Tuesday, September 21, 2010

It's cool to be the janitor

My dad is an incredibly hard worker. He grew up on a cotton farm, went to college, lived in his car part of one semester because he couldn't afford rent, sold Bibles in the ghetto, graduated, worked in Houston, then in Waco, then New York, and then started his own stock broking firm in Tyler 25 years ago. He is a self made man who is as selfless as they come. I've learned, and continue to learn, a lot from watching how he works, lives, listens, loves, and smiles through just about anything. There's one time in particular that's been on my mind a lot.

Growing up my dad always went to the office early, in high school he would drop me off at seminary (6:00am) and go to work. His office is in one of the biggest bank buildings in Tyler, which he bought sometime after moving in. To us the coolest part about him owning the bank building was that on Saturdays if he went up to the office we got to go with him. We would sit across the desk and draw or fill out pretend stock orders. It was so fun to go with him and see just a few other people there in jeans and t-shirts when it was usually filled with people in suits.

Walking in one Saturday someone said hi to us as they walked by, and we smiled and said hi back.

"You know, they think I'm the janitor." My dad said to me and smiled. I was shocked, why??

"I get here earlier than everyone else during the week, I come in on Saturdays sometimes, and I drive an old truck."

Then he shrugged and said, "I kinda like it."

He wasn't trying to teach me anything, but it was an amazing lesson. He loves what he does, takes care of his family, serves others, and doesn't care if people think that he owns the place or is the janitor. He doesn't waste time worrying about it or making an effort to put on any type of appearance whatsoever.

This has been on my mind as I've been catching up on blogs that I like to follow and keep noticing something. There are blogs that I love and can't wait to check, and then there are those that I only visit every once in a while because whenever I do I always end up feeling more and more inadequate/uncreative/out of shape with each scroll down the page. It just seems like a lot of people's blogs or facebook pages are a sort of monument to their own wonderfulness - their perfect lives/houses/bodies/talents/kids/husbands/businesses/etc.  You know what I mean?  I don't doubt that they are super talented, or amazingly creative, or look super hot but sometimes it feels like more and more people are consumed with portraying perfection at all times when that's just not reality. At least not my reality.

Yes, I like to write about things that I love like fun family trips, adventures of becoming a stay at home mom, new clothes, favorite images from sessions, or exciting finds from Anthropologie or J.Crew. But maybe I haven't been as willing to share the real life stuff in fear that I might seem less perfect than everyone else. In reality some days I don't change into real clothes until just before Jared gets home from work.  Or I wear "nicer" jammies like yoga pants and a shirt that's mine (as opposed to Jared's) and call it good. I hate ironing and cooking, which means I'm fine with wrinkled clothes and Lean Cuisines. (Disclaimer: This is not a reflection of my mom who is an amazing cook and whose clothes are always perfectly pressed.) I struggled for a long time with postpartum depression, and still have hard days every now and then. I can't arrange frames on a wall without 14 people's opinion, and I can barely sew a pillowcase without wanting to set my sewing machine on fire.

I don't mean for this to sound like a pity party in the least. I love my life and recognize that I have more things to be grateful for than I can count. But real life is happy, sad, fun, hard, and everything in between.

The last thing I want is for someone to come to my blog and feel like my life is, in any way, better or more productive or more beautiful than theirs. Because it's not. We are the same. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that you have it WAY more together than I do. The important things, I have to remind myself, are to love what I do, take care of my family, and serve others. If I'm having an "I'm the janitor" kind of day I'm not going to go out of my way to make it look like I have it all together, because it's okay if people think you're the janitor. I still have to work on "kinda liking it", but hopefully this is a small step.

22 comments:

bcmagg said...

tyan, great thoughts. you're right in everything that you said - and yes, your dad seems like he can smile through anything.

Meghan Huntsman said...

Amen! I'm right there with you and totally agree! Your Dad sounds like an amazing man with a GREAT story.

Lea said...

I check your blog regularly, you probably don't even remember me, but we were in the same Ward in College Station. My daughter loved you, you were her Nursery Leader. And I just thought you and your hubby were just so stinkin' cute! I don't even know how I stumbled across your blog.
Anyway, I love what you wrote, see I totally looked at you(through your blog) as this girl that has it all, seems so put together. Gorgeous, cute family, so stylish, always happy, creative. You still are all of those things I'm sure, but after what you wrote, I feel like there is another side that we in the blogging world never see. And it made me realize that all of the "perfection" that I see in blogs is just a facade. Everyone probably has issues and real life problems. I guess I just wanted to say thanks for reminding me of that, for allowing me to cut myself a little break and maybe pushing me to do the same and be a little more real as well. THANKS

Lea

Bekah said...

Great post! I suffered a lot with postpartum depression, also. And just like you, I hate cooking and sometimes I wear sweatpants and t-shirts all day. And there's nothing wrong with that. :)

Sierra & Ryan said...

Tyan, thank you so much for this post! I have a really hard time with blogs because of all those reasons you listed, and it is so uplifting to hear something real. I hardly blog because I feel like I don't have anything to offer compared to so many of the blogs I read. You said exactly what I needed to hear! You are amazing always!

Sarah said...

Hey Tyan, Thanks for your blog. It was really revealing, particularly because you have an amazing talent for taking normal people and catching them in a way that shows how beautiful they can be. My husband laughs at me when I haven't showered for two days, it's what makes this whole parenting thing so fun and silly. It is also gross and exhausting (especially when I am cleaning poop from under my fingernails. Happened just today - ewwwww!). It is ridiculous, exhausting and beautiful and would probably make for a hilarious picture. (Sarah Heaton)

shelby said...

This was a very inspirational post!! I love everything you put on your blog!! :)

shelby said...

This was a very inspirational blog! I love everything you blog about!!

Ryan and Rikke said...

Agree. 100%. Thank you for saying it so eloquently!

Becky said...

I think you are amazing and I want to be just like you when I grow up!!!

WELL SAID my friend. :)

Becky said...

I think you are amazing and want to be just like you when I grow up (although I'm way older).

I couldn't have said it as well as you did but boy do I feel the same way!!

Misty said...

Beautiful post Tyan....
Your dad is AN amazing man and how lucky you girls are to have him and your wonderful mom.
I too suffered post partum badly...with each one. It is a hard situation to deal with.
We are a lot alike...even if I am a million years older! HAHA

Lindsey said...

I love your soul.... every single piece of it. When it's all together and when it's broken apart~

Anonymous said...

Sweet Tyan. Loved your comments, because they are so true. You are an amazing young woman~~talented, beautiful, smart, spiritual, and very down-to-earth, That may be the best part. I totally agree with everything you said. Life is NOT perfect, and it surely isn't fair, but it is a lovely, challenging journey, and I think you are handling it beautifully. Your dad's story is truly one of success~spiritually and temporally, and you girls are a great reflection of your parent's rolls in your lives. I know this is wordy, but I want you to know how much I love you and your precious little family, and that I think of you so much more than you probably think.

Loves and hugs,
Sharon

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post! My Dad is the same way. You don't know me but I love your blog. Your pictures are amazing and you seem to always have something kind to say.

I have definitely been struggling with what everyone has and what I don't. I have to remind myself daily that things aren't always as they seem and you have to be happy with what you do have. Cars, houses, and appearances aren't everything. Everyday is a blessing even if it's not as good as someone elses. I just want to make sure I am a good role model for my 15 month old son because thats who matters.

Thank you for your great words!

Cecilia at the Lilypad :)

Steve and Alana Nelson said...

so i have been thinking about this for a while now. and i love the way you write. you put my thoughts into words so beautifully. thank you for being so real. i love it.

Holly said...

LOVE this! Thanks for sharing- and I'll remember the janitor story on my "not so perfect" days too- it's a great reminder. :) You're awesome Tyan!

Esther said...

Thanks for writing this Tyan! It really hit a chord with me :) ps even though I haven't seen you really since high school (crazy right!) I think you are truly amazing!

Em said...

People just want to see other people being real. At least I do. That's why comedians are so funny, because they take real life habits and situations, no matter how embarrassing and harp on them and we all die saying "oh..that's SO true". You know? We can relate and there's humor and relief in that. We're all trying our best here and the truth is..even those that seemingly have it all "together" really have just as many flaws as the next guy, so we might as well all be honest about it b/c there's no hiding the fact that we. are. all. human. And personally, while I always enjoy your photography posts, I love hearing about everyday life too & that sweet baby boy. Even if the stories seem silly or mundane, sometimes that's how motherhood feels in general! :) Keep it up! You're fabulous!

Molly said...

Can I just put ditto on my blog? :) Great post Tyan!

jules said...

You put my heart at ease. Such a gift to know you! I love your thoughts, they are like little treasures. Please keep posting or write a book or something. :)

-Jules

Morgan said...

I just found your blog through Bobbi and Mike's and I would first like to to say that you are beautiful, your family is adorable, and your photography is gorgeous.

I love this post so very much. I'm often bothered by the very same things that you have mentioned. I see it all too often in the blogging word and in the real world as well. It's quite sad, really. I've written about it on my own blog before, but I always fear that it comes across the wrong way. I think that the issue is not so much that people are trying to prove to everyone else that they are perfect, but rather they are trying to prove to themselves that they are perfect for fear that if they are anything less than perfect, they are not good enough. Since coming to this realization, I've been making more of an effort to open up about my own struggles. I truly believe that we, as human beings, are so much more alike than we are different. Yes, God made all of us differently, each with different strengths and weaknesses. The truth, though, is that none of us are perfect. We've all had our fair share of struggles. We've all had plenty of good days, and plenty of bad ones too. We're all equally wonderful, equally beautiful. I just don't see any point is hiding our struggles. I wish that everyone could see that it is through our struggles that we become better, stronger, more wonderful people.

Wow, sorry for the novel of a comment! Thanks so much for this post. I love your blog and I'm grateful to have found it.

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