Tuesday, May 1, 2012


A few weeks ago I had a canker sore. I know other people get them all the time, but I rarely do. This one was awful. Poor me suffered through it for days. I felt pretty sorry for myself, what with it really hurting, especially when I ate and was preparing to go on my cruise (heaven forbid it interfered with some of the eating I planned to do there!). Poor me. It didn’t seem fair. And it took so long to go away.
Then I found out my husband had one too. He just hadn’t said anything. He showed it to me and his was much bigger than mine. I had no idea. And I’m a mouth person. People come to me (or COULD come to me) when they have canker sores. But because he didn’t say anything and I don’t routinely look in his mouth, I had no idea.
This is a silly story, but it made me think. How many people, even those close to us, have canker sores and are in severe pain every time they eat. Or swallow. Or move their lips.
And then I really got to thinking…how many people around us are hurting inside (and I don’t mean physically, inside their mouths), and we don’t know. We can be so acutely aware of our own problems that we don’t often realize that others around us are going through similar situations. We tend to put our best face forward and don’t always let people in to our hypothetical canker sores.
I think blogging is often this way. We post pictures of our fun trips, us looking especially thin (while eating beignets?) or beautiful, activities with all our our many friends, or accomplishments. I find that sometimes while I try to feel connected to others through blogs (or facebook or other social media), I start feeling boring, unattractive, or very lonely. I wonder why I don’t get to go on fancy vacations every week, why I don’t have a million friends, or eat the fanciest meals I prepared myself each day in my fancy well decorated and exceptionally clean house.
And then I realize, I do go on fun trips. I have some cute pictures of myself. When I occasionally do things with friends I am more prone to blog about it. Logically, you may be having the same feelings reading my blog that I have reading yours. But I also have canker sores. And reactive airway disease. And interrupted nights of sleep while I am on call, a messy house, and a lot of bad hair days. I try to be real but I know I am guilty like the next guy of editing my life for the web.
It is so easy to compare and compete. I’m going to try harder to stop comparing my worst to others best and to look for the signs of canker sores around me. Maybe if I focus on noticing and helping others around me own canker sores wont matter much.


Susan said...

Thoughtful post. I think about this a lot. I have a goal that when I am with other people, stop talking about myself and just listen. I am surprised at how hard this really is for someone that is such a "know-it-all" like me. I have realized I seem to always have something to say about everything. I see this in myself..., but only after I have dominated a conversation.

The times I am successful with my goal, it feels really good and I come away with so much more. I learn so much about the other person and I always feel a stronger bond with them.

You are so right. No one has a perfect life. Everyone has some kind of pain to endure or overcome. Thanks for reminding me that I need to keep working on this.

Joe'n'Jess said...

i totally agree! it's easy to see other people's outward expression of themselves and compare. but every single person has something going on that they aren't talking about. it's no use comparing ourselves to each other bc we don't have all the info. now putting this mindset into action is a whole other battle.

Tawnya said...

Wow Erin, what a great post! I love your blog! It keeps me real. I feel like I should post the worst picture of me or my house on purpose. In fact, maybe I will. Thanks Erin.

Donna said...

I love this post--you are so right about the inner/outer "canker sores" of people's lives. What great food for thought. I've enjoyed reading your blog over the last few months. You don't know me, but your father-in-law is my bishop. :) I think I came across your blog from our mutual friend Jessica Sorensen's--it was linked on hers and when I moved to Iowa two years ago I was looking for blogs of fellow LDS women who lived here. Anyway, thanks for the good reads on here!

Erin said...

Hi Donna, thanks so much for stopping by! Isn't my father-in-law the best?! Thanks for commenting. Hopefully we'll get to meet in person some time.