I saw a girl today. She looked like me if my life had taken a different road. She looked a little haunted and a little lonely. She was not immaculate. Her hair was messy and she looked like she rarely slept. She smelled like menthol cigarettes and coffee.
I am 30. I am a mother and a housewife. I am a member of the PTA. I wear skinny jeans and ballet flats. I buy organic food and make pinterest crafts. I used to be so different.
I often wonder at which crossroad did my life begin to list toward where I stand? This life that is really just a template that we adopt to propel ourselves forward when literally nothing makes sense anymore. If we’re all too busy with nonsense to think we don’t have time to analyze.
My dad just died and I suddenly feel like I should take that time. I need to figure this out before I can’t. He was only 49. I inherited his loud thoughts and obsessive tendencies. I quiet the thoughts with calendars and menu plans. I obsess over bento lunches and perfectly coordinated outfits for my daughters. This isn’t who I am.
I like to write poetry at 2 a.m. while I chain smoke. I like to get high and have sex in public. I love the way Italian lingerie and tall stilettos make me feel. I am not satin and lace. I am leather and red lipstick. I’m too selfish to care for anyone but myself. I am a writer and an artist and a lover of novelty. How did I get here?
I listen to pop music and don’t have time for my husband. He is the man who fell in love with me when I was broken. My jagged edges intrigued him. Is this what happens when you grow up? Do we all just end up on auto pilot? Living someone else’s idea of normal?
I keep telling him in subtle ways that we need to change this. He hates his job. He hates this life. Our daughters are joyful, little firecrackers. I suppose I justify maintaining the facade for them, but is it really beneficial? Are they not us?
I explain to my oldest that she must be careful of her behavior while at school and she wants to know why. Why should she be different there than she is at home? Why can’t she sing loudly in her underwear? Why can’t she curse or tell the other children they’re obnoxious little shits?
I want to sell our house in the suburbs. Let’s sell all of our things and just go. We can move some place crazy and just barely get by. I’ll home school the kids and we can live a life we feel passionate about.
What a fabulous dream. But I know that we are so deeply entrenched in this vicious cycle of endless routines that just thinking about escape makes me guilty. Who will take care of our extended family? What about retirement? How will the girls afford college?
I want to scream, “WHO FUCKING CARES?!”
But I don’t. I do my housework and go pick my daughter up from school. I make a healthy dinner and help my oldest with her homework. Everyone goes to bed and I play solitaire while drinking a glass of wine. And repeat.