a time? We're almost there. This is the home stretch. One week and two days until we close and can move in.

So, naturally, after keeping it together all summer during what I thought would be the hard part, it's time for me to lose my ish. I've been obsessively reading Marie Kondo's book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up. I've been obsessively comparing prices and styles of area rugs and sofas. Reading Consumer Reports articles about washers and dryers and vacuum cleaners and floor sweepers. Scouring Bed, Bath, and Beyond and HomeGoods for the perfect bedding for my bed, our guest room, and the kids' rooms. New mattresses for two beds. A new bed for one kid. All of it has consumed every free moment for the last two weeks, I think. And to what end?

I mean, part of it is legitimate. I purged a lot. Hence my son needing a new bed and a new mattress. I took Kondo's advice about getting rid of the things that don't bring you joy and I'm willing to replace the items that need replacing with things that make my heart sing. And I am truly committed to running a cleaner, calmer, more organized household in our new home.

But some of this obsessively comparing products or styles or colors until I am locked in some sort of analysis paralysis is just me being mental and avoiding the things I'm really worried about. I feel like there is little of importance that is truly within my control right now. I am consumed by "what ifs." What if after living apart for seven months, my husband realizes he hates me? What if he hates our new house? What if my kids aren't accepted in their new school? What if I don't find a writing job?What if no one likes me and I can't make new friends? What if none of this works out? What if...

Somehow, my lizard brain seems to believe that if I can just find the perfect rug, perfect sofa, perfect EVERYTHING that screams "She's made it!" or maybe it's more like, "Wow! Check out this super-together, creative chick," I will win the hearts and minds of Chattanoogans at large and God-so-help-me, I'll never be lonely again – or some other Scarlett O'Hara bullshit.

So, yeah...That. I'm browsing design sites and analyzing every review of every product I'm considering as if my life depended on it so I can more or less hide from my real fears – loneliness and rejection. Don't judge.

Now that I've recognized what's going on, I'm trying to focus on solving the real problems. I've been running and am trying to commit to a regular schedule. Yesterday I made a list of ways I can meet people in Chattanooga and by posting that on Instagram, I actually did connect with someone there. Baby steps. But moving, ever forward with my eye on all the shiny things that will help me sparkle.