Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I always wanted to be somebody

I'm having one of those "What have I done with my life?" interludes. And then I ask myself, "What will I be when I grow up?" Oh damn, I am grown up.

As I mentioned before, it kind of freaks me out that I can now say "twenty-five years ago" and know that I was fully sentient at that date. "A quarter of a century ago, when I was in high school, before the advent of ATMs, DVDs and personal computers . . . when the woolly mammoth still roamed the earth. I've spent a lot of time trying to grow up, and I'm not so sure about the results.

I've never had a lot of ambition. I didn't so much navigate as float along wherever the current took me. Well, let me qualify that, I tended to buck the current, but that just meant that eventually I drifted off in some other, less mainstream direction for a while. Still, I had some ideas about who I was and what kind of life I would have. It turns out they were all off base.

For instance, I thought I was gay. I was pretty certain about that for a while. I also loathed the very idea of marriage, which seemed like such an outmoded institution. I couldn't figure out why that needed to be imported into homosexual unions. I was agnostic. Sure, I loved beautiful cathedrals and Christian art and so on, but if anything could destroy my faith, it was your average Christian. So, of course, I hated organized religion, which seemed to have organized for the sole purpose of putting republicans in office and ranting about abortion and sodomy. I was certain, beyond certain, that I would never have children. I didn't like them. I didn't get all moony when someone showed up with a baby. I didn't think they were cute, or the epitome of innocence, or any of that. I didn't understand people got all woolly-brained over them. I was fairly certain that I would always live in New York City, maybe Chicago or San Francisco at a stretch. I wasn't provincial enough to think that the world outside of NYC was not worth noticing--I just couldn't imagine living without the brownstones and Central Park, the theater and opera and the Village.

And here I am, straight, married with children, a Christian living in the same state where I grew up.

My previous self is practically a stranger. She doesn't really feel like home, but the current self feels like a default, a garment I happened across and it fit, but it isn't my style and it doesn't do a thing for me. Sadly, I am not myself around, well, pretty much anyone here outside of Dear Husband. I'm always being careful what I say at work, pretending that I'm just as pious and conservative and Reformed as they are. I don't know many other people here, so I tend to assume the mask of parenthood appropriate to my environment. Just your neighborhood mom here, listening to the local Christian radio station and standing behind good old fashioned family values. I'm not sure what happened to my more brash and defiant self. The protester. The one who dressed exactly as she wished, who liked to shock, to provoke, to push the envelope. I guess I still question everything. I just keep it on the down-low. I'm still restless. And you know, 42 years of being restless is kind of exhausting.


  1. what a wonderfully fresh and honest post. Thanks Alice.

    I'm not sure what happened to my more brash and defiant self. The protester.

    -- brash and defiant aren't always good of course- but you are still there and questioning well I think it is (or can be) a spiritual gift.

    I'm thankful average Christians didn't destroy your faith - because you are unique and God loves you the way you are :)

    'nuff said

  2. Twenty-five years ago, I did not exist, but somehow I know exactly how you feel.