Thursday, January 27, 2011


I always love listening to my 80s music. I am transported.

But every time, I ask myself, what do I miss? The 80s? My life? Me? What do I wish I still had from then? Is it the music? The friends? The innocence?

I think it's the simplicity. But not the simplicity of the time; the simplicity of our age. We were teenagers. No, I don't mean to say that this is an easy time. It's a horrible time: full of change, uncertainty, fear, emotion. We're so overwhelmed by life, and by ourselves, everything seems like a huge hurdle, and we either want to cower before it or destroy it. That's the simplicity: it's all about me. MY fear, MY emotion, MY hurdle. And although I don't know what to do with these things, I have a certain power. Teachers, parents, adults want to make up my mind, but in the end it's ME and I decide.

No, it's not simple then. But it looks simple now, looking back.

*Although it's hard to say, really. Because we always remember good times, even when the times weren't good. Especially when there are enough years between then and now. And between now and the 80s, there are a lotta years.*

We just watched The Big Chill, whose German title is The Big Frustration. The title seemed appropriate, watching it as an adult. The Frustration of Now. Now vs. Then.

As teenagers, and much more in college, we discovered ourselves. We chose who we wanted to be. We fought for our new-found identity. We were sure that we knew who we were.

But then, some years later, we found ourselves in relationships. It was no longer about ME. It was about US. And we said NO! We are not WE. I will always be ME. I am not US. And then he left. Hmph.

So we gargled the WE and then found ourselves parents. No discussion there, it's no longer about ME. It's not even about US. It's about THEM. Shit. So we ask ourselves: Who the hell am I?! I was going to change the world. I looked at the man in the mirror. I was, I was.

But now all we do is keep everyone else happy. Not at our own expense, maybe, but we've put all of our wishes, our hopes, our dreams, our EARTH-SHATTERING GOOD INTENTIONS on a back burner so that we could have a family. So where does that leave ME?!

Stripped of our privacy and without a world to save. Okay, maybe we don't want to save the world, but we'd like to relax a little. Have a drink, dance to some 80s music. SLEEP. Have an opinion that has nothing to do with feeding, raising or tolerating a toddler. ENJOY LIFE. It can't all be about self-sacrifice.

Optimistic me is sure that it's not. But I'm still not sure who the hell I am or what the hell I want to do with myself. And I DO know that I don't have time to figure it out at the moment. Maybe next year...


Claudia said...

Funny, I thought I left a comment on your previous post, but it's not there. I had said I loved hearing the voice of you, not the voice of the mommy you.

Now this, which is a variation on the theme. I also had an 80s teenagerdom, and I know what you mean. For me, the sensation of being taken back into that sheer joy has to do with the pureness and the intensity of the emotions. We were free to indulge and explore every asinine thought, without feeling like you're boring someone, or have to shift gears and be practical.

Finding the "me" within parenthood is really hard, because you go against the screaming critique that you are being selfish at the expense of your children. Bullshit, I say. A child will be far better off if they have a happy and fulfilled mother.
I don't spend huge chunks of time pursuing my own interests, but I don't feel guilty when I do take some time. Of course it gets easier when said kid is four, rather than 1, 2 or 3.

And an earworm for your enjoyment:
"Save a prayer til the morning after, save a prayer til the morning afteeeerrrrrrr"
I listened to that song every morning while smoking my first clove cigarette of the day before school. Ah, memories :P

RC said...

Oh, Duran Duran. Very nice.
So you don't like my "mommy voice?" Sometimes it seems I have no other voice.
I guess what I wanted to ask with this post (and here's evidence of my crap writing skills) is: is there simplicity and enjoyment in the adult world? Or are we wishing for something that is just...finished?

Claudia said...

Not at all saying I don't like your "Mommy voice." I just like hearing another aspect of you.

I can't answer your simplified question. I don't want to think anything is finished, and I really don't believe it is. But it is going to be a different way of experiencing life, because we'll be unable to tinge it with past experiences. Things have a very hard time being new, now.
I know that sounds pessimistic, and I don't want to be. I don't think I am. But that particular frame of mind would be hard to revive. Case in point: I went to a concert recently, first one in many years. First one ever in Denmark. It was a new up and coming band that I really like, and in a club, only with DH, kid safely being babysat (and having a blast) at a friend's house. But the experience was so vastly different. I was aware of how old I was compared to most of the other people. I was holding myself back from really getting into it because it's not my age group, it's not my country, it's not "appropriate" for whatever self-censoring reason. There will always be gates that my age/experience/sense of propriety have put up, that weren't there way back when.
But I expect to experience other things with a sense of simplicity and joy. Otherwise, ugh.

RC said...

That's what I mean! Are we doomed now to self-censorship? I know we can enjoy life with children/as a family, but can we still enjoy as we did before (or something close to it)? Or is it all just stress-worry-where am I where am I going?
Having written that, I think it IS possible. But I'm still not 17 (who the HELL wants to be 17 anyway?!), so it's different.

Twintensity said...

It's why I started MY blog too. I realized I had gone from wanting to 'save the world' to just wanting it to shut up and take a nap!

Honestly Claire, I think it would be easier in a country that didn't TELL you how hard your life was all the time. I realize now that all I got was SYMPATHY for all my work with twins. Noone was ever HAPPY for me.

Sleep helps too.

You're still there.

Now that my youngest two are in Prep I am able to be ME and be Mom at the same time. Mom is part of me but not all of me.

Love hearing your writing. I know you have in mind to write other things - but this voice and these concerns ring true. I relate. It's REAL.

You can be a great character in your own novel someday!!!