"Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said. 'One can't believe impossible things.' 'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.' "
I am not a woman of faith. I do not believe in almost anything, and I dare say this is my greatest character flaw. But of all the things I do not believe in, and the list is long, the one thing concept that I have rejected above all others is, apparently, myself.
I live in a state of almost constant dread, and I have for as long as I can remember. I am not afraid of Armageddon, not bothered by the idea of global-thermo-nuclear-warfare, and am even nonchalant when it comes to the baggage retrieval system they've got at Heathrow.* What gets me is whether or not something's stuck in my teeth, or if my panty line is showing, or that's I'll open my mouth and the wrong thing will come flying out, as it is so apt to do. I am self-conscious to a large, San Andreas sort of fault.
The problem with that is that I have allowed this to more or less stop my life. I have never considered myself worth all that much. I am overly apologetic for nonsensical things. I am completely incapable of asking for help, not because I am too proud, but because I am certain that I am an inconvenience to all those around me. I do not aspire, in general, because I know I will fail.
Knowing that almost solidifies the fact that I will. Prophecies tend to self-fulfill, you know?
I have no misconceptions of being alone in this; I think most us tend to resign ourselves to some fate at some point in our lives. We work jobs that we don't love because we feel that we have to. We stay in relationships we shouldn't because we feel obligated to. We live beyond our means on other people's dreams because we think that's succeeding**. We do what's easy, because it's possible.
I never went to college because I didn't deserve it. I had already blown an amazing education and was therefore doomed to serve drunk people drinks in dark bars. I never tried to get an awesome job, or forge a career path, because I have no marketable skill, and am useless to most employers. I have accepted what has been handed to me and made the best of it and have called that things like Brave and Daring.
It is not Brave, it is not Daring. It is totally cowardly chicken shit.
There is a point where we have to come to terms with the status quo. I stay at home with my three children, I live in a foreign country (it's really not all that foreign, and the money is cooler here) and my husband works 8 bazillion hours a week. I don't really want to live where I live, am pretty sure I'm not cut out for the Homemaker gig, and would like to remember what my husband looks like some time this decade. These things are just non-negotiables in my life, though. They are THE WAY THINGS ARE. This is the sacrifice I make for my family.
If you bought that line, I have some lovely beach front property in Denver I'd like to show you.
There is no reason that I don't get up off my ass, enroll in school, get a job, hire a sitter and go sit in my husband's bar one night, or move. Not one good reason, except that I am scared shitless to do any of the above. I am afraid to put myself out there. I am afraid to fail, and so I don't try.
I rationalize this away as, 'Oh, we can't afford another student loan payment' or 'I'd have to put the kids in daycare and any income I made would just go to that' or 'I have all this ironing to do on a Saturday night'. Whatever. I know it's bullshit, but I let myself get all martyr-y about it, because it makes me feel better about the whole situation. The one thing I know I'm excellent at is dying for a cause. Jesus ain't got nothing on me, yo.
Which leads me to my point.
I don't think I believe in the status quo anymore. I don't think that we have to be limited, by almost anything, if we really want something badly enough. I think that with a little courage, we can all shake our shit up and make something happen. Whether it's downsizing your life to make the life you want achievable, or it's moving into your parent's basement for a while to give yourself time to sort yourself, whether it's going to stand in front a crowd of a thousand women in San Francisco and talk, something will give in that.
I am 33 years old and aside from cranking out a few kids, I have done nothing with my life thus-far. Sure, I am raising some fine children, but I lost myself in the mix. The one interesting thing I have done is right here, and I have spent the better part of 4 years convincing myself that it's some silly little hobby of mine, that it doesn't matter.
Maybe it doesn't, but maybe it does.
Fall has neatly landed in my lap. Lattes are suddenly appropriate afternoon delights. Pumpkin pies are crying out to be cooked, and NaNoWriMo is coming. I am going to write The Book, goddammit. It's right *here* on the tip of my tongue, and I think it's time.
Now, what the hell do I write a book about?
*The first person that correctly identifies that gets moved to the top of the blogroll. Not much of a prize, I know, but still.
**Or that one.