Sunday, March 10, 2013

The One at the Low End of the Totem Pole.



A little disclaimer before I start writing this post:  I know I’ve got it good.

I’m in a loving marriage, I’ve got a great kid, I’m healthy, and though I could use more money (who couldn’t?) we’re okay financially. I know these things, and I try to be continually conscious of and grateful for them.

But then there are days like today.

Days when my house is in desperate need of cleaning, yet I rationalize putting it off for one more day; where the minutia of the daily grind becomes physically painful; when my husband’s jokes are really insults masked in jest; when I spend all my energy keeping my patience with my daughter as she yells at me from her room, incensed because I committed some heinous act against her like insisted she go to bed on time.

On days like today I sit here and think, “This is my life?”

This is my life.

And I keep it together until the house is quiet, and everyone else is asleep except for me. Then I expose my dirty little secret… I break out my imagination. I allow myself to imagine what it would be like to kiss my husband in the morning, drop my daughter off at school and drive until I ended up somewhere new, in another version of my own life.

A life where I’ve had the courage and persistence to accomplish dreams that were seeded long before I could’ve imagined how raw adulthood can be; a life where I’m a tougher version of myself instead of the real me – inconsistent and idle.

I swing like a pendulum – one minute feeling resolute that I deserve a life that’s more than just one laundry basket after the next, then swinging furiously to guilty depths for feeling unappreciative and unsatisfied with how good I actually have it.

Too often I refuse to swing at all, paralyzed by laziness and fear.

I swing between two different characters from Sex and the City (all my references seem to come back to Sex and the City):  I wish I were more like Samantha – brash and entirely sure of herself, unwilling to put anything above her own instinct and survival, but in reality I’m much more like Charlotte – borderline naïve and fragile, yet unwilling to let go of her idealism even though it’s been proven false time and time again.

This is my life.

It’s complicated.

3 comments:

  1. I loved this. And wanted to just hug you for writing it.

    It is complicated!

    "Inconsistant and idle." That's how I feel most days, but especially yesterday after an in-law family gathering where all the women (and men, now retired) are engaged and accomplished.

    I keep having to tell myself that all these characters (Sex and the City style) and ourselves (complete with our seemingly infinite shortcomings) are all important cogs in the machine. That we could be self assured and still wrong. We could be fragile and idealistic and wrong. We could be wrong in everything we do, but if we don't have hope?

    I have to think that there is always something else. There is always a place to go. To explore. To think about. This is life and it is tiny and huge and no one can really measure it with any real precision.



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  2. There IS always something else - thanks for reminding me, Siobhan. I know there is, and I'm glad there is. Thank you for your comment. I have read it over and over, and it's spot on. Reading it makes me feel a little less delicate, a little less cracked. It's like that line from Stephen Chbosky's book:

    "So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I'm both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be."

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  3. You are not cracked. You are amazing. You are.

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