This picture makes me laugh because it’s my attempt at a “flat lay” photograph. I’m a blogger, yes. I do it almost every day. But I’m clearly not a fashion blogger, food blogger, or any kind of style blogger, who requires fabulously styled, perfectly captured, photo-shopped and filtered images. Most days, I use real images from my real life, taken straight from my phone. They’re usually pretty imperfect. They’re not images meant to impress.
They’re meant to tell a story.
That’s why this one makes me laugh so much. Because I always know I’ll be writing a blog soon, when there’s a good story line building, I try to grab some sort of photograph of whatever is happening. This day, I looked down at what I found myself doing, laughed out loud, and took this “flat lay” image, thinking surely this experience had a good story in it.
We’re about to find out.
While having the opportunity to build a house and move, has been a gift beyond my wildest dreams, in the middle of an already very full life, it’s also been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. (I know how privileged that sounds, but until you’ve done it, try not to judge) Trying to balance ALL of the things has felt like trying to train and contain all the wild animals of the jungle in a neat and orderly space, while conducting a traveling orchestra, in the rain. It’s been bananas.
This “flat lay” represents a moment of the chaos.
I took it the week of GNO, which alone means my plate was already full. On top of our usual “week of” ramp up, we were onboarding new staff and it had been raining for days. This particular day was set aside for me to be at my desk, tackling my to-do list, so everyone else could tackle theirs. Yes, the alarm installation folks were going to be here. But I couldn’t imagine they would need me for anything.
That, is where I was wrong.
For a multitude of reasons, there were several things that weren’t working out for that guy. He needed my input on every little thing. Every time I sat back down at my desk, he’d say “Ma’am, I’m sorry, I have another question for you.” At one point there were doors that couldn’t be drilled and needed sensors attached to the face. But the doors were black and brown and the trim is gray. So his big white sensors looked like the ones you find when you’re about to put on that fab new pair of jeans to run out the door and there’s a giant white plastic security tag still attached. Ughh.
So I decided to paint them.
That should be easy, right? Enter the flat lay and the idea that those sensors are actually magnets. And if you paint them anywhere near each other, they will suddenly find each other and whack together, gobbing up all the paint and mixing the colors together. A couple of hours later, I finally emerged with the painted sensors. They looked like they’d been through war.
At least they were the right colors.
Before I handed them off to the installer, I looked down at my little table and laughed so hard. A lot of bloggers would ignore a moment like that and opt for a pristine “flat lay” of the new countertop with perfect lighting, kitchen utensils and a caption about the joy they find in the kitchen. Not me.
I want you to see a glimpse of real life.
It’s a random box of school pencils, tracing paper, a globby paint tray, terribly painted alarm sensors and a hair dyer, there to try to make it all go faster. It’s a story about life being messy, unpredictable and sometimes frustrating. It’s the behind the scenes of what it looks like to build something. It doesn’t matter if it’s the house of your dreams, a business that exists to serve others, or a meaningful life with the ones you love. . .
All “building” is messy.
It’s eventually worth it. Not always because of the thing you build. But because of who you become in the process.
If you’re looking down at the “flat lay” of your life today and it doesn’t look “Pinteresty” perfect, but rather like wild animals and a traveling orchestra. Be encouraged that the mess is an important part of the building process. It’s needed in your becoming. One day, you will look back and laugh.
You’ll see how it all fit together.
Maybe not in the way you were hoping, but the way it needed to, for your becoming.
to more love,