5 things I’d tell my younger self even though I wouldn’t believe them

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Everyone has those things they wish they could go back and tell the younger version of themselves. What a waste of breath that would be. My son is eight. As evidenced by the way he wandered about this morning, one shoe in hand the other halfway on his foot, kicking it around apparently unaware it could help to use his damn hands, while I warned him that the bus wasn’t going to wait, he thinks I know nothing. But as a somewhat veiled gift from the universe, it plowed by as he ran to catch it. I’ll be riding that “I told you so” all the way into June. Yet now that I’ve established myself as someone who understands public transportation systems, I’m sure he’ll find something else on which to challenge my knowledge. Over and over again.

I’m fine with that. It’s the business of growing up. After all, the lessons learned best are the ones we experience for ourselves. But as I cruise toward my mid-thirties, there are a few things I’m just now figuring out that I wish someone whispered in my ear 20 years ago. I likely wouldn’t have believed then, and maybe I’d be still be left standing in the dust as childhood pulled away, but at least I’d be dressed for the occasion.

You’re going to give your whole heart to a handful of loves. You’ll eventually get most of it back. But part of it is theirs to keep. And that’s ok.

Maybe it’s just me, but I used to allow myself to feel guilty harboring feelings for past loves when moving into a new relationship. Only now do I see it for what it is. Loving well. Giving of yourself. Allowing others in so far as to never be able to leave you completely. If you can’t do that freely, what’s the point of loving?

You’re going to feel the most agonizing pain of your life and commit to doing it all over again.

While in labor with my first child, I remember having two distinct thoughts. One, as I rocked on my hands and knees in the dark bedroom while my husband slept like a giant jerk: “I want someone to kill me. This pain is the most awful thing that has ever happened to me and if I were put out of this misery, no one would miss me.”. As the pain dissipated, I snapped back into reality and was blown away that my brain had tossed that around. The next contraction took hold and I again slipped into a bizarro corner of my mind, thinking, “no one on the planet is currently experiencing something this bloody awful. I am in THE MOST PAIN OF ANYONE ON EARTH.” It receded. I identified the delusion in my thoughts. Hurricane Katrina had ripped through New Orleans just weeks prior and I’d sat sobbing on the couch watching images of entire neighborhoods underwater while babies were dying in their mother’s arms. And yet I could be so consumed by my own storm of pain. I came out of that contraction certain that childbirth was robbing me of my sanity.

Five years later I got pregnant again. ON PURPOSE. Humans are baffling.

Some of those things your mother said that made you want to smother her with a seedy motel pillow? They’ll accidentally slip out of your mouth to your children.

“If you’re so bored, go clean your room”

“I’m not your chauffeur.”

No one is more terrified when I do this than my husband.

Nothing gold can stay. And by gold, I mean boobs. Your boobs can’t stay where they are. At all.

I’ve been to at least one ladies night where we poured one out for the boobs that were. Pregnancy, nursing, gravity…the trifecta of breast deflation. Yes I’m grateful for my children. No, I wouldn’t change a thing about the combined 5+ years that I nourished them. Gravity, well, gravity can shove it. All I’m saying is that I wish I knew to appreciate what I had when I had it.

Adults are faking it.

I am fortunate to have in my life a bevy of real, honest, candid women. ALL of them will admit that they have no idea what the hell they are doing. Doctors, artists, business owners, professors, musicians, lawyers, teachers, you name it, they’re figuring it out as they go. It’s so refreshing to know when I’m filling out doctors forms,talking to mortgage brokers and hearing the click of the lock on the deadbolt as I head to bed, my family tucked in tight and I think, “how in the hell am I an adult? Shouldn’t I know what I’m doing?” that no one else really does either.

Maybe I’ll try to tell my children these things. Maybe I won’t. Or maybe I’ll just yell them out the door as they dash to the bus. They’ll never take my word for it anyway.

 

 

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Common sense is a strong suit, but I still wouldn’t have listened if you told me these things.

amateur comedian, professional bullshitter. will take pay in baked goods once already rich.

  • Shannon Clifford

    Just catching up on your blog while I am on vacay. No kids here… but I was one once. Lol So, I can appreciate!! I love your work. Hilarious, inspirational, REAL.