I can hear the collective groan throughout the blogosphere but don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the story of my life. It’s too long and convoluted and dull in so many ways. But I’ve been thinking about the days and the years of my life lately, analyzing them, and combing through their pesky and, sometimes painful, snarls with a fine-toothed comb. And you know what? I’m okay with the place that I’m in right now. Maybe I have a set of crampons and a gigantic pick-axe to grind or maybe I’m just trying to make sense of my place in this world. Who knows why I need to figure out if this is the 'right' life for me. I’ve struggled and I’ve felt conflicted and I’ve wondered if my university education is being wasted by staying home to raise my children. Have I become a June Cleaver housewife, a woman of no substance, a Stepford wife? I wasn’t that to begin with so why should I be that person now just because I made a choice to raise my own children?
Yes, I’m a stay at home mother. There, I’ve said it. Actually, I shouted it but you couldn’t hear it because you’re reading words on paper. There’s something else I want to say. I’m a writer. I’m not published but, by gum, I write. No, I’m not soaring upwards and crashing through the glass ceiling in a fancy office. That doesn’t make me a loser and it doesn't make me a hero. My life is not that black and white, it’s a lovely soft shade of grey, so flattering in these Northern Lights. The person I am today is about the choices I have made along the way. Is there really a good choice versus a bad choice? I don’t really think so. Sometimes it's about making your choices right.
You know how people are always asking that question: What if? What if I could change something about my life, what would it be? If I went down that road and wished that I could change something, go down a different path, where would I begin? What if I had pursued my passion and gone into a creative field, something that involved writing, when I graduated from university? What if I had published a book when I was 22 years old? Did I have anything to say when I was 22, before I really lived and experienced the pain and the pleasure, the clock-stalling tedium and the extraordinary? That book would have gone straight to the charity shop racks. What if I had stayed in New York and never accepted that transfer to London? And never gotten drunk on raspberry martinis in a bar with the man who later met me at the altar after I walked down the aisle to the strains of ‘Moon River’? How dismal would my life be if I didn’t have my fabulous, eccentric, cheeky Scrumptious or my gorgeous, brilliant Truly? What if I said ‘no’ when my lovely husband expressed a desire to relocate to Tokyo because I wanted to stay in London and pursue a career? And missed out on an opportunity to gorge myself on sushi and meet a beautiful, soul-mate friend, and give my daughters the experience of a lifetime?
So you know what I think about that What If game? I think it’s ludicrous and I think it’s self-absorbed rubbish. It’s like tossing a stone into a river and expecting that you can control the ripples, that each of the circles will return to you, as if you can forcibly change their direction or limit their reach, and that they won’t affect anything or anyone else unless you say so.
Hopefully, there will be a lot more chapters in the story of my life. As Truly said to me this evening, 'You still have time to become an English Lit professor or take an art class or write your book.' And she's right. I can choose to do those things or not. It's my choice. And that's why it's so much better to be a human being than to be a head of broccoli or a firefly.
I’m in reasonably sound mind, despite what my detractors might say, so the decisions I’ve made in my life have all been mine. I take responsibility for them, I embrace them like a familiar lover, and sometimes I curse them. Sometimes I wrap my arms around my knees, rock back and forth, and keel in misery. Other times, I jump up and down on my pogo stick and feel that I can just about touch the clouds with the tips of my fingers. At times I am quirky and corny and wrapped up in daydreams. I live in the clouds, I conjure up spirit worlds, I am often out of step with the parade. But it’s my parade and I’m high-stepping my way through a rousing rendition of a La Cage Aux Folles show tune, wielding a sparkly baton, and for some reason imagining that I look like Sienna Miller playing Edie Sedgwick in ‘The Factory Girl.’ It is, after all, my parade. And by golly, ‘I Am What I Am.’ And we all know that needs no excuses. I might be a stay at home mother but it doesn't mean that my life is small or that I have subjected myself to a life of servitude or that my life is in any way demeaning.
This is what I have figured out. Someday, when the days are long and the years are short, and I pray to the pagans and gods and anyone who will listen that it’s many years from now, I will look back and say ‘This is the Story of My Life.’ And I will remember the joy and the pain, the times when I patched things up with a Dora the Explorer plaster, and the sheer exhilaration that goes with living a life well, to the fullest, without making excuses for who I am and why I am not like everyone else. And, gods and pagans willing, when I’m drooling into my supper will I be proud of the story of my life? Hell, yes. Because it's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Dear So and So...Proving A Point
4 years ago