I am in Tulsa hanging out with Izzy dog and other adventures.
It has been lovely, goofy, hot, humid, mosquito-ey, and unwashed. Both kids traveled in to work this morning as they make up for a few days out-of-town week last.
Today is a delight. It is quiet. Except for when the wonderdog thump thump thumps through the apartment, click clack clicks on the wooden floors, or comes in for a grumbly crash landing and loud slide into a couch, door, window, or human.
As I washed dishes and made coffee I realized how peaceful I feel. Right here. Right now. Hands in goopy water. A chance to serve these three and to think about Kenan who – in south Georgia swamps – is discovering his own great mettle. Real Life.
By most appearances, this Real Life is not instagrammable, pinterest-worthy, or facebookish. What is fit for social media is beautiful, serene, edgy, or set in such artful light that my garbage can would look fetching.
Real Life seems to make us uneasy.
Our Real Life smiles – undoctored – may have a wee bit of kale or blush of imperfection without fine filters.
Real Life homes may be too puny, chaotic, or early millennial-collegiate to bear posting within the social universe.
Certainly, many of my Saturday nights, meals, and outfits do not hit the benchmark of cool enough to fling before the public eye.
But is that really true?
Are our Real Life moments too ordinary for prime time?
Should we really edit out all of the beauty of the imperfect?
Are all those spotless people truly happier than the rest of the rabble?
I’m calling bull**it on that.
As quirky as I am and comfortable out of the mainstream, I still allow myself to feel less than. All of the stories and images and places featured on my feed can contribute to feeling of failure and other foolishness. It doesn’t cause the feeling less, but social media certainly does not contribute to our knowing our own magnificent worth.
I’m a good editor. Framing photos and ideas are fairly easy to me.
But I live in Real Life and it’s time I – we – learned to live in the unframed imperfect everyday.
Let’s try to live with our bumply backsides, inexpert race times, trudgely commutes, reflections, muddy-footed kids, half-mown lawns, and too-quiet evenings. We don’t need to live in funk of heart or place or rut of week-day work, but we can cut ourselves and our pals a bit of slack. We can re-learn to enjoy Real Life without glossing it over or giving it the instagram filter treatment.
Like we did when we were kids on our bikes with the wind blowing through our braces and headgear. When we delighted in puddles on the ancient southern sidewalks or the snow forts of high north. Leaves. Bugs. Trees. Fireflies. Room forts. Silly songs. Ice cream beards. Family-made pizzas. Our refrigerator doors full of life in trophy of cut and colored paper, missing socks, recipes, and bottle caps.
There is beauty in our everyday chaos and uncurated moments.
Sometimes, my best pal will say something about a dish in her sink or boots by the door and I’ve learned to say, “I’m judging you for that.” We giggle or I dodge a sock tossed in my direction and move on. Recently, voicing shame about where-I-am-in-the-world earned me “I’m judging you for that” from Katie. Indeed. We are loved.
What I have been working to do for years and failing to do perfectly for-ever is to kick down the veneer of the perfect and live right here, right now, in my funky t-shirt, unwashed self, amid people and a pup I love.
If we allow space for Real Life to exist unaltered, we begin to notice the peace therein. Peace associated with resting, listening, a cease-striving, and let-the-Joneses-be refreshing breath. Like yoga’s savasana, relishing in what is left after all of our pushing, posing, standing, and work, Real Life is often messy, sweaty, pulled, stretched, slightly pungent, rumpled, and may snore. But there is such beauty in the rest.
And how many times do we laugh at the joke among yogis that we continue our yoga practices only for that sweet rest at the end? “I’m here for the savasana.”
So much so in everyday ordinary life. There is beauty in where we lay. Beauty when we cease striving and rest. When the laundry pile becomes a stand in for the leaf pile and the kids or pup dive in for giggles and disaster to order.
When the dishwater yields such bubbles that we must share them with wrinkly hands.
Or the new glasses broadcast every wrinkle we’ve tried so long to hide that we must face the advance of years and celebrate the strength of each one.
When bedtime with a book in good company means the clean clothes get kicked off the bottom of the bed. They’ll wait until morning.
When #1 son takes out the trash unasked, #1 daughter picks up the paint brush on a hot day, or the neighbors return the smelly cat that ran away – social media is not poised and watching. Too bad. The legions online are missing the best of living.
These are moments of great beauty.
Moments where Real Life reveals imperfect effort and outcomes; where moments are less mosaics and more fractals of a series.
We are unburdened.