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I Used To Be A Person, You Know

October 4, 2009

I’m not sure how or when this happened, but my daily beauty routine now includes plucking gray hairs from my temples.

(A financial tip for you in these tough economic times: Buy stock in Clairol. It’s about to go up.)

If there’s a silver lining to this depressive new step in my routine, it’s that I’m not plucking wiry black hairs from my chin. Yet. It could be worse. I could be my mother who no longer worries over gray hair but transparent hair instead.

On Monday, I was so excited because I purchased a new wrinkle defense system and could not WAIT for bedtime so I could wash my face and apply these miracle creams. The next morning I hopped right out of bed and inspected my face, especially around the eyes, hoping to see a miraculous reduction in those fine lines in just one night. I was disappointed. The fine lines are still there.

This is what my life has become, over-enthusiasm for wrinkle cream. That, and being surrounded by people who don’t appreciate awesome poetry. What the hell? Someone else got 175 comments on her poetry and it didn’t even rhyme, nor was it in the shape of a penis. If I were a mean(er) blogger, this is where I would say “fuck you too.” But thank god I’m not that kind of blogger.

I used to be a person, you know. A person of interest! I used to take pride in my intellectual abilities. Now my pride stems from knowing the best way to remove dead skin from my heels, my homemade cookies and my children. Not that I shouldn’t be proud of my children, but my god, really?

Where did I go?

Did you know I wanted to be a primatologist? I wanted to roam the jungles in Gombe with Jane Goodall and pick parasites out of each other’s hair, ooh and ahh over chimp poop and what its contents meant. I thought chimpanzees were the most fascinating beings on earth. I had this career revelation at the beginning of my junior year in college.

What happened?

I don’t know. Realizing it would mean transferring to an out of state college with a tuition rate over ten times higher than what I was paying, parents without the means to support it. At the naïve age of 21, it seemed insurmountable without both the financial and emotional support of my parents. And, gesh, I would be throwing away 2 years of college too. Two whole years! It seemed like a long time at 21.

It was just a silly dream, I told myself. Who am I to reach so far? I’m nobody, nothing special.

Did you know I played the piano once? I was a kid, about Payton’s age. And I loved it. But I quit because I was too shy to get up in front of people and perform at a recital.

I never wanted to play for anyone else. I didn’t care to show it off to other people. I simply wanted to play for myself. I still do. There are moments I’ll hear a certain tune played on a piano and I have a visceral reaction. My heart swells and my fingers ache to draw sound out of ivory keys again, even now, 25 years later. I want to do it again. Why don’t I? I don’t know.

Did you know I voice trained with an opera singer? Yeah, I did. I always wanted to learn how to sing, again not for anyone else but for myself. I swore I would do it before I turned 30. By god, I would have the balls to get in front of a stranger and show them how terrible I sang! Surprisingly, the embarrassment didn’t kill me. More surprisingly, my teacher survived it too. I was pretty good, actually. She said I had a natural ability and only needed training a bit. But maybe they say that to all those with mediocre ability. That was six years ago. I’ve completely lost my range.

I thought for sure when my son started going to day-care I would get back on my way of being Grace. I would pick right up where I left! Wherever that was.

Blake is in preschool now and here I still am, no closer to getting back to Grace than three years ago when I started this mom gig.

I look in the mirror and see those gray hairs, those fine lines starting around my eyes, and I don’t even know who I see.

Who is that?

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