Identity Crisis

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 1:41 PM


(Warning: overwrought philosophical self-indulgence ahead. Danger. Turn back now).

Halloween has gotten me thinking. (In short bursts.)

I used to be the girl who loved to dress up - the more dramatic, the better. I used to actively search out opportunities to visit far-flung destinations, to use a fake name and accent, to make things complicated. And fun. No effort was too great, no adventure too grand, no rationale required. I would drive to another state to try a new restaurant without blinking. Life was exciting. I was living Dead Poet's Society.

I love...everything. I love to go places, see people, do things. Simple as that. Everything sounds like a good idea to me. Or it used to.

Now I have 3 small children, who are absolutely lovely, and everything is infinitely more difficult than it used to be, on every level. Now it takes me 2 weeks to muster up the fortitude to go to the Post Office or the grocery store, let alone a non-essential "fun" activity. I find myself either declining social invitations, or accepting them reluctantly and then finding reasons not to participate or dreading their arrival. I don't know what's the matter with me. Sitting at home with three fractious kids isn't exactly my idea of a good time, either. What do I want?

This isn't a cute problem, like not having time for a shower once in awhile or having PB&J every single day for lunch. (I have those problems too). This is pretty much me wondering where my personality went - the core of myself - whether it's in suspended animation until my kids are older and I don't have to manage their every movement, including chewing, swallowing, and urinating, or whether something in me has fundamentally changed.

I was at lunch the other day (In-N-Out: cheap and close by, which are my only two requirements anymore) and at the table next to me were 4 teenage boys. They looked like some variation on my younger self: gleefully non-conformist, looking to take on the world. I caught them stealing pitying glances at the table next to them, populated by a few balding 30-somethings in shirts and ties, on lunch from their Boring Office Jobs. I knew thy were thinking they would never turn out like that, that they would always be full of energy and vitality and their spirits would never be crushed by something as mundane as a job, or a daunting series of Halloween parties, or a ketchup stain. Life is what you make it!

Carpe Diem!

O Captain, my Captain!

I sat with my daughters, hiding from my kitchen, rationing french fries and encouraging bites of cheeseburger, wondering when I got to be such a fuddy duddy. Why does it seem less frightening to sit home browsing Facebook than to charge out into the world and try something new, or even just compose a serious, coherent blog post? I think it's some combination of the demoralizing effect of calling people and begging them to babysit, or bringing the children and completely missing the point of the chosen activity, or just rationalizing in my mind that whatever it is isn't worth the trouble, would push bedtime too late, would cost too much money.

Well, I'm tired of it. I am boring myself.

It sounds like such a small thing, but to that end, I am planning to attend this event this weekend. It's totally frivolous, my husband will find it unappealing to say the least, I have no Western attire to speak of, and I am certain to spend money I shouldn't. I won't know anyone there. I am afraid of looking like a NieNie fangirl, which I am not. (I mean, I read her blog, but who doesn't?) I am irritated with myself for worrying that I will appear to be a poseur (I mean, if that's my primary concern, then don't I already qualify? Geez.) I'll need to find a babysitter. I will probably have to get a nap so I don't fall asleep standing up at a booth like a narcoleptic old grandpa.

But you know what? It sounds fun. I think it's worth fighting for. I'm not dead yet! I'm hoping there's a little spark in there somewhere that can survive the years of raising young children and live to tell about it. I'm hoping that when I emerge, I will be a better version of my adventurous, fun-loving self: less selfish, calmer, wiser.

But I still need to be able jump up on my desk when the moment calls for it.

Carpe Diem, indeed. See you all at the shindig.

Comments (7)

You have captured, in essence and specificity, what has been rolling around my brain the last six months.

But I am quite surprised that for your reinitiation into the World of Fun, you are going to kiss a dog on the lips!

Ha! I'm not all *that* far gone yet. :). The bulldog kissing booth is but one aspect of the event. Keep scrolling down that page, but only if you want to be jealous of all the fabulous fun I will be giving myself to have.

Also, I am sorry that anyone else in the universe feels this way. It us a bad, bad thing.

Should read "forcing myself to have". My phone spell-checked me into nonsensicality.

That's what I get for being so approval hungry that I don't even wait to get home before I check my blog for comments! I'm in a sad state, truly.

Carpe Diem!! I can so relate to this post. Have fun!! We may be Moms of 3, but deep down there is still some spunk left in us.

Rachel, I identified with this post so much, I almost cried. Thanks for putting this into words as you did so well. I guess we're not alone even though it feels like it when you're going through it. I enjoy your blog so much. I read lots of "mommy blogs" but yours is by far my favorite. You are funny and sarcastic without trying, without trying to seem cool or flippant, without over writing it, without sugar coating it, abd you obviously love your kids amid all the frustration. Keep this up b/c I for one appreciate it a lot.

Also, today I asked someone to babysit Zara just so I could go get groceries b/c I am too scared to go with two kids alone. FYI. I loved the part when you said you go places and miss the point of them entirely when you bring kids. It's like a whirlwind of tending and wrangling and holding and trying not to scream and trying to see anything around you and not breathing.

Oh Rachel. I wish I could offer you words of comfort.

What you're describing reminds me of some of the feelings I had this summer. I didn't know where my life was going and every plausible direction seemed destined for disappointment.

But things got better. Much better.

I think the absolute world of you, as a person and as a mother. You are so full of life, you find the fun in everything and whatever funk you feel you may be in now I can promise you, it's temporary. And for goodness sake, everyone's entitled to a little funk now and again anyway!

You should spend, Rachel. Spend time, energy, money, whatever it takes to take care of yourself. The more people you are caring for, the more self-care you need. Take whatever you need to do that and don't feel bad about it! And if it involves a trip to California to visit me, so be it.

Have a great time at your hoe down this weekend! I'll look forward to seeing you soon! LOVE YOU SO MUCH!