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And/Both/All

I’ve been tap tap tapping at the keyboard, stopping, then backspacing, then checking my phone, waiting for some kind of inspiration to hit. Thursdays are my day off from my family, and while Joel has the kids, I usually like to escape somewhere quiet and write. I dream of this time when I’m not in it — a great big expanse of space dedicated exclusively to my own creativity, a chance to delve into myself and the things that make life pulse for me. But then there are some days – like right now – when I’m sitting here in eagerness and freedom, but nothing comes.

And so I decide to try anyway because the fear that I can’t create something good should never deter me from creating anything at all.

Vince Lombardi – you might know him, a man considered by many to be the best coach in NFL history – he’s said a lot of great things in his life. One of my favourites is when he said that the measure of who we are is what we do with what we have. Everyone loves a good underdog story – a person born with little resources but who – through hard work – leveraged what she had and turned herself into something great.

But what if we don’t become something ‘great’? What if we don’t lead a team through three consecutive NFL championships? What if we write a book that won’t ever make the New York Times best-seller list? What if we write one that won’t even get published? What if we don’t climb to the top of our class and what if we don’t get that promotion and what if we don’t make our mark on the world?

We can’t all be at the top. We can’t all be great, extraordinary, the best in our field. We can’t all be movers, shakers and leaders.

And so, I wonder if this new culture of selfies and blogging and Facebook updates and checking in – a culture obsessed with documenting themselves – stems less from narcissism and more from a fear of being ordinary. And not just a FEAR of being ordinary, but a SHAME in being ordinary. If shame is synonymous with unworthiness, it makes sense that we see ourselves as more valuable when look! I’m doing interesting things! I’m thinking these thoughts! I’m seeing these places! I am not just in my simple ordinary life doing simple ordinary things! How boring! No, that’s not me!

Opposites fascinate me, and I’m so intrigued at how we can be such contradicting creatures, with each side being equally valid. We should aim to be great for ourselves, but we should aim to find fulfillment in being ordinary. We should accept ourselves for who we are but we should always work to be better. We are self-serving by nature, but we will find our greatest fulfilment in serving others. We are proud and insecure. Judgemental and compassionate. Kind and aggressive. We like yellow. But we like red, too. And sometimes, we like black. It’s an and/both/all situation, both ourselves and life itself, like a mosaic made of up everything which is possible to exist.

And so, what we do with what we have? We mash it all up together into our own artwork, our own masterpiece. We stick to our own lane and we accept ourselves as the and/both/all human that we are, living the and/both/all life we’ve been given.

Like messy boys and blurry photos,

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balanced with sweet, clean boys and golden sunlight.

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Like the same old fights that arise between us both, along with the thinking that nope, I’m done,

balanced with a reconciliation, a greater understanding, the protectiveness over a story that is solely ours.

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Like a relationship I’m forever supervising, pushes and pulls I’m forever refereeing, resentments I’m forever harbouring of the tedious repetition of parenting the two of them,

balanced with that hand of his on her,

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that mysterious, larger-than-life, heart-swelling glimpse of the bond they share that is entirely their own.

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Like the exhaustion of life with children,

balanced with the little moments that make you sit upright, alert, electrified, almost weeping at the clarity you see before you — that you are simply the luckiest person alive to be given this view.

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It’s an and/both/all situation – everything is – so we simply embrace all sides, never believing too much in any of them, and we stick to our lanes, turning what we have into that which holds the greatest meaning, beauty and joy for us.

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Friday Photo Dump – my Instagram Small Happies (@theredtent if you want to follow the feed).

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