Friday, May 10, 2013

It's funny how your perception of yourself can change on a dime.
Seemingly confident, comfortable, maybe even a little cocky with yo' bad self.
But in the next moment?
Reduced to a fumbling, bumbling 13-year-old girl.
I had a moment.
I caught wind that my most FAVORITE and cherished author was going to be in Minneapolis.
"Honey?"  I proclaimed to the hubs.
"Just so you know?  I'm going to this.  Let's make it work."
(How I usually ask for things.)
I really wanted him to come with me and walk in to the world of literary elites, holding my hand, supporting me as he effortlessly does, following me in to another dream,
of one day writing my own book.
But we couldn't get a sitter.
So, off I went. 
Sometimes we meet someone for the first time,
whose path you cross almost cosmically.
Right from the start, you know. . .you're kindred spirits, 
made to find one another.
And maybe it's just for a brief moment or maybe it's the early blossoms of a budding, lifelong friendship.
Though you may live two completely separate lives,
in two separate time zones with two TOTALLY different journeys,
you connect.  
I love that.
There are so many people in my life who I know and have met,
who I believe, under other circumstances,
would probably be my best friends.
As creepy as all of this might sound,
this woman, this particular author, is one of those for me.
Her words on her weekly blog and those that fill the pages of her beautiful books,
seem to be speaking my exact thoughts, feelings, opinions,
as if I had spoken them myself, only much more eloquently.
Coming from a much more wise, more mature perspective.
Unlike me, this woman has raised her children to adulthood and nurtured her marriage for a lifetime.
Regardless of our age difference,
the bearing of her soul, her honest rendition of life as she has seen it, connects with me.
I had to meet her in person and thank her.
I stole away for time on a Saturday night, thanks to the hubby.
Of course I had to go to yoga first, because when I have free time, that's what I do.
I breathed and sweat my way through a humid, heated class,
jumped in my car and drove to the city.
Ample time to change, freshen up, run a brush through my hair,
but instead (as always,) allowed my laziness to get the best of me.
"Eh.  It's just a reading.  I'll be fine."
I was fine.  But carried with me the smell of a boys locker room.
My hair from an hour of heat and humidity,
a ring of tired curls around my salty face.
Any skin correcting foundation applied earlier that day?
Long since washed away.
But a sideways glance in the rear view mirror, in the dark?
"Not bad!"  (See?  Cocky?)
I drove with excitement, a burrito in one hand, steering wheel in the other.
Plowing through my Chipotle chips (oh my God they're so good,) with great fervor,
pulling up just in time to brush the crumbs and grains of rice from my lap and chin. 
I DID have the wherewithal to lace my shoes.
(Normally, I walk around with my laces untied, tucked haphazardly in to my shoes.  That's how lazy I am.)
Reminds me of a time when I was yelled at by my OB, walking around 9-months pregnant with my boots unhinged, laces dragging loosely behind me.
"Mama?!"  He yelled down the hall to me.  "Tie those DAMN shoes!"
Anyway, not how I imagined meeting my idol.
Despite my outward appearance,
my inner confidence strong and fired up, 
I chose a seat in the front row.
And who sits down two seats away, my favorite.
Of course.
Insecurity and doubt came creeping in out of nowhere.
Two friends I haven't seen the likes of in ages.
As this polished, conservative and classy older and wiser woman took her seat gracefully just two seats down from mine, I panicked.
Me, belching black beans, hardly able to stand myself,
I couldn't say a word.
I panicked and pretended to be busy on my phone, texting Brian.
I shyly played with my phone, avoiding all eye contact or physical connection.
But when she stood to speak,
I listened intently to the beautiful words from her second book, 
The Gift of an Ordinary Day,
that I've come to hold dear.
So two things happened.
I thought, "I want to do that.  I want to be her.  I want to be an author.  I want to inspire people with my voice and perspective and words.  I can do that."
"Can a grown ass woman who uses the words 'Totes adorbs' (Totally adorable) and 'Gorg' (gorgeous,) and 'WTF' on a daily basis, 
be a literati of the future?
Who shows up to beautiful readings with wines and cheeses,
a sweaty, disheveled mess?
Not sure about that.
Like Katrina Kenison, I write to make sense of myself and the world around me.
I write to find presence in my life.
There's something about writing, that grounds me.
Something that allows me to outline and bullet point but also quiet the noise and chaos of my brian, into meaningful words and sentences that give light to me, my life, but most importantly,
helps me to discover the woman, the wife, the mother, 
that I want to be.
It's cheap therapy.  
The only payment required, time,
and honesty.
So the highlight of my week?
I met my idol.
Ugh.  I'm so embarrassed.
Unlike my physical presence,
I came rehearsed on all I wanted to say to her.
But only uttered, "I love you.  Really love you.  Love your writing.  Think you're amazing.  Did I tell you I love you?  Can you sign this book?  Can I get my picture taken with you?"
Moving on.
The world of motherhood continues to turn.
I got a sliver of Americana the other night.
A herd of 9-year-old boys, my son Jack included,
racing for and climbing the braided fence that circles the ball field across the street from our house.
Skinned knees, scuffed elbows, grass-stained shins, worn baseball gloves and all,
rushing atop the rail to catch a glimpse of the fire engines roaring by,
their sirens screaming down the road to a recent call.
The young boys, all their youth and innocence hanging over the side, 
fist pumping to get the trucks to honk their mighty horns.
"That's sweet."  I thought.  
And then, like a mother does, my stomach curled itself up in a little ball, wondering where those trucks were headed, who's body waited at the other end, snapping me out of the innocence of the moment to reality.  My mothering reality.
The boys resumed their sandlot game as I sat at the kitchen table and watched two teenage girls saunter over to the park.
I had to get my glasses to be sure of what I was looking at. 
"WHAT IN THE HELL are they wearing?"  I muttered to myself.
"Are those shorts?  Bikini bottoms?  No. . .shorts.  Underwear?  No, those are shorts.
SHORT shorts.  I can't tell.  Even with my old lady glasses, 
I can't see a God damn thing.
I think those are shorts."
Whatever they are, what in the fu** is this world coming to?
The innocence of young age so well preserved right now in my small children, so far from all that nonsense, yet way, WAY too close to its loss. 
I shivered at the glimpse of the future.
My sweet Gracie, seven years down the road,
cursing the ground I walk on and waiting shoeless at hidden parks,
for boys.
Boys wearing shorts long enough to spare and her,
hardly wearing any.
My little girl, who lives for pajama pants (like her mother,) jump roping and isn't yet above, lifting her baby brother to peer at the ice cream panorama.
Who just loves being together as a family.
Sandwiched between two boys.  
Eating ice cream for dinner.
"Be here."  I tell myself.  "Just be here.  We're not there yet."
The short shorts and wayward teens.
As we sat on a warm, sunny spring afternoon,
enjoying the moment and more ice cream than we needed,
I watched two first-time moms, meander past.  
Their cute slim-fitting workout clothes, their equally cute baby strollers and matching Nike's, beautiful hair and untouched skin.
"URGH."  I muttered under my breath. 
They make motherhood look so. . .pretty.
Not only were they young, beautiful mothers of one child, 
they were walking past an ice cream store as if they hadn't seen it.
Who does that?
That's some bullshit right there.
Urgh.  I snarled again.  
My crappy posture,
my endless hours dedicated to yoga,
melting in to my colossal ice cream cone,
leaving no room for dignity or self-respect.
As I watched them pass,
their flawless taut skin (the kind you still have before subsequent pregnancies and years of jacked up hormones,)
their vibrant breasts still sitting upright, a little skip to their step. . .
I'm sorry. . .you couldn't not look. 
Even the sweet, little old man sitting next to us,
who could barely hold his cone, was able to lift his head when these two walked by.
"Urgh."  Again.  Slurping up the sides of my dripping ice cream, eating so frantically chunks of waffle cone fell in to my purse at my feet.
Is THIS why husbands leave their wives for sassy lil' things?
Because years and children and cheeseburgers later, 
we've reduced ourselves to sloppy, soft and squishy old hags?
If so, I get it.  Totes.
But I choose to find humor in that.
It's what it is.
Trusting my husband understands if he ever turns me in for a younger, more put-together, more loving version of myself,
I'll kill him.
Thankful that for now, he still finds me sexy, even in my sweats.
That despite my lack of effort, those sweet lil' things ain't got nothin' on me.
Motherhood, no matter how messy and clingy and ill-fitting
is beautiful.
And a thank you to Katrina Kenison, 
for the encouraging note in my book and sweaty picture.


BEES'NETTA said...

I miss going to readings...always inspiring....and you didn't look like an ass hat!

Katie Oliveira said...

Nelson's! <3

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