October 25, 2011

What If The Grass Is Green On Both Sides?

Some people feel that there is no greater joy in life. Some want and cannot have. Still others have zero desire. My feelings are a mix of all three and therefore leave me in a constant state of confusion.

For the past 12 years I’ve held a strict anti-baby policy. I realize they can be cute, funny and well behaved. I’ve even been emotionally moved by the things a child has done or said but I suppose that, overall, I keep a pessimistic view of them. My distaste starts in the womb. The entire concept of being with child doesn't appeal to me. I don't even like the word p------t, in any variation, or any other words associated with being with child. Most people view this as a beautiful time or a joy of life. How do I see it? Cringe-worthy. Yet when someone tells me their news I smile, say congratulations and ask all the right questions. I’m not so strong in my own beliefs that I won’t celebrate for someone else.

I think my feelings stem from two things. One, my fear of failure in that I barely take care of myself, how on earth am I going to take care of a kid; and two, the fact that from 13 to 17 it was my job to baby-sit my younger brother and sister. Everyday I came home to watch them. I did baths, dinner, story time, learning to walk and talk, playing at the park, etc. In essence, I feel as if I’ve “been there, done that”, yet I do not feel robbed of the experience of someday becoming a parent.

Because of my feelings I’ve been told everything from, ‘maybe you shouldn’t have kids’ to ‘you’ll change your mind someday’ and ‘wait until it happens”. As usual people are trying to project their baby-loving views on me. During a casual conversation in a store a perfect stranger asked if I was married or had kids and I said that I did not. She asked how old I was. I said 25. She then had the balls to say, “you’re a little behind aren’t you?” After 12 years I think I’m pretty sure of my feelings, even though I acknowledge that they can change.

And change they have. I went from a strict no thank you to a more acceptable, ehh. In a nutshell, if I have them, fine. If not, I won't cry about it. Some women feel the desire to be a mother. They get baby fever. I don’t feel it. If you were to ask me why I want kids I'd give my reasons but then counter-argue that I don’t feel cute clothes, baby naming and my curiosity of their looks constitute a green light to procreate. Will I be a parent someday? Probably but I still I remain indifferent.

As my 27th birthday comes next month part of me feels that ‘someday’ should get moved up on my life to-do list. But even that feeling has me on the fence. I don’t want to start having kids at 30 but I am in no way ready economically or personally (my relationship is 2 months old) to have them now. This is the way I see it: If I have kids at 30 I have a 10 year old at 40, a 20 year old at 50, etc. Say my kids have their own later  in life (30s range), if at all. So now I’m a grandmother in my 60s. Fine, still young by today’s standards. But am I going to be there when my grandkids graduate school or get married? Who knows. And I think deep down that bothers me. My grandparents were a huge influence in my life and it pains me that they’re no longer here. Add in the fact that I have a small family and therefore kind of want a medium sized family and I’m all fucked up.

As I proofread this it seems my feelings have changed yet again but I’m not sure I know how to explain them. I want them but I’m not ready? I feel that I’m going to miss out? I’m still indifferent? I really don’t know. I suppose the most correct answer would be a combination of the three. I will go on record saying that I am officially ok with the idea of having kids someday. I guess the only thing that can be said for sure is that I know there's time and I’m not getting off this fence any time soon.

October 20, 2011

Feelings from 14

I love to write. I love the feeling of pen to paper. The feel of the ink flowing, the smoothness of the sheets (I'll admit I hoard gel pens and notebooks). When I was kid I would write short stories but they never went anywhere. I could start, build a little story and even get in dialogue (in 3rd/4th grade I think this is worthy of a little pat on the back), but I was never sure how to end it without it seeming as if the characters were just cliff diving into the ending. Thus, the stories were always unfinished.

When I was a13 I wrote my first poem. It was about how terrible my birthday was going.  Obviously I'm no Maya Angelou, so it's not something that I would consider myself good at, which brings me to #7 Share your efforts at something you don't think you do well.

I prefer poetry that rhymes, but that's probably just my obsession with structure. It's not something I ever bring up. Mainly because I don't want to hear people give the generic comments of 'that's nice' or whatnot. Poetry is personal. I don't expect someone else to like, understand or feel what I have written. This is also probably the reason I don't like to read poetry. I never understand what I've read. In high school when we'd read passages or poems sometimes I thought I understood it but then we'd review and it turns out I was way off. That always threw me. Since poetry is personal shouldn't interpretation be up to the reader? In any event I gave it up a long time ago but in the interest of sharing, blogging and checking things off my lists, I present "You".

As a background, I wrote when I was 14 about a guy that I was crazy about. More so than I should have been. A few years later I stumbled upon some website for poetry submission. I didn't think anything of it but submitted it anyway. It ended up being selected to be published in an anthology. Reading it at 26 is comical. But at 14...

You said you didn't want to hurt me
   but you did it anyway
   you may not be aware of it
   but I think about it everyday

I think of how you held me
   I think of how we kissed
   I think of the times we shared
   and that is what I miss

I care about you
   but do you care about me
   I think that you do
   but please try and see

Try and see the way I love you
   try and see the way i care
   try and understand
   that the pain is too much to bare

I don't know what to say to you
   then again, maybe I do
   I care so much about you
   please tell me you do too

So you do care about me
   at least that's what you say
   you may care a lot
   but you broke my heart anyway

October 03, 2011

Higher Learning

In my opinion, life is a giant game of Shoots and Ladders. We move through the game one space (stage) at a time with the ultimate goal of winning (being successful). Sometimes we get to climb the ladder and get the extra cookie. Other times we land on hard times and slide back a few spaces. All in all, the point is to keep playing. To keep fighting for the ultimate goal. Parts of life can be fun and easygoing. Other times things happen that we just need to “get over”.  This brings me to my next shameless post: #24 Share a struggle you have yet to “just get over.” 

When I graduated high school in 2002 I had every intention of going to college. I applied to our local community college and was enrolled for the fall semester. I was climbing the ladder. In 2004, I landed on a wrong space and my life was soon in full slide mode and I dropped out of school. My car wouldn’t start, I was unemployed, broke and depressed. I pretty much lost the desire to do anything but sleep and watch TV. Some of you are probably thinking I was just being really lazy. That could be. It may have been a  factor. All I know is that at the time my life was falling apart and I had no idea what to do.  

Fast forward to 2006. I’d moved to NJ and was living with my then boyfriend. Since I never finished school I attempted to take online courses to finish my degree. This was a fail of epic proportions. About a year later I decided to try again. I enrolled with Kaplan University, another online school. This didn’t work out either. (To clarify, the online schooling was not unsuccessful due to anything on my part. UoP couldn’t straighten out my financial aid and Kaplan registered me for more courses than my aid allowed and then billed me for it.) At this point, I’m so irritated and frustrated that I start to wonder if school just isn’t for me. Although deep down I know this is bullshit.

2008 rolls around and according to the State of NJ I’m officially an “independent” student. This status was key as I no longer needed my parents tax information to fill out financial aid forms. I hadn’t lived with them since 2003 and they never contributed a dime to my schooling so why I needed their tax info was beyond me. At this point the mental abuse I’d been subjecting myself to was just insane. There would be days I’d cry to my best friend about not finishing school. I was constantly beating myself up for it.  Unfortunately, I still do this. 

I need to get over the fact that I didn’t graduate from college in 2006 when I should have. Wow. That right there? That’s my problem. Even as I type this I still berate myself. "When I should have". Since when is there a strict time line for attending school? Some people don’t finish school until they’re in their 40s or 50s and it is perfectly acceptable. Why isn’t that ok for me? I've been holding this over my head since 2004. It's funny how much this single piece of paper means to me. And yet it makes perfect sense. I truly have no fears. Heights, needles, snakes, etc. None of it bothers me. But failure, it's almost crippling. Not to say that I won't try something new for fear of failing, but the idea of not succeeding in life, to not win the game, it terrifies me. And so, in a sense, by not graduating by the "standard 4 year plan" I feel I've failed.

It's time to let it go and forgive myself for good. Not just momentarily. I need to just get over it. I need to focus on the fact that even though the previous 3 attempts didn’t work out I didn't give up. I kept climbing the ladder and finally it paid off. I'm back in school and will have my Associate's degree next May. After that I'll be doing another 2 years to get my Bachelor's degree. It may have taken me longer than most, but the fact of the matter is I kept climbing.