I cut too many bangs. I swore I’d never cut my bangs again, but then I was bored with the image in the mirror and feeling brave after successfully cutting Violet’s hair into a cute little french Audrey Hepburn-esque coiffure, so I took scissors to the front of my hair but then, as was inevitable, I cut too much. Now when I wake up in the morning I look like Garth from Wayne’s World, and when I accidentally pass my reflection in the mirror on the way to the toilet, all I can think is, “You did this to yourself, you dummy. Party on, Garth.”
Mediocrity. My life feels full of it at the moment, from my stupid bangs to my marriage to motherhood to my lack of a career. My writing has dropped off to… well, nothing. I can’t seem to get seasonings right anymore when I’m cooking. Everything I do, everything I am, it’s all just… okay. I’m feeling not spectacular at anything these days, and for a theatrical person such as I, that’s hard to live with. It’s like going to a thousand auditions and getting cast in the ensemble every time. I’m good… just not good enough.
Like… I’m pretty, but not gorgeous. I’m starting to look old. Older than I looked yesterday; older than I feel. What is this dark pouchy skin underneath my eyes? Why do my cheeks look like they’re sagging off my face? The gray hairs HAVE to come in all wiry, do they? So they pop out and stand straight up on top of my head? And yet… the acne hasn’t gone away yet. Now THAT is some unfair bullshit right there. And what’s with these boobs, or lack thereof? I knew they would look different after breastfeeding, but why are they all cockeyed? After I put on a shirt I have to arrange my breasts so that my nipples are pointing the same damn direction. And it’s important that they face the same way, as nipple is basically all that’s left of my tits anyway. Since I started running I lost them. Running has done virtually nothing for my stomach flab, so-called “love” handles, or saddle bags, but my rack is totally gone. Really, my (remaining) boobs are just WEIRD now. Stretch-marked, deflated, and a little sad looking, like they just heard a friend died and had a good cry about it. And while I have very little body-image issues, at least compared to some, I still can’t bring myself to wear a two-piece swimsuit. It’s the stomach dough that bothers me. When I sit down my belly folds over onto itself like four times, which is actually kind of good if you consider then at least you can’t see my belly button anymore. I actually don’t understand what the hell is going on with my belly button. It didn’t take popping out to accommodate babies very well, so now it’s like a crossbreed: half-innie, half-outtie. It’s the Quasimodo of belly buttons. I don’t like letting it out of my shirt because I don’t want it to frighten the children at the pool.
And… I’m a decent writer, but I’ll never sell a book. I have little to no time to sit down and write, and when I DO make time, I just sit here and stare at a blank screen. The truth is I’m starting to struggle with doing so many things for free. I love to write, but I want someone to need me to do it, hire me to do it, then pay me for a job well done. Maybe this sounds like a very first-world problem. It feels whiny to talk about, and on some level I disagree with the notion that we must receive something in return for work that we love; what about doing something for the sheer love of doing it? Whether or not this is ethical, the fact is that our society validates good work monetarily. I have passion for theater, for instance, but I don’t have a job in theater right now. Everything I do (and I do a LOT) is on a volunteer basis. 99% of the time, I’m happy to pursue my passion for free. My paycheck is my pride in my craft. But that other 1% of the time, quite frankly, it sucks. I don’t get paid for writing my blog. I don’t get paid for acting or singing. But SOME people do. That’s where my own sense of mediocrity comes in. What about me is NOT good enough? I want to be paid for the work I do, artistic or administrative. And I swear, it’s not greed. It’s not about the money, not really. Of course, it would be nice if I could bring in a little something extra for my family. It would be empowering to know that I can help send my children to college, help save money to travel. But truly… it’s about something more. That validation would feel really damn good every once in a while.
And… I’m an okay mom, but I still yell at my kids. One of the most depressing and frustrating things about parenting right now is that Noah and Violet complain ALL. THE. TIME. No matter what we do, no matter where we go, my kids are unhappy about something. My problem is I haven’t learned from my mistakes. I have such high expectations at the beginning of the day… we’ll go to the zoo! We’ll go out to lunch! We’ll go to a park! We’ll do a craft! Play a game! Watch a movie! Read books! Go to the splash pad! Bake muffins! I’m always trying so hard to give my kids these amazing experiences, but they always end in catastrophes that make me feel like a piece of shit mother. I like put on the Yo-Yo Ma station as background music for some finger paint and decoupage project that I’d envisioned the three of us merrily working through together, and I’m elbow-deep in the stuff when Violet starts crying because she sees the iPad and tries to take it, and I’m like, No, it’s not time to play on the iPad right now and within 45 seconds her mild whining becomes a full-blown meltdown complete with horror-movie screams, kicking, and choking. Noah remembers he hates crafts after about three minutes and starts whining about how tired and hungry he is, then he tears all the cushions off the couch and pushes it into the center of the living room so he can pretend it’s a ship. Then he climbs up onto the ship and screams “You’re a mean guy!” and shoots me with his finger gun. And I’m like, what?! Why am I a mean guy? What did I do to you? And he’s like “You’re being mean to Violet!” And I look down where she’s still writhing and screaming on the floor because I tried to get her to paint instead of vegging out with the fucking iPad. Then instead of just being okay with my big plan falling apart, instead of rolling with the punches of parenting small children, I always take it all personally and wonder why we can’t do ONE PLEASANT THING EVER WITHOUT EVERYONE BEING ASSHOLES. Only I don’t wonder it in my mind like any sane, rational person might when dealing with a four-year-old and a two-year-old. I wonder it out loud. To my kids. And then after I calm down and clean paint and glue off the couch I feel guilty and think, ok, I’ll make it up to them by taking them to…. the farmer’s market! Yeah! It’ll be so fun! Get your shoes on, guys! GUYS! GET ON YOUR DAMN SHOES SO WE CAN DO SOMETHING THAT IS GOING TO BE INCREDIBLY FUN FOR GOD’S SAKE. NOW! MOVE MOVE MOVE!
And… Lance and I love each other, but romance is dead. I’ve heard it’s normal to not have time for one another during children’s formative years, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Sure, I miss long leisurely dates and lazy Saturday mornings and sex, but who doesn’t? At this point I just miss having conversations with my friend. Every time we try to talk to one another the kids instantly begin vying for our attention. We get pulled on, climbed on, yelled at. The result is that the only things we ever have time to talk about are like, bills, doctor appointments, budgets, chores, and weekend birthday party invitations. So we bicker a lot. I feel like he doesn’t get me anymore, and he feels like I’m overreacting, which of course I am. Sometimes I find myself blowing up at him and I KNOW I’m overreacting, often concurrent with the blowup. All day long I have to have so much energy for the kids and by the time I see him my energy is completely nil, so he gets the worst of me. Which is unfair, because he also gets the worst of the kids… the dinner/bath time/bedtime insanity. I find myself wondering if one day he won’t come home at all because who wants to come home to three people at their worst every day? (Plus two hungry pets.) Wondering that makes me want to be better… stop getting annoyed at tiny things, make an effort to kiss him hello before laying into him about all the crap that I’m dealing with or whatever. (Ok, ok. He’s super offended reading this right now, I know. Of course I know he’ll never leave.) But I don’t want to just exist with someone. I don’t want a roommate. I want a husband. I don’t want to just love, I want to be IN love. I don’t want him to come into the bathroom while I’m pooping. I don’t want him to watch me floss my teeth. I want to preserve a little mystery, you know? I want romance, and sex, and flirting, and meaningful conversation. And I want all of it with HIM, the man I married.
But what am I going to do, y’all? It’s all just the phase of life I’m in, and I’d be foolish not to know it’s all going to pass. (Ok, maybe my boobs will never look good again, but everything else is just a phase.) I have to keep going, and keep hoping mediocrity will turn into something spectacular. I’ll keep working out, and maybe my tummy will get toned. I’ll keep auditioning, and eventually maybe I’ll get a paid role and my name will be in the newspaper(!), or maybe I’ll get a part-time writing job. I’ll keep trying to do cool things with my kids, and eventually they won’t complain about every single thing; they’ll learn to enjoy life and I’ll learn to leave them alone and let them destroy the living room if they’re happy doing it. Eventually Lance and I will have lots of time to rekindle our relationship. Right now I’m just waiting, and the waiting is hard, because I’m waiting for something amazing. Which means that right now, things aren’t amazing.
Like my Garth bangs. I know I did it to myself, but it was a mistake and now I have to wait for my bangs to grow out. But I’m hopeful that once they do, my hair will look fantastic.