slices abroad_{ a series about my getting over myself} post 1

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The most nagging excuse for my NOT starting a blog, three years ago now,  wait, make that four years ago, was that it seemed so narcissistic.

A constant feed of facebook updates not enough?

Now you need paragraphs to devote to yourself about yourself? Really?

That is what went through my mind, as I debated with myself, a mac on my lap, a glass of wine nearby to give me false confidence.

I went ahead, egged on by my husband, with his full emotional and technical backing.

Why Many Slices for my blog name?

It was a direct result from a conversation I had recently had-first in my mind of course, where all my good conversations start-then with Tim, and likely with a few other females.  I can’t really remember: when you talk to yourself all the time things get hazy in the retrospect of who you actually spoke to or did not.

Anyway.

The name: Many Slices.

I saw my life at thirty years of age as being divided up neatly into little triangle wedged slices.

Like the cheesecakes they sell at Barnes and Noble cafes.

One full beautiful cake, with each perfect wedge making up the whole, but each slice being a different flavor.

Four daughters in seven years-one slice, well better make that two slices as my daughters usually fall neatly into the categories of “big ones” and “little ones”.

A relationship with my husband- one slice

A house,  with a newly enlarged addition.-one slice

My involvement with the local church- one slice

My walk with Christ- one slice

My twenties were a blur of pregnancies, continual throwing up, toddlers, trying to catch up on sleep, laundry,  housework while trying to make my house, never finished with construction projects we did ourselves, look vintage/artsy/pretty. All this with a very limited  amount of extra money to spend on items that would achieve that vintage/artsy/pretty look.

At thirty I cast a look at my twenties, with absolutely no regrets. Could not even think of anything major I would do differently.

I knew enough to appreciate that very few men or woman could say the same.

And yet.

I saw in retrospect one glaring flaw that had nothing to do with

getting married young,

having a big family on one income,

or buying an old home-

I was never satisfied.

To be fair, if you want to have four kids in your twenties you do have to be constantly thinking of the next…

when to get pregnant/not get pregnant?

when will we have three bedroom that are livable?

where will we send them to school?

It is the nature of the beast of family planning.

Being done with our part to “be fruitful and multiply”, my oldest happy in the school down the street, and the babe nearing her first birthday, I was faced with the now what?

The what was Me, of course.

Time for me.

Outlets for me.

My passions.

My talents.

Can now be developed since I devoted much to my twenties to snagging a husband and having children.

That was where, Many Slices The Blog, came in.

Part of me time.

A good thing, truthfully. After all, here I am still. I love writing. Developed an eye and talent for photography.  I dropped facebook and improved my writing, found my voice.  I even made peace with the truth that I am never going to be a big time blogger, because I do not want to be a big time blogger- it would not make me happy.

Life, indeed, did get easier.

I had more me time, developing an identity beyond a baby maker, toddler controller, and house decorator.

This was a good development in my life.  A natural stage of life. Please understand, I never was a martyr, and not being one one.

However, my happiness level did not improve.

I still was not ever satisfied.

My objectives just changed.

Worse of all, all those former goals, i.e. children, I began to resent. I constantly complained.  Had very scary bouts of depression and anger, almost always hovering over the situation of being home with four children all day in a house that was never nice enough.

This is what YOU wanted, Leah!

That is what the guilty voice in my head yelled.

That is what my husband logically pointed out.

This is what The Holy Spirit whispered.

He, the Spirit, was the only one who would followed it up with another bit of truth on the days I would listen: “you know that which you are upset about is not what you are complaining about, and what you are saying right now,  you know is not true”.

But I could not stop the cycle, not for long bouts, anyways. No matter how many affirming quotes or Bible verses I tacked around the house.  When everything went “according to plan” I was happy. Happy that the image in my mind was now playing out in reality, in life.  A measurable accomplishment.

Even if it was let’s say:

It’s a crisp October afternoon and all the girls have on cute wool coats and knit hats, the back maple is its perfect color of burnt orange and Tim is helping rake and take pictures and afterwards there is cider and donuts in the kitchen.

That was success.

That = Leah.Happy.For.Now.

Beyond the pintrest/country living orchestrated moments my other more personal-thirty-year-old-goals were not happening with the relative ease of my getting married,getting pregnant, buying a house, putting on an addition proved to be {not “easy” in that the process was easy, but easy in that when I decided “yeah this is what I want…it happened}.

I felt horribly guilty for my unhappiness.

And horribly frustrated that I was still tethered to home and daughters so much, which started the guilt train up again.

A hazy image of a woman of a different nationality, wearing  a bright colored but shabby dress, sitting on a stoop in a slum; half naked scabby children playing in the dirt next to her, with no food, or clean water, or health care, plagued me. I would vow to not complain or be unreasonably anger anymore. I could not even recall with clarity what is was most of the time that had me so upset; provoked another Mommy melt down.

Then Isabelle would sneak into my sewing room and get marker all over my fabric laying next to my sewing machine that I was supposed to be finishing up for a new seasonal table runner for Thanksgiving… and I would lose control, again.

Marred fabric became evidence of how “hideous” my life was.

“I never”

“You always”

“Every freakin time”

Would be how all my sentences would begin in a bark and a sneer.

Really, I was mad at myself for zoning out on the computer instead of keeping an eye her, and even more frustrated that this new project was not done yet.

My life became that marred piece of fabric, frayed edges and all.

Then, I began to hear about a book called One Thousand Gifts.

And while there really is no such thing as a book “that changed my life” what happened to me was the absolute right testimony, communicated in the exact right way, at the best possible moment of time, for me.

I did not see it coming,

I just knew I had to change my course.

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