Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Real Me

When children are being obnoxious, adults often say they aren’t being themselves. Jessica must have a fever today. Or an ear infection. This isn’t the Jessica I know. She just isn’t herself.

If the obnoxious child isn’t Jessica, who is she?
Who is throwing a block at her friend who touched her pink tower? Who is kicking and screaming and wailing because she doesn’t want to take a bite of the sandwich?  We wait until the kid calms down and then that’s the real Jessica, the real Amanda, the real Daniel. It’s as though only our pleasant, compliant cheerfulness is really who we are. Whatever other horrific behaviour we come up with doesn’t count.

Often I tell myself that given the ideal circumstances, I would be a much nicer person. With the perfect combination of yoga, caffeine, wholesome food, sleep, meditation and sex, I would become a perpetual delight to be around. That would be the real me.

I just came back from Mexico. For a week, my days were filled with generous portions of sun, ocean, sex, yoga, quality time with the Boatman, mountains of unlimited cucumbers and guacamole plus doting ladies in white dresses who brought me as many cappuccinos as I wanted. Even I couldn’t find much to complain about and so for a week, despite some lingering neuroses, I became a barely recognizable person.

The Boatman and I in Mexico. Me, barely recognizable
We flew into Halifax last night in the pouring rain. I tried to savour the fresh Atlantic air. It really is one-of-a-kind. But this morning, Sunday doomsday had arrived. Tomorrow, it’s back to the piles of children who may or may not be feeling like themselves.  The temperatures will dip below zero and I’ll have to stand in the cold waiting for the bus that will come either too early or too late. There won’t be time for daily sex and the piles of guacamole and cucumbers are already a faraway dream.
I am being obnoxious.  I just had a big tantrum about how writing is dead and tomorrow I enter the cage of working and not having any time or creativity. And I haven’t posted anything in ages. I have actually done the opposite of posting because I deleted a bunch of stuff when the little person celebrity I met at the hotel swimming pool in Montreal said that I was derogatory and horrifying and not a bodhisattva. I keep having fits about writing. How it is supposed to be my only escape out of the world of screaming pooping children, but I never make anything. I have been having these fits for over a year. Fits about how I can’t write anything substantial. I will keep having these fits for the rest of my life.  
The Boatman said, well, babe, it’s going to be your Vag Time soon. I could blame this. My vagina is starting to bleed, and I’m not being myself. It doesn’t count. Oh, and also it’s the full moon.
But either the full moon bleeding vagina tantrums count, or none of it counts.
If I were a child, once I became cheerful again, a condescending and/or well-meaning adult might say, “that’s a good girl, that’s the Erica I know.” We’ll stash away the teary ball of misery, the unrecognizable hideousness, into a dark closet of mildewed winter clothes.  
Nobody says that’s a good squirrel or a bad squirrel, it’s just a squirrel. We don’t say, that elephant isn’t acting like himself. Elephants are never not themselves. An elephant is always an elephant. Squirrels are always squirrels.
However delightful or obscene the children act tomorrow, they will always be children. They will always be themselves.
It will be the same when I have my next tantrum. I will be myself the whole time. 
The End. 
Trying on some green vintage dress at a thrift store. Still Me.

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Twitter: @mypelvicfloor
I Let Go, self-help book by Erica J. Schmidt

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Cardboard Box
Still Me