The Inadequacy Illusion


Do you ever find yourself feeling inadequate in today’s era of social media?  I know I do.  Actually I don’t think I need social media to feel inadequate from time to time, but I do think it can exacerbate things which is why I’m trying to limit my use of it.  Anyway, the following is a list of the things that make me feel inadequate on a regular basis.

inadequate mom

I laughed! But in all seriousness, I don’t do crunchy mom blogs because I can only imagine how inadequate they would make me feel.  I ain’t got time for that.

  • I’m 20 lbs overweight
  • I don’t eat as healthily as I should (though pretty well by American standards)
  • I hate running
  • My jeans are not a single digit size anymore
  • I hate decorating, crafts, scrap-booking, & all that cutesy stuff
  • I get frustrated with my toddler way more than I feel like I “should”
  • I don’t eat all organic, non-GMO or use only all-natural products . . . or even really care to do so
  • I have no interest in going back to school for a master’s or doctorate degreedont compare

And the following is a list of reasons why all of the above are basically nonsense

  • I’m stronger than the average woman
  • I eat a lot more healthily than I used to
  • I love lifting weights & taking long walks
  • I’m not defined by the size of jeans I wear . . . And I AM working on losing weight because I know it is important for my long-term health.
  • Anyone who judges me for not being a “Pinterest mom” isn’t my friend anyway
  • Toddlers are frustrating by definition . . . But also sweet & adorable, thankfully!
  • Listen, we’re all dying some day.  Sure it’s great to be as healthy as possible but I’m not going to obsess over every little ingredient in my life . . . Besides, arsenic is 100% natural- & it will surely kill you.  So yeah, there’s that.
  • I have the rest of my life to work or go back to school . . . But my baby will only be little once, so I’m going to soak up these years while I can because I know they’ll be gone before I know it.pinterest mom

Moreover, I’m trying to remind myself that for every time I feel bad about myself for one of the above reasons, there is probably someone out there who wishes she (or he) had my life.  I refuse to berate myself for having feelings of inadequacy because that’s just a never-ending cycle of guilt that gets me nowhere, but I AM trying to take a step back & think about all the many wonderful things in my life & how grateful I am to be where I am today.  At the end of the day, I think we all have this illusion that our lives are inadequate in one way or another- & we just need to learn that it’s just that- an illusion.  I might not be as patient as I wish I were- but at least I’m aware of it & working on it.  I might not be the perfect embodiment of attachment parenting- or any other parenting model, for that matter- but I’m trying my best & I have a happy, healthy child who is proof that I must be doing something right.  And right now, that is good enough for me.

 

Turn Off the Radio


Last week I was fooling around on YouTube & in the process stumbled across a few songs off the latest album from the Floridian rock band A Day to Remember.  ADTR is a band I’d heard about for years but had never really listened to until last week.  Once I heard songs like BullfightParanoia, & Naivety, I knew this was a band I definitely needed to add to my musical library.  After a quick Google search I realized the band had just released a brand new album at the beginning of this month (which includes all of the aforementioned songs).  Cue a trip to Best Buy where the album was on sale for $9.99!bad_vibrations

One of the reasons this album has continued to remain on almost constant replay for me for a week now is because of the great variety of musical styles the band employs on the record.  Songs like Naivety are considerably more punk whereas songs like Bad Vibrations & Exposed are much harder & remind me a lot of Parkway Drive (which is a great compliment since their 2015 album Ire is definitely a favorite of mine).  adtr

Like all great albums, this one just gets better with repeated listens.  One of the gems I’ve discovered the more I’ve listened to the album is the tenth song Turn Off the Radio.  With all of the distracting & divisive messages that confront us every time we log on to social media or watch/read the news (be it newspaper, radio, TV, or the internet), this song could not be more relevant right now.  At the same time, as with any truly great song, the message is timeless.  There’s never been a time in history when greater genuine conversation & connection between human beings hasn’t been needed.  But in today’s modern world of social media, texting, online dating, etc, the need for this message has only been amplified.  (Just to be clear, I don’t think any of these technologies are bad.  We just need to learn to use them in a wise, productive manner, & we shouldn’t allow them to take us away from real person to person interaction.)  us vs them

I for one know I struggle to not be an ostrich with my head in the sand but also not be overwhelmed with all of the negativity in the world today.  But this song is a great reminder to me that so much of what the media feeds us is just junk, whether it be crappy pop music or divisive politics or any other number of media diversions.divisive-media

Take a moment to check out the lyrics below.  And of course give the song a listen.  And remember, as Aristotle once said,“it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”  So turn off the radio & have a real conversation with someone, even if they disagree with you.  You never know what you might learn.adtr-2016

T-T-T-Turn off the radio

There’s something missing
There’s an anger living half the world away
I hope you listen for a person
With perspective that isn’t always the same

No need to water it down right now
You play the victim, but it’s all a charade
Times they, they are a-changin’
Get your things in order, or get out the way

And it goes on & on & on

Turn off the radio
Till they’ve got something real to say
Turn off the radio
To clear my mind & let me think
I need an answer, I’ve got the questions
Can’t anyone out there just relate?
Turn off the radio
Turn off the radio

There’s a division in our culture that we live with every day
We’re just people eating people, such a sick sad world we live in today
All I know’s I wanna be everything expected of me
So everyone we can agree somebody out there understands me

And it goes on & on & on

Turn off the radio
Till they’ve got something real to say
Turn off the radio
To clear my mind & let me think
I need an answer, I’ve got the questions
Can’t anyone out there just relate?
Turn off the radio
Turn off the radio

Someone out there if you’re listening
We’re the victims of our indifference
Tell us more without controlling
What we think with what you’re showing

Turn off the radio
Till they’ve got something real to say
Turn off the radio
To clear my mind & let me think
I need an answer, I’ve got the questions
Can’t anyone out there just relate?
Turn off the radio
Turn off the radioadtr-logo

 

All Kinds of Kinds


Now some point a finger and let ignorance linger/If they’d look in the mirror they’d find/That ever since the beginning to keep the world spinning/It takes all kinds of kinds . . . ~ Miranda Lambert’s All Kinds of Kinds

People take different roads seeking fulfillment & happiness.  Just because they are not on your road does not mean they are lost.  ~ Dalai Lama

Dalai lama quote

Currently my mind is awash with various ideas that I want to write about but nothing much of value seems to be coming out of all this muddle.  You know that feeling when you have so many ideas that you can’t really settle on any of them?  Yeah, that’s where I am right now.  It’s times like this that I so desperately need to write & yet often when my mind is so overwhelmed like this I sit down to write & the words run away from me the way I run from a snake when I see one.

In all of this madness the two quotes at the beginning of this post keep coming back to me.  I’ve heard that Miranda Lambert song on the radio a few times lately & I keep finding myself looking it up on YouTube to listen to it again because the words strike such a chord with me.  The Dalai Lama quote is something I came across on Facebook last week & instantly loved.  This idea that there is no one right way for everyone is one of those universal truths that as an adult I keep stumbling upon.  I stay stumbling upon because it’s an idea that I really cherish & yet it’s one that I think we all struggle to really remember from day to day.  I don’t have any scientific backing for this, but I’m pretty sure it’s wired into our DNA somewhere to compare ourselves to each other, perhaps women being the worst perpetrators here.  As much as I love the internet & truly believe that social media can enhance our lives for the better, sadly such things can also encourage that innate drive to compare ourselves to everyone around us.  The unfortunate result of such comparisons is usually one of two things.  First, we often find ourselves feeling inadequate because we inevitably see others who we PERCEIVE are prettier, skinnier, richer, smarter, more successful, etc than ourselves.  Second, we often find ourselves criticizing others because we do not agree with certain aspects of our lives.  I believe it is a sign of our own insecurity that we are so often quick to judge others instead of relishing the fact that not everyone is just like us.  Instead of feeling either inadequate or self-righteous when we see others living differently than us, we ought to be thankful that in truth “to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds.”  Just think how boring the world would be if we were all alike?  One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life is that when I open myself up to new ideas, new ways of thinking, & new experiences, that is when I really learn & that is often when I feel most alive.

Now I realize this thought process could lead to some dangerous territory if we took it too literally.  Obviously there are some things like child molestation & murder that as a society we have to reject as immoral.  We cannot accept ALL behaviors or else the world would be even more chaotic than it already is.  As with almost everything in life, it all comes back to “everything in moderation.”  I truly believe if we could all learn these concepts, the world would be a better, more peaceful place.

As I’m writing this I sincerely hope I don’t come across as arrogant or preachy.  I’m as guilty of not following these principles as anyone.  But I’m working on it.  And that’s what matters: the everyday continual process of effecting change, & that process always starts inside each & every one of us.  As with everything, some days it will be easier than others.  And some days it will be harder.  I am grateful that I have so many friends from so many different walks of life with so many different belief systems who continually challenge me & help me to become more & more tolerant, educated, & compassionate toward the world at large.  Y’all know who you are.  And I thank you for accepting my Type A, mildly OCD (but only about some things!), high-anxiety, questionably crazy kind.