Wednesday, January 24, 2018

ordinary

When was the last time someone gave you permission to just be... okay?

I feel like for as long as I can remember, someone or something encouraged me to excel. I wanted to get the best grades, be first chair clarinet (laughable), have a starring part in the high school musical (even more laughable, since I can't sing) and as an adult, you want to be the healthiest, prettiest, richest, always-striving-to-be-better version of you. I mean, right?

Improvement is exhausting. I mean money is great, but the effort it takes to "side hustle" or go back to school to get another degree or sell a kidney is hard. Why can't we celebrate being here, and just being... comfortable? I'd love to have invisible pores and long shiny hair and the ideal BMI. Am I not worthy of love and appreciation regardless of my appearance and size and the amount of effort I put into it? Doesn't every pinterest graphic encourage us to be ourselves? Well friends, my self is just... ordinary. I like the status quo. My house is always messy, my photography skills are awful, I don't know how to correctly apply make-up, and I don't really want to work to change any of those (though if you would like to volunteer to clean my house, I'll take you up on it).

I just want to share the ordinary. I don't want to find a life lesson in it all. I don't want to give you tips on how or why you need to be better. I just want to share with you the normal things that happen, without prettying them up, because really? 95% of most of our lives are probably ordinary, and I just want us all to be okay with that. To be more okay with being okay and having little desire to improve. Aren't we enough as we are?

I'm nearly done with reading What Made Maddy Run, which I think Carly had on her best of 2017 list. While the story of a college athlete committing suicide sounded intriguing, this book is more than I thought. While telling Maddy's story, the author, Kate Fagan, takes a detailed look into an athlete's mind - never giving up, qutting being unacceptable, always striving for greatness - and also Maddy's outward appearance. Every instagram photo was perfect, her texts were full of emojis that minimized her true feelings, she still did things with her friends that teenagers did, but inside, there was something completely different. She points out that that has become the case for all of us - we spend so much time curating our lives, putting our best selves forward, and portraying the prettiest parts of our lives - and we forget that everyone else is doing the same thing. We feel alone when we are ordinary or imperfect because we assume that everyone else's lives are naturally the way they portray them on instagram and that we are the only ones working, editing, filtering, and selecting to make ours feel that way. In reality, so much of what we are surrounded by is fabricated that we start to forget what real life looks like and then we start to forget what it feels like. How many times have you seen a moment through the lens of how you're going to caption it on instagram?

So, I want to make an effort to show more of my ordinary. The mundane things that don't make me special and the area that I am neither an expert in nor striving to improve. Places where I'm perfectly happy just being fine. My everyday circumstances that you might be feeling, too. Why can't we feel good about getting by?

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Also, you should read this book. Sharing my two favorite nuggets because they are too good not to.

"Instead of having one or two true friends that we can sit and talk to for three hours at a time, we have 968 "friends" that we never actually talk to; instead we just bounce one-line messages off them a hundred times a day. That is not friendship, this is distraction." (This is so convicting and SO TRUE for me - how can I make sure my friendships are more than that?)

"Comparing your everyday existence to someone else's highlight reel is dangerous for both of you."

11 comments:

  1. Former perpetual second chair cellist here. I'm all for being more ordinary! I read something recently (heavily paraphrasing here) that said the problem is people trying to compensate for their inadequacies by generating FOMO in others. Pretty damning, no? I am all for sharing happy and uplifting things but I am now very conscious to not do that at the expense of others. Not that I think my life is all that fabulous or anything (second chair!) but you know what I mean.

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  2. PREACH! I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I am not super cool or successful...but I'm pretty darn happy. That should count for more than it does in our society.

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  3. YES. Such a great post - Thank you for the reminder.

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  4. Ok have we discussed clarinet playing before? Because I played in middle school and Addy was mad that I used those skills to show her how to play her recorder.
    Anyway, I've been thinking about this a lot lately since we saw Lady Bird and at the prom dress buying Lady Bird asks her mom "what if this is just as good as I'm going to be." And they didn't even have social media then. So yes to all of this. Okay is okay!

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  5. This is a great reminder...some people are destined for greatness, but if I'm being honest? Most aren't. Most live in the mediocre; the average. And that should be okay! I don't need to excel and be the best at every single thing I do. As I've gotten older I've realized that, but we all need a continuous reminder.

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  6. I love all of this. I embrace my ordinariness and I am fine with it. I have no interest in being special or perfect or famous or anything other than what I am. I don't have that insane drive to be the best (honestly, I don't even know what "the best" means).

    Ordinary is genuine and honest and that's my favorite.

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  7. I can't recall a time when I wanted to be the best at something. I am not competitive and I'm not ambitious. When I say I don't understand why we can't all make it and some people need others to not make it, I mean that - I truly don't understand why someone has to be held down for someone else to feel lifted up.

    My two biggest motivators are not to excel or conquer. My two biggest motivators are injustice and anger.

    I love love LOVE ordinary stuff - reading about it, talking about it, being about it, doing it, photographing it. It is literally the fabric of our lives.

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  8. Totally know what you mean. I think about this in terms of parenting. Of course, I want my son to succeed and have a nice life, but at the same time, I don't expect him to be a CEO or a leader. I mean, we all can't be CEO's, leaders, and the best at something.

    I think this is why I am increasingly angry at Instagram influencers. I just know that each post probably took hours for them to get the perfect shot and it's just not real life.

    I definitely find it more refreshing to consume the ordinary and relatable rather than the "best of"!

    -Michelle

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  9. Ordinary is not celebrated. Extraordinary, aspirational, exceptional, perfect. Those are all things that are celebrated and that is what is reflected in social media. That's the reality of it, and it pretty much sucks because not everyone wants to be a boss lady, and nobody is actually perfect even if they pretend to be on social media.

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  10. Great post - and I love the quotes! Added the book to my "to read" list

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  11. So glad you enjoyed the book too-- it really is thought provoking in ways you might not realize before reading it. I love the idea of ordinary and can definitely relate. I'm not competitive at all, or overly ambitious about most things, and I'm more of a feeling person. It doesn't mean that I'm not going to work super hard at everything that I do, but I put more value in someone being a good person vs if they have some seemingly important job or make a lot of money or whatever.

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