“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.”- Steve Furtick
It's just one of those quotes people share on social media all the time, but this one slammed me up side the head. It's not just because it applies to me. It's because it applies to everyone. Who doesn't feel insecure at some point in their lives? When we realize that what we see or perceive of others is just the frosting on the cake, the silver lining, the greener grass, or any of many cliches, we begin to understand.
When we see the mother who takes her child to every museum and seems to involve them intimately in every aspect of her day, we automatically assume that this is done with patience, grace and very little frustration. I'm sure it's quite the contrary. To this mother, perhaps, visiting museums of history, art or is her best way of conveying her understanding of the world to her children. She drops many other things to make this reality work. Her dishes may not get done that night. Dinner may be on the run. Her kids may occasionally have a glazed over look as she tries to share the beautiful things she knows about each place they visit. She is real. Beneath the checked-off list of places gone, she's just like me. She loves her family desperately and is attempting to engage them in the best way she knows how.
I'm particularly drawn to the idea of the highlight reel because it's what I do. It's what I live as a writer and photographer. I take the everyday events of my life, the lives of others, or the world around me,
shuffle them around, then pluck out only the most meaningful, poignant, beautiful and sometimes even difficult things. It is my job then, to tell a concise and memorable story with those bits and pieces. What I sometimes forget though, is that it's ok to reveal the messy parts: the cranky child; the home where entropy reigns. It's what brings me down to earth, grounding the things I'm trying to share, and helping those around me to be able to accept the truths within that highlight reel. And so this will be my challenge this week: to remember to show what's behind the curtain of my life, because it's probably a lot like yours.
For now, I share today's highlight reel: It was a good day that started out hard and early, with oldest kids getting up well before dawn to go to school with emotions running too strongly, me running to deliver forgotten things to school, returning to teach my youngest at home, only to have my 9 year old need to be reined in every 4 sentences of learning time and me feeling like a very impatient and broken record, and wondering what in the universe my son learned this day.
It continued sweetly, with early completion of a big chunk of necessary book work and, for the kids, play outside with friends and goats and chickens, while I frantically tried to weed-whack the fence to keep the goats IN their pen and out of my garden. It involved me peeling people away from the drug that is the electronic device to help me attempt to zip tie our garden fence shut so that the chickens could stop scratching happily in my beets and kohlrabi, then getting a haircut no one noticed but made me feel good.
After that it was pulling everyone together for a family picture only to have one member bow out, making the photo a no-go. Then it was sweet times with the kids' aunty and uncles slowly drawing out my introverted child, engaging her and connecting, cooking with my new sister and hugging my niece.
And now I can look back on the highlights and know that they were worth all the behind the scenes emotion, drama and stress. The good things have been elevated by their contrast with the difficult: they are more victorious and beautiful in their triumph. Yes, it's good to reflect on and share this fuller, bigger picture.
|I'm not going to try to photo shop out the burn scar on his hand, the dirt or the dry skin. That's part of him in all his frog-catching glory.|
|These are the dahlias that won't give up. these guys keep on blooming. And my daughter and niece found a dandelion and a buttercup today!|
|Cousins. I'm so thankful Maia has a little cousin she can grow up with. We'll be sad if they move.|
|My brothers discovered that the willow tree we planted on my parents' property 8 or years ago has been enjoyed by a beaver. If he doesn't finish tonight, I will be wrapping chicken wire around it tomorrow.|
|Yes, the clouds were that amazing today.|