Please welcome Alisa Schindler to #BeReal.
It’s taken decades for me to really figure out what it means to be real, not because I was trying not to be, but because I didn’t know how. I spent a long time insecure and concerned with others’ perception of me. I spent a long time uncomfortable with myself. But then I hit a period in life where I realized that none of that really matters at all; that the only thing that does matter is being genuine and true to yourself.
Having an emotionally and physically disabled parent has taught me so many lessons. Even though it is the hardest burden of my life, I also appreciate what it has brought me – mainly perspective. I appreciate my children, my husband, my life, my friends. I know how good I have it, how precious every hug is, every small moment, what it means to just be healthy. There is no sweating the small stuff.
Some situations in life, like with my sick father, are full of difficulties. It is not easy being the entire support network for a depressed, lost individual, especially one with social and physical challenges as well. Sometimes I say the wrong things, sometimes I respond exactly how I know I shouldn’t because just because someone is sick and depressed doesn’t mean that they can’t be mean or manipulative. It’s not always easy taking the high road and when I don’t I become snappy with my kids, short with my husband and I shut off my friends. I get angry with myself that I didn’t handle myself better, which of course makes it worse.
Life is hard. We all struggle. We all have challenges. We all have done things we aren’t proud of. But that’s part of learning and growing and being human. Being real means not judging anyone else’s transgressions or life. It means walking my own path and letting everyone else do the same.
So constantly, every day, I work on forgiving and accepting myself. For my mistakes, for the extra scoop of ice cream I shouldn’t have eaten, for forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning or making chicken nuggets for dinner, for not being the best mom, daughter, wife, friend, person. And I say, I’m okay and I’m doing the best I can. I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to be me.
Bio: Alisa Schindler is a mom of three boys and wife to Mr. Baseball. She schlepps children, burns cupcakes and writes essays that have been featured online at NYTMotherlode, Washington Post, Kveller, Brain, Child and Good Housekeeping among others. She occasionally blogs at icescreammama.com. Check out her fun, sexy fiction finally available on Amazon after she finished hemming and hawing and biting her nails and wondering if it was good enough.