Monday, April 25, 2011

The Balancing Act

I feel like there is a plague sweeping through. Like it is everywhere tempting us and chasing us. Like there is no escaping it. It’s only a matter of time until you get it and fighting it just a waste of energy.

Worldliness. It’s all over.

I often wonder how healthy it is to live here in California. Southern California especially. It feels like it can really negatively affect someone’s psyche. Granted I’ve lived here all my life and don’t know anything different. But in the limited amount of time I’ve spent traveling, it doesn’t seem to be as bad everywhere else. Still out there yes, but not to this extent.

I find myself pondering on this a lot recently. I feel like everyone here is playing the game of Keeping up with the Joneses. I don’t really want to play that game. I love games yes, but not that one.

When I was a teenager, the boy band craze hit big time. I stayed out of it for a while. I didn’t get caught up it in. I refrained, even though it was all around me. But eventually it got me. I fell into it. Posters of *NSYNC went up on my wall, and I spent my time pining after singing boys I would never have. I don’t regret that. It was a fun time, and now I can look back at it and laugh hysterically. But eventually the mob mentality got to me, and I joined the pack.

It’s like worldliness is a boy band craze. It’s everywhere. Even in places it shouldn’t be. Like LDS church members. For those non LDS’ers, we are counseled over and over again about the dangers of falling into a worldly lifestyle. It is dangerous. It’s fake, and temporary and a very slippery slope. To think that you are better than someone because you have a bigger house than they do, it’s completely ridiculous.

But it’s there. I do feel like I’m being judged, all the time. Judged about how skinny I am, or am not. Being judged about the fact that I use Costco formula rather than Similac. Being judged because I use formula in general. Being judged because I rent a town house with my brother in law and have a baby living in my room. Being judged because my shirt is from Walmart and my pants are from Target. I’m sure part of this is in my head. But I’m observant enough to know that part of it is not. And it makes me sad.

Sad because we as people do this to each other. And sad that I actually care. I’ve gone off about this before, but I hate that fact that we have been conditioned by society to make ourselves feel better by putting others down.

I find myself thinking sometimes, “If I had that pretty $200 purse I would be happy”. “If I lost just 5 more lbs things would be better.” I find myself actually thinking about plastic surgery. Maybe I could use some larger boobs… Really? Really. Are these thoughts really crossing my mind? It’s horrifying. Not that there is anything wrong with breast implants (I’m really not meaning to offend here, to each his own I say!). But for me, no. It’s just not right for me. I’ve never cared about having small boobs before. I was teased all through elementary school for having small boobs. Why is it now I find myself suddenly caring? Maybe if I’d wanted them my whole life that would be one thing. But it never bothered me before and it suddenly does now. Why is that?

It probably has to do with the images that are splashed in my face all day long. On TV, in my magazines, on Facebook. Even on the news for goodness sake. Everywhere I turn is how I’m “supposed” to look. Well guess what. I don’t look that way, and probably never will. No matter what size boobs I have.

The key here is balance. At least I’m in tune enough with myself to know when the balance is being thrown off. Of course we want to look attractive and have nice things. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It’s when that need starts to take over your life and become priority number 1 is when there is a problem. I should take pride in my appearance, and if I want to splurge on a purse once in a while I think I should. Not a $200 one, but spending a little extra on something nice on occasion is not the end of the world.

No one can make you feel bad about myself unless YOU let them. That is one of those things that is much easier to preach than to practice. Believe me, I know. But it’s so true.

I love that Facebook has allowed me to re kindle friendships with people I’ve fallen out of touch with. It keeps me up to date on people’s lives and I appreciate that. I think there are a lot of positive things about Facebook. But I think there are a lot of negative things about it too. I’m going to go on a Facebook hiatus for a while and see what happens.

I don’t want this plague of worldliness to catch me. I keep trying to resist, but it’s hard. It’s like we are playing tag and worldliness is it. I always sucked at playing tag when I was little. The idea of someone chasing me freaks me out. I’m going to try to fill my time with more positive things to help ward of the bad. My blog seems to be full of challenges. Some have gone better than others (I’m still getting dressed everyday! Yay!). I guess that is what life is all about though. Challenges.


racheyroy said...

I promise it is not just Southern California. There are different pressures where ever you go. When we moved to California I found myself thinking I needed to be thinner, blonder and more tan. What? I just came from Souther California for crying out loud!
As a mom I have enormous pressure to be a stay at home mom, and cloth diaper, make baby food,sew clothes etc.
There are different pressures everywhere. And honestly, I feel more worldy pressures here than I ever felt at home. Its a very superficial world.

Audrey Spence said...

It is everywhere in different forms. I really can see the difference now that I'm out. So Cal is so bad and I am so sick of it and never want to go back. Even here in Tooele there are some places where its all competition. To be the best homemaker or have the nicest house or a big truck and trailer (little different than so cal :)). I'm am so lucky that its not like that in my ward. There are some amazing talented women who can do a lot of things and I get intimidated but they don't appear to be better than me. There are some people who have been here 10 yrs and are just finishing yards or basements due to struggling with money. I feel normal here. All the families are different and come from different walks of life. Some moms work and some don't. Some can sew and are super crafty while others are going back to school and getting their education. I am so thankful to be here. Especially at this point in our life where we don't have a lot of money or nice things. Scott's car just failed a safety inspection and we can't afford to fix it so we can drive it around with expired plates but we risk a ticket so we'll be down to one car for now. I would probably feel like a total loser most other places around here but not our neighborhood. People here are so good and understanding and don't look at you for what you have but who you are and the good things you do. It'd be so nice if the world followed suit.

Scott said...

I definitely judged you....when you were wearing jeans at my baby shower after giving birth only a couple of weeks before! Sorry, just wanted to confess :) Liz, you look awesome and even more importantly, I think you are a very kind person.
Not everyone is as lucky as you!!!