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23 March 2009

A number of thoughts

Down the hill day. Sigh. What i find harder, is when i left last week i had had no one, no work last week (2 cancellations) & no one was scheduled this week either. I wanna stay home! However, i probably have people scheduled by now. At least one of those cancellations has rescheduled by now, i'm sure. And i've two others that probably will see me this week as well.

No, no, this was not yesterday's snow. I'm reminding myself that i'm thankful that we do not have this amount of snow. 'Cause it is possible. March (2006) the year before we moved here evidently had a big snowfall.

And, i'm thankful we don't have this yet, either. I'm worried our trees will bloom too soon, because we lost all the apples on this tree last year due to snow/freeze the very end of May.

The blog party continues. It is interesting. Also interesting why the different ones are involved. Some are doing it for the freebies/give aways. I haven't even looked at the whole list of items, largely because i never seem to win anything anyway. From what i've read from the folks who do list prizes, nearly everyone wants the mixer. Some folks want to connect with others & develop new friendships (i fall in this category).

There are lots of people sharing money-saving tips & advice on coupons & such. Some of them i find helpful, particularly environmentally-based ones, others are not so much. I never buy processed, boxed "food" items, so coupons on those things are not a savings.

I'm enjoying ones on photography. Keara is one. Check her out! Another that i found thru Pioneer Woman is Deb. Her stuff is beautiful. I so enjoy ones with pics. I've started using pics more often. They don't turn out as well on blogger as they do on some other sites. But then i really enjoy ones with good writing.

Also weight loss. I think i'll be following those. And more, sometimes, even with someone i haven't much in common, i get caught by their writing &/or adventures & so stay. I want to know where "their story" will go.

My mother did her daughters a great disservice.

Let me start with a disclaimer. My mother's childhood was sad. She was one of 11 children & she never felt she had the love or concern of her parents. She felt overshadowed by her younger, prettier sister. She was frequently compared to others & always felt she came up short. She was raped at a young age. The stories from her childhood are a list of sadness. Thus, she really did not have the equipment to be healthy or know how to do healthy parenting.

But the disservice of which i'm currently speaking was that she constantly compared us unfavorably to others. When i was growing up, she was continually praising two other girls my age, first Brenda, then Lori. She told me what good grades Brenda got, & how many Bible verses Brenda memorized (enough to send her to camp for free), & what a good voice Brenda had, & on & on & on. Now, i didn't like Brenda all that much to begin with, but after hearing her praised so much i actively hated her. Then later Brenda was dropped for Lori. Lori lived in our neighborhood & was in my class. She move into our neighborhood when i was a junior, i think. I had known her thru school several years already, & knew that i didn't like her too much. (She was in the "in" group, & i, definitely, was not. She was in the group that made fun of me a lot.) I also heard about her good grades, & what colleges she had been accepted to, & what a good job she had lined up, etc. It was painful to be negatively compared to someone who had so actively disdained me.

In both cases, it was my profound wish that my mother had Brenda or Lori for a daughter instead of me. Obviously i was a deep disappointment to her. Many years later i talked to my mother about this & her response was, "But you were so much better than they were! I was just trying to get you to do better!" Well, it backfired.

She did the same with her daughters. I didn't know it, but she praised my voice to one sister, & artistic ability to the other. Each of those sisters felt diminished as tho my mother was saying they were less than me. But my mother NEVER told me she thought i had a good voice or i was artistic. I always felt diminished in her presence, lacking, a disappointment.

Ok, that was a long time ago. What's that got to do with the price of tea in China, or anything else?

I am just now starting to realize how much this effected my life. How jealous i am of others. How much i compare myself negatively. Oh, i don't do this openly. But it really effects my thinking. Pioneer Woman can be up 10 minutes & have 50 comments, all saying how wonderful she is. So i feel less. I'm not her. Someone i know is beautiful & thin & young & pregnant & sweet & a delight. And i am not. I'm not her. Several others i know lived their lives with good choices, so that they achieved "The American Dream" early - happy marriages, children, homes, financial security, peace (so it seems to me on the outside looking in). I did not make good choices early. I am not a "success." I am not them.

If this sounds self-pitying, i suppose it is, but that is not usually my primary thought/feeling. Usually it is just how much i am less. I am not the things the world considers a success. And, weird as it seems, i don't think i even realized this is my thought process until a couple of weeks ago. Ok, yes, i knew i tended to be jealous of others sometimes. I knew that my life looks pale compared to theirs. And i would try to counter these thoughts with all the things i'm grateful for & all the blessings i've been given.

The funny thing is, i truly am grateful. I am thankful each & every day for my wonderful husband, for being able to wake up next to him, for our home, for our lives, that our lifestyle "works," & all the blessings we have. He & i fit together in a way i never expected or dreamed. I'm thankful for my relationship with Jesus, & faith (however small) in God. I'm thankful for his gifts.

And yet, in my head constantly runs this litany of comparisons. I'm not talking about "keep up with the Jones" attitude. I don't want a fancy car or house to impress others. I don't want lots of clothes or "stuff." My deep desire is to live as simply as possible.

The comparisons are more general. "Her daughter is two months younger than Kaylee would be." "Her son was born 3 months before Kaylee was due." "Wow, she writes really well. People really like her. (They don't like me.)" "Oh, what gorgeous pics. (Mine can't compare.)"

When others are praised, i totally agree, but i feel diminished. Last summer i was lunching with a friend. The owner of the restaurant is very friendly. She came by. My friend, Kimmy, is stunning. She is a former model. The owner greeted us, & then said, "You are beautiful! You are just wonderful." Then she turned to me & asked if i didn't agree. Well, of course i do, & i agree warmly. But a cold voice in my head says, "Not you. You are short, & fat, & dumpy, & plain."

When someone else's voice is praised, i sometimes want to say, "Wait! I sing really well too!"

I think this has been more clear to me, this thought process, since i began reading so many blogs. In other words, so many other people to compare myself to. The list of things that i am "not" could go on for pages.

But, it doesn't end there. Now that i'm aware of this, & i know it is sin, it is my job to counter it. Not to say, "Oh yes, i'm beautiful." Not to say, "I'm just as good." Or any other self-praise. I believe it is to counter the thought with: "That is jealousy. That is sin." "That is self-pity. That is sin." And, most importantly, "God does not compare as i am doing. What i am doing is sin. God made me just as i am, & he loves me just as i am, & he sent Jesus to die for me just as i am. He sent Jesus to die for this very sin of jealousy & self-pity."

I believe, that if i can begin doing this, daily, hourly, minute by minute, God can help me see myself thru his eyes. I can learn my proper place in him.

It was my intent to write about trust in God (or possibly lack of trust). Also about my conversation with my sis last night about being loved. But this is already long, & i need to start my day.

Happy "down the hill" Monday!


1 comment:

Stacey said...

This is an honest and touching post. I'm glad you shared it. I think we can all relate in some way to what you've written here.

It is certainly very hurtful to be compared to others, and oh I know what it's like to be in the presence of others who are constantly praised for their looks, talents, etc. Even though I've finally grown up to feel somewhat comfortable with myself now, sometimes those old jealousies still creep in. I still look at others who seem to have the "perfect" life with children and I don't see that in reality they have struggles too.

Thanks for sharing! Hope you are bundled up - I'm sending warm thoughts from Texas! :)