Monday Manifesto #5: I Am My Dream Girl
She’s tall and slender, with silky, shiny hair. She walks confidently into the boardroom or whimsically into the greenhouse. Her home office has freshly cut flowers, her car is sparkly clean, her kids are creative and happy. She brings delicious baked goods to small group, validates every opinion at book club, and if you sit next to her in church, she’ll whisper funny, but not overly critical comments into your ear. She’s sympathetic to - but does not have - money troubles. She's you - except not the now you and not the past you; she's the you you dreamed you'd become.
The vision we painted as girls of the woman we’d grow up to be was impeccable. That girl was happy and successful. She supported herself by selling her homemade jewelry or laughed at the glass ceiling from her corner office. She married her high school sweetheart or dated an equally driven man for years before deciding it was the right time to settle down. She didn’t need therapy or a small business loan. In the immortal words of Jane Austen, “She would surely be a fearsome thing to behold.”
Do you ever think of her and wonder why you aren’t there yet? In our adult minds we know this woman is an impossibility and we don’t compare ourselves to her, but we do compare ourselves to a part of her. Usually the part we’re feeling shame about just then.
- Obviously I’m not the model I thought I’d be when I was 12, but I really should have paid off this student loan by now.
- I don’t even want to be an astronaut anymore, but I have to get this 3-year-old potty trained BEFORE grandma comes to visit.
- I got the house, the kids, the job, now where did our sexlife go? I could have sworn we had one last year.
The woman you invented when you were young left some mighty big shoes to fill. They’re huge, clunky, and fictional.
That woman was important for your formative years. She gave you hope that one day you wouldn’t have braces and your skin situation would calm down. She helped convince you of the lie that you will ever in your adult life need math skills beyond 6th grade. She was proof that one day you’d go from pretty to beautiful, from a girl to a woman.
The problem is that you have always been a real life human and she has always been a fantasy. You were never going to be that amalgamation of all of the best things a woman can be. Instead, you grew into a lot of the best things you can be and some things you would like not to be. You grew up and now you’re very clever. You listen really well, both to others and your own intuition. You really did learn to make the best brownies anyone has ever tasted. You saved up and traveled to distant lands...or Florida. You GAVE BIRTH TO A HUMAN BABY and are now the best mom that kid will ever have, and sometimes the worst mom that kid will ever have; but you’re the only one they’ve got, so, they just have to deal with it.
Take a moment to write down five ways you’ve become the woman you imagined you’d be. Something like this:
-I actually am super stylish.
-I don’t take dream vacations, but I make time to take a hot bath (complete with bath bomb) once a week.
-I have a dreamy room that I decorated myself.
-I really do walk confidently.
-I may not be married yet, but I welcome romance and adventure into my life.
-I love people imperfectly, but I love them well.
Now write five awesome things about present you that little you didn’t see coming.
-I know how to buy a reliable car because I drove a clunker for 9 years.
-My kid makes me laugh more than I ever thought possible.
-Running my business is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I couldn’t be prouder.
-I make a mean quiche and have never once lit the house on fire.
-I didn’t marry my high school sweetheart and now he’s in prison.
Well done! Here are this week’s Word Bullets for your Dream Girl:
- I am proud of my strength and unashamed of my weaknesses.
- I am wonderfully made.
- I am imperfect, but I am not a failure.
- I am a fearsome thing to behold
Get get 'em, Tiger! You're the best you you've ever been. You're a living dream!
Love this post? Check out these resources to help you live it out:
Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist
Always Enough, Never Too Much by Jess Connolly