5/12/13

what i can't do, won't do

jacket: old // top: F21 // belt, bangle: thrifted // skirt: Old Navy // shoes: Born similar (on sale!)

Between all my book reading I pick up a lot of stuff, bits and pieces that I absorb, little things that go into my brain and settle there or move deep into my heart. Little facts or feelings that I chew on and mull over and digest for days, for weeks, for years.

Whether it's fiction or non-fiction, the written word has a way of getting to me and getting me. If that makes any sense at all.

I'm reading Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, (who currently is one of my favorite authors to gush about), and there's this part of the book where she's talking about the habit that so many women have... the habit of comparison and killing yourself over trying to be good at everything.

"The three [words] together, DO EVERYTHING BETTER, are a super-charged triple threat, capturing in the three words the mania of modern life, the anti-spirit, anti-spiritual, soul-shriveling garbage that infects and compromises our lives..."

Shauna's words are speaking to the crowd over here. I try to do it all better and for what reason? For attention? To feel good about myself? Is it worth it?

"It's not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What's hard, she said, is figuring out what you're willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about."

So Shauna writes, in answer to all of this, she came up with a list of what she would not do. It seems kind of counter-intuitive, almost anti-American, but so beautiful, because turns out, we can't do it all.

And so -- inspired by Shauna-- my list of things I can't do and won't do:

- I won't be a morning person. I won't jump out of bed, greet the day with a smile and bounce of my hair. I will be silent and likely crabby and running (literally) late to the bus.

- I won't spend a lot of time on my makeup or hair most days. Some days my hair won't be brushed or and it will be dirty, hidden in a topknot and most days my makeup will be done on the bus commute.

- My yard will not be immaculate. I will kill plants and there will be days when my lawn is more dandelions (see photo at top) than grass.

- I will not be a great baker. I will burn the bread warming in the oven and I will offer ice cream as dessert rather than homemade cookies.

- My laundry will not always be folded. I'll dig through clean (and dirty, eee) baskets to find what I want to wear that day.

- I will have dishes in the sink sometimes when people come over, there may be dog hair on my rug. And I'm going to have just get over it because it's my life and it turns out, my life is messy.

This is just the beginning, and to be honest, it's a hard beginning. I want an immaculate yard and house, and digging through the dirty laundry basket is never glamorous. Heck, I'd love to be a morning person who sips her coffee while watching the sunrise. But there are some things that have to give. And these are mine.

What are yours?

xo, erika


10 comments

  1. I flinched at the anti-American* but the rest of your post hit a really important note with me.

    I will be the same with my washing and my dishes and my hair.

    I will go on tumblr to wake up in the morning.

    I will eat chocolate more often than is probably healthy.

    I will not worry that my face has pimples.

    I will keep thinking of new things to not feel guilty about as they come up.

    *(I hate the way that people often use Australian/anti-Australian to mean good/bad and similarly with American. Because I think people value fundamentally the same things regardless of which country we come from.)

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  2. I won't be into designer handbags just because they are designer handbags!

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  3. All signs point to needing to read at least one of Shauna's books. I keep hearing such great things!
    Here's my list:
    -I won't lose sleep over my messy construction zone of a house or be embarrassed when a friend stops by (feel free to remind me of this in 2 months when people come to meet Baby G).
    -I won't apologize for bringing store bought cookies/snacks to church when I am doing hospitality.
    -I won't compare our baby's nursery/clothes/stroller to other moms/babies I meet/see
    -I won't apologize for not washing my hair in two days (or more).

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  4. Can I just say grass is overrated. At least dandelions are edible and nutritious. ;) And I'm totally with you on the laundry.

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  5. This is such a brilliant idea!! I love your list Erika!! xo

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  6. i really love this concept. she is definitely speaking to the crowd here, this is such a struggle!! i am with you on not being a morning person (and always running late in the morning).. and it is still something i'm trying to fight. i like how you contemplate the motives for why we try do all these things.. i'm guessing the motive(s) for most people is not a healthy one. you definitely have me thinking about that one now! just added this book to my amazon wishlist, sounds like it's worth a read.

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  7. I won't worry over having a home that isn't perfectly clean. But it's homey and that's all that matters!

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  8. i will never be able to buy all the handbags and shoes that i want, but i need to be OK with that!! ;)

    xo,
    Sandy
    Sandy a la Mode

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  9. I love this! I say, if you're coming over to see us, come anytime! If you're coming to see my house, make an appointment. My house is not spotless and never will be, we really live in it. :)

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  10. Your list rubs in grace. I like it.

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