All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. I usually think Tolstoy exaggerated just a tiny little bit with this sweeping assessment of life, but sometimes, oh sometimes I think he nailed it. I was reading one of the more popular link collections out there today, an activity I usually regard as a treat, and today, about halfway through I started resenting them all. All those links to posts written by people I don't even know, who I am sure are perfectly lovely in real life, but who chose to write about their "perfect" - their perfect crafts, perfect life, perfect holiday. I read them all, looked at all their perfect pictures and in the end, all these happy families blurred into one and I just couldn't deal with it anymore. You see, it was the last straw. I have had too many close encounters with "perfect" this last few weeks. It's not that I mind positivity too much (as long as I don't have to practice it), it's the "perfect" that gets to me every single time.
People lie. It's a fact of life. Just like death and taxes. People lie for different reasons, some want to feel better about themselves, some want to feel their lives are better than yours, some just can't deal with the truth. The end result is the same though - they lie, their life ends up perfect, and you end up asking yourself - how the hell am I the only one who... You can fill in the blank, because it changes according to the specific need you have, but it works with money, health, children, special needs, loneliness, work, moving, holidays... And even knowing that, having seen people do it to my face, I still fall for it. I still finish a conversation with someone, or finish reading a post or a looking at a Facebook status and feel like it's just our lives that never seems to pick up from muddling through and get anywhere close to perfect. How is it, I ask no one in particular (yes, I talk to myself. Also to inanimate objects. Still gets no answers though, so it's all fine), how is it that everyone else move countries so easily? How is it that I take about a year and a half to start feeling I found my place? Do everyone else really find it all so easy? How can they all look so happy all the time? How is it everyone else's children are all interested in crafts all the time? Is it just mine who run away screaming when the paint and the glitter comes out of storage? How is it when they are asked "what do you do with your children on a rainy day?" everyone else's children don't spend hours on end on the iPad/phone/DS/WII/computer, but "whip out the crafts box"? How is it everyone else have the time to bake, craft, read and play with their children, work full time, be on social media, and write every day? Does everyone else really has less laundry than me? How is it that everyone else's children are all normal but mine? How is it that everyone else have activities planned all the time, and no one get stuck in the house, like me, because they couldn't find where to take the kids to? How is it that everyone else's life just seem so much easier? so much filled with nice things I can't afford? with holidays, and restaurants, and new clothes all the time? how is it everyone but me got to go on a holiday this year? And how is it that everyone else's holiday was perfect?
My August was planned to the tee. Even though we didn't get to go on holiday this year, it was supposed to be better than last year (when we just moved here. It was horrible. It rained all the time, we didn't know anyone, we didn't know the area, it was me & the kids all alone all day. And it was for 3 and a half months), it was supposed to be perfect. But it was planned for a better weather, a better financial situation, and a better composed us. All of which took a hit this last few weeks, and left us planning a trip to Ikea as the main attraction for Saturday. Don't get me wrong, I love Ikea. It's like my very own live Pinterest, and they carry the glasses we prefer to use, but really? buying new glasses in Ikea was not supposed to be the highlight of the week for me.
We are all so busy lying about our lives, hiding everything that isn't perfect, checking all the time how the world sees us, that we lose the good that comes out of telling the whole, real story. We are missing the help we can get and the help we can give. We are missing the real connection that comes from standing together. We are missing life. It's not judgement. It's me. It took me months to be able to utter the words "Ocular Albinism", it took me even longer to join support groups for parents who have kids with Albinism. It took me three years in University to admit I hate Economics. It took me a long time after my first pregnancy to admit aloud that I wasn't ready for another one, that I hated most of Ron's first year, that I loathed been pregnant, and that I have never in my life thought of any of this as "a magical journey of femininity". Do you need me now to say that I love my kids? Do I need to apologise? I won't. I am not good with apologies (giving them that is. I am pretty awesome in getting them). I will say this, we've had a few rough years, where we learned a few big life lessons about ourselves and about who will stand next to us when we fall. Then came Yon's Ocular Albinism diagnosis, and somehow made life even more precious. More complicated for sure, but also more dear. And I opened this blog and stopped. Stopped lying and hiding, and smiling when I want to scream. I stopped wasting my time and my energy on trying to appear anything more than just me. I stopped thinking that it defines me, that somehow it makes me less.
But still, every time I see this "perfect" it gets to me. I know it can't be true. But it looks so real. And I want to scream. And every single time Hidai reminds me that you can run, but you can't hide. That when you look at our Facebook page we look exactly like all the others. That everyone gets their share of misery and hardship. It has a very cool word play in Hebrew on the law of Conservation of mass, as in the bad things are a given mass, they cannot just disappear, so it can be dispersed in small doses over a long time, or dropped in one large dose sometime during life.
No one has a perfect life. No matter how hard they try to convince the world otherwise. Because there is no perfect life. There is no happy family that is just like another.
There is no shame in the imperfect, in the difficulties, in the rough moments. Because these are the places to find real love, real friends, real connections. These are the moments that give us the opportunity to grow. I always tell my kids, you can't learn if everything is easy. You need the tough things, you need to make mistakes. So why are we trying so hard to cover up and hide our own?