Monthly Archives: November 2013

Isn’t it ironic?

It was announced last week that Alanis Morissette’s 1990s album Jagged Little Pill is going to be made
into a Broadway musical. Ahhh, Alanis. I spent an abnormally large portion of my
twenties reveling in the shared anger and validation that I found in the songs
on this album. She had me at, Do
I stress you out?
Well over a decade later, many of the lines from these songs still resonate with me, as a wife, mom, writer, and occasional (frequent?) awkward type–I’ll elaborate on this later.

Another favorite line from that first song? Enough about you, let’s talk about life for
a while. The conflicts, the craziness, and the sound of pretenses falling, all
around.
I think about this often when I encounter the funny, bragger-superior types. Or folks obsessed with constant correctness. Yikes, how exhausting it must be. And yes, I think of my own pretenses, too. My biggest one? Probably that feeling fearful is a measure of my caring. There, I’ve said it. But I can hear the sound of it falling. One day at a time, man …

 

Wait until the dust
settles
.
 I thought in my
twenties that this line could be applied across the board. Turns out, it can’t be
applied to parenthood. When you are entrusted with the care of a
tirelessly-evolving young soul, the dust simply never settles. My child is
three. And I bet the dust will never settle even after he is old enough to be
out of the house. Because I doubt I will ever be done worrying and loving
him in a way that breaks my heart wide open, into thousands of little
pieces, every single day. That’s okay. I have no interest in this particular extraordinary
bit of dust ever settling.
I feel drunk but I’m
sober
. This basically speaks for itself.
I’m young and I’m
underpaid
.
Now. Is it sad that this line resonates as deeply with me at age
38 as it did when I was 24? Or is it funny? Maybe sad-funny?
From Oprah.com
I’m brave but I’m
chicken shit
. Again, speaks for itself. But I will say that I am becoming
more courageous over time. The evidence? People whose opinion I trust telling me so. And being
called a strong and opinionated woman with increasing frequency.
Whether folks meant the latter in a good way, I have my doubts (no, really). But I
count each time as a victory. And clichés notwithstanding, it is
true that we can’t really know how courageous we are unless we experience
being chicken crapola, too. I mean, right?
And all I really want is some peace, man.      Yes. Yes!
I never forgot it,
confusing as it was. No fun with no guilt feelings
.
It still is confusing.
It used to be because of wanting to be a good, always dutiful, girl. I’ve been mostly cured of that. Now it’s because of mommy guilt.
The common denominator is trying to navigate an independent identity regardless of where I am in my life and of how deeply I love those closest to me. Guilt is guilt, though. And utterly pointless 9.9 times out of 10.
I had one more stupid
question
.
          🙂
You ask how my day
was
.
     Sweet husband of mine.
And don’t be surprised
if I love you for all that you are
.      
 Same.

You are the bearer of unconditional things. To the precious three-year-old boy who made me a Mama.

Thanks for your
patience
.    
Beloved parents.
I believe the entire contents of the song Not the Doctor are best left unaddressed in the context of this blog post. I will
simply say that I was young, that’s all.
But nothing is more poignant and timeless than the song entitled Ironic. Again, not enough space in this blog post. But I have one real doozy that happened this week. I emailed a chapter of my novel to my writing teacher, the very morning of the class, fully indicating that I understood if she didn’t have time to read it or comment on it by the time we met in class that evening. She didn’t. But she was kind enough to give me several minutes’ worth of time at the end of class. Unfortunately, by that hour, my parking meter had expired, and I was consumed by anxiety over getting a parking ticket. I choked and blanked completely when my teacher asked me what questions I had for her. At one point (here is the awkwardness I promised), I  just stood up, mid-conversation, then sat back down, apologizing profusely the entire time. When I finally got to my car, there was no parking ticket. Thank you, God(dess)! And then, on the drive home–FLASH. Surprise! A speed camera. Son of a b!tch. For what it’s worth, I swear I am not a reckless driver, and that part of the city has no business being a 25 mph zone at nearly 10 o’clock at night.
A little too ironic, yeah I really do think.
Seeing Alanis Morissette evolve from twenty-something badass chick to an almost 40-year-old total mom of one only makes me love her more. The Broadway show is scheduled to open in 2014. I thought I was running out of excuses to visit New York City next year. Now I have a new one. Jagged Little Pill is the gift that keeps on giving!And what is all boils down to, is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet … Sing it, sister.

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Things I would say if I didn’t have a filter, Part 1

To the library staff during these freezing library days.
I know you mean well, I do. And I think you all do a terrific job. But look at me for a minute. I am wearing two shirts, two sweaters, a hat, a hood, my coat, fingerless gloves, and a third sweater around my legs. I am also drinking hot tea. Here, feel my nose. Is it still there? ‘Cause I can’t feel it anymore. Every person sitting in this section is wearing their coat. That poor woman over there hasn’t taken her hands out from inside her coat sleeves in at least ten minutes. How about you taste my water? Tastes like it’s been sitting in the fridge, doesn’t it? It’s just been here on my table for two hours. It takes me longer than this to get a bottle of wine chilled in my refrigerator at home.

To the woman who comforted my son on that particular day when he was inconsolable and I felt alone, and the one who told me he looked like a very well-fed baby when I most needed to hear that, and to my Whole Foods parking lot angel when I broke my pinky toe.
I don’t really know you, but I think I love you.

To the mother who has a conversation with me about how her child eats everything (but never candy), watches no TV, is always in bed and asleep before 8PM, was one hundred percent potty-trained by age two and half, adjusted seamlessly to preschool, has outgrown at least half of their toys, and how she, the mom, never loses her cool.
Unless I can have a conversation with you where I call your bullsh!t or your delusion, I’m not sure I see a lot of conversations in our future.
(The same general principle applies to women who talk about how they can basically binge-eat everything and anything, do nothing physical in the interest of their fitness/health, and look like a stick. I know about two people who could say this in earnest; they’re the ones who don’t need to talk about it. The rest? No tengo tiempo.)

To the two women who were having dinner together at a nearby table at a restaurant recently.
Could I be your friend, too? You two seem so cool. The parts of your conversation that I overheard–it was more than I care to admit–made you sound like terrific ladies. I am a good baker, I’m reasonably smart, loyal, and a good listener. Plus my husband also tells me I’m funny. I swear I’d make a great girlfriend!

A time in recent memory when it felt awesome to not have a filter.
Saying a loud “Thank you!” that’s dripping with sarcasm when someone just went through a door and didn’t hold the door for me, especially when I’ve been pushing a stroller.

Times when my non-filter makes me go woops.
About once or twice a week, with my husband. When something comes out of my mouth and then I say, “Wait. Did I really just say that out loud?”

The day when having a filter was the right thing to do.
I was going for a walk in my neighborhood and I saw a young woman sitting on the hood of her car, crying. I went to say, “Are you okay?” Then I thought quickly. No. That’s trite, and obviously she’s not okay. But I couldn’t not say anything. Because she was distraught and I was the only other person around, and I happen to believe that this stranger and I are members of the same human family. I had just a few seconds before I was directly in front of her! When I was finally there, what came out was, “I’m sorry you’re upset.” We then proceeded to have a meaningful conversation–that didn’t involve oversharing or violate any boundaries among strangers–about what was upsetting her. I like to think it helped her.

The day when not having a filter really paid off.
At teaching job years ago, I’d had a paper accepted at a conference in Mexico. My passport was going to expire before the trip, and I’d have to request an expedited passport renewal. But I knew I didn’t have any of the reasons that would qualify me for one. Which was precisely what the man at the passport office told me. Angrily. Next thing I knew, I said,
“Couldn’t you at least smile a little?”
“Excuse me?”
“Smile, you know, smile! Couldn’t you at least do that? Or are you having a bad day? I know I let my passport expire and now I have this trip to Mexico. I get that. But as far as I know I haven’t done anything to you personally. So why be so mad? Maybe smile a little instead?”
“Tell you what.” He said, smiling. “Because you made me take a moment to smile, and no one’s ever done that before, how about you come back after 2PM today to pick up your new passport?”
Cross my heart, true story!

Additional photos from Someecards.com, and (I think) Laurie Alex on Flickr.com.

 

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