Well! This is an interesting position I’ve put myself in…I am sitting here completely deflated after giving much thought (and investing much “courage”) to this blog. A few days ago I felt infinitely more interesting than I do now that I’m faced with this screen.

The whole idea behind this somewhat anonymous experiment is to ponder (aloud if you will) how I became who I am as opposed to who I was and aspired to be. Ambitious? Perhaps. Ridiculous? Probably. Something I will regret? Quite likely, especially after I click on Publish Post.

There are times when, while folding socks and going about the usual business of attending to a household, I feel quite interesting. Don’t scoff…you feel interesting, too. We all do. That’s why the world is inundated with people who blog, tweet, update their status on Facebook and whatnot. We are all interesting, or we aspire to be considered interesting. As I said, while I do my every day routine of cleaning the litter box, cooking meals (after having washed my hands thoroughly, of course), taking care of family and chores, I realize that there is more to me than the sum total of what I do day after day after day.

In a nutshell, when I was seven or eight I wanted to be the world’s first ice-skating, ballet-dancing, cancer-curing, derring-doer nun with a PhD and a published novel. When I wasn’t performing any of those feats of greatness I would be the most sophisticated creature the world had ever known, and I’d win an Oscar and a Tony, lecture on Marco Polo’s travels and assist Dr. Barnard on heart transplants. Yes…I’ve not done one of those things.

So…things I’ve had to do to get here. What have those been? It sounds ominous, yes…say it with an Edward G. Robinson voice. Try it now with Humphrey Bogart or De Niro in Taxi Driver. Give it a whirl with the soundtrack to Lawrence of Arabia swelling in the background. Do Brando and Duvall in Apocalypse Now. Yeah…in my case it’s more like Doris Day in Please Don’t Eat the Daisies or Leslie Caron in Father Goose. The events that I will take my sweet time describing to you (and to myself) will be varied and, more frequently than I’d like, embarrassing to me and tedious to you. If you stop reading I won’t blame you, but I also won’t stop writing because I am in earnest.

My 47th birthday is fast approaching. I have gray hair, a double chin that won’t leave me even if I lose weight (it’s fond of me, I think) and two children who are getting closer every single day to not really needing me that much. This is the part where you think “poor middle-aged woman! She’s seeking some sort of validation because she’s a homemaker and her children are growing up and soon will leave her!” Yawn.

That’s not it at all, or -at least- not entirely. Of course I want validation for the choices I’ve made and the many faux pas that comprise my progression to “here.” I’d be lying if I said this didn’t play a small part in this whole experiment. I want validation, but from myself and I’m just letting you read me thinking out loud. (Oh, that was a horrendous sentence and I should strike it, but I’m not going to…I don’t want to orchestrate this to be “precious.”) I am also not going for chronological order…forgive my willingness to bounce from one thought to another. Furthermore, I am not going to philosophize if I don’t absolutely have to because I am not trying to teach anyone any lessons.

Here goes. One thing I had to do to get here:

On my first day in college, I had to walk around with my zipper open. Yes…I confess this is something that happened to me. I was happily walking along, trying to blend in as much as I could, when two young men (who were laughing heartily) told me “hey, your pants are unzipped!” The beauty of this moment lies in the fact that I assumed they were flirting with me. I thought that they were trying to get me to stop and talk to them, and I smiled as flirtatiously as I could (which, I am mortified to admit, was not very competently done) and said “what?!” in that wide-eyed, lilt-in-my-voice way that girls use when they pretend to not think they’re pretty.

They kept laughing. And when I say they kept laughing I mean they were bending over, guffawing at my vapid cluelessness. Did I mention that I was not particularly cute at this point in my life? I was OK. I didn’t have a horn sticking out of my forehead or anything, but I wasn’t the kind of girl that anyone would go to great lengths to stop so they could strike up a conversation. Only when I realized that one of them was seriously on the verge of choking with laughter did I look down. My zipper, yes, was open…and you could see the little Christmas motifs on my panties. It was late August. I was wearing panties with a Christmas motif on them.

I had to go through that moment because I had to learn that I am not a flirt. OK. I can BE a flirt, or I could be when I was young and thought there was some point to this exercise. I eventually learned to use my own type of flirting to great effect. But that wasn’t the day, and those weren’t the boys. Many, many, many times for the rest of the semester I wondered if either one of them sat in one of my classes. Many, many times I wondered if I walked into the school cafeteria someone would start humming Christmas tunes. I survived. I’m here, aren’t I?

The point of this is: as my husband and I run into people at the grocery store, as I walk around the neighborhood, clean the litter box, pay the bills, scold or console or cajole or encourage my children, I am still the girl who walked around with her pants’ zipper open and candy canes dancing around cartoon-like on her underwear. Whatever gravitas I achieve, that girl…well…she’s still here and she checks her zipper ten times before she leaves the house.

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