Though he doesn't look it, Mitch is 4 years younger than I am. He wasn't able to legally drink alcohol when we began our relationship. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't sensitive to how people arrange these facts in their minds, how they write the story. As a defense mechanism, I sometimes try to write it first. I say I robbed the cradle, or call myself a cougar to beat them to the punchline. Sometimes I tell the story that he is an old soul, vastly older than me in ways that truly matter. And of course, by telling these stories I'm feeding the lie that it does...that his age matters.
I make up stories when life is tough too. When things are overwhelming, I call it a "season." I adopt a survival attitude, and just hang on till it's over. I tell the story that this part doesn't count. Then I check out. By telling this story, I'm feeding the lie that only the good parts matter. I'm feeding the lie that there are exclusively good parts and bad parts.
The trouble with this kind of storytelling that I'm prone to, is that it's mostly reactive. Until a few days ago, I had been on a storytelling binge about how life is mostly about keeping Phoenix fed, trying to sleep as much as we can, and making enough money. So when I wasn't doing those things, I was watching Netflix...like all day...in my pajamas. I wrote it out of the story as time that didn't matter. The part that wasn't good or interesting.
I know better. I know a better way. It requires trying to share the truth as simply as possible. It demands that I not embellish or omit to alter how others think of me. It requires integrity. I want to quit TELLING stories, and LIVE a better one instead.
My story's heroine, that's me, is taking on a challenge until April. On Sunday, I decided to take something on, and give something up, and so far I'm going strong.
1. taking on: Getting dressed
I'm embarrassed that this is a goal I have to set for myself, but it's where I am. I'm tired of using motherhood or lack of a social life, or any other pathetic excuse to not get ready for the day like it matters. Part of me mentally choosing to treat the day like it matters is to brush my teeth, put on deodorant, clean and make up my face a little, tame the hair, and actually get dressed. Jammie days will still happen. They're a fun treat, and I love to indulge. Just not on the regular.
2. Giving up: television
I love me some shows. Netflix makes it easy to binge. It got out of hand. When April comes around I will be exploring a more balanced way to enjoy some shows without devoting whole days or even chunks of days to watching them. Until then, I felt like a severe fast was in order.
The fact is, I'm in a relationship with myself, Mitch, and Phoenix, and we're doing every day together, whether I've decided that day matters or not. I'm going to practice keeping that in mind. I'm going to practice living the best I can because it matters, and leave the storytelling out of it.
P.S. A new friend reminded me, Spring is around the corner. No need to feel guilty for how I've been or lose sight of the fact that it will change...it's not going to last forever. Here's to Spring, fresh starts, and a challenge or two.