On the eve of 42, I want to take a moment to take stock of where I am as an individual. Outside of being a wife and mother, I’m taking a moment to take pride in my own accomplishments, how far I’ve come and how much further I need to go towards being the true ME I’ve always wanted to be. Youth is lost on the young? No shit! I’ve spent so much of my life being a people-pleaser that I don’t truly believe that I even remotely had an idea about what made me happy. Some days, I still don’t.
Once upon a time, I wanted to be a star. A broadway star, that is. I was certain (at the age of 19) that it was going to happen. That I would show up in NYC with my “three bucks, two bags, one me” and immediately they would just know they had to have me in every show. I would be in demand. I would be a character actress, with an alto voice and a lot of spunk. I wouldn’t be the ingenue soprano … I would be the Elphaba (Wicked Witch, Wicked, come on people) of Broadway, before there was an Elphaba and everyone still knew her as Maureen. I would be the Daphne Rubin-Vega with my sailor-like vocabulary and flamboyant personality, it was going to happen. I moved to New York with my dear childhood friend, A. She was determined too, but as I would learn later, her determination far exceeded any idea of what I thought determination was in 1995. Now SHE followed her dreams and truly never gave up. In fact, for my 42nd birthday I will spend my evening at a screening for her first feature-length film, in which she stars and co-wrote. Yup. She was determined. Still is. Love that woman. (Here’s a shameless plug for my girl.)
But for me, I’ve always gone with the flow of things, in life, love, friendship, work. Anytime I made a change, it always kind of landed in my lap. Moving to Georgia, joining the staff of AIDS Walk Atlanta and then deciding to travel the country as a fundraising diva, settling down, marrying the guy I dated for 7 years, so isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, coming to work in my current job in communications, with frankly, no education in this field, and even while getting a divorce. I was coasting. Through every aspect of my life!
But when I met the Chef, I fought. I fought for his attention (yes, I was like a kid with a crush). I was IN LOVE (well maybe just a little bit of lust) at first sight. He was playing the guitar at a friend’s house (the Eagles, I believe), had dirty blonde hair, and was just off work, so still in Chef clothes. He was tall, blonde, skinny and handsome as hell. I was done for. I mean, look at him. He was/is HOT.
The Chef and me before we were “married with children”
That was 7 years ago. And probably the last time I truly FOUGHT for something I believed in. After two kids, a bunch of career highs for him and even a few for me, we’re kind of in that time of monotony. Day in, day out. Same thing. Eat. Sleep. Work. Frozen. Shuffle Kids. Frozen. Bath Time. Potty Time. Frozen. Eat. Sleep. Work. With a schedule like my Chef’s, it’s hard to do much more than that. Once in a while there is a quick escape … quick visit to family up North, quick drive to family home at the beach, but overall … we’re in the cycle, which I hear ends in about 15 years, when the last one goes off to college, or Broadway, or to boot camp or (Yikes) culinary school.
I don’t know where their dreams will take them, or even what they will be, but I hope they’ll fight. Or that I’ve raised them to fight. I’ll fight alongside them. Hell, I may even throw the first punch once in a while. I hope that between now and that time, I will fight for myself too. I will challenge myself. I will find one new thing that will challenge me (physically/emotionally/intellectually? I’m not sure yet). I will take on a new challenge, even if it’s really really really hard. Until then, it’s back to pick up/drop off/bath time/potty training and Elsa. Oh Elsa. Let it go!