Tuesday, January 8, 2013

EMBRACING THE RECYCLING BIN

I'm grounded and rusty, and my dance card is dusty now because I wanted to be what the angels see when they look down, just a couple on the avenue with their feet on the ground. And I'm nobody's angel now

-Nancy Griffith

I haven’t written in a handful of months, I wasn’t sure I wanted to, but here I am again. Thank you to those of you who have asked where the monthly post had gone. Thank you to my friends who have encouraged me to continue writing, and I suppose a small debt of thanks goes out to the a-holes that add fuel to the writing flame.

You make plans in life. You have desires. You work hard. You do all you can to ensure your dreams become reality, but sometimes life takes you down an entirely different path . . . not of your own choosing. Listen, before you start harping on me with the whole “life is about choices” and “you create your reality” crap, I know. I know all that. Life is about choices, yes it sure is. You do, indeed, create your own reality. And sometimes life you hands you a shit sandwich instead of the pastrami on rye you ordered. Maybe it’s lifes way of saying “pastrami makes you gassy and the shit sandwich will fertilize something amazing later on”. If you’re one of those people who can’t tolerate, even for one minute, the thought that life isn’t always puppy dogs and rainbows, then you’re not living in the real world. I know someone like that and I don’t really take issue with the fact that it’s annoying, I take issue with the fact that it’s not real. (and as an aside, in order to avoid things perceived as “bad” this person hides those things and is outright deceptive, which is significantly worse than just serving up the shit sandwich). Yes life is great. Life is wondrous. Life is joyous, and it’s also life people, it’s ok to be a little less than jubilant sometimes.

When I was young I had a vision of what my life would look like. My life now looks nothing like that vision other than the fact I’m breathing and walking upright. I don’t have the home I envisioned. I don’t have the dog I envisioned. I don’t have the car I envisioned. I don’t have the responsibilities of motherhood and the arterial children to go along with that role. I don’t have the family I always wanted. So how does a woman who was supposed to be baking cupcakes for the classroom while making sure the dog doesn’t pee in the house and my husbands shirts are pressed become a woman who cleans the cats barf while ensuring her own cupcake intake stays down and wondering “Why keep the cupcake intake down? For whom”?

I don’t know the answers, and many of you know what I say to the infamous “I don’t know”. That’s right, I say “Bullshit, I don’t know is a child’s answer, you do know”. And so it is, I do know, mostly. As always fate lends a hand. I didn’t meet the right one. I didn’t meet the father of my children and therefore, they do not live in this dimension. I didn’t meet the master of my hearth and heart and home and dog kennel so the dog is living happily with another family somewhere. The son I wanted to name Jack Rogers ended up being born to someone else, as did Ruby Lee (or Grace), my unborn daughter, and I hope they are living blessed lives with the other Laura Ellen “no longer Rogers but different last name”, somewhere. (Yes, I would take my husbands name, what of it?) And the third child, the one I planned on adopting and would probably already be named, I hope he is happy with his other adoptive family, whomever and wherever they all may be. And I’m sure they are because life didn’t have that in store for me. Life did not send motherhood and familydom my way.

And here we come to the point of the story . . .

Some of you are saying to yourselves “you could have had children”. Yes, I could have. Some of you are saying “You passed up a few marriage proposals”. Yes, I did, because I wanted a life of happiness. Because I wanted a family, not just children, and they are not the same thing in my mind. Children are an expression of the deepest kind of love. To me they are not something you merely set out to have and then find your breeder. I wasn’t looking to simply be a breeder, I wanted so much more than that. But the years went by and I began to realize what I thought was inevitable was becoming inconceivable. At some point you make choices because life takes you down a path you didn’t even realize you were on. You have to prioritize then. You have to dig deep in your belly and ask what is the most important to you. You have to embrace one side or the other, and the hour glass sand is sifting quickly.

Many years ago a girl lived down the hall from me, back when I lived in a tiny little studio in Capital Hill. She was smart and young and pretty and funny. I could never figure out why she was single. I have to imagine she wondered the same thing. I saw her going out on dates here and there but eventually I began to see her with the same guy over and over, after a while “she and he” became “we”. Her face lit up and she became even prettier and happier. Then one night, as I walked down the hall, I heard her inside her apartment crying . . . and I never saw him again. Don’t you dare start on me with how other people do not own your happiness. I know all that, you think I’ve wandered around on this planet without learning a thing or two? But I will tell you that with 49 years of life under my belt, many of the “all smiles all the time” clich├ęs of youth are just pseudo-intellectual crap. No, we can’t all be friends with our ex’s, it’s dumb. No, we can’t all be comforted by our own wonder 100% of the time, how would we ever learn anything? Sometimes other people do hurt us, for cryin’ out loud what’s so wrong with admitting it? Maybe he chose to leave my pretty and smart and funny neighbor and it hurt her. Maybe she chose to leave him, which can sometimes hurt worse. Life tossed her a bunch of roses but a hand grenade was buried inside, who knew? Sometimes you amble down a path and it surprises the hell out of you. Oh look! A rose! Oh wait, a hand grenade.

I’m at yet another point in my existence where I look up from the madding crowd that is my life and see that I’ve somehow gone quite far down another path that, it turns out, is NOT the yellow brick road. How will I embrace this newness in my life? How will accept what I never wanted and yet, is happening? I suppose, as I always do, I will pester the crap out of my friends until I’m done yammering about it and I feel I’ve trod on their patience and good nature and loyalty long enough. I will remind myself that yes, I could have made another choice, but it would not have been right for me. I will look at my cats, the only cats I’ve ever had because I’ve always had dogs, and know that some choices, which are seemingly foisted on us quite against our will, turn out to be wonderful and warm and cuddly, you just have to ignore that occasional hiss and scratch. I will continue plodding down my path and seeing the joy and knowing I’m awesome, even when others do not.

And I will take out the recycling bin twice a month, even though it’s a boy job, because who else is here to do it?

2 comments:

  1. great to see you still writing, Lala!! It's funny to think how we each envisioned our lives when we were younger. Life takes us in crazy directions, but I wouldn't change a thing. It's all part of the great adventure. At least that is my opinion today. That can always change...

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  2. Beej! Would that we could all run away and join the circus. Miss you, love you.

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