Well, 6:30 a.m. rolled around this morning, and Henry decided that since Daddy was very obviously awake, he needed to be doing things too. I would still be cranky about this if not for the fact that he is, mercifully, napping right now, which puts us on schedule for him to attend a Gymboree class at 12:30, assuming it doesn’t rain.
You know, life is funny. When you’re little, you rage against naps and against sleep. Fear of missing out is so strong that you can’t even comprehend why your parents want you to rest. As a grown up, I know that what I’m actually missing out on most of the time is… a restful nap.
The irony that I could be taking one right now instead of writing is not lost on me.
Ghosts of the Past
Social media never ceases to amaze me. Several days ago, I got a friend request from someone who used to be my best friend in the whole world. When I say “used to be,” I mean that it’s been 25 years since I last saw her. We went to elementary school together, and after my family moved to Collierville, for all intents and purposes, I never saw anyone from elementary school again, and I was more than okay with that.
See, I went to a prestigious (read “snobby”) private school. From 2nd-6th grade, my daily thought processes were consumed not primarily with learning, but rather, with an unrelenting psychological struggle for acceptance. On the one hand, I would desperately try to convince a bunch of rich little girls that I deserved acceptance, despite being of a different religion and socioeconomic background than almost all of them — and on the other, I would desperately try to convince myself that their acceptance was completely meaningless and empty.
In my ideal imaginary world, where I never ended up with MS or seizure disorder, I’d have made my mark by now as a rich and powerful entertainment attorney who also just happened to be happily married, beautiful as an adult, and energetic enough that I could still perform music on the weekends — you know, just for fun. I could totally talk to the girls I grew up with and be like, “See. I am your people. Aren’t you glad you grew up with me now?”
…but I’m not.
I’m a disabled stay-at-home-mom who writes sporadically and doesn’t wear pink on Wednesdays. Mercifully, I’ve not only come to terms with that, but I’m actually pretty proud of it. It took years to get healthy enough to have Henry, and it takes concerted effort to carve out time to write.
Surprisingly enough, after I accepted her friend request, I found myself worrying about whether or not my life was “good enough.” I openly questioned whether this person genuinely wanted to rekindle a long-lost friendship or if she was going to be headed to a reunion and she wanted some good gossip for everyone.
A day later, another elementary school classmate requested friendship, and I had to really consider whether or not I was going to accept. It’s not like this request was from a former bully. This woman was the nicest (and prettiest) girl in class, and I didn’t even have an inkling of bad intention on her part — which really gave me pause.
In that moment, it hit me square in the face just how toxic and deep my shame is over the direction my life took after I was diagnosed with seizure disorder… and I had to figure out both why I was shaming myself and what I could do about it. My life is not a trainwreck people can’t help but stop to look at. It’s performance art.
Turns out that despite all of my years of growth as a person, my inner child is still classist, ableist, and misogynistic. She attended enough ballet classes, watched enough TV, and read enough magazines to know that she’s only pretty if she’s thin, important if she’s rich or in a position to help someone else social climb, and worthwhile as a person if she’s “contributing to society” through paid work, glamour, or widely-accepted art or music.
It’s a damn good thing that I’ve grown past those old ways of thinking as an adult.
So Much More Than Good Enough.
I accepted both friend requests, and I’m glad I did. It’s cool to know that my old bestie and the girl I was most impressed with while growing up actually care to know me as an adult. I’m curious to see who they’ve become too! We’re all mommies now. That alone changes you a lot.
It’s even cooler to know that the good side of my early-life struggle finally won out. I give zero fucks about what other people think of me at this point. I would actually give negative fucks if that were possible. (Like, my fuck deficiency is so pronounced that I could really use some of yours. I might have to declare fuck bankruptcy.) I’m also entirely certain that my father, upon reading this, will pump his fist in the air, and think, “That’s my girl.”
What matters is what I think of myself… and my record for awesomeness is pretty good. I’m well educated in interesting topics. I’m relentless in the pursuit of bettering myself as a person. I engage in community service, and I make an effort to have fun too. I’m raising a kid who’s not a little asshole, and my husband still grabs my butt after 10 years.
Altogether, I know that I am more than “good enough” for myself, even if I have to remind my insecure inner child of that. I try hard to be the kind of person I’d want to hang out with. And sometimes, that person needs to be someone who reminds you of how special you are.
I’m happy that these very old friends unintentionally gave me the opportunity to take a good hard look at the life I’m leading. I’m even happier with what I saw… because, really, how could I be anything but happy when I get to see this face all day?