Dreaming of Who I Could Be

Every now and then, when I escape to the world at large without my children, I get a brief moment of disconnect. A blurry few seconds of a bad ass life accompanied by the thumping bass of the radio.

I imagine myself strutting.

Usually in a cropped, black leather moto jacket. With epaulets. The epaulets are important.

Then Reality crashes in and I remember that I hate jackets. I mean, I love ogling them and thinking about being the type of person who rocks awesome jackets as I also rock awesome boots and perhaps ride a motorcycle.

Imagine. Me. All sleek and sexy lines.

But I hate jackets.

I hate how they constrict my shoulders. I hate taking them on and off. The changing of temperatures. The putting of the jacket somewhere. The remembering to take the jacket home with you.

I own a lot of jackets but I never wear them.

It’s a good thing I live in a very temperate part of California.

Also? I’m terrified of motorcycles.

Anyhow. What was I saying before my tangent on jackets?

Ah, yes. This glimpse of a life that never was, that possibly could be, but probably won’t.

Here’s the thing. It isn’t the jacket or the boots or the makeup or the hair.

It’s the SWAG.

I have lost my swag.

Actually, did I ever really have it? Was there ever a time where I just felt like a BAMF and walked into a room feeling like I owned it and everyone should bow before my awesomeness?

I cannot ever recall feeling this way.

Maybe on my wedding day because if you don’t feel like a BAMF on your wedding day, I suppose that’s a sad thing.

Come to think of it, BAMF is the wrong descriptor for how I felt on my wedding day. I stand corrected.

This lack of BAMF-ness makes me sad. Because why shouldn’t I feel like I’m a badass? Why am I always walking around feeling like I’m an impostor?

I’m not saying I should walk around acting like an entitled prat, but you know, there must be some sort of socially acceptable in-between state, right? It shouldn’t be either feel like you don’t belong or feel like you’re better than everybody.

Do men go through this?

Is this something uniquely given to women?

I’m sure there are millions of articles on this subject. I probably have read most of them.

The problem is thus: I feel such a disconnect from who I really am and who I wish I could be. And on top of that, I feel bad because a lot of who I wish I could be would be attainable if only I put in the work. But I don’t want to put in the work!

So, I guess I don’t really want to be that person.

This is the hard part: to sift through all the things I think I want to get to the parts I really do want. And then to decide whether or not I want it badly enough to put in the work. And then when I do put in the work, to not get discouraged by the discomfort of actually working.

There are way too many steps in this.

And who is to say that what I think I want will make me happy? Or happier than what I am now?

But I suppose, if I never give it a shot, I will never know. And that the FOMO will perhaps eat me up inside, full of regret and resentment.

I guess it’s time to stretch and grow and all that other good cliché stuff. Who’s with me?

Life in Piecemeal

It should come as no surprise to long time readers that I am an extreme personality. There are no half-ways in my world. There is either all or nothing. Feast or famine. All in or all out.

Perfection or Abject Failure.

It shows up in all aspects of my life and makes it difficult for me to ever feel as if I am living the life that I want.

I either bang out 3-4 posts in one marathon writing binge or radio silence for weeks at a time.

I disappear down the rabbit hole of blazing through thick, doorstopper type books or I accrue $12 in library fines because I haven’t gotten to the stack of unread library books by the bed.

I either have fits of Angry Cleaning wherein I scream at the kids and throw a bunch of their toys into the donate pile, or all their toys are strewn all over the floor and we live in the filth of our own making.

The kids either only subsist on chicken nuggets, pizza, and snacks while they wander back and forth from the kitchen table, or they only eat food I make quickly and in silence.

We either homeschool hardcore all day or the kids are left to Lord of the Flies themselves and figure shit out on their own.

I am either not mad or HULK SMASH WHY YOU NOT DO WHAT I SAY WHEN I SAY IT?!?

It is a hard life with no room for softness. And children (and I, I guess) need some softness. Something with which to cushion the hardness of life that can grind us into a fine powder if we allow it.

Plus, a life bouncing in between extremes is confusing for the kids and they never get the stability children crave and need. They never feel safe.

And truthfully, life is lived in the in-between.

I need to embrace what my friend, Not Another DB MBA calls The 差不多(cha bu4 duo) Lifestyle. (Cha bu4 duo means “almost” or “close enough.”)

It is possible to write a post at a time or even a few paragraphs at a time. Harder, but possible.

 

 

It is possible to read a book a few chapters at a time versus reading 1000+ pages in one sitting. Annoying, but possible.

It is possible to go back to a time when we all put away what we take out, and the house can resemble some state of happy equilibrium of “lived in-ness.”

It is possible for me to cook 95% of the time and then eat nuggets or pizza occasionally as pinch-hitting meals when I don’t have time or energy.

It is possible to homeschool a little bit every day and just let the rest go.

And it is possible for me not to be angry all the time (this one is super hard and I will be addressing this in a later post).

All these things are possible, I just have to suck it up and get used to living my life in piecemeal.

A life of spurts.

I also have to remember that just because I mess up once or twice (or a lot), that it doesn’t mean I just throw in the towel and swing to the other extreme.

That life allows for hiccups.

And so, I live a life in the constantly interrupted trenches of parenting small children.

Slowly, but surely, I am getting more okay with writing partial posts, sneaking in reading a chapter here and there, paying bills and sorting mail immediately, watching parts of shows, folding and putting away just a few items of clothing at a time, and washing a few dishes at a time.

It is hard, but chips away slowly at the giant mountain of THINGS I NEED TO DO. Of course, the mountain gets constantly added to, but I am satisfied with a sense of treading water with the occasional leisurely swim versus feeling as if I am constantly drowning.

Ok, that was an egregiously mixed metaphor but in the spirit of The 差不多(cha bu4 duo) Lifestyle, I am just going to point it out but not fix it.

Being Invisible

“So, what do you ladies do?” The hairy, overly tanned middle-aged white man asked.

My friend, Laney, and I had been busy chatting in the hot tub on our last day together when Bob*, with the self-importance only a middle-aged white man can project, interjected and proceeded to monologue for the next 45 minutes wherein our sole purpose was to murmur sweet, appreciative assents while we seethed yet somehow were trapped in societal expectations and did not extricate ourselves. After all, we were there first! Why should we be forced to move? And yet, who was the big loser in this encounter? Us.

I am still pissed about this.

Anyhow, Bob had now moved on from what he thought about himself and was now, however briefly, willing to share the spotlight with one of us.

“What do you do?” he asked again as Laney and I hesitated. Do we engage more? Do we reply in a way to seem interesting? Or do we reply in such a way as to shut down conversation?

I knew what I would do.

“I’m a stay at home mom,” I said.

I watched as the interest in his eyes died before I even finished speaking the words. He turned immediately to Laney

I was uncertain whether I was relieved or furious that he did exactly as I had ensured. Hadn’t I answered in this way so that he would dismiss me and my life? So that I could deflect and not have to endure him any more than I had to?

And yet. And yet.

Every now and then when I think about my life, I think how it is the perfect NOC (non-official cover for those of you not in the know) for spies, cons, and surveillance personnel. After all, there is nothing more nondescript than a mother with her children. No one expects them to be anything but what they are – which is innocuous background noise (at least, until one of those kids has a very public meltdown).

We blend. We are scenery. We disappear.

Today, I walked into a cafe without my usual coterie of babies and for a brief second, I made eye contact with a man sitting at the counter. My mind wandered to where it normally wanders in a split second. I wondered, what would I be like now if I were single? Would I still be attractive? Desirable?

When I meet men now, do they even see me? Or do they only see my SAHM uniform of sweats, unwashed face and hair, long sleeve tee, thick ugly socks, and double-wrapped scarf?

And why does it matter?

Every time I ask Hapa Papa if he is ever worried I will have an affair, he always laughs. Not unkindly, mind you. But still. He laughs.

Nothing is as flattering as your husband laughing at the idea of you having an affair because who would want to have an illicit affair with someone encumbered with three small, young children?

Hapa Papa sure knows how to make a woman feel desirable. Sorry, ladies. He’s taken.

Incidentally, this is not a post to elicit reassurances from my lovely and dear friends.

Lately, I wonder if I ever felt as if I were visible or if it is solely a consequence of my current identity. Did I ever feel as if I owned a place? Secure with my place in the world? My role? My identity?

Or is this merely another manifestation of feeling as if amazing and I are mutually exclusive states of being?

Whatever the reason, I’m done. 2016, you’ve been warned. And you’ll see me coming.

 

*Not his real name. Or it could be. I have no idea. I’m still pissed off about it but I forgot his name in its entirety.