A Small List of Meant To’s

I meant to be skinnier than this by now. I meant to stop eating All the Cheetos. I meant to be less snappy at Greg, and to make healthier food for my kids.

I meant to be more Godly. To, like, actually love those who hate me, and to do it with ease after so much practice.

I meant to have my book proposal done, not just close to done. And I meant to have my room picked all the way up, including the nightstand which instead has a tub of buttercream frosting; cinnamon graham crackers, mostly gone; a dusty hair band; 4 green earplugs and one orange, partially chewed by the dog; two empty glasses of water; various Lego shrapnel; and a Special Rock gifted to me by one of the children that looks like Every Other Rock, but apparently isn’t.

I meant to have the front yard manicured. Or, if not manicured, at least not mostly dead with blackberry brambles and wisteria and the occasional baby oak tree wrestling for control. Whenever I see someone having a yard sale, I wonder whether I can sell my yard, too. Surely there’s someone out there who needs an extra front yard.

I meant to have organized my laundry room such that I can find panties and a bra. Also, shirts. Also, pants.

I meant to be a gardener, boxes brimming with late summer bounty. I have the boxes, but I haven’t seen them for years, hidden as they are under one wild yard growth or another.

I meant to be a letter writer and a card sender and a person who keeps personal correspondence alive. I meant to be a checkbook balancer and an excellent money manager and have more than $50.05 in savings.

I meant to read books that make me smarter and make me think and make me cry and feel triumphant, but if anyone needs a somewhat smutty and wholly spectacular vampire or werewolf series, let me know; I’m apparently your girl.

I meant to be cultured and to prefer spending time in museums and art galleries than pubs and tiny coffee shops. I meant to be able to pull off elegant should the situation arise.

I meant to have bathrooms that smell like freshly laundered clothes, or, at the very least, like buckets of bleach, instead of like stale kid urine that went there to die. For that matter, I meant to have clean laundry that smells like freshly laundered clothes instead of old cheese and green olives.

After 23 years, I meant to have marriage figured out, and, after 19 years, to know which parenting manual actually works.

I meant to do all these things and a thousand thousand more. I meant to, but HAHAHAHAHA! Nope.

But I’ll tell you a tiny secret. I also decided to be a better friend to myself. To treat myself like I’d treat a girlfriend, sharing her microfailures over wine, making little confessions of Not Enough, and spilling her small bits of shame, hoping she can be known and still loved. The kind who listens to the admissions, then shrugs and hugs and says, But look at all you ARE. Look at all you are, friend. Look at the way you drink in life. Look at how you love your littles and your bigs. Look at how you love your world. Look at how you TRY. Yes? Look at YOU and see the You I do. The one who is so much more than the Meant To’s. So much more than Could Have Been’s. So much more than the Not Enoughs. You, my friend, are fabulous. You, my friend, are seen. You, my friend, are loved BECAUSE of who you are, not in spite of it. 

So in case you have a list of Meant To’s — one that you rehearse — a list of all your wrongs which is the opposite of Love — look at all you ARE, friend, and trust me here for just one second:

You are worthy of infinite love.

You just are.

That’s as true a truth as I know.

Now read it again and trust it for one more second. And one more. And one more. Until you can hear it echo inside of you for a minute. And then an hour. I hear that’s possible. And then a day.

I’ll practice, too.

With love,

 

 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
19 comments
  1. Every bit of this is what every single one of us needs.

  2. Love this!! Thank you for the encouragement: I had my personal list of meant-to’s running through my head this week too. And man, that girl who lives in my brain is a real B sometimes! She is not used to being silenced by grace, or understanding. So thank you for shutting her up for the time being. I will choose to remember the great things I AM, instead of believing that I am my short-comings.

    Also, a pro tip: try those cinnamon graham crackers with the CREAM CHEESE frosting in a tub. So freaking good.

    Love from The Great White North ❤️

  3. ♥ Love you, Beth!
    I told a friend yesterday that I would always choose hanging out at the pub with friends over keeping my house picked up or clean. Because Friends. and Beer. 😉

  4. Thank you. I’m smiling through my tears. A lot of your meant to’s are mine too.

  5. Thank you <3

  6. I will take who you are over all those “meant tos”. I would hack my way through brambles to get to your door and sit around your sticky table and laugh harder than I have for weeks.

  7. Thank you. No other words, but thank you.

  8. An inspirational friend posted a photo to her group today, that said “You Are Irreplaceable” or “You Cannot Be Replaced” and I am sorry I am feeling too lazy to double check – but it is the God’s truth.

    So now I’ve been blessed twice by two amazing women, reminding me that I’m Enough, I’m Important, and I’m Worthy. Thank you.

  9. what a beautiful wave in the dark – again – thank you – not sure I deserved it, but I sure needed it 🙂 And you are so worthy of love and laughter and hugs and giggles and love and everything infinitely too (oh and money too, but I can’t provide you with that, sorry – not very good as a friend me is)

  10. “I meant to be a checkbook balancer…” ? There is a lot of latitude allowed in the story teller’s art.

    1. Maybe “My dad, the Marine, meant for me to be a checkbook balancer.” ? But then I’d have to include your whole list of Meant To’s. My dad meant for me to be a bed maker, a cleaner-upper, an upstanding member of society, not quite so showing-my-ass-on-the-beach, not in total love with Disney… your list is TOO LONG, man. But I love you. I do.

      1. Let the record reflect that, in my convicted opinion, who you became is vastly superior to any “meant to’s” list I may have ever devised, imagined, or expressed. Even the checkbook balancing thing – which a HOST of financial gurus say is a colossal waste of time – can be excused. About that Disney love however…

  11. This is really beautiful. Thank you.

  12. Thank you. I’m in pursuit of the ability to be The Kind Friend to myself too so it’s good to have a reminder and also to know other people are in the same struggle. Isn’t it interesting how we can be quite good at being that friend to other people but default to The Stroppy And Judgemental Cow with ourselves?

    Can I just say that I love your home – it’s comfortable and real and YOU xxx

  13. I want all the vampire and werewolf books!

    1. My favorites, with excellent plots, character development, dialogue, and some sex:
      The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
      Innkeeper Chronicles series by Ilona Andrews
      The Mercy Thompson series by Patrica Briggs
      Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter
      Wraith Kings series by Grace Draven

      Not vampires or werewolves, but compelling fantasy novels with some bits of romance/sex:
      Throne of Glass series by Sarah Maas
      Crown of Thorns series by Sarah Maas

      If you want basically just sex strung together with an interesting, fantastical plot:
      Eternal Guardians series by Elisabeth Naughton
      Iron Seas series by Meljean Brook

      Totally unusual and fascinating wereanimals series, no sex:
      The Others series by Anne Bishop

      Vampire/witch series, excellent writing, can’t honestly remember if there’s any sex:
      All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

  14. Had a hurtful Friday and very much need this this weekend. Thank you.

  15. Thank you. I needed this tonight. Some days just take so much energy to just exist through. This day of the calendar is one of mine. But I existed through it yet again. And most people around me never even knew the struggle. Go me! I think.

  16. ❤️

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