Being real.

Memphis, December 2012
“I swear, I’m going to post an ugly picture of myself just so everyone can see my NOT perfect life and how FAKE this all is.” friend’s recent Facebook entry

Growing up I had a mighty struggle with the superficial prettiness required in the South. My master plan, when I graduated high school, was to leave the artificial behind and head north, where things were less lipsticked and more genuine. Like the velveteen rabbit, I wanted to be real.

The joke, on me, was how my image of my future real life actually came true:
Memphis, the outtake, December 2012
From the time I was 10 or 11 the picture in my mind was clear. I would marry a tall, dark, ruggedly handsome man. We would have two children, a boy and a girl, both blond, two years apart. The boy would be older. We would have big dogs, a big house, station wagons, and lots of parties.

Indeed, all of those things became my adult life. But in my mind, all those years ago, my future life looked a lot more Martha Stewart and less the Peg Bundy reality it is on a regular basis. I am a yelling mom with a filthy kitchen and a husband who prefers Ice Road Truckers to Nova. We rush, we fuss, we cuss. We also laugh, love and live with abundance. And the pictures I keep in my mind, on my walls, and everywhere, are of those beautiful, happy, smiling moments that are no more or less real than their unflattering counterparts. It’s something I learned from my mother, something I now understand:

If you let the ugliness diminish the beauty and goodness, even just for a second, then the ugliness wins. It must not.

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