Saturday, December 21, 2013

liz lemon: "our lady of having it all" and other musings

I'm having a lot of thoughts. What else is new? My life is mostly thoughts. The other part is focusing on acting human and fitting into society so people will leave me alone, to my thoughts. Hah. My brain is trying it's best to digest the lessons and goings on of my busy school year and the looming change of life ahead. My brain is loosening it's tendrils on my thoughts and they are popping their heads out like woodland creatures, getting ready to be dealt with. 

My hair is tangled.

I forgot/ was too lazy to take off my makeup from yesterday.

I'm in a T-shirt covered in paint.

I'm wearing one of many yoga pants that were residing on the floor beside my bed.

This is one of my favorite looks for myself because it means this:

 I have two almost unfettered weeks of yoga pants and painty-shirt wearing in front of me because it's CHRISTMAS BREAK, baby! (Now I get that some people do not get a break around the holidays except that actual days (aka T only has Christmas Day and New Year's Day off) so you might be shaking your head in disgust at me. Go ahead. Shake away. The joy of being a teacher!

I have been awake since 5:15. I'm not complaining. This is my internal stress clock at work. It keeps me from missing my alarm and gets me to work on time. Hopefully this will dissipate so I can sleep a little over the next few weeks but whatevs. (I didn't have to set an alarm so that is a huge win.)

So one of the thoughts that is trying to escape the "brain tendrils" can best be summed up in Liz Lemon fashion:

(art work society 6)

Our lady of having it all. 

The notion of "having it all". 

For women, "having it all" is the dream, right? 

(and Liz Lemon is an awesomely hilarious depiction of what attempting to have it all actually looks like…stress acne, poor health and eating habits, skipping out on actual people to spend time with tv friends…um, this is all too familiar)

As we stomp over all the shattered ceiling glass I sense this general attitude of female Millenials saying "we have to do it all otherwise we're weak. Now that we can officially follow our dreams right out of the kitchen, we must look to society to tell us which dreams are worthwhile and which ones aren't glass ceiling approved!"

Don't get me wrong. This isn't a "women shouldn't work and should stay at home and have babies" post and "working moms are evil" post. No no no no no. There is no choosing sides here. I don't think any female is so black and white put into a category anyways. 

Getting older has made me begin to really get to know myself and know my limits. As in….(drum roll) I'm not the type of person who can (in the mainstream perspective) "have it all"

Let me elaborate. In my idea "having it all" means this:

1. you are married
2. you have a job that pays equal to what your husband makes if not more
3. you go on to additional schooling
4. you buy a nice house
5. you spawn children (multiple!)
6. you manage during this time of marrying, house buying, grad schooling, and child spawning to SAVE MONEY and make Dave Ramsey your bestie. 
7.  you have an obligatory social group in which you compete (cough) I mean spend time with.
8. health is important to you. you belong to a gym (or whatever is popular at the moment be it kettle bells, cross fit, running marathons, what  have you).
9. you eat healthfully and at home all the while being super organized. 
10. Family is still, somehow, your number one priority.

So for MYSELF, this sounds like a nightmare I could never in a million years manage to keep up with. In life I can focus on two things, MAYBE three, max. And even then "focused" might not be accurate. I think a more apt description would be maybe a percentage of energies or attention paid to. There is 100% worth of energies and this is what it looks like right now: (on any given day, except maybe a Saturday)

1. Thought life/spiritual life/dreaming/scheming: (all of which are very important to me)


2. Marriage: 20%

3. Work:45% (being at work, coming home and emailing to and about work, lesson planning, preparing for next day)

4.  Maintenance tasks like bathing, folding laundry, make up, hair, cleaning or cooking, lunch packing:

5. Keeping up other relationships: (phone, text, emails)

6. And, being real honest, the last 7% goes to television and rocking myself in a corner trying to get my introvert brain geared up for more the next day. 

Realistically there isn't room for "it all". Ok? Some men and women are able to have 200% energy throughout the day and keep coming back for more. That restores some people. For me, I get depleted. Currently I'm in need of being hooked up to a yoga pants IV drip. I need time for my thoughts to wander and work on something creative. That's when my mind rights itself and my spirit stretches back out and uncrumples itself. Space. Quiet. Then I'm ready to be busy again. Don't get me wrong. The idea of sitting on the couch all day everyday or sitting at the computer all day every day isn't inviting. I love to be busy, to be useful. I think maybe my brain is ready for a different challenge, a different way of life. 

Realistically? This is what I'm gonna yell at myself Major Payne style in the mirror each morning: "Pick the things that are most important and get to the other stuff when you can. Rest when you need to and work when you need to. Don't be a control freak and don't be lazy. If something's gotta give, let it give and don't look back". 

Don't let what gives be prayer/God/church because that hasn't worked in the past. 

The things that are most important will change as your life and circumstances change. 

What I know now that maybe I didn't know growing up is that the people who are all physical energy and the people who have more creative energy are of equal importance. We need both thoughts and actions to make the world go. What we don't need is all action driven by zero thought or all thoughts with no subsequent action. 

I want to kick punch the glorification of busy and having it all right out of my life and see it for what it is.


All the thoughts, still happening.

I am fearfully and excitedly trying to make some changes in my priorities. Who knows. Maybe at this time next year my life will look totally different?

(in Liz Lemon's defense, "having it all" was just having a job and a family and I think that's pretty darn doable. You go Glen Coco, er Liz Lemon). 

until next time,