Breakdown

I’ve been told that pregnant women have a tendency to spontaneously bust into pathetic, weepy tears and shoulder-shaking sobfests without any apparent provocation, but up until this point I’ve been pretty impressive with my emotional stability throughout this entire process…Or so I thought.

Yesterday, however, after having had a lovely little lunch  in Oceanside with a girlfriend who’s always on the go and having a ton of fun experiencing life, and then after having sat at the beach reading for an hour and getting bummed about how I no longer live at the beach, I picked up a decaf mocha from the little coffee shop (you should have seen the look on the barista’s face when I asked for something as asinine as decaf!) and then headed back up to Temecula where I proceeded to take a trip on the rabbit-hole downward spiral into absolute self-pity and misery.

I felt depressed, and had a bit of a bloaty-sicky stomach ache from all of the decafmilksugar by the time I got home, so I promptly plopped my rear on the couch and watched the first movie that I happened to come across – The Rocker. It’s a cheesy, sub-par movie about a teenage-rock band and their 30- or 40-something drummer uncle (Rainn Wilson) as they try to make it big and the drummer tries to recapture his youth. That’s when it dawned on me that my days of becoming a rock star are over.

Granted, I’ve never actually thought of myself as a person with even an inkling of any musical talent, and I’ve never actually wanted to become a real, live rock star. But I’ve always wanted to become something. My parents gave me piano lessons, and I was a sax player in the school band until like 7th grade, but I never had any talent. Ronny bought me a guitar two years ago and I still haven’t taken my first lesson. I’ve always wanted to be an artist, but have always been told that there’s no money in it, and again, I have no talent. I even wanted to start my own handmade fanny pack business, but I couldn’t drum up the motivation. And then, of course, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and, if I put my mind to it, I actually might be able to scrounge up a little talent, but I don’t really have anything important, funny or insightful to say. And I wanted to be a veterinarian, but didn’t want to go through the years of schooling, and I wanted to be a supermodel, but I wasn’t tall or beautiful enough, and I wanted to be an actress, but I’m to shy and insecure to even try…I could go on and on about what I would have liked to have done but never even attempted.

So, just as I’m starting to feel fat and really feel sorry for myself, Ronny calls. He can hear in my voice that something’s bothering me, so he asks what’s wrong.

“Nothing,” I say, all mopey-like.

“Come on, tell me, what’s wrong,” he says, like a good, sensitive husband.

“Nuuuh-thiiiiinng,” I say, obstinate.

“Tell me.”

“No!”

“What’s wroooonnng?”

“I’ll tell you when you get home.”

“No, tell me now.”

Then suddenly, out of nowhere, I lost all control and burst into tears. “THE DAYS OF MY YOUTH ARE GONE FOREVER!!!!”

Caught off guard by my random temper tantrum, he just laughed helplessly with me as I sat on the phone, sobbing, snot and tears and mascara starting to run. “Who’s youth is gone?” he asked in the sing-song tone that he lovingly uses to ask all kinds of questions of our dog, who, at this moment, just stared at me over his shoulder as if I were the biggest freak he had ever seen.

We hung up the phone, and by the time I heard the truck engine shut off and garage door open, I had composed myself and realized that I was just being hormonal. I just sat there on the couch, about 20 minutes into my second movie of the day (Flash of Genius, the Greg Kinnear flick where his intermittent windshield wiper invention is stolen by Ford), realizing that I had never even invented anything! He walked into the house and caught me hugging the couch pillow desperately for support, sat next to me, put his arm around me and said, “Awww…is your youth all gone?”

That was it. He pulled the trigger.  “Bwaahhh haa haa haa…” (That’s a sob, not an evil laugh.) That released the floodgates and I couldn’t stop bawling. I started ranting about how by the time women my age have babies they usually have to take time off of their important and satisfying careers. Their bios include sentences like, “Before starting her family, Nancy Fancypants enjoyed a successful law career and published her NYT best-selling book, My Successful Life…How I Kicked Ass and Took Names, all while founding her own philanthropical endeavor where she saved all of the sick and starving children and all of the whales.”

But I haven’t even started a career. I don’t even know what I want to be when I grow up! Ever since college I’ve just gone from crappy job to crappy job waiting for my opportunity to shine, and suddenly, I’m 32, married, and having a baby. For the record, I’m absolutely thrilled to be married to Ronny and expecting our first child. That’s not what I’m upset about. But when the heck did I become a friggin’ grown-up? When did I become that person who lives in the cookie-cutter suburbs, who sits at a desk all day, staring at a computer screen, doing busywork but nothing fulfilling, never seeing the sun, and letting my brain atrophy and turn into absolute mush? Tell me, when did that happen?

I’ve never been super ambitious or career-driven, but I’ve always wanted to do something…to be something. But somehow I’ve never figured out what that is…and somehow, as I’m looking at my near future, I am blindingly aware that it doesn’t involve a bio (written by David Sedaris, of course) saying how awesome I am, in the dust jacket of my published, best-selling novel.

Okay, I gotta stop. I’m about to start sobbing again.  But I have to point out that Ronny must have actually felt bad and understood what was happening to his puffy-eyed wifey. After telling me that I’m already doing the most important, special and fulfilling job in the world – having a baby – he actually agreed to take me out to Indian food.

In the car ride over to the restaurant I asked him if he had something he needed to tell me, if there was something he might be feeling a little guilty about. I could feel my chest prepping to heave, expecting the worst.

“What?” he asked, totally caught off guard, probably searching to figure out what I might have caught him at. “What are you talking about?”

“Well, you’re taking me out for Indian food,” I replied, suspiciously. “You must have done something you shouldn’t have.”

“No,” he said, “you’re sad, and you’re pregnant, and you don’t feel good. And you want Indian food. So we’re going to get Indian food.”

“Aw, you’re a good husband,” I said, smiling for once. I think he might be a keeper.

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5 thoughts on “Breakdown

  1. Ummm…I’d say next to being a mom and wife, your 2nd calling in life is to write!! You are an amazing writer…I say go for it and write and publish your first book! And keep in mind, no need for a publisher, you can self-publish your 1st book!!

  2. I totally can relate to this post…and I’m not even having a baby…when you are young you have so many dreams and goals and everything ahead of you and then one day you realize you aren’t a kid anymore — and that you should already be halfway to your goal already — if you ever figured out what your goal WAS in the first place! But no matter what you accomplish there is always something else looming in the horizon, something else to achieve, something else unobtainable, some other inadequacy you want to fulfill…there is no END – for people like us that are always seeking, we will never actually be satisfied with what we find so we will continue to search. I have to remind myself of this all of the time, and yet, I still have mini-panic attacks now and then while I am lying in bed trying to fall asleep where I tell myself that I’ve wasted 30 years of my life and the hyperventilating begins and the tears start to fall… But then, I make a list of all of the things I HAVE accomplished starting from the smallest – “I am lying in this bed that is comfortable and warm that I paid for with my own money” – to the bigger things “I have a husband who loves me and who I love” until I feel at ease and can fall asleep. Decide on a goal that you can achieve and that brings you satisfaction. I’ve decided that my purpose in life is not to make six figures, or have my name in the paper, but, instead, my goal is that I want to make the lives of the people around me just a little bit better. Because I know that I can do that if I try. And anything else that happens on the way is bonus points! We love you and so many people admire you. Thanks for sharing on your blog. XOXO

  3. So I’m thinking about my comment this morning and I realize that you’re like, ‘My dreams are dying!’ And I sound all, ‘Yes Dear… Let them die… It’s all part of becoming a mother.’

    You and I are the same age, and I feel exactly the way you do: Like I have something else big to contribute in addition to raising a child. I just feel like in the meantime, we shouldn’t overlook the little things we do out of love that have big value.

    • Fillforsix, Thank you so much for your two heartfelt comments. It’s so comforting to hear from someone who understands and can empathize. Your words are very encouraging and I am grateful that you submitted them. You made me feel much better!

  4. I. Love. This. Post. I love your honesty and how it’s written – and how it is uniquely about you: your life, your home, your family…

    I don’t want to diminish what you’re feeling (which I think is totally normal and rational by the way), but I don’t think we have to do GREAT things to be something in this world. I love a quote by Mother Teresa that talks about doing little things with great love. Like making your unborn baby a handmade blanket.

    I get into crafty modes where I make little things. While I’m doing them, I feel this sense of deep peace and satisfaction. Almost a connection with God. But then this little annoying societal voice says, ‘What’s the point? Are you going to sell these? Would you actually make any money?’ I have to tell that voice to shut up. I’m doing it because it makes me happy and that’s good enough.

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