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:
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.