I grew up in figure skating, a place where the idea that perfection is attainable was a very real thing. The 6.0. At every competition I would stand on the ice as the judges would display their scores, telling me, on that day, how close or how far I was from being perfect. In addition to working toward being higher, faster, stronger, you must make it appear effortless and beautiful.
Without realizing it, I carried that striving for perfection into my marriage and into motherhood. You’re not a good mom unless you have a heroic number of children. You’re not really trying unless you’re not tired. You’re not working hard enough until you feel almost dead. And you’re not doing it well unless it looks effortless and beautiful.
And my husband wasn’t much different, a college football player from a traditional Greek family. He was wired to push himself, to perform, and to please everyone.
This story is about a time in our marriage where both our facades started to crumble. It was a catalyst for tremendous growth and it was messy and glorious, and many parts are so, damn funny. It’s part of us. And we cherish it.
It was during this time that I finally got the courage to start sharing my writing. The writing I promised myself I would do when I was nine. The writing that I told Manny about on our first date. The writing that I was afraid to share before it was good enough, before it was worthy of a 6.0.
And every time I have shared something that is personal and far from perfect, I hear back from you. Thank you. I thought I was the only one.
This story is for you if you have ever pushed yourself and pushed yourself and promised that when you got to a certain place you would stop, but you didn’t.
This story is for you if you have ever wondered why it’s so hard for you when it looks so easy for everyone around you.
This story is for you if you’ve ever wondered if you need to keep working on yourself or if it’s time for the people around you to shape up.
This story is for you if you have ever felt awful for wishing you could escape from your lovely-looking life.
This story is for you if you have secrets. Secrets that you think you are protecting, but that are actually holding you hostage.
Stories help us make sense of ourselves and the world and help us to feel less alone.
And I’m sharing this story, because thanks to the teachings of Nadia Bolz-Weber I’ve finally been able to categorize my leadership style as, “Screw it. I’ll go first.”