I own all the content and pictures on this site, except where noted. If you steal anything from me, and
especially if you do anything mean or inappropriate with them, I will find you. Then I'll sue you for
theft, slander, libel and any other law that applies. Then I'll ridicule you in humiliating ways
here and everywhere else I contribute to. If you fuck with me, I'll get get all Gladiator on your ass
and unleash hell. Think I'm kidding? So did my a couple of my exes, my old neighbors, as well as
some assholes who ripped me off on Ebay, and last I heard, they were all still trying to undo the
damage I caused.
There are some songs that I feel define me. And by "define me" I mean, from when I first heard them, I felt like the singer was singing about me. Like, he/she met me and figured me right out and went back to their songwriting lair to pen a song that describes me, the definition of me.
These songs are a notch above the very big roster of songs that apply to my life in one way or another, because they apply to me and only me, to my innermost feelings.
The first time I identified an anthem was when I was six years old and I heard Little River Band's Cool Change. How and why it struck me so, I don't know, and I've never figured it out. It just has.
Then came Simon and Garfunkel's I Am a Rock, the one I've felt most defines me. "That's my anthem," I've either thought or said every time it's come on the radio, the casette or CD player, or the iPod. Every time. It seems that however less literally true this statement becomes as I get older, it's still true anyway, however obscurely.
There have been a few songs that have come close to defining me. I won't get into all of them here, but in high school there was Let Her Cry by Hootie and the Blowfish. And however embarrassing it is to admit that a song by Hootie and the freaking Blowfish touches me somehow, this is the easiest one to explain. It was just a song whose chorus was like a plea I myself was making at the time. I wanted to be let go of, to just be, to be able to cry without any interference. Whatever. It was relevant to the time and place and if I hear it now, I just remember what a conflicting, troubling time high school was for me.
In the last couple of years, Ingram Hill's She Wants to be Alone has resonated. It's got some lyrics that may as well be about me and reflect a bit of what these last couple of years have felt like inside.
So to date, among some songs that I feel relate to me personally, there are really only two that have achieved "anthem" status. Lately, though, there's this:
It's loaded, to be sure: I've known this song for years but had never really listened to it. It's sung by an artist I once adored. Listening to it now, looking at what I've become, I get a familiar feeling and think I've maybe found a new anthem. And I'm not quite sure what to make of this.
The night before last, I saw a post on my Facebook wall. It was Carrie, she of Bilingual in the Boonies and Tiki Tiki fame, letting me know that Parenting.com (they of Parenting Magazine fame) has named this blog, this very blog, as one of 50 must-read mom blogs.
I'm totally floored by this recognition because it never crossed my mind that people who put together actual magazines, like, professionals in the writing world, even knew this blog existed, much less read it. Like, seriously, people of Parenting.com and Parenting Magazine, you're aware of me? How did that happen??
(Aside: I also know of a few actual, real journalists who read and (presumably) enjoy this site, and that too is high praise as well. Basically, if you're a *real* writer and you like my writing, I'm going to love you to pieces. Because I want to be just like you.)
I'm also floored by the very cool way they described me/this blog (I could paste it here, but I won't, because I want you to go see the entry for yourself! Goooo! Read it!! Plleeeaaasssseee!!!). Very kind, and humbling.
My stat counter shows me that a number of people have made their way here via Parenting.com, sooo.... welcome! Hello! So happy to have you here! I hope you stay! Please, peruse the archives (there, on your left!), or stalk me on Twitter, where I write nothing of interest.
So, Parenting.com, thanks so much for the recognition; it's really very neat! And of course, kudos to the other mom blogs on the list. I look forward to making new discoveries and revisiting old favorites.
Max started pre-k yesterday. Considering this is his second year at his school (and not counting his first first day when he was enrolled at the school in January 2009), I didn’t expect the first day of school to be that big a deal. Special, yes. And I was nervous because Max usually has a hard time settling down to serious business after fun times, and it was a toss-up how he was going to handle being back in school.
Thankfully, he was just fine. He went right in, said, “good morning,” shyly hung back a minute, then plopped down on the circle with the others. His father and I stepped outside on the hallway, putting his stuff away and lingering to see how he did. When it became apparent that he had forgotten we were even there, we went back in for hugs and kisses. We left him there, no whining, no clinging, no tears.
Well, except my own. The second the door closed behind us, the tears just started pouring. I felt so overcome with pride over how well he did and sadness over how big he seemed to me. My baby is in pre-k. Next year, it’s kindergarten, then first grade. Time is flying too quickly for me, and I’m sad that I can’t slow it down.
The thing about this life, part 2, of mine is that I’m now so much more emotional than I used to be. I used to be so much harder, so less quick to crumble and cry. Now, it’s like something touches me emotionally and I’m so overwhelmed that the tears just flow and flow. It’s not all the time, but it happens frequently enough, with news I read, emails I get, things I see on TV, the thoughts in my head. Some days, it’s like the lump in my throat is permanent. I don’t get it.
Maybe it’s that all I’ve been through in such a short amount of time really did alter significant parts of me. Maybe I understand better the fragility of things, the hopelessness in so many of our experiences. Maybe I am too sad over all I’ve lost, too grateful for what I do have. Maybe I’ve been slapped down enough to never again be as arrogant and critical as I used to be. I used to refuse to cry, holding back my tears and clinging to my pride. And now, it’s like I can’t muster up enough pride to even fake it.
I usually end up laughing at myself, feeling a bit silly (yesterday, Max’s dad called me to check if I was o.k. shortly after my crying fit in the school parking lot. I felt ridiculous and started to laugh… only to promptly break into tears again. I quickly reigned it in and resumed feeling silly). I suppose this is a new part of me. But as silly as I feel sometimes, I have to admit that there’s relief, too, a certain freedom in allowing myself to be overwhelmed and moved to tears. I guess that when you have nothing left to lose, it’s a lot easier to stop holding everything in.
There is a lot that I could say. “A lot,” actually, sounds like so much of an understatement that I’m chuckling as I write. But we’ll stick with that, “a lot.” The point is, in my real life, there is much that I could say about some specific topics, but I don't. Lately, I've been hit with the realization that I think and think and have it all right there in my brain, but I just don't verbalize any of it. This is a strange place to be in.
My brain loops on certain thoughts, like some things are on “repeat” and they play and play, day in and day out, so that I’m most times barely conscious of them. I know they’re there, and sometimes they pop out suddenly, but mainly, they’re just there, endlessly flowing in and out. Funny how there’s so much that in the last few years has attained the status of “just there, permanently.” There was a time when I fought harder to push things away or deal with them. Now… not so much. I let them be, believing that they’re there because they need to be, and that my task is to accept them and cohabitate with them. It's enough to be aware of them and act with that knowledge top of mind.
So these thoughts, they’re on a loop, and what strikes me most about this is the way that they have silenced me. I don’t express any of these thoughts, never try to communicate them to whomever they involve. It’s odd to me, gives me pause, because I am otherwise not one to be quiet. And yet, much about my experiences has silenced me. These thoughts reflect that. (And these thoughts cover a random, not-necessarily-related range of topics, all of them ultimately pretty personal, pretty tied to my deepest feelings.)
There came a point for me where I realized how completely pointless it was to communicate certain thoughts, feelings, experiences. More even, it felt like it cost too much, like I made myself too raw and vulnerable for results that were extremely wanting, to say the least. You know how sometimes you feel like, “this is taking too much from me”? Like that. And, while I try not to do things with eyes on what I may benefit from it, the truth is that in this case, there’s just no benefit, not even a neutrality. There’s actually this odd pain that comes from feeling like you’re exposing your innermost self and the person you’re exposing yourself to just stares back blankly and eventually shrugs, turns away and ambles on to the next thing as if you never said a word. People do that even when they don’t think they’re doing that.
I also got tired of myself, of the sound of my voice, my repetitiousness, my intensity (a thing that’s been sufficiently pointed out to me), and these things silenced me as well. I may be a Leo, and a blogger, and a former actress in another life – but I’m honestly not that interested in myself, not anymore, nor do I enjoy my navel-gazing; it's a habit I can't seem to break but that becomes ever more internal as time passes. And I get it, that I drive people insane with all this; I exhaust myself sometimes. This is exhausting.
And then, finally, there was this important part: no one asked me. Pretty vital, that. No one asked to know what my thoughts on the matter were or to describe my side of things or what I really felt - then or now or for real or underneath it all or before or after, etc. And that's just something you have to respect, something I'd just totally overlooked. It hit me, that simple thought - no one wants to know, Tere - and I wondered how for so long I'd never really understood that, and how I'd not thought about my reasons for sharing when unasked, and how dumb that seemed on my part.
And so, I stopped volunteering the information; I now stop myself before the words come out, my mouth sometimes opening then quickly shutting as I remember these things and ultimately conclude that when someone wants to know, they will ask me. And when asked, I answer as honestly and openly as ever, but the new world order for me, I realize, is that I must be asked or I will remain silent.
This doesn't mean, of course, that I don't express myself when need be or when I'm feeling chatty; only that, when it comes to certain thoughts, certain parts of myself and my life, I refuse to be now as I once was. There is now as there's always been a lot that I could say and it's all right there, within easy reach. It's just that I've yielded to the obvious and shut up.