• My thoughts on Lowering the Bar and Being Awesome {Gypsy Magpie}

    Lowering the Bar and Being Awesome

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    This past summer I was lucky enough to be involved in the 5th, and what looks to be final, addition of the The 30 Strangers Project with the remarkable Justin Hackworth.

    I enlisted my mama and my “Nana” to come along and be part of it with me. We all share the same genetic mutation, BRCA2 {you can read more about that HERE} I am sad to say that I have never really had a real photo of the three of us, and I just kept thinking that with 6 ticking time bombs strapped to our chests {literally!} there couldn’t be a better time then the present to take one! I won’t lie, it was a little scary! None of us love to be in front of the camera, nor do we know what to do once we are there. But, Justin made us feel comfortable. To the point that we couldn’t stop giggling. As I watched him taking pictures of two of the most important women in my life, my eyes welled up with tears. In that moment, I could not have felt more blessed.

    It was sheer, natural beauty incarnate.

    Then the time came to go back and review the Photos. Justin doesn’t do airbrushed perfection “Glamour Shots” photography. He is an artist. He shoots things at interesting angles and with utmost realism. He uses his photography to tell the story of the subjects he is shooting. And, it does! There I sat looking at my face blown up on the wall and all I could see were my imperfections. The notorious brown dead front tooth. The hair that was months past due for highlights that was a fantastically natural rendition of blonde/mouse ombre. The beautiful, large, perky pre-4-nursing-children breasts that had vacated the premises with my last child. You get it, I saw the ugly.

    As I drove up the canyon to my home, I started to get a pit in the bottom of my stomach.


    Why was I so bothered by what I saw? There in that photograph was the story of 3 strong women bound by love who were absolutely determined to climb any mountain placed before them, and laugh the whole way. In those pictures were 3 sets of the same hands spanning the decades. There was victory, faith, and power. As my eyes began to open, I saw the love a mother has for her daughter. I saw true joy in the midst of trial. Integrity, commitment, trust, compassion, service, and yes, beauty.

    I had a lot to mentally and emotionally digest.

    It seems to me that my generation of mothers is losing sight of our purpose.

    We are so tangled up in being fit, fabulous, sexy, perfect, witty, fashionable, young, talented, party hosting, intelligent, do it all’s that we set the bar too high and find ourselves constantly feeling that we don’t measure up. We want to be everywhere and everything all while looking fierce in a tight pair of teal skinnies and red soled stilettos. Becky runs marathons! I don’t run marathons. Kara is the next Amy Atlas! Maybe I should be throwing amazing parties with doily pennant banners, chevron table runners, paper straws, and pie in a mason jar! Brooke has a fulfilling job that she loves AND has a darling family, and I just stay home with the munchkins. Ali climbs mountains… Melissa teaches yoga {have you SEEN her gorgeous fanny, she could break a dime into 10 pennies with that thing!}… this gal got a boob job, man, my girls are deflated balloons, maybe I need a boob job… that gal has seven children, writes books, has a million followers on her craft blog, is a size 2, and teaches horticulture at the community college… I am not enough for these children. I should be more. I have to be more.

    I am not enough.

    This sat heavy on my soul for a few weeks. How do I stop the slide down the slippery slope of modern day competitive not-enough-ism? What kind of an example am I setting? Who am I? What am I good at? What am I teaching my daughters? Where am I going? IS there something wrong with me?

    So many questions.

    The night came around for the 30 Strangers Artist’s Reception and an amazing thing happened! A lovely woman named Lisa stood up and read an essay she had written on motherhood. As she opened her mouth, everything I had been contemplating for the past 3 months came rolling right out into the packed auditorium. It was as though I was watching my own self speaking at that podium. It was odd and exhilarating all at the same time!

    I absolutely LOVE this paragraph from her essay, Lowering the Bar and Being Awesome. Please take a moment and read it in it’s entirety on her blog Almost Famous. It is something every modern day mother should must read! We are talking absolutely incredible, folks.

    “Motherhood is enough and now I believe in “Lowering the bar and being awesome”. Not in a discouraged way, but in a realistic, individual, positive way. I don’t want to regret this time raising my children, but only I can determine what that means to me and my kids. “Lowering the bar” is my commitment to reject the “tests” others try to put on me and it may mean that I appear less accomplished than other moms. Maybe less put together or even generous. It might mean that I appear flaky or disorganized, but it always means that I am responding to my kids’ changing needs all of the time. And the last part, “being awesome” means just that, that I am happy about it because I’m living without regrets and “should-could-would haves.” I’m fully aware that I’m not cool, I don’t win, and that’s awesome.”

    Now, when I look at that photo of Nana, Mama, and me, I see happiness. I see strength. I see a cancer survivor, a small business owner, a wife, a friend, creativity, pluckiness, and most importantly, I see motherhood.

    You see, as Lisa puts it, I am lowering the bar and being awesome.

    mother daughter portrait photography

    via Justin Hackworth Photography

    And, that is a beautiful thing.


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  • JackiePedersen
    9 November 2012

    Am in tears.
    That’s all I can say right now.

    • Missy
      28 November 2012

      I like you. Yes. Yes, I do.

  • palmtwi
    9 November 2012

    I just wanted you to know how great this post was, Missy. Yes, your family reads what you write, even the in-law variety. I have no doubts about you being the right Mother for your children, and I’m also pretty impressed with your writing skills. Thank you.

    • Missy
      28 November 2012

      Thank you, Jason! That means A LOT coming from a writer. Funny, I never thought any of them read anything because no one ever comments or says anything! You just out-ed them! Oopsies! ;)

  • Tara
    11 November 2012

    Thank you Mis- you are AMAZING!!!

    • Missy
      28 November 2012

      Miss your face.