I feel guilty, I always feel guilty, it’s who I am. I’m trying to get better. I happen to have an amazing life and I always have and I feel guilty for that.. and I always have.
Some of the amazingness in my life is genuine blessing/luck, some of it is due to certain choices I’ve made in my life, and some of it is due to really, REALLY hard work. It took spending 3 weeks in Hawaii, followed by 3 weeks in Mexico, which all resulted in us (spoiler alert) moving from Phoenix, AZ to live on the beach in Southern, CA permanently before I finally was able to let go of the guilt and enjoy these blessings. I just couldn’t understand why I get all of this and others don’t. When I was growing up, I spent all my good times wondering why I was the one with the happily married parents, the stable environment, good education, and the nearby extended family who was very supportive and who not only got along but really loved one another. It’s ridiculous, but I continually asked the same question that people in the complete opposite situation always ask themselves, “why me? I mean, why not that other guy?” Isn’t it ironic? (Don’t you think?) I never could just sit back and enjoy the blessings for what they were… blessings- underserved gifts that are meant to be enjoyed. My typical guilty prayer consisted of “OK God, since you chose to give me things that others don’t have, help me to at least do well with them. Help me to be thankful and to find a way to use these blessings to help those who don’t have them. Maybe THEN I’ll finally deserve them (we’ll get into my “works” and “approval” disorders later).”
So that’s been my thought process for almost as long as I can remember, to the point of nausea in fact. I know right?! I should’ve just enjoyed spending entire days in my childhood dressing up my Mailbu Barbie and jungle guide Ken to have a beach adventure wedding with Ken’s trusty side-kick monkey as the best man. Well I did that some, but I’m pretty sure they had complex relational issues that believe it or not, didn’t all revolve around Ken’s dirty flea bag pet monkey. They had fights about money and the fact that Barbie was more successful and more popular than Ken, they never seemed to agree on how to best acclimate their adopted and slightly retarded daughter, Skipper, into the family (come on guys, you know she was retarded and sort of “off-brand” feeling), and they of course had lots of baggage to work through from their families of origin… Malibu and the deserted jungle are as different as Matel and Playschool you know. Yeah, that’s just the way I think. I’m working on it though. I live on the beach now which means I’m trying to embrace the messy hair look and say “dude” a lot more (pretend I’m not wearing mascara right now and insert hang loose hand gesture here).
Eventually I found my own real life Ken, but his name is Scottie and he isn’t a yuppie schmuck with a cheesy smile and he isn’t made of plastic. He’s real. He’s very real. In fact, he’s made me more real. Of course by that I mean that I USED to look just like Barbie but I’ve toned it down a bit to fit in a little better with other real women (ha). Scottie has this magical little balance between putting up with my crazy, obsessive over-analyzing nature versus calling me out on my crazy, obsessive, over-analyzing nature when necessary. Which means he’s patient and gentle but also strong and steady. I love him. I love him so, so much. He’s got me down to a science (which is actually more romantic than it sounds) and he knows what’s going to happen in my life before I do, which is a little embarrassing because I should know my own patterns by now. He’s a super smart dude (check off my dude usage for the day) who thinks differently than anyone I’ve ever met (I love you for your brain, babe) but who also has a sexy bod to go with that giant brain that resides in his very normal sized head.
(Special thanks to Chelsea Hudson Photography for taking all the pictures of the two of us together!)
We don’t have a trusty monkey sidekick like Ken does either, we have a cute little chihuahua mix dog named Jasmine. She’s adorable and super cuddly. She loves people and they love her… especially people who say they normally hate small dogs. But she’s pretty hard-core at the same time and will try to bite the head off a pit bull without batting an eye if given the chance. She’s either really brave, really stupid, or really in denial.
We don’t have an adopted, retarded off-brand daughter either (and we would NEVER name her Skipper if we did- what the hell Matel?!). We actually don’t have any kids and most of the people in Arizona who know that we were married back in 2005 (when I was 22 and my husband was 28) think there’s something wrong with us for not having kids yet and most of the people we know in California, think we’re crazy for getting married before the age of 33 and for even considering having kids before the age of 35. You can’t win I guess. Even our dog’s kind of pissed because she REALLY wants some messy little kids around the house who drop lots of crumbs and leave the front door open so she can come and go as she pleases (If you know Jasmine, you know I’m serious and you also know that both my husband and I are REALLY bad about anthropomorphising her- because it’s funny, but then we start to believe it). We do want kids eventually, but so far we’ve just been really happy the way we are and haven’t been ready to add them into the equation yet. It’ll happen though and when it does, everyone we know will pass out from the surprise… meanwhile I will fully expect hand me downs from all 80 of my AZ friends who have already finished having babies (or least from those who have chosen to clothe their children in expensive styles like Tom’s shoes, baby UGGS and Juicy Couture diaper covers if they even make those)… not to mention I want the best baby shower known to mankind, based on your MANY experiences with them, minus all the lame stuff. See! There are lots of benefits to waiting!
My husband and I are wedding photographers. In Phoenix terms that means we have “made it” because we get paid full-time to take pictures of people who were previously strangers (aka not free sessions for family and friends paid only in handfuls of spaghetti). In Los Angeles, this means we’re struggling because we OBVIOUSLY want to be shooting movie stars and just haven’t quite made it there yet and weddings are just for filler money in the meantime. To us, it means we get to meet amazing people, go to amazing places, have an amazing level of freedom, and have an amazing time working together. As I mentioned in the beginning and have hinted (just slightly) at now, my life is definitely pretty amazing. It also means we have to go back and forth between being big shots and nobodies as we maintain our business in both cities. I guess it keeps us proud but with enough humbleness that we’re not arrogant. We’re medium proud I suppose.
My decision to start Rare Existence had a lot to do with the “good life” guilt I was talking about earlier.
(I don’t mean that I’m writing this in an attempt to relieve the guilt… I’m working through that in other ways as I learn that it’s good to enjoy life and that the blessings are there for the sake of both being shared AND personally enjoyed). What I mean is that I’ve spent a good portion of my life thinking about the “why me” question, how I can use what I’ve been given to help others, as well as how I can take full advantage of the opportunities I’ve been given. As these questions played on repeat in my brain throughout most of my life, I saw people come and go from all different backgrounds, all different situations, and all different beliefs and I couldn’t help but ask these same questions as they applied to them. I always wanted to know “why me” and “why them” in both the positive and negative ways.
Of course, the answer is that I’ll never really know. That’s all out of my control as well as my realm of understanding.
The best we can hope to do is to work with the little we do know (or that we um, at least THINK we know) and walk alongside one another as we try to figure this out and overcome or improve upon whatever we need to in order to live the life we are meant to live. Because then and only then, will our lives have the kind of significance we crave and the kind of quality relationships that bring true joy to life. And if I MUST find something good in my life to feel guilty for, it’s going to be for having a life of significance that is full of relationships way more amazing than I deserve, because that’s the most kick-ass thing I can think of to feel guilty for.
P.S. I wrote this blog in a way that is meant to be read chronologically from the beginning to end. So if you’re new here, I recommend you start with the first post on Rare Existence and work your way backwards. Also, if you like it and want to stay in the know join the Rare Existence Facebook Community (read more about the philosophy behind that) or click on the button in the upper right to follow the RSS feed.
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