Friday, 15 March 2013

Why Can't We Admit That Our Lives Aren't Perfect?

Sad WomanA post on the New York Times blog Motherlode is getting lots of buzz today. In it, the divorced mother of a young son writes very honestly about watching other family's lives around her, on Facebook and in real life, and wondering if they're as happy as they appear or if they're merely struggling to maintain a facade of perfection.
Amy Lawton writes:
Why is it so hard to have honest conversations about things that really matter? Not politics or books or current events – those things are easy to talk about. It’s our own vulnerabilities that get stuck on our tongues. Is this true just for me?
How would you answer her?
Lawton did a fantastic job of writing about this issue by being vulnerable and open in her post, admitting that she's not at all happy with her divorced status, that she envies the families around her, and that the nights without her child seem to last forever.
But the larger issue she writes about has bothered me for years. I know that my own life is far from perfect -- I struggle as a wife, as a mom, as a stepmom. I struggle with my purpose in life and my direction. I struggle mightily to find happiness. Yet people outside my home probably would think things appear to be just wonderful.
Is this true for you, too? Why do we all feel the need to constantly convince others that we're "fine?" We're "happy?" We're "okay?"
Even when we're not.
I think the uncomfortable flip side of this issue is that most people don't really want to be around a person who's down and openly admitting it. We call them whiners ... complainers ... Debbie Downers. We're shocked by the things they admit in the car rider pick-up line or on Facebook. We're judgmental. Everyone gets a pass to complain once in a while, of course, but when someone seems to be down a lot, that person is generally avoided by others. It's sad but true.
All this doesn't really make me want to run to Facebook and write about my troubles any time soon!
Those are my thoughts on the matter. What are yours? Are you a "creeper" like Lawton, watching other families who seem to be happy together and wondering if you'll ever have that kind of happiness as well? And why do you think we have such a hard time being honest with each other about our lives?


Twelve-year-old Mary Braga prays all the time, much more than other little girls her age. Every Sunday, before she goes to the Sunday-school class taught by her own father, she cries and begs for the bad thing not to happen again. She prays that Daddy will get better, that he’ll quit hurting her in the way that makes her feel like she wants to throw up. She especially prays that her mother will figure it out and rescue her. Despite such horrific circumstances, Mary is thankful for one thing: Daddy isn’t hurting her little sister Lucy. As long as his focus is elsewhere, he won’t have a reason to…right? That’s what Mary believes, but that won’t last forever. She knows Lucy is in danger of being their father’s next victim. It’s only a matter of time. When Mary’s mother dies, the web of incest and deceit unravels, and Mary’s worst nightmare comes to life. Now it’s time for her to put aside hopes and wishes, summon courage she’s not even sure she has, and face the monster that’s ripped her life and her family apart.



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