About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

Motherhood is not a biological designation
Search This Blog
Books that shifted paradigms
Walking Barefoot on Facebook
Login
« i am a cheater. | Main | Delusions of grandeur, and other things that are hard to admit. »
Tuesday
Jan152013

Suspicious of grace while wearing heels

It may be that we have lost our ability to hold a blazing coal, to move unfettered through time, to walk on water, because we have been taught that such things have to be earned; we should deserve them; we must be qualified.

We are suspicious of grace.

We are afraid of the very lavishness of the gift.

L’engle- Walking on Water

 

The other day, I managed to put together a stylish outfit for church, without any input from girlfriends, which made me feel like a big girl cause I don't normally know how to do that.

I wore a flowy white poet shirt from Nordstrom Rack, black skinny pants, and black Cole Haan heels from Marshalls (with a broken buckle, which was fine, cause they were inexpensive).  I wore it with pride...until my friend Abby came up behind me and whispered that my tags were showing right through the flowy fabric. 

I never seem to get it all quite put together.

If my clothes are decent, my hair is wet. If my hair is blown dry, my makeup isn't done. If, by a miracle, I manage to get hair, makeup, and clothes, then my contacts freak out on the ride to church, and while I'm messing with them, half my mascara and liquid eyeliner rubs off.

On this Sunday, I'm feeling pretty proud of myself-I even remembered, after perusing a J. Crew catalog, to cuff my jeans. My ankles aren't shaved, but who's going to see that? And nevermind that my attitude's been stinkin since I got up this morning, I am wearing a head to toe outfit (without the tags showing), something that hasn't happened for over a year.

 

Since the fire, I've been dressing to disguise and to hide- dressing for late pregnancy, and then postpartum, imagining I will lose some of this weight eventually so why spend money on the in-between season? Dressing in clothes people gave me is a reminder that the fire robbed me of choice; I am grateful recipient, but also victim, with no clue how to put together an inherited wardrobe. 

I choose clothes that act as protective armor (mostly a rotating wardrobe of three hoodies and yoga pants because the elastic waists are so forgiving), because I don't want to be seen-I feel too fragile, and too overweight, like I've sunk down inside my skin and can't be found; I feel shame for how I look, but I don't care enough to do something about it; I'd rather have the comfort of eating Chick-fil-a for breakfast everyday, and drinking Dunkin Donuts coffee whenever I feel like it, and eating an entire chocolate bar (maybe two) for dessert because food makes me feel better when not much else does.

And if I don't have to look in a mirror, I don't have to admit how lost I feel.

It feels like a small victory of health, and proof of coming into a new season, to be able to wear heels to church.

 

This morning, Michael has cooked breakfast and gotten all the kids in the car (while I put my outfit together); I rush out of the bedroom, determined to finish mixing the Mocaccino I've concocted in our Vita-Mix.

Having a Mocaccino is a huge concession/treat I'm feeling guilty about on a number of levels: self-sabotating the cleanse I'm doing, self-sabotaging my mental health (since caffeine contributes to my anxiety), making us late for church because all my time this morning has been about me...but my drink is also the vice I'm turning to to get my stinkin' attitude in a better place: "It's been a hard week, I deserve a frickin' Mocaccino."

I also feel guilty about our Vita-Mix. We have bought and returned a Vita-Mix three times since we got married seven years ago; everytime they have a Vita-Mix special at Costco, we buy one, and everytime, we get it home, look again at the price tag, and return it. After the fire, we decided to invest in the Vita-Mix for good, as a way to change our eating habits, and as a treat: "survived house fire, deserve nice blender."

 

I dump two cups of ice in the container, shove the container onto the base, and flip the switch.  The most god-awful sound fills the kitchen just as Malachi walks up to me complaining about where he has to sit in the car, and just as I realize that the clashing sound is not ice; I've left a spoon in the blender.

I slam both hands down on the counter and scream F&*%!!!! at the top of my lungs, with furious tears streaming out of my eyes.  

I made this mistake two months ago- had to send the blender away and pay money we can't afford to waste. I told myself to remember there was a spoon in the blender, but in my vain preening, I'd forgotten.

All the shame-guilt for preening and not helping Michael, guilt for Mocaccino, guilt for Vita-Mix- whirls up within me and I crumble under an avalanche of toxic self-talk:

"Now I can't make smoothies, just when I finally decided to make a change. This always happens. I'm such a VICTIM. I'm so STUPID.  My life is too FAST.  Everyone's expectations for me are too HIGH, I can't be expected to never make mistakes.  I just cussed in front of my six-year old, I'm a frickin' MESS.  I'm so VAIN." 

I'm throwing a tantrum to rival any 2 year old's, when I feel Malachi's hand on my leg.

"It's ok. Please don't be sad, Mom. When you are sad, I am sad too." He runs out to the car to tell Dad I am crying.

 

I spew at Michael on the ride to church, searching for a reason to make this his fault, while Malachi tries to pray over the sound of my voice: "Help Mom to feel better. It's ok. Everybody makes mistakes."

We walk into church and my friend Abby comments on my cute heels. I tell her I sold my sanity to wear these heels today.  Somebody else comments on my cute outfit, and I think, if you only knew what went on behind the scenes.

And then I think, isn't that how all our stories go?

Isn't every day a fight to accept grace, to be gentle with ourselves, to pat ourselves on the arm like Malachi did to my leg and say, "It's ok. Everybody makes mistakes. Please be kind to yourself."

 

The sermon is about Herod, and how his fear of losing control keeps him from experiencing the miracle of the Jesus baby.

But my sermon this morning is the spoon in the Vita-Mix.

I can't help it.

My natural trajectory is to try and control things, to earn love, to be qualified, to deserve grace because I have it all together. I labor to keep my impossible to keep expectations for myself, and I shame myself when I fail.

Left to myself, I will always default to this path. I think about my thought process this morning: "I deserve a Mocaccino because it's been a hard week.  I deserve a nice blender because I had a house fire."

So if I had a good week, I don't deserve a Mocaccino? If I didn't have a house fire, I wouldn't have a good enough reason to invest in a nice blender?

What about grace?

 

If the spoon hadn't broken, I wouldn't have needed grace.

I would have worn my cute outfit, drank my Moccacino, and click click clicked my heels into church, stepping right back on the path of self-sufficiency.

The longer I am allowed to walk without falling on my knees, the farther I journey in the wrong direction. 

And when I fall, it's not failure. It's a chance to throw up my hands and laugh and cry out, "How fascinating! Things look different from down here. I wonder what there is to learn?" 

 

 

 

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>