“Wake up! Wake up, Jensy. Its time to WAAAAKKKKKE up!” My two least favorite words in the dictionary. Put together. In a sentence. Ever. Anyone who knows me, and, even as a little girl, knows you don’t wake me up. I get up on my own time and that’s just how it is. Friends and family have stories of me swinging punches as I awaken from my groggy stupor. Yeah, not pretty.
That went on for thirty years. HA! YES, 30! Not only did I dislike being woken up but I was “asleep” to life from ages 20-30. I was asleep at the provebial wheel of life with food addiction and overexercising and anorexia.
Ironically, my favorite word in the dictionary is Awakening. I even wrote a book about it.
Now how is it that I can like and dislike a word at the same time? Or how is it that I can like and dislike exercise at the same dang time? And how is it that I can enjoy parenting one day and not the other? Same goes for marriage? Or bananas? You know what I’m talking about, you know, those days when its mushy and brown in areas, and soft or simply you would rather eating spoonfulls of peanut butter in the doorway of the pantry…or is that just ME??
I’ll tell you why. Because that’s just how life is! OHHH the irony of life. It can be painful and exhilarating. It can be exciting and scary at the exact same moment! OH, I see, that’s what the Chinese were talking about when they say yin and yang!
Now I get it… I THINK.
According to Wikipedia, “Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (instead of opposing) forces interacting to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation.”
They meant light cannot exist with dark. That up has to have a down. Or a high has to have a low. It just complementary. It just is.
What goes up must come down. A dang seesaw! Nothing is static. It waxes and wanes. Life bends then straightens.
On September 19, 2005, I “woke up” (sort of). After being told to, wake up, thousands of times by friends, husband, family, God, which I met with resistance EVERY SINGLE TIME, I started to AWAKEN to life. I gave birth to my first baby girl.
Talk about messy and beautiful. Painful and Exhilarating. The birth was messy – an emergency c- section due to a contraction that never stopped (Medical lingo: tetanic contraction). And beautiful, because the child was gorgeous and safe and perfect. I brought her home in a messy anxious state. I had read that What to Expect When You Are Expecting book(so I was SET AND READY! Right? Um. No.). The nursery was perfect, pink and pretty. The bassinet was shiny and new. All picture perfect, all except me. It was GO time and I was TERRIFIED. I wanted to run away and hide because now I had to face that life could be beautiful.
Well I stayed scared and relapsed with anorexia that I had suffered with for almost a decade.
Remember how I hate the words, “Wake up!?” 15 months after my first daughter was born, another sweet baby girl comes along. Yeah, Universe, I think I am getting the picture. You are handwriting an invitation to me from my kids that says, “WAKE UP MOMMY! YOU ARE MY MOMMY. YOU ARE GOOD AND WHOLE AND PERFECT JUST AS YOU ARE.I LOVE YOU SO MUCH MOMMY, THIS IS ABOUT US NOW. AND I LOVE BEING WITH YOU.LET’S ENJOY THIS RIDE TOGETHER.COME ON, WHADDYA SAY?”
As an anorexic, my inner dialogue told me I was worthless, ugly, stupid, and my life was ALL MESSY and NO BEAUTIFUL. But my heart started to hear a different message. A more encouraging, compassionate, empowering message.
My girls awakened me to ME. I chose to step into full recovery because this was for US. The Universe handpicked these girls and sent me on my way to recovery and Awakening. Life could be beautiful. It was possible.
Recovery was the messisest mess of all messes. It’s still messy but not as much. But it happens to be the most BEAUTIFULEST MESS I have ever experienced in my life. I am so dang grateful for the pain, the nights on the bathroom floor, the tears that could fill an ocean. The mess has become my message.
You see, the messy and the beautiful, are gifts the Universe grants us to awaken us to who we really are. That’s all life is. It’s a day to day being. Some days life brings you to your knees and you just want to stay in bed, shut the blinds, and tune out all the noise. Moreover, another day could be a three year old knees deep in finger paint, in his nose, on your walls, and on your newly upholstered chair. Yet, yields a finished masterpiece of you and him walking in a field of flowers (as he says)that melts your heart and burns your throat as you are on your way to the ugly cry from love and gratitude. (and ALSO from the damage done to your favorite chair in the whole world.)
Some days, I go to bed and think I am the world’s worst mother. I snapped. I fed them leftover chili three days in a row. Or I made the world’s worst dinner. I know it. They know it. The dog knows it. But I still make them eat it because I spent two hours thawing, chopping, sauteeing, baking, and rereading the same recipe a trillion times just to make sure I had the measurements right. Mind you, also, during those two hours I have weaved in solving division problems, taking TWO barbies and a DOZEN legoes out of the dog’s mouth, had a 10 minute Church session with the girls about how to share and how to be kind and say nice things. And then I think, “did I put the second egg in the mix?” Oh, here, well you guys, here’s my messy beautiful dinner handmade by your messy, beautiful mom.
Life doesn’t look like a Pinterest board or the mom with the Halloween sweater (that she sewed herself) and the halloween cookies made from scratch that resembles bats, witches, pumpkins all carefully crafted from marshmallow decorated to perfection. Still, I am not against any of that, because I am MAJORLY obsessed with Halloween. The point is, it reminds us that life can be beautiful and that’s her beautiful expression (and secretly you know there has gotta be a mess in there somewhere. Right? Please.:)
Or life could look like this: when you are about to put your daughter to bed and you’d rather tuck into a DVR’d Jimmy Fallon episode but instead you have this conversation in her stuffed animal mess of a bed that goes something like this:
Me: “Hey sweetie, I am really sorry I snapped and got mad and yelled and then went up to my room. Will you forgive me?”
Daughter: Mommy, you’re so silly. I have ALREADY FORGIVEN YOU.”
Yep. Messy and Beautiful all in a span of a few hours. Welcome to Parenting. Welcome to Life.
In Love and Light,
This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!