I've never identified much with folks who find themselves living in the black or the white.
You know what I mean...those who absolutely do this and who absolutely will not do that.
Instead, almost always, I gravitate toward the gray. There are very few situations where I draw definitive lines in the sand with no room to negotiate or to dialogue and 99.9% of those examples revolve around the advocacy or protection of my children.
But I must say, that I yearn to be them. It seems like a safe, stable, predictable way to be...where one is in their head very little of the time, content in the knowledge that regardless of comfort, this is where they should be. Almost like having a playbook for the multitude of sticky scenarios that life throws our way.
And so it was, on a recent outing with girlfriends and their littles, that I found myself opening up about all of the hidden words, feelings, fears that innately women knee-deep in the trenches of motherhood and marriage find themselves in.
Afraid to honestly explore the issues that seem to bubble to the surface but quickly get dismissed out of social norms and quite frankly the things we do and don't say in polite conversation....I was both grateful and elated that my friends rose to the occasion. We got to somersault in the gray...free of judgement, exempt of the shoulds and the shouldn'ts.
And as we each shared our tales...examples of what's working and what's not...what we can wrap our heads around and what still alludes us...it became alarmingly clear that the world is messy...marriage and child rearing is raw, ugly, beautiful, painful, fraught with humanness through and through.
And that ultimately, what we need more in the world are less lines in the sand and more appreciation and understanding for the challenges of navigating through it all. Because as the politically correct walls and barriers came crashing down, the flood of emotions emerged and we all realized that we're not alone. Shame is a useless emotion. And that it takes a village or at the very least, a collection of people who welcome you back into the fold when you've discarded yourself out of guilt or fear.
So while living my life in the gray is exhausting. It feels real, authentic, engaging, and well, more like me...even if it's just one play at a time.