All the world’s a stage: Living life behind the scenes…

Things are ok. Things aren’t perfect, but we’re getting there. I’ve got some fingers in the fire and irons in the pie… You know what I mean. There are some changes afoot that would seem to equate to things being on the up. In my last blog I wrote about something horrible that happened, something I wasn’t ready to talk about. This blog is sparked by something rather good that could be happening, but again, something I can’t really talk about yet. But things are ok…

There’s a quote, which I love, from Matilda (In my head it was a Harry potter quote, but you can’t have everything!), “As bad as things were before, that’s how good they became”. Life got pretty scary and bleak there for a couple of months. I’m not ashamed to say that I was completely shaken and a little taken aback by how hard I took the events of the last few months. I am still, even now, rebuilding my confidence and learning how to be Lex again. But as bad as things got, that’s how good things are starting to promise to become.

This whole situation, from the epic decent into the deepest of valleys,  to an almost rocket-like launch up a mountain top, got me reflecting (of course it did!) on why I took it all so badly. I wonder if you, like me, are a hopeless comparer. I wonder if you, like me, live your life in the shame of your own backstage.

I have a friend who is the most content person I know. She is generally positive, happy with her lot and very emotionally healthy (something that this friendly little head case finds difficult to understand!), and part of the reason for her contentedness I think, is the fact that she doesn’t compare her life to the lives of other people. Because the truth is, when we get to comparing lives, the comparisons are never really fair and can lead to a whole heap of upset. When I was growing up, involved in lots of dance and drama, I was always told to never let the audience know if a mistake was made because they didn’t have the script or know the choreography, so they couldn’t tell. It’s the same when we compare our lives with other people’s, we can see the mistakes, we know when we’ve put a foot out of place or said the wrong line and we can see the messiness of our backstage; but we are comparing our behind the scenes,  with other people’s highlight reel.

Yes, the horrible situation I faced a few months back was awful, but part of the reason I took it so hard was because I was comparing how messy my life suddenly seemed, to the polished performances I saw everyone else living around me. People kept telling me that it was ok that I didn’t have things together, but it’s difficult to hear people saying that from a well lit stage, over a faultless musical score. I wanted someone to tell me it was ok while standing amongst the paint tins and broken scenery of a messy backstage.

Sometimes comparing ourselves to other people can be helpful; I use my comparing, competitive nature to my advantage sometimes. At the gym, in my head I am comparing myself to other people, racing them and hopefully beating them (however this can lead to injury if you choose to race someone decidedly fitter than you.. like your personal trainer). But when those comparisons become something that we beat ourselves up with; demanding more, demanding better, demanding the impossible, well that’s when the comparisons have gone too far.

I’m a perfectionist and find it so difficult when things in my life aren’t beautifully, sparkly, 100% top notch (they very rarely are!), but mainly because I think that everybody else’s lives are so beautifully, sparkly,  100% top notch, that I should be somewhere up there with them! And the thing is I know that other people have seen and believed my show, overlooking my messy backstage, worrying that their shows don’t measure up . We know that others’ lives aren’t perfect, why then are we so driven to pointless, soul destroying comparison?

So I’m taking a stand, I am throwing open my stage door, letting people see the behind the scenes footage and choosing to show people how messy the backstage of my life is;  my life is far from perfect, but its ok and that is ok. Its ok that I don’t have it all sorted, its ok that I don’t have all the answers and it is more than ok that I don’t really have a clue what’s going on. Because while neither I nor my life are perfect, my God is. And our perfect God does have it sorted, he does have the answers and he most certainly has a clue of what is going on.

 Its ok to just be ok. ( I know this may not be news to many of you, but I feel that there may be some of you who like me are fuelled and driven by reaching for perfect!)

So my challenge for us all is to bring the curtains down on our rehearsed, polished, award winning West-End lives (unless you actually do live your life as if it were a musical, in which case you carry on and God speed!). I challenge you to open up the backstage of your life and let people live amongst the mess. I challenge you to relinquish the perfect and embrace the ok. And if you are going through what seems like hell, know that as bad as things are now, that’s how good they will become- it might not be perfect but it will be ok again, promise, I’ve just finished reading that bit of the script.

Lex xx

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