Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My (Im)Perfect Life


Don't you think it's time for another divorce post?  me too.  I just got home from visiting Ashley for the weekend.  Every time I go on a trip since I got divorced, I get a pit in my stomach coming home.  I finally acknowledged to myself that I just don't want to return to my imperfect life.  Then I come home, my kids smother me with kisses and loves and I get busy and forget that I didn't want to come home.

I was at Costco recently and saw a girl I have known (from afar) since college.  She doesn't know me but I have seen her over the years and everything seems to go perfectly for her.  She is beautiful with four beautiful kids.  She was at Costco in darling clothes with sparkly pink Toms to match her daughters' sparkly pink Toms.  I was there sweaty from the gym with my two ragamuffin boys in the clothes they had worn the day before because they slept over at Sam's.  I thought, "Oh there is Nikki (name changed!) still living her perfect life."  I don't hate her for it but I would be lying if I said I wasn't envious of her for just a moment.


I never thought about my life before my divorce as perfect.  But now I realize it pretty much was. 


I remember saying to a friend a few weeks before my world fell apart that I had never really had any big trials in my life.  I felt like life was pretty easy.  And then the roof caved in.  The next few months after that were Hell for me but very few people knew what I was going through.  So to everyone on the outside, I was still living a perfect life.  And because of that, it was the worst time in my life.

Then the time came to get separated.  Somehow, in some way, telling people was liberating.  It was excruciating on one hand because so many people had no idea that Sam and I were having problems.  I felt the guilt of letting others down in addition to my own sadness with what was going on with our family.  In reality, I didn't care what anyone thought.  I just wanted my kids to be okay.  But there was still a part of me that felt like I had joined the island of the misfit toys.

The holidays were hard.  We were getting our papers ready to file.  The Big D (as I call it) was first and foremost in my mind and seemed to overshadow Christmas in a lot of ways.  Christmas night was especially difficult for me.  Sam had spent the morning and early afternoon with us and then left about 3:00 p.m. to go back to his house.  I think that was my most difficult night.  The holidays are for people with perfect lives.  At least it's easy to believe that.  Having Sam here for Christmas, I was able to forget for a moment that we were a "broken family".  Luckily, that night, my mom sensed my sadness on the phone (or I might have completely bawled to her, I don't remember) and she and my dad came over and brought us dinner and cheered us up.


The truth is...I am imperfect.  I always was.  Now, it is just a little more obvious.  I'm just starting to embrace it.  My house will always be a mess.  There will always be bags on the floor of clothes the kids bring back from Sam's house.  We will always be that family at church with no dad...at least for the time being.  I hope that by being imperfect, I am allowing others to be imperfect also.  The Savior, who was the only perfect person to live on this earth, spent his time healing the sick and the afflicted and lifting others from sin and despair. The more broken I am, the more humble and teachable I am and the more willing I am to let Him into my life.

Ring the bells that still can ring

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, a crack in everything

That's how the light gets in.

(From the poem Anthem by Leonard Cohen)

35 comments:

Greg said...

No wonder people love reading your blog so much. You manage to share deeply personal and poignant thoughts and feelings in a way that is uplifting and inspiring to others. =o)

The Mostess said...

Maybe if you're boobs were bigger...I had to get a laugh out of you to start!

I remember having these same thoughts so many times in my life--when people talked about their cute parents, and mine were divorced. When people talk about how much fun their siblings are, and my only sibling is gone. When people would talk about how they kept getting pregnant (even though they were on the pill)...and I was desperately trying to have children to no avail. It's endless.

There are a million disappointments we can endure. Sadly, life is full of them. We all know (or will know at some point) the horrible feeling of being the misfit toy. But it passes. Life moves on, you move forward...and slowly things change, and a new normal unfolds. It's different, but still good.

Hang in there. You're loved more than you know. Can I point out that you have a fan club in CA that grows with each visit? It used to be just me...then Kristine...and you were up to a party of 6 this last time!

The Mostess said...

AGH! It's late! Maybe if *your* boobs were bigger. I'm half asleep. And recovering from an illness! Don't judge!

Corrine said...

You know just how to say it, Brooke! Thank you for not being afraid to tell it like it is. We never know what horrible things are happening in others' lives or how their world might be crumbling. We see everyone's best face and compare that with our worst disasters and always come out behind.

I think you are doing an amazing job with your life! Even if you don't always feel it. You still get up and go to the gym, for pete's sake! Your worst effort there would far exceed my best! (and no one has to know if your kids wore the same outfit yesterday.)

I hope there is great happiness around the corner for you. That sounds like a lame fortune cookie, but you deserve the best!

Unknown said...

Thank you for your post, and for being so honest. It was like I was listening to myself in every way, except one. I never thought my life before the divorce as perfect, and I realize now that it still was not perfect. I always tell people that just because I sat on the third row in sacrament meeting each sunday does not mean that my life was perfect. And if people judged me thinking it was and now that they know it wasn't, they are in shock, and somehow can't accept it....well that is not my problem. I never claimed to be perfect. And probably neither did those women who seem to dress perfectly all the time. They probably got their clothes out of a hand me down box, like I did. Thank you for sharing! <3

Quelly said...

Being as 'old' as I am and having never been married I am also an inhabitant of the Island of Misfit toys. I can’t even imagine the challenges you are facing being a single mom at this place in the game. Your love for your kids oozes throughout your posts and I just love to see that. Not having kids and wanting them terribly it is nice to see how grateful you are for them. You are truly an amazing, strong and lovely woman!

joycefparry@gmail.com said...

Thanks Brooke! Our world has been shaken up a bit lately also and appreciate your words. Love you!

joycefparry@gmail.com said...

Thanks Brooke! Our world has been shaken up a bit lately also and appreciate your words. Love you!

Angela Jensen said...

I love this.

Jill T said...

We are all imperfect. And you handle it perfectly! I don't consider you a misfit at all!

Liz said...

I totally know the feeling of not wanting to come home to an imperfect life. Heck, I feel it when I'm gone for an hour or two. Just know we love you and I can't believe how strong you are....you're an inspiration. PLEASE let me give you a break....but maybe after recital. Love you!

Pandy said...

Perfection is boring - and it diminishes growth. And, it's an illusion. Perfection is for dreams. That's why I want to drool over Johnny Depp, but I sure wouldn't want to be around when he scratches and farts. I like him just where he is.

I'm too old to think anyone gets a pass. You just hang on for the ride and hope you land softly.

You are who you are, Brooke....and that's why you're going to come through this just fine. And, by the way, sadness and tears are cleansing and cathartic. Just do it with a big Diet Coke in your hand.

Love you!!

Linde said...

Beautiful post!

Denise said...

Thanks so much for sharing. You are amazingly strong and look, to me, far more perfect than I am. If you are willing to post this via FB, I'd be willing to share. I think ALOT of people would appreciate what you have written.

Heidi said...

What a beautiful post... you don't know me and I have been hit & miss reading your blog for over a year. I've never taken the time to comment, but I love your insights- funny & serious. I need to do a better job of clueing people in on my imperfections, which in addition to many character flaws, procrastination, etc., are health issues that hardly anyone knows about, especially hearing loss. We all need to be less prideful and let people help us through our trials or let our trials strengthen other people.

Jessica said...

Honey, just because "the big D" is a part of your life does not make you a misfit toy! It means that life is harder for you now, for sure. If someone's life is perfect, then her life is easy and she probably could not handle the tiniest hardship. You are amazingly strong and you are handling your imperfections perfectly. When life is getting you down, just remember that Buster has not turned to drugs and cross dressing to drown his sorrows, so you must be doing something right!

Shavanna said...

I love reading your blog. In fact you have inspired me to write my own blog and I can only hope I can be as honest and real as you are. I pray for you each time I read your blog and trust God to bless you abundantly, although I think HE already has. Blessings to you and keep writing, you are an inspiration to us all.

Letti said...

This is a post that everyone needs to read. We are all imperfect in different ways and it just goes to show that we should all be sensitive to others because we have no idea what they might be dealing with behind closed doors.

Ashley said...

I have so much to say, but first I need to shower, as it's 4:06.

Jill said...

I'm so glad you blog about your feelings. Nobody has the perfect life and the more we all put that out there for each other the easier it gets for the us all to stop trying to have that "perfect" life.

alexandra said...

I really really loved that poem. I also loved this post. It reminded me of a quote from President Hinckley that I loved because it is so real and true: "For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the Polar Star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives."

I think that while everyone endures some degree of trial and tribulation, that degree cannot be exactly equal. There really are some people who, on balance, have had harder lives and more difficulties than others. But it just doesn't matter in the final analysis because Christ is there to make it perfect somehow and in some way that I do not fully understand but that I feel is just true.

I know that feeling of envying the perfect lives of others. Every single day I think about how different my life would be, how much easier, and how much a better mom I would be if Will wasn't sick and didn't require so much management all day. I feel resentful that other people just have normal parenting experiences. I sometimes try to feel better by thinking of how much worse it could be, and that helps sometimes (it could always be so much worse!), but it doesn't keep the pining away long or well. I am so sorry that you are in such a difficult place. I am convinced that for you, though, it won't be for long. It is hard to imagine you feeling like you come up short because I think you are so great (and who cares about a little clutter in a household of kids). I am looking forward to seeing you come out on the other end of this. Thanks for writing such a faith-promoting post.

Linda said...

I think you've handled this awful situation about as perfectly as it could be handled. And you continue to be an amazing (I won't say "perfect") mom to your beautiful kids. (RyRy looks like a baby Brad Pitt with his dimples!) I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I'm so proud of you! And you've proven your strength, faith and courage through this trial. No one has the perfect life, but yours will be close to perfection again!

Jack's Mama said...

I think this is your best Big D post yet, thank you for your honesty. I found your blog probably almost 2 years ago through some degrees of separation aka some blog hopping. I sought out mommy blogs as i became a young mom at age 24 and had no friends married let alone w/kids. No i am not morman, I do respect your religion, I am Catholic. I was always so impressed with morman mommy bloggers their lives looked so perfect. (how i started reading mommy blogs was through my morman friend) I do agree its hard to see other peoples lives look so perfect, I hate when I get jealous because i know it is so silly. You are so blessed, we are blessed to read your blog!

Kimmie said...

Amen sista! It was great catchin' up the other night. And as I already told you....NO ONE HAS THE PERFECT LIFE!!!! I am a firm believer everyone has "something" no matter how "together" they seem on there outside! I loved when you said by being imperfect, you are allowing others to be imperfect also. Some of my greatest friendships are with those who really know ME and love me with all the good, bad, and ugly....i find that when we openly talk about our "imperfect " lives and selves, we realize no one else is either!

those boys are the cutest dudes ever in that picture!!!

Em said...

Well, friend, this is a gorgeous post. Thank you for keepin' it real and allowing us in your life in such a personal way. Pandy is right--perfection is an allusion. 10 bucks says that girl "Nikki" has some issue she's dealing with, too.

You know you're in my thoughts and how I admire you for your strength and humor.

And I love that picture of you and Ashley!

gwen said...

I'm sitting here eating at breakfast, eating my cereal, and reading your post with tears streaming down my face. I love your honesty...and yes, we are all imperfect. Not only does it open us up to humility and a deeper, abiding faith, but I think it also makes us more lovable and relatable. And I love me some Brookie! :-)

cjdustin said...

Everyone has stuff to deal with. Even those whose lives are seemingly perfect. Sounds to me like you've decided to be perfectly imperfect. Just like the rest of us! Enjoy!

Adair said...

I loved this post so much. The empathy and compassion you have gained, will no doubt bless the lives of so many. It seems that so many of the people I meet in life who are so unique and carry such a Christlike spirit with them, have also been those who have gone through some of the most difficult struggles. You are one of those people and will be to anyone who meets you.

Heather said...

Ha... Janet Lomax and I call the singles ward the "land of misfit toys" ... I think we're all a little bit of a misfit inside, and I think God likes it that way. You are awesome and I love you!

Natasha said...

I found your blog through Jill's and I can so relate to this. But I think the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. My husband abandoned me 8 years ago when I had a toddler and an infant. He never maintained contact with the kids and I had to go to work full time after years of being home. It was devastating. I guess I am just saying that I look at your blog and think even your divorce went better than mine!

Elizabeth said...

I have heaps to say but I think I will email ya. I am glad you do these posts so you know how loved you are and how many people admire you.
PS that pic of you and Ashley IS perfect!!!

Natty said...

I love, Love, LOVE this post!

Brett said...

I think the key point is that nobody's life, family, and marriage are perfect. If fact, they are all pretty messed up in a diversified way. Some are just more public than others. It kind of hard to hide a diverse, unless you go all Weekend At Burnmy's.

Brett said...

That was Burney.

D-dawg said...

That last little quote is one of my favorites- although I can't remember where I first read it. Thanks for sharing- your posts always make me feel like doing better and being better and not worrying about lame little things in life etc. etc. I'm glad you had so much fun here with Ashley!