Showing up a mess is still showing up
I view life in seasons. There was a wedding season, when all my friends were getting married and every weekend was full of rehearsal dinners and crazy dance parties and cake. Now I am in a baby shower season. All my girlfriends that got married in the last season are growing little babies and now my weekends are filled with gender reveals and baby showers and cake. If you noticed, a common seasonal denominator there is cake. And all that cake has added up on ma'waistline and that, along with some other junk, has made me a bit insecure. Being insecure makes it hard to be around people for me. Rounding the corner of the baby shower season and peaking into the family season, I have learned a few things about my non-pregnant self:
I've learned that I have allowed compliments to take higher priority than connection. I have allowed what people say, don't say, think, or worse -what I think they think- to affect my mood and actions. So much so that I will avoid functions if I feel unattractive or sub-par for fear of what people will think and not say. I've noticed that I was side-lining myself because wasn't what I considered "at my best."
I started not showing up to stuff. Little things at first, drinks with friends or small parties. Then big stuff starting coming up, like the opportunity to throw my friend a shower or to fly to Texas to attend another friends shower and I started to question if showing up really matters. Specifically with close friends that know my stage of life right now. They would understand my pain, forgive, and love me through it. But then I thought about my mother.
When I look back at my childhood, there is not a memory my mom didn't show up for. Every single troop meeting, game, school function- my mom was front and center, probably being obnoxiously loud and overly proud of me. The funny thing is, I don't remember her clothes or her weight or her hair style- but I remember my mom showed up. Always. Being an adult, I now realize my mom showed up during some really hard times in her life. She showed up in the aftermath of a divorce. She showed up tired from working full-time and going to school at night. She chose us over her mess and that is the kind of woman, friend, mother, wife I want to be.
I believe down deep inside of me that each day is a fresh re-start that will be unlike any day before or any day that will follow. Our lives are moment's strung together that once past, will never be added to your life again. Some are beautiful moments and some sting like hell but all are added together in a way that is only yours. And as such, I believe days should be celebrated and appreciated, not missed for fear-sake. Likewise, our friends and family are a privilege that takes effort to maintain and even more to grow in depth and intimacy.
There is a lot of showing up required. Showing up to showers to play guess what's in the diaper, bed-side-sitting when the flu inevitably strikes, crisscrossed couch sessions just to listen. All that showing up, day after day, year after year, builds something authentic and deeply connected. Something wonderful. Something that can't be created with neat, picture-perfect moments alone and certainly cannot be created from the sidelines with the excuse of being a mess.
It's in the moments of mess, the moments when you aren't at your best but you choose them anyway, that relationship deepens. They probably won't remember how swollen your ankles were at their birthday party while you were 8 months pregnant but they will remember you made the effort to come celebrate them. And it will create trust and faith and appreciation, all things needed to make a good friendship.
So I implore you, show up. Quit waiting, stop sidelining yourself, being afraid and projecting insecurities. Don't allow people pleasing to keep you from people connecting. Choose to show up and be present because you won't get a do-over.