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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Authentically me

I vaguely remember the first few times I heard my older sister Angel talking about this new thing “Facebook”. 

  I think it was 2008, she kept telling me all about this “thing” online where she was chatting with people and you could see pictures and she kept telling me friends of mine were on there and she was “friends” with them and “it’s so great” and honestly I remember thinking what the heck is she talking about?! I was pregnant at the time with my second.  I was always tired.  I mean I literally limp through my pregnancies.  It sounded like something that I neither had time for nor would have any interest in.  Are you kidding me? I’m like an extreme introvert bordering on agoraphobia. I don’t want to talk to a bunch of random people online.  In November of 2008 my beautiful whirlwind Sophie came into my life with a big surprise. 

It was honestly probably one of the most difficult months of my life as I was dealing with all the normal postpartum fatigue, pain, hormones, emotions AND a giant medical diagnosis for my child that I have to research AND on top of that she needs dozens of surgeries throughout her life starting right now! Whew! I look back and think about that month and the ONLY way I know that I survived is God’s love and the love of God’s people.  So I began blogging to get everything out and to explain our situation to people and suddenly the idea of Facebook sounded interesting to me.  I need to connect with people.  My world was upside down and inside out and I needed people.  So I jumped onto Facebook and never looked back. 

Facebook and blogging and all forms of social media are places where the danger of being inauthentic is very huge.  I have done that thing where I take a picture and realize in the background you can see my messy countertop or my unfolded laundry and I retake the picture before posting it so people would not see my ugly truth.  

One pic with a GIANT Goodwill pile behind us and with a slight pivot we have a "clean" background

Our best recipes, our kids cutest statements, our husbands most thoughtful gestures.  Look world at all the things I can juggle and how awesome I am at it!!  I know I am guilty of this probably many times over in the last 7 years.  But for the most part I became addicted to the opportunity to be authentic.  It really is kind of an introverts dream.  I can tell the “world” what I think and feel and I can’t see their reaction so all my hangups and insecurities were insignificant! I loved it.  So I probably went way overboard for a number of years.  In terms of my blog it was kind of like an online diary where I was also informing our loved ones about what was going on with my daughter and how they could pray for her.  But it was definitely an overly emotional purging of sorts.  And on FB I was worse, they were quick snippets but I was sure everyone wanted to know my ups and downs and everything in between.  I am hilarious after all, why wouldn’t they want to know everything!? (SARCASM ALERT) I started a second blog for health and fitness (this one) in 2011 and really was thrilled to have an outlet for writing.   

But when you are uber-honest with the whole world all the time in many different venues, people don’t always see eye to eye.  I know there were people I offended along the way.  I have been unfriended by many people over the years who actually seem to really dislike me, including people I see every week at church! Talk about AWKWARD!!!  I had a “friend” tell me that it she finds it extremely offensive that I talk about my faith on Facebook.  Very slowly I have learned to dial it back on the drama especially the negativity.  Although I have posted those dark and ugly moments before and received an outpouring of people who tell me that they felt less alone or encouraged by me sharing my reality.  When it comes to social media I have never been too worried about just being me.  I do get a little internally tortured by the rejection; after all when you are being real and you get rejected it is really you that they do not like and that stings a little bit.  But I hear ALL the time, “I love how you are so honest and real on Facebook.” That is important to me. I’m never going to be the “friend” everyone is looking for so if I am being disingenuous in order to appeal to everyone it won’t happen. 


So this is me.  I’m Amanda,

  • I think I am funny, hilarious actually
  • I have an insanely skillful memory especially for song lyrics
  • Speaking of music I am the family DJ
  • I go overboard with things, like everything, I’m a go big or go home kind of girl
  • I have bad teeth, hideous fingernails and even worse earwax, sorry mom!
  • I am kind of awesome in the kitchen as long as I am not baking in which case, I’m kind of a disaster
  • I am fiercely loyal
  • I love to sing
  • I am full of creative ideas
  • My mom thinks my skin has this amazing earthy aroma and she frequently smells my face, one of my kids has this same effect on me, we are all weird!
  • I love to read books out loud and do amazing accents for all the characters
  • I have seen way too many movies and am a very gentle critic
  • I recently broke my lifelong obsession with television and have barely watched a thing since June but before that I could binge on Netflix like it was my job!
  • I am obsessed with organization and yet can be extremely messy which is distressing to me 
  • I live life passionately
  • I always horribly embarrassed by my childhood nickname but also kind of happy that I had it because it made me feel secure and loved. 
  • I stay up way too late most nights and I hate mornings
  • My favorite moments in life are those instances when you get the chills because you know God planned it all out just to take your breath away, I have had buckets of those lately!
  • I have spent a lot of years extremely undisciplined at things; my fitness, my spiritual life, balancing home/family/work, my friendships, etc but this is the year I am making actual changes
  • I am terrified I will never be able to repair all the damage to my physical health and even more my emotional wellbeing that those years of not feeling my worth have done.
  • I believe from the bottom of my heart that God placed me on this earth to a. point people to him and b. to help people to live life to the full, a jubilant life.