Friday, August 26, 2011

Thoughts of the Week - Letting Go of Looking Good

At pick-up on Monday afternoon, Taylor's teacher informed me that she had received a "cloudy day" for not staying on task and completing her assignments, and that if her lack of focus continued, she would have to be placed on a work contract.  Our conversation was brief and to the point, but it sent me reeling into hyper-active over-reaction mode as per usual.  Of course there was a reason to be concerned about our little day-dreamer, but probably not to the extent that I took it.  The next morning I woke up, certain I'd feel better but only felt worse.  My heart and head felt so burdened it was hard to even focus.

I called my sister to wish her a happy birthday and after we hung up I realized that it was the anniversary of the death of my older brother.  Of course my heart was a little heavier that day.  When my brother died our family was still broken, trying to repair itself.  My brother had graduated from UCLA, my sister was married and I was about to go away to UCSB.  We were for all intents and purposes, trying our best to lead healthy, normal lives, rebounding as a family of a recovering alcoholic.  When he died it was the reminder that no matter how far we've come, we still came from some shitty circumstances.  Fifteen years later we are as healthy as a familial unit as we can be.  My brother is a successful MBA graduate, married to probably the sweetest girl you will ever meet and they have 2 amazing kids.  My sister has tapped into a well of compassion I never knew she had, adopting 4 children in addition to their 1 birth son.  And me, well you all get to see about me.  It makes me so sad that my oldest brother never got to see us healed, and it makes me sadder that he couldn't be a part of it.

While for the most part we are healed, we each still have our "stuff".  Last summer when I visited the life-coach for a brief second, she told me on my first visit my problem was that I was too concerned with perfection and that I needed to let go of looking good.  How ironic, considering my career was centered in an industry completely dedicated to making people look good.  Call it pshyco-babble, but she did have a point and it was easy to see that when you come from a mess, it's a natural reaction to try to make everything neat, tidy and pretty.

So why am I spilling all of this?  Isn't this a lifestyle blog Andrea?  Shouldn't you be focusing on fashion, food and other pretty things?  Blogging 101 tells you that if I wanted to make this blog a raging success I probably should just stick to that stuff.  But as much as I love the pretty, the pretty isn't always the truth or reality.  We all have our "stuff" no matter how perfect we try to make our lives appear on a blog.  On Tuesday I wanted to write this out here, but I wasn't ready, so I wrote about preserving your child's artwork because that's just easier and well, prettier.  But I don't want this place to ever become just a showcase for pretty.  So at least for today I'm letting go of looking good and embracing who I am, where I come from and how far I've come.

Have a great weekend everyone.  I for one am definitely ready for it.    
  

28 comments:

  1. Thanks for keeping it real. I'll be praying for your family.

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  2. real is ALWAYS the prettiest!
    i am glad you shared what was on your heart, andrea. i have no doubt that your words will bless someone else today more that you could know, and I think that is perfection! -xo

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  3. You are keeping it real. And if *YOU* can let go of looking good, then we all can!! Hope you find some peace in your healing! Loss is hard no matter how long it has been!

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  4. i wish we would all keep it real more often. it's so much pressure, perfection. and even when no one is telling me to aim for it, there i am, trying anyway.

    this is such a well-written post, so beautiful in its authenticity. thank you for sharing your heart this morning. these words were just what i needed to hear.

    here's to a weekend that will renew and rejuvenate.

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  5. Andrea, I learned this lesson the VERY difficult way. I'll share on my blog some day... maybe. It took my husband telling me he no longer recognized the woman he was married to. I was so overly concerned about perfection. Everything needed to be "just so".

    Reading about your loss breaks my heart, and I'm sorry that your family had to suffer through such a tough time. Sharing this on your blog will be healing for someone though. Thank you for writing it!

    I hope you know that one can love style AND balance that with the realness of life and being authentic. I think you do that well.

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  6. You are just real and that's why your readers enjoy your blog so much. I'm sorry for your family's hardships. And just so know the whole purpose for blog started from a place of cancer, asperger's, miscarriage and lupus...not such pretty stuff either. It's life. Wishing you better days ahead.

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  7. Letting go looks great on you friend! Your honest helps others tremendously, just as it helps you to release it.
    xoxo

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  8. Amen Miranda. I love you, Andrea.

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  9. The whole purpose of your blog is to have a space to be honest and real and express yourself. The way you just beautifully shared is such an encouragement to anyone who also has a healing family. My parents are divorced and it's been a lot of years of pain and heartache so I can relate on a small level. Thank you for being willing to share!! Love you!

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  10. i love this post for so many reasons. there is so much "perfection" out here in the blogosphere that people forget what "real" looks & feels like. I personally prefer real to 'perfect & pretty' its nice on the outside but i want to get to know YOU. thats why i read this. I enjoy reading blogs because of the realness and how I'm reminded either that things aren't all that bad or I'm allowed to glimpse the joy in other peoples lives, how they over came a struggle that I could learn from and just see the reality from a different perspective.
    I hope you have a great and relaxing weekend. Have no fear about your day dreamer, when my Sweet Pea was that age we were told (and sometimes still are) she needs to "focus and work faster" but we learned she works at the pace thats best for her and her test scores say she understands so...she'll be fine =)
    best,
    Ambs

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  11. You keep it real, girl! It's a part of your story...and I never just read the middle chapters of any book that I like. ; )

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  12. I love this post. It is honest and real. I think you've touched deeply on what "blogland" has become. I know for myself, the first time I started to write a couple years ago that's all I noticed or wanted (sponors, money, tons of followers). Now that I'm attempting to write again, I do it with honesty and mostly to document our family. I'm sure eventually I'll throw in the fluff but I hope I always keep it honest and real. Even if that means I'll never be uber successful. Just know that when you write posts like these, this is what keeps me reading. Granted I love your fashion ideas, DIY, etc., etc., but I love your heartfelt posts more. Just saying :)

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  13. I've only read your blog in the last few months, and haven't had time to go back to older posts. What little I've learned of you in this time is all good, real and encouraging. Learning of you has helped me learn FROM you, and I appreciate your words and honesty, no matter the subject. I don't believe that real is always pretty, but it's always right. I, too, come from some shitty circumstances, and I wake up every day with the hope that I'm on the right path to break that cycle. Love, prayers, well-wishes and good vibes coming your way, when you ask, and even when you don't.

    Vanessa

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  14. I think these other ladies have said it well. Being real is important.

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  15. oh my gosh you guys, thank you so much for all of your words of encouragement. While we're keeping it real, on Tuesday I told my mom that Taylor was not her child and stop acting like she is (she was offering advice on dealing with our daydreamer). I think that's probably the most insensitive thing I could have ever said or done, especially on the day her first born died. I feel terrible and something about writing this out, and all your words have shown me I need to call her up and apologize. Life is too short and we need to cherish the ones we love today, here and now. I'm off to make a phone call. Thanks again everyone. Much love to you all XO

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  16. When you mentioned that part about coming from a mess, its a natural reaction to try to make everything neat, totally hit me in the face. I never thought of it that way. I also come from a mess from my past, and now everything for me needs to be neat, tidy, and pretty... I truly never thought of it that way.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I love it when I read real posts from people. Helps connect everyone.

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  17. Oh friend, I love your honest posts! Thank you for being brave and sharing your tough day! Praying your weekend is full of laughter and fun! XO

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  18. It's very insightful of you to realize where your love of pretty packages come from. We all have our demons, but only a few of us are brave enough to let them show. You're one of them. I hope I get to see you tonight?

    {{hugs}}

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  19. You are who you are because of where you've come from. All of it is important, mot just the pretty parts: ) Glad you shared, so sorry to read of your pain. As for the comment to your mom--we all say things we don't mean sometimes and when it comes to our kids it's especially hard. Forgive yourself because I'm sure your mom already has: )

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  20. Oh boy, I remember these days. I forget what grade your daughter is in...2nd? I remember when my son was in 1st grade and I would get so sensitive when the teacher would say anything negative or let me say anything not positive about him.... We had to have a ticket contract... green, yellow or red... Everyday he came home with a color and we has to access his day... Usually it was a green ticket with a red ticket attached to it... ugh... it made me mad... poor guy... these days eventually pass... but my sensitivity where my kids are concerned never does... I just try to hold it together for longer periods of time.. You're not alone!!

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  21. Well you've never looked "prettier" to me. Thanks for sharing what's been on your heart this week friend. That's a lot of stuff to deal with and I'm sorry. I will keep your parents (and you of course) in my prayers this week as you honor your brothers memory. If I may add, my personal belief is that our loved ones that are no longer with us DO get to see us. I am confident that Branden's father can see the wonderful man and father he is today just like your brother can see the wonderful, caring and healed family you all are now.

    I look forward to talking about your action plan for Taylor. Jack has 1 more week of summer and then we are back to school.

    Thank you for the invite this morning and I'm sad it didn't work out to get together. maybe next week or the week after :-)

    xoxo

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  22. Being real is looking Good....way beter than the perfect receipe...or prettiest house....or cutest outfit. I respect and love your blog that much more because you can right this.
    Maria

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  23. Thank you for a beautiful, honest and insightful post. It gave me a lot to think about myself.

    Hope you have a relaxing and restful weekend.

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  24. I think I may be your long lost sister from the east coast! So much of what you write about, I can relate to. For me blogging is about making a connection with real women and moms. We are all just trying to figure it out. Sometimes we have to make mistakes to grow. I over-react all the time...I over-think all the time...I second guess myself all the time...

    So glad I found your blog...I like real life stuff because real life is not always pretty and fun. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Andrea what an amazing post. You are an incredible writer. I am sorry for the loss you have suffered, my heart was aching as I was reading your story. I also think your family's success in building your lives in your own healthier way is very inspiring.
    I loved meeting you last night and now I am happy I can come by here anytime and say hello. I hope our paths cross in 'real' life again soon.
    xoleslie

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  26. Hi Andrea. I had no idea your family had been through so much. Sorry to know that you've had to live through some of that, but I'm glad to know you have a great network of family and friends that I've read about on your blog. As for the pretty...I'd rather have REAL that pretty any day of the week. We all have our "cloudy days" after all.

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  27. beautifully shared, andrea!
    for me, the pretty things are even sweeter after trudging through a mess. praying for you as you press on. you are awesome and i appreciate you.

    xo

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  28. LOVE this post. i know you wrestle with exactly what to blog about and how much to put out there in the personal realm. but from where i stand, even though i LOVE your "pretty" posts and am all about your amazing ideas, there is something in your more personal writing that is moving and powerful. you're very good at writing the "real" stuff, and that is an opportunity for influence worth considering...maybe once you split off, you'll feel more space on Four Flights for that kind of reflection. Love you.

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