Comparison: The Thief of Simplicity

IMG_5415*Please know that what I am about to write is not a criticism of anyone else. It is instead a personal evaluation and reflection of things in my own heart and mind.

When I woke up this morning, I did the thing that I do every morning: I scrolled through my Instagram feed. It has become more habit than desire to see what is going on in the social media world around me. However, like often, I saw these perfectly bright bedrooms with happy children dressed for the day frolicking and it made me feel (for an instant) discontent with my dimly lit bedroom in my jammies sprawled on my bed. Though I quickly catch these thoughts and remember how amazing and fun it is that i get to be a part of my own life, it doesn’t stop that little thought stream that lingers.

I have heard my whole life that “comparison is the thief of joy” and i completely agree. But I would go one step further and say that it is also the thief of simplicity. Maybe this is just me, but “social media lives” (what i lovingly call the strangers’ well photographed lives that i follow on Instagram) make me want to lug my Nikon and all my fancy lenses to the market and playground and splash pad if only to capture the perfect example of all the fun that we also have on a daily basis. As I was examining my thoughts, it seemed as if I didn’t post a picture on social media for people to see then it was like our little adventure wasn’t as fun. How crazy is that logic (I am still half grimacing and half laughing at myself)? Is this just me or is this the problem with social media? Seriously, it is like that saying “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” That is how I started to view our days. Play time then is no longer messy, silly, imaginative spontaneity. It becomes perfect placement, cutest clothing, clean surroundings and  biggest smile in the light time. And that to me is exhausting and complicated and everything that isn’t simple.

Therefore, I will gladly continue to look and smile at those social media lives, but only to appreciate the beauty  and unique talents that surround us. Those thoughts might still come to mind, but I will address them for the silly complicated nonsense that they are and continue on with my simple daily activities.

Dad: A juvenile poem by his adult daughter

In college when I was trying to avoid doing homework, I would write little, silly poems about my friends. They had no technical merit, but they were personal stories of our friendship. I started a little tradition of giving them to my friends on their birthday. I know it was their favorite gift….always (why wouldn’t a poor college student want a poem about our friendship on their birthday? I couldn’t think of a reason 🙂 ). Therefore, it made complete sense for me to write one for my dad for father’s day…in place of cleaning.

blogDad

Oh boy oh boy, Are the thoughts I have now

As I attempt to express in rhyme how

Much you mean to this once small, now tall miss

I’d still stand on your toes to give you a kiss

As a little tyke, I crafted and submitted to the fair

All my artwork I had colored with such care

Outside the lines was the best I could do

But blue ribbon Guy Smiley meant so much to you

We’d adventure together near, far and wide

Small as I was, always by your side

“Want to explore?” with you always “yes”

Try something new, i’d expect no less

My birthday we’d share while away for work

You’d plan it special, full of quirk

Driving to Kansas we’d process all of life

I’d ask many questions, vent all my strife

College came and I moved one hour away

Not too far, but far enough i’d say

I missed you immensely, all full of emotion

So I wrote you a letter, oh what a notion

You felt so young and wanted to explore

Backpacking with you, I couldn’t ask for more

You showed off, identifying animal poop

With slight of hand, you fooled the group

Ideas on business we continually share

We love to start companies, what a pair

Following your footsteps, maybe I am

Trying to earn more than enough to pay uncle Sam

100 dollars you gave me all in good fun

It was just paper, its worth: none

A game we started, hiding it here and there

Its value was now an item so rare

It’s true I cried constantly on my wedding day

But most were the tears as you gave me away

Quickly I slipped the 100 in your pocketed palm

Marriage wouldn’t end the game, so keep calm

If not for you, I don’t know who i’d be

I love you so much I am sure you can see

You have loved me well, for that I am glad

You will always be my ‘old maid’ dancing dad

Love, Lys 2-3057

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Thank You’s

Living each dayThe first time I visited another country, as an adult, I was shocked by the ease and pace of daily life. I was overseas for a specific purpose, but it was the most rested I had been. The group I was with would all joke how Africa is on their own time. If a car was scheduled to come at 8 am to pick us up, we could be ready by 9 am and still be early. My American brain had a hard time adjusting at first. All I could think was “I am only here a short while, I need to go go go, do do do”. My mentality changed during the second week of being there (it really didn’t have a choice…it had to change) when I saw the fun and experiences that I could have without planning. living each day 3 living each day2 living each day 6Our group would travel to small, remote villages in the mountains of Rwanda where I was the first Caucasian that many of the children there had seen. I was amazed how those small villages would stop all they were doing and come visit with us. They wanted to fully appreciate the new experiences of that day…no matter what. living each day4living each day 3.jpg1I was reminded of all this at 7 am when the sunlight woke me up and my mind started racing with all that I wanted to accomplish and do today. An automatic “go” feeling consumed me where if I didn’t get up that moment, I would feel behind for the remainder of the day. Instead of giving in to that mentality, I chose to roll over and snuggle with Jason for another hour or so. And as the day has unfolded, that cuddle time has been the highlight and a source of joy. Although I haven’t been able to cross everything off my list, all I can think about is how fun today has been.

So thank you unscheduled Africa for reminding me that there is so much joy and beauty in everyday that I often miss by being so rigid about time and lists. 

Thank you other countries for being the example that life is meant to be lived for every moment

Thank you Jason for reminding me that a day is never “wasted” if you are spending it with other people

Thoughts on Birthdays

birthday-001I believe I have mentioned that I started graduate school for counseling before we left Texas. One of my favorite things to talk about in class was the way certain past experiences inform current behaviors and thoughts. Naturally, I began to examine my own life to see where certain views that I hold now might have originated from. Strangely the first one that popped into my head was my feelings towards my own birthday parties: I don’t like having large birthday parties or even low key birthday gatherings with several people. I told myself, for a long time, that I just didn’t need to be celebrated and didn’t like all the attention on me. However, that was dis proven last year when we spent my entire birthday going to commencements for Jason’s mom. Now don’t judge me, I wasn’t pouting or anything, but I sort of missed having a day planned with me in mind. So I began closer examination and one specific event kept coming to mind.

For birthday parties growing up, I got to invite the number of friends of the year I was turning. When I was 7, I could invite 7 friends (of course, if it hurt feelings or I couldn’t decide, my parents made exceptions). I am not sure exactly which year it was, but I remember I invited more than 10 friends for a picnic at my favorite park. I loved parties, admittedly I loved the fun and the celebration and the cookie cakes and therefore was quite excited about my picnic party. We arrived at the park a little early to set up. When 2 o’clock came around, 2 friends showed up and when it was time for cookie cake, no more had arrived. Being fairly self aware, I remember being confused why no one else had shown up. We only got 1 “no” rsvp. Then I became embarrassed, only 2 friends came and I could tell my parents were so sad for me. I immediately went into ‘party mode’ overdrive to ensure that my two guests still enjoyed their time. That was the last personally planned birthday party I had. Every year following I was happy to just celebrate with my family. Aside from 2 surprise parties that my wonderful friends planned for me in high school.surprise birthday

Since Jason and I have been together, I have been content to have low fun days or trips to local towns. This year was no exception. We spent the day eating fun food and visiting antique and thrift stores. It was a simple day full of time with my favorite person and visits to places we both enjoy. birthdayWhen the day was nearing its end I commented on how much fun I had had and how it was so nice to have no pressure. <–I think ‘pressure’  was the impetus for my perspective change on birthday parties. When I had parties, I felt a pressure to make sure everyone was having an amazing time (that was always easy when there were several friends), but when there were just the 3 of us, I felt immense pressure to make sure my party was still a “success” for those 2 friends..  I am sure I will have a large celebration when my next “big birthday” comes, but until then, I am content with the small days of laid back fun.

It is always so interesting to examine where your certain behaviors stem from. I think it is incredibly healthy to understand those behaviors, even if you decide to maintain them in the future. Understanding the thoughts behind certain behaviors is the foundation to becoming more self aware.

This Week: Changes and a Little Honesty

NO BEARD

Probably the biggest news this week happened to Jason’s face. He razored the beard off. I have only seen him clean shaven 1 (ONE) other time in my life and I admit, I was a little nervous. I may look young, but since Jason has a full on beard, I feel a little older normally. However, with the new clean face Jason, we look like a preadolescence married couple. It is definitely a fun change. A week later, his shadow is pretty full again.

Unpacking is still happening and it is S.L.O.W, but I like it that way. We are still trying to get the internet hooked up so I spend many hours at the library…which is, by the way, a place I don’t hate. I actually pulled up this morning to see a line of people waiting to get in.

I had a wonderful end to my week with a visit from one of my favorite people. We had an amazing time trying to fill all hours of our two days together. Can’t wait until we get the house in order and she visits again.

Short Reflection:

Since I haven’t had much internet this week, I thought I could offer a little reflection on this blogging experience so far.

I am loving using this blog to share my experiences and adventures. I also love that I get to constantly process things externally (even if it is just with a computer screen). I still have certain anxieties and fears regarding displaying my thoughts and passions with anyone who cares or doesn’t. I have several things that I would love to share about lessons learned and personal stories from my life, but I get nervous sometimes to sit down and write them. I am an over sharer for sure, but that generally happens with personal conversations and I am still “in control” of who hears those stories. For that reason, I think this blog is stretching me and challenging me to grow in new ways (especially in the “need to control situations” way).  I like seeing how my blog is changing and developing as I grow into the experience and began to enjoy this medium more. As I look forward to May, I am gearing up to get a little more personal and raw. We’ll see where that leads.

 

All I Have are Nieces

This past weekend, we got to meet our new niece. All we have is sweet, adorable nieces and Elizabeth is no exception. We spent the weekend on walks, eating fun food and catching up… a lot. The Farrar family is made up of people who come alive late at night. This is a complete contrast to me and my joy for early mornings. However, I can say that I have come a long way since Jase and I first started dating. All the time together was amazing.ellie-005 ellie-001 ellie-004 ellie-009 ellie-007 ellie-008 ellie-002 ellie-006 ellieShe has big eyes, an expressive mouth and the most hair I’ve seen on a baby. She is perfect. I love being an aunt to only girls.

Internals: Insecurity

insecuritiesIsn’t it funny how insecurities work. I tell myself “if it were just like this, then I would be totally fine.” However, I know if “that” thing were to ever be in order, I would find something else to battle with. Most people have natural confidences in one area or another. Likewise, I will guess that most people have insecurities in one area or another. Which brings me to…well me:

I typically prefer the less is more approach to primping. Jason, also prefers, without question, things that are natural. He dotes on me constantly when I have done nothing to primp myself. This is a great quality and something that produces a sweet confidence. Nonetheless, I can still get very self conscious when going bare on the face.

I believe this mind conditioning started in grade school. I struggled with a lot of acne through middle and high school. Oh that blasted T-Zone. I chose to wear basic make up and put most of my effort in to wearing clothes that I loved and mixing colors. Red, though, was never an option (emphasis on T zone even more…no thank you). I used my own money in middle school to buy this terrible shade of brown lipstick. I would cover my lips in the brown and then blot with tissue twice <–that was my formula for dulling down my natural red lips. I had a healthy confidence level in general, but I longed for the days when I would reach my 20’s and not have to worry about my skin issues anymore.  

It took a little longer into my 20’s than I had hoped, but I began to clear up. Not only that, but I became more comfortable with who I was in general. <– That does wonders for how your reflection appears to you. I felt care free.  I was working out, eating healthy and I felt great.insecurities.jpg2

It was everything that I had hoped for. I would wake up, wash and lotion my face and go about my day. But it didn’t last…

I had an unplanned emergency surgery that left me hormones with an identity crisis and left my face with little dotted scars. The ordeal only lasted a few months, but the scars are still present today. Oh the mental drama I faced: I had made it through my adolescents without scars and was now having to deal with them in my “supposed to be level” 20’s. I had prided myself by holding the perspective that appearances didn’t matter, but it was so hard to convince myself of that during those days. A few doctors and specialists gave me their best advice and cures, but the scars were already there. I didn’t want to be someone who focused so much attention on my own looks and the looks of others, but I literally felt bummed out that my face was so red and spotty.  insecurities.jpg3

And like any good story, it has to get a bit worse before it gets better. My worse started again, when the bumps came back, 2 years later…for no understandable reason. Oh I would love to say that I handled myself so much better after learning from the last experience. Didn’t happen. I was down and bummed. I just couldn’t shake my downcast emotions. Believe me, I was a joy to be around…ask Jason.

At the time, I couldn’t figure out why I was so gloom and doom. It wasn’t until I was making a long drive for work, that I started to assess my emotions and the root of them. I began thinking about the power of my mind and taking my thoughts captive.  I remembered that scars are actually reminders of pretty great stories. I had a few scars from surgeries, but I never thought of the places on my face as those kind of scars. However, when I started to think about them simply as reminders of my experiences and adventures, my attitude began to change. My care free spirit began to return and so did Jason’s affection for me…just playing, he puts up with my drama a lot and is amazing. Reorienting my view on myself allowed me to be joyful and remember that so much of appearance is how you carry yourself.  Lastly, I am happy to report that my life long battle with red has reached a truce. Though I still don’t have a lot of it, I am not afraid to try it every now and again. I get it: it does make me feel a wee bit more powerful.

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