I got the wrong nametag at the party. Everyone I meet thinks I’m independent, savvy, strong–interesting even. I’m tired of being her. I want to be little Ms. Dependent. To find someone I trust, then wear sweats and be dull. Skip the intersection of interesting and dazzling, and squat at Destination Exhale. Silent, mellow, and tired shouldn’t matter. I want to be able to not “have to be.” To turn off and let someone else get out of bed to turn up the air conditioner. He’ll kiss my head before I fall asleep and whisper bedtime stories until I begin to dream the endings. I just want a place to fall, nothing hard, nothing dramatic, something safe and lazy, something like a nap.
Passion can wake me, bite my lower lip in adoration. I want someone to share dirty martinis, oysters, kissing, and every intoxicating note of a song, every hill of a beat. Lick every chord. Share the bed, and the wine, and the occasional toothbrush. I hate how much I want these things. My want scares me.
We learn at such a young age to deny our desires for the common good. And we’ve been doing it so long; we bury them without thinking. And want resurfaces confused and dizzy, and I’m left unsure if what I crave is what I really want. In my silent lazy moments, desire resurfaces and scares the want, but never right out of me. It’s there, lingering, like dormant dreams from the previous night just as you close your eyes for bed. They rush in for a second, and you’re sure you remember, but as soon as you try, you can’t.
I wrote that, what’s above *this* on May 18, 2004. It’s now May 22, 2007, and I want. Except now, I want the exact opposite. It’s exactly as I stated: sometimes we think we know what we want, but once we have it, we realize that wasn’t it at all. We were chasing the wrong dream, or at least, we weren’t taking the direct route. Also, our wants can change. Now, I want the never-ending red light that refuses to change already! Leaving me stuck at the intersection of Fascinating and Lively. I’m tired of being dull. And this is the way it happens. We long for the familiar, for someone else’s grass, or our old lives where things seemed tinted in shades of rose. "It’s normal to want your old life back once you become a mother." But I don’t want my old life. I just want. I want excitement, to explore, to experience new things. I want to always be learning, to continue to grow and enrich my life.
Quite a while ago, phone therapist had pointed out that we, okay I, crave excitement. Maybe it’s in my wiring. Who cares? The point is, I seek it out, and when it’s not there, I’ll create it. Now there’s good excitement, where we squeal in delight, and then there’s anxiety. Anxiety is absolutely another form of excitement; it’s just the bad kind. Now, forgive for a moment the whole "good" and "bad" thing here, because I really don’t believe in it. What I’m saying is, we LIKE being excited. We don’t like feeling anxious. Yet, our bodies, our brains, something in us, something in me, craves a certain level of energy. And if it’s not the "good excitement," I might just go ahead and create a situation worthy of being anxious. Because I need to get my fix of energy one way or another. If I’m bored, I might just go picking a fight (though I doubt it) just to feel, for lack of a better word, alive. Knowing all this, when I can, I’d like to create my own excitement, the kind to which I look forward.
Overall, I am happy with my life. Wanting things, even things to be different, for things to evolve and maybe even return to where things began, isn’t a bad thing. It’s not a sign of unhappiness. Whenever I say I want something, there’s always someone nearby pointing out that I should be happy with what I have. They’re missing the point. It is absolutely possible to appreciate and acknowledge all you have in your life and still want. Not necessarily want for more, but want new. Want change. Want different. It’s allowed. It doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful. It means you’re human. It means you don’t want to settle in your life and instead see it as a task, a necessity, to challenge yourself. To kick-start your life and question your habits. To live your best possible life.
I am unfulfilled living in the lazy. Zoning out. Numbing out. Communicating less. Clicking my night through the Internet. Creating busy work. To-do lists of "it really doesn’t matter." I want to experiment. My brain needs exercise. My creativity needs to be challenged. I refuse to be boring, and in turn, complain that I’m bored.
Everything in moderation, certainly. Balance, yes. But at a certain point, we get into patterns of easiest, forgetting, or simply not caring, what’s best. What will help us be the best we can be, the best spouse, father, mother, child, person? We stop caring about our own growth. I have. But eventually I come to the point where I realize, "I don’t want to live like this anymore." I can complain or I can do something about it.
So today I made a new list of wants, which I’m sure in three years time will be exactly what I no longer want. Which is fine by me. But you can’t just talk it, can’t hem on about the things you want to try just for the sake of it. You need to set the goal and set an action-oriented plan. Your list needs to be affirmative, filled with "I will" statements. Otherwise, you’re a complainer who’s lazy and afraid, someone who doesn’t even honor her own needs, yet expects others to pay close attention to them.
I want to read more. Instead of watching television, I will commit to reading something (not a magazine). I have books upon books I want to read but haven’t because each time I try to, I tell myself, "You should be writing your book, not reading this one." Alternatively, I will tell myself, "Instead of wasting time on the internet, you’re reading this book."
I want to improve my vocabulary and will one night a week make an effort to do so.
I will make plans, one night a week, to do something outside the house, without Phil, but with our children. Maybe the three of us will be alone in a park, going for a walk. Or we’ll be out with another mother and her children. But the plan is to be responsible for Lucas and Abigail on my own. At "unplugged night" listening to acoustic guitar on the patio, or to a Movies in The Park night for a picnic with friends. Mommy and me type classes. I need to get out of the house more, away from my computer, and I will. I will get together with friends for dinner (who don’t so much mind the kid-friendly places we’ll need to go).
Less important, but still worthy of inclusion, I will make an effort to be more creative. To draw once in a while, even if it’s a quick sketch. It doesn’t need to be perfect. But at least it’s something. It’s stretching. And it’s what I need to feel alive.