If you’re on social media at all, you will have seen people posting a series of seven daily pictures, all in black in white. Someone tags you for the challenge and you’re supposed to tag someone who hasn’t done it each of the 7 days you post your black and white picture.
I don’t actually know what the challenge is about or who started it or why.
I’m assuming that it has something to do with simplifying your life when you view just a black and white snapshot of it.
Perhaps there’s an element of gratitude. Or maybe it’s showing people what your life actually involves, not just the usual highlights we post about on Facebook and Instagram.
I get that and it’s not that I don’t like a challenge. And it’s not that I’m ungrateful. Okay, well maybe I am feeling a little snarky because no one tagged me until yesterday.
Here’s my thing: sharing with you a simplified snippet of my life in 7 photos would still only be showing you my highlight reel.
Would you really like to know what my every day life is like? We’ll start in the kitchen.
There are currently no forks or spoons in my cutlery drawer because they’re piled on the counter and in the sink along with mountains of dirty plates, bowls, cups, and last night’s supper dishes. It’s gross. I hate it, but I’ve made supper the last four nights and washed the majority of the dishes. I’ve got five able-bodied children who can help out.
Ungrateful? Not exactly.
Frustrated with my kids, yes.
There are crumbs all around me as I sit writing this at my kitchen table. Crumbs, a salt shaker, full cups of water and a cup of hot chocolate just waiting to be spilled. It happens more often than you’d think.
School notes, a letter from piano lessons, and a receipt from purchasing bus tickets. A kleenex box and a white bowl with one brown speckled Christmas orange that everyone refuses to eat.
The floors are sticky and spotty, hairy and dirty.
The testament of having five children and two dogs.
I sweep at least once a day, I wipe the dog’s feet before they come in, I vacuum a couple times a week and Swiffer the hardwoods and spot clean frequently.
Our sticky recycling bin is full of children’s shoes. Some empty boxes and containers decorate the top of the pile. The backdoor is a haven for dirty, stinky shoes and boots.
Between seasons is always a challenging time of trying to educate children on the wearing of the correct foot apparel, the storage of unused foot apparel, and how to keep as much of the seasonal outdoor outside of the inside.
Then there are our stairways. Full of dog hair even though I vacuum and pick up hair. Holes in the walls from angry children and moving furniture. Dirty streaks from fingers big and not-so-big.
The bathrooms haven’t been cleaned in weeks and there’s usually one toilet that needs to be flushed, usually the same toilet that has drips of urine on it.
There are dirty clothes scattered throughout the basement and the teenager’s hiding place/bedroom is a typical hazard zone.
It looks like teenagers, it smells like teenagers.
Upstairs you’ll find the aftermath of Halloween. Candy wrappers can’t make it into the garbage cans. Maybe because the garbage cans have been thrown too many times and are now broken but we still use them.
Because buying a new one to break is pointless.
Dirty underwear everywhere, towels lying on the floor, and who-knows-what rubbed along the walls beside the beds.
The computer keyboard is sticky. The TV is dusty. The shelves are worse. Half of my children’s school pictures have been replaced with this year’s pictures.
A basketball net has sat in my living room harboring dust bunnies since August.
The yard and garage are another disaster area. We need to pay someone to pick up our junk and remove it for us, but that costs money. Old carpet and furniture line the outside of the garage and the yard has relatively little dog poop only because I am the one who has been picking up regularly because I hate the spring poop clean up more.
The garage is in half decent shape, only because I’ve nagged and nagged, then done it myself.
The garage door opener still doesn’t work and the sump pump hoses and water hose still need to be put away. But at least we can park the van that needs air in it’s tires inside of it.
Then there’s my mind.
That’s where the worst of my life happens. You know, the worry, the anxiety, the feelings and crap I don’t know how to deal with or want to deal with. You can’t take a picture of that. Not even a black and white one. Nor should anyone else but me need to see that.
Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful. Usually.
I am in pretty good health. My children are healthy. My marriage is pretty good. Our bills get paid and I get to eat chocolate every once in a while.
But how can you capture a person’s life in 7 black and white photos? I can’t even begin to try. And that is why I will not do the 7 day black and white challenge.