Wednesday, August 4, 2010

into the great wide open

Man, it has been a while since I nagged or lectured you guys. It makes me feel all itchy and agitated. I could tell you about how I am the new Irrigation Mayor of our house, or about the giant disaster that is my garden, or about my chickens who are too stupid to learn that grasshoppers are a food source. I could tell you about the gorgeous new baby goats we got (technically we merely transported them), one of whom loves me as much as I love him (a lot), or about the delightful people in the campground Monday night who were swearing at each other about how their dogs (two chihuahuas, of course) need leashes and brush your damn teeth and show some respect, little boy. I could tell you lots of things. But here's this tip instead: pick the right tool for the job.

What I mean, more specifically, is to be careful which measuring stick you use to gauge your success as a human being. It may be a perfectly serviceable measuring stick. It may be a favorite of your parents, or your sister, or your neighbor, or your friend, or Madonna, but that doesn't mean it will work for you. And if you use the wrong one it will ruin your life. This is a lesson I have to be taught over and over again, and it goes hand-in-hand with another lesson I keep forgetting, which is this: that person whose approval you want most and can't ever seem to win probably doesn't deserve your efforts.

If the stick you're using keeps telling you there's something wrong with you or your kids or your house, well, unless that stick fell right from heaven into your hand, then get rid of it. Get a different stick, because that stick sucks. And if everybody else in your life thinks you're great, but there's that one holdout who thinks you're a screw-up, despite all the good you do, well, that's Lucille Bluth and she can cram it with walnuts.

I say this because I spent yesterday doing almost everything right, and at the end of the day I cried because I was so depressed. So, a hearty Bronx cheer to that.

Anybody who really is doing a crappy job or being a crappy person can disregard my advice.


Sarah said...

Nothing I say could possibly be as funny, yet insightful, as your post. Just know that I really appreciate your measuring stick analogy, since I generally use all the sticks of people who are good at all the things I'm not. I always come up wanting.

This actually reminds me of a conversation I had with Steven once. I was talking about our amazing parents (the ones to whom we're both related) and I said, "Man, if they are the bar for getting into the heaven, I don't stand a chance!" Steven responded, "Maybe that's just the bar for them."

At that moment, and lots of times since, I realized that my "good enough" can't be measured against another person's bar. I still need to work and improve (like, allatime. Just ask my kids...), but I can't feel like a failure just because "I'm not as good as _______(insert name of beautiful, talented mother of 10, who has hope, love, charity and everything else I dont...)"

Just remember, Layne: "You're good enough. You're smart enough. And gosh darnit, people like you."

amy greenway said...

That was truly JUST the epistle I needed to read today. I'm pretty sure I need to make a copy of it and tuck it right between Obadiah and Jonah. Perhaps another copy should be wrapped around the stick and hurled at the measurer. or not.

Tori said...

My postpartum funk and I really needed to read exactly what you wrote. Thank you.