Tuesday, August 5, 2014

On Life and How It Gets Easier

The amount of responsibility in my life is greater now than ever before, but my mellowness is at an all time-high and it's been going in that direction for years, which is a huge relief. If I were still in the 16-22 year age range, I would be screaming and crying at Sloan much more often than I do now (which is about three times a day currently, so just crank that up to the double digits and that'd be a safe bet). I'd still be aggressively using the various emotional manipulation strategies that I'd learned about from watching Dr. Phil and Intervention. And I'd be saying/texting alternately angry and penitent things to basically everyone I know at all times. Basically, I was a loose cannon for a while. (If you don't believe me, ask some of my poor, poor ex-boyfriends.)

(Actually, don't ask them.)


I used to put make up on to go to the gas station. The gas station. I used to eavesdrop on any strangers I was walking past to see if they were talking about me. (Surprise! They weren't.) I used to eat salads. Gross!

And after each exhausting day of clandestinely looking at myself in window reflections and trying to come up with the bombest intellectual comments in my literature classes, I'd lie in bed and retrace every action of that day, berating myself at every misstep or any below average demonstrations of what I wanted to portray as the sexy, smart, and fun version of Julia.
This version.
These days, my life consists of singing nursery rhymes (the lyrics of which I change to be about farts), playing a two-year-old's version of "Simon Says" (which means do whatever you want, Simon ain't nobody's boss), and wiping up spills from the same square-foot of our kitchen floor fifteen times a day. I berate myself far less often now, even though I'm fatter than I used to be, dumber than I used to be, and I make some sort of parenting mistake approximately every thirty seconds. I worry about those things less than I would have otherwise for the simple reason that (pardon my French) I am getting too old for that shit! I was born last century! I had an Ace of Base cassette! I remember dial-up internet! Not only am I getting old, but now I am suddenly busy and have stuff to do because there is this little person creature who hangs around me all day! Every day! He never leaves me alone and well somebody's gotta feed him I guess!
Fruit snacks in milk again?
I'm not saying having a kid instantly mellowed me out, I'm saying having a kid took all of the energy I was using to be fiercely self-loathing and appropriated it to the "Just Survive the Day" department of my emotional life, a department that had been started up as I had gotten older. If I had had Ward before the age of 25...well first of all, he would probably be named something like Hollister. And I'd be dedicating MUCH more of my time to being clinically insane over the permanent and ugly changes to my post-baby body. I would also resent Ward's neediness much more than I ever have currently. But I dodged a lot of those bullets by getting my crazy out of the way before I had him. Sure, he definitely still does things that raise my blood pressure, and he does those things multiple times a day. Things like bite my toes and pour water on my head and punch me in the face. And recently, every time we're in public, Ward has started demanding I tell him the name of every stranger we see. Do you understand how awkward that is? If we are walking close to someone, Ward loudly and aggressively points at them and yells, "Who's dat? Mommy who's dat? WHO IS DAT?!" And this poor person can obviously hear him, but doesn't know if/how to engage, so they will typically pretend not to hear my eventual yelling "I DO NOT KNOW WHO THAT PERSON IS. THEY ARE A STRANGER WHO DOES NOT WANT TO BE BOTHERED," while I gesture wildly toward them when all they wanted were some hot Cheetos from Walgreen's but have now become the silent third party in a domestic dispute.

Anyway. Aging and parenthood have forced a reshuffle of my priorities, and this new sequence of feelings is much more manageable than the previous one that lent all its weight to things like how uncool I might look trying to open a heavy door in front of other people. Don't get me wrong, inconsequential things like my dimpled thighs still bother me much more than they should, but they don't prevent me from leaving the house like they used to. And ya know what? Ward has dimply thighs too...and he weighs thirty pounds. So, even if I lost one hundred pounds right now (probably a traumatic thing to witness), things aren't looking too hopeful in the thigh department.

In conclusion, to all of you teens and early twenty-somethings, know this: things get easier. Yes, things might get more complicated in life, but they feel immensely less complicated (and that's what really matters right?). It just comes with age.

Oh! And Zoloft! That helps a lot, too. Totally forgot to mention that earlier!