I learned to tell the truth in Al-Anon. Until then, I’d been under the impression I should just present my best self. I pretended.
But when I stepped into an Al-Anon meeting for the first time, I watched person after person step up to the podium and just TELL THE TRUTH.
The real, awful, horrible, beautiful truth!
So, I told mine too. We ALL took turns stepping up there and telling our story. Our REAL story.
Stories of crumbling marriages or bankruptcy or grown children in prison or infidelity. Stories of loss and sadness and pain…and ridiculousness. Like the woman who told about storming out during a fight just to have her drunk pants-less husband JUMP onto the hood of her car.
No one even flinched.
Because you know what happens in Al-Anon when someone shares her truth???
People smile. And nod. They look on with love and understanding.
Absolutely NO ONE raises a hand to suggest it will all be okay.
No one suggests making good use of this time to bake and make blanket forts.
Not one single person implies ONE DAY this will all make sense and we’ll be HAPPY we’ve experienced this pain.
There is no judgement.
There is no pretending.
People love and share and nod and pray.
I had never ever ever experienced anything like it.
I think we need more TRUTH in this weird world we’re living in.
I’m growing frustrated with what I’m hearing about being productive or enjoying quality family time or painting the living room or building blanket forts during our ‘staycation’ and somehow imagining this is all happening for a reason…this GIFT of slowing down.
How we’re ALL gonna look back on quarantine with loving thoughts.
Can I just tell the truth??
This is HARD.
And it is okay to say so.
It is okay to feel angry or sad or scared.
It is okay to worry about your loved ones.
It is okay to be pissed about the situation and all the stuff we’re missing.
It is okay to feel panicked about money.
It is okay to say school is turning into a (pardon me, but I’m telling the truth) sh*tshow.
It is okay to want to throw the remote at the news…the news is terrifying and infuriating!!
It is okay to acknowledge all the kids are home and demanding attention and bickering and spending waaaaay too much time on screens and they should get out of the house but it’s raining and we’re having trouble being present in whatever activity we attempt to do anyway and we have nowhere to go so we’re all just SURVIVING.
It is OKAY to just survive.
We can lower our expectations, you guys.
There is no award for Outstanding Quarantine Mom.
We don’t have to build blanket forts if we don’t want to.
We can tell the TRUTH.
Like, here’s a tiny snippet of conversation from our house today.
Kid: Mom, there wasn’t any toilet paper in the bathroom so I just wiped with the roll.
Me: Ummmm. Okay. I guess. What did you do with the poopy roll???
Kid: I threw it in the trash.
Me: Hmmm. Make sure you wash your hands.
Right away we know three things.
One of my children probably has major skidmarks in his underwear.
There is a poopy toilet paper roll somewhere in a bathroom trash.
I don’t really care.
That’s my truth!
So, what’s yours???
I promise to smile and nod and respond with love and understanding.
And I absolutely will not suggest a blanket fort.