Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Breathing Room


I'm going through and deleting old emails. My husband offers up a concerned 'What?' and I bemoan the fact that I've realized that the blog book review I was thinking was in November is actually due this week and I haven't even started the book. 'What book is it?' he asks.

"It's called, 'Breathing Room.'" We look at each other and just laugh.

Ah, life's ironies.

'Keep it all together. Get the to do list tackled. Don't be out of sorts. Be friendly and happy!' Where are these voices coming from? All in my own head.

We try to be strong, to be the person we want to be. 'I am not someone who forgets deadlines,' I tell myself. 'I'll just have to read it...this weekend? No, that won't work...too many other deadlines that are important to not miss also.'

We have an image of what a woman should look like . 'It's not going to happen,' I realize in my head. 'It's going to be late. They will think I am lazy.'

We keep striving for pintrest-like perfection but it's always out of our reach. 'Why did this have to be due this week!?'

Leanna Tankersley's personal and intimate description of her journey of learning to accept her own humanity is an invitation to breathe deeply and exhale, showing us how letting go can help us live more fully. I know I need to RSVP to that and just let go of all my 'shoulds' and just realize that I am not Superwoman and I can't do it all.

The book is a view into her world of crazy. Living as a wife of a Navy Seal, having twins and a newborn and living in Bahrain. How she just survived and learned to give herself grace instead of condemning herself for not being able to measure up to her own standards.

Being dysfunctional and real is too vulnerable. There's so much potential for hurt. I am even hesitant to write this blog post because in it I'm admitting that I am not living up to my own expectations of myself. What if I'm not living up to others' expectations either? But this year in particular I've been learning to just do the next thing. I've been doing a lot of 'self-care' and realizing that if I don't I will blow up and it will not be good for anyone.

She shares some great tips for how to let go. One chapter in particular rang true with me, 'Beginning Again." She shares some of her failures as a mom and how each day and even each moment is a new chance to begin again, to start over. To say I'm sorry and have a clean slate. To be forgiven and to forgive yourself. I have a tough problem with forgiving myself. I think I should know better and not mess up so much, but I'm learning that I'm a human and I need to extend grace to myself like I do to others.

She discusses grief and her sadness after a miscarriage and so expertly explains grief: 'Grieving is the process of recognizing the loss of what might have been....The bothersome thing about grief is that it rolls in, life a wave, and then rolls back out again. You never know when it's going to hit. Some days it just pooled around my feet. Some days it knocked me over, completely submerged."

The book reads like a series of insightful blog posts, some I could have skipped over and some I held onto in my mind and camped out on. Part narrative, part reflective, part encouragement, each chapter was a quick few pages and easy to mentally chew on.

Hopefully I'll be able to give myself some Breathing Room and the grace and space I need to process life through life and encourage others to do the same.

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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