I feel like I have some explaining to do.
Recently, a new friend said to me “When I started reading your blog I thought you were going to be a certain way, but then I MET you and you are just so … poised. It surprised me.” You know what surprises me? Being called “poised.”
I have also had people expect me to be more “Tina Fey or Amy Poeler-like.” First of all, whoa. I wish I were Tina Fey or Amy Poeler-like. I am SUCH A HUGE FAN OF TINA FEY. She’s a hilarious writer (Bossypants is one of my favorite books) and entertaining to watch on television. I’m sure she is just as fun in person over coffee, not that I’m obsessing over that idea or anything. But I’m not like those ladies, I’m sorry to say. I’m not even all that funny in person. I just nod and smile a lot, and if you take that and add in the blonde hair, well … I’ve had many, many people mistake me for an idiot.
I write because my life is stressful and I struggle with it and mostly because I want other women to know it’s okay to admit that things are hard. I want to give and get solidarity.
Here is where I let my family off the hook.
I come from a very long, very southern line of conservative Christians, and none of them use the word “fuck.” Now that I’ve gone and gotten an essay published, and the title of it includes that word, I feel like I need to make sure everyone knows that I wasn’t raised to talk that way. Please don’t judge my parents or my grandparents and think someone didn’t do their job. I think they fear judgement, from you, from the church, from God … but I assure you, I have good moral character. I am grounded in how I was raised.
I write what I’m inspired to write. Some days it’s really heartfelt. Some days it’s really angry. I don’t feel like I need to make excuses for what I do, because I’m proud of it even though it makes my mother and grandmother and who knows who else cringe and wish I would just STOP TALKING ABOUT DRINKING AND STOP USING THAT LANGUAGE. Well … I could. But then I’d be lying, because while I was raised in a family who did not drink, I happen to really enjoy it.
If I were afraid of judgement, I’d use a pen name. This blog would be very motherhood is amazing and perfect, rather than my children are freaking psychotic.
Asher is three years old now. Do you know what that means? That means he loses it over everything. Do you remember what that’s like? No? You lucky bitch, you’ve blocked it out already. Well, it usually goes something like this, over and over and over throughout the day:
Me: Asher, it’s time to go! Do you want to wear your Crocs or your Pumas?
Asher: I DON’T WANT TO WEAR MY CROCS!
Me: Okay! Let’s get your Pumas.
Asher: I DO IT BY MYSELF.
Me: Okay! I’ll just help you if you ask me to.
Asher: (screaming unintelligibly)
Me: Do you want some help?
Asher: I WANT TO WEAR MY CROCS!
Me: (I get the Crocs)
Asher: I DON’T WANT TO WEAR MY CROCS! I WANT TO WEAR MY PUMAS! I DO IT BY MYSELF! I NEED HELP! DON’T TOUCH ME! HOLD ME!
Meanwhile, the “baby,” who is not a baby anymore but I still call her that, has dragged all of her clothes out of every drawer in her room and every pot and pan out onto the kitchen floor. And I can’t blame her, because the shoe drama was mind-numbing and she had to busy herself some kind of way. Good for her. All I want to do is scream “FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” at the top of my lungs.
But I don’t.
I breathe. Sometimes I lose it, but mostly I breathe. I pick up the pots and I stay calm. I check myself so I don’t hurt anyone. And then later, when no one is bothering me, I write about it and I feel cleansed. That’s why I always say that writing is my therapy. The fact that anyone would want to read it never ceases to amaze me. Maybe I need an actual therapist, yes? I may look into that.
My upbringing has nothing to do with my writing. If I wanted to write about what it’s like to be raised so conservatively and discover the joy of a latte at age 21, I could. And I may. But not today.