Letting go of busyness and perfection

hiding-in-busyness

Amidst all the grief and searching of late, I’ve realised that the past few years I’ve been arming myself with life, to-do lists, chores, busyness, a never-ending task of trying to make my life perfect. Keeping my days loud and full and non-stop. It’s why I wouldn’t rest, wouldn’t sit and do nothing. No lazy Sundays, curled up on the sofa with a book while the kids play. No quiet evenings watching TV. No stopping or hopping off the hamster wheel of life.

What I do best is avoid. Escape. Hide. Run away. I’d rather be anywhere than here with my feelings. Over the years I’ve built up a whole array of armour to protect me. As a child, I daydreamed to escape the reality, over the years that grew into not eating, into drinking or getting high to numb the feelings. Lately, I’ve been hiding behind busyness, perfectionism. Trying to insulate myself from the pain, the hurt, the yearning for something more.

For it was the silence I feared most of all. For in the silence, there was no armour to protect me from my own thoughts. Left alone my mind would remember the pain and the hurt and the sadness that was still sitting like a stone inside me, never leaving, just waiting for me. The silence would remind me of how imperfect I was.

I’ve spent years trying to be perfect. Filling hours with tidying up, cleaning, organising, working, planning, making lists, endless hours of chores that really didn’t matter. Constantly thinking ahead to what I should be doing, what I need to be doing next. Never relaxing and enjoying the moment.

It’s only these past few weeks that I’ve realised what I’ve been doing. What might have looked like real life was in fact, just my way of clinging on, pretending, hiding, coping, not facing up to myself, scared of what people might think of me if I am anything less than perfect. I never felt good enough, from being old enough to remember, I knew I never hit the mark, never quite measured up. That’s one big point that I have built my parenting on.. wanting my kids to know that they are enough just as they are. We all have different skills, different strengths and weaknesses and that’s OK – that’s what makes you YOU – and that is enough.

In the messiness of life as it is right now, I dropped all the balls I have been juggling. Some days it is all I can do to breathe, to feed my children and see everyone to bed at night. There have been days when I haven’t gotten dressed, when I go to bed and the laundry is still in the machine waiting to be hung out to dry, the breakfast pots still sit in the sink {alongside lunch and dinner pots}, when I haven’t picked up the toys from the playroom floor for more days than I have fingers. Days when I ignore my emails, switch off my phone, don’t open the curtains or brush my hair.

At first, I felt as though I was failing. All I could see was the mess, the imperfection. Then I realised that the world was still turning. That nobody expected me to keep up the pretence other than me. That no-one else saw my dirty dishes as a failure – they saw that, even amidst my grief, I was still nourishing my family. That the playroom floor covered in toys meant that my kids were happy and playing. That amidst the mess and the chaos, there was love. I may have dropped a few balls, let things slide but the important things still happened – food and hugs and love and togetherness/

I’m slowly learning to love this season. To embrace the silence, to open my arms to imperfection. I’ve let so many things slide, unimportant things, things that I used to busy myself so I never had to sit alone with myself. In those pockets of silence, there are tears, there are fears but I’m also starting to see that’s where the joy hides. The pain and the fear and all of the mess are parts of life, not something to be hidden away and ignored. Just as you can’t see the stars in the city for the lights, in the noise and busyness of life you can’t always see the joy.

Here in the silence, in the moments of rest, I can feel little tugs on my soul, reminding me what it is I want, who it is I am. Showing me that my imperfections are not signs of my failure, that I am still worthy of love. I’m feeling more at ease with myself than I have in a long time, even in the middle of this greif and pain, this messy season won’t last forever, but it’s opening my eyes to some important lessons.

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3 Comments

  1. November 17, 2016 / 00:15

    In times like this it’s really important to slow down and I agree I think we all spend too much time trying to be perfect and for what? I think it’s really amazing and a great positive step that you are learning to embrace the silence and realise how amazing you are!

    Laura x

  2. November 19, 2016 / 14:03

    Beautiful post and a very positive one. Self-knowledge really is so important and I think you’re really starting to understand yourself and give yourself the time and love you need. Keep going Polly, you’re doing brill xx

  3. Denise Ross
    November 25, 2016 / 13:21

    Great post Polly, your words are full of the truth we all need to read and learn and then implement in our (my) own life. I’m guilty too of constantly being on the hamster wheel and then blowing my lid at someone or something and it’s because I don’t give myself permission to stop and rest. It’s a work in progress fir me but one I have to do or I’ll end up sick again.
    Take care of you and big hugs. I stumbled across your page via instagram but I’m so glad I did. Living out love is the best way to live.

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