“Why Bother to Wish it Then?”

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“Well, wasn’t that what you wanted? I thought you wished to see the ocean.”

“I did.” said Jane, looking very surprised. “But I never imagined the wish would come true.”

“Well, great oceans! Why bother to wish it then?”

This quote from P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins has always made me catch my breath and stop dead in my tracks. I had it hung on a quotes wall in my school computer lab last year for all of the students to read. I could write article after article about all of those quotes–the books, music, or movies they’re from, the authors who wrote them, and how they’ve helped shape my character. For the sake of time, however, and because I was out shenanigizing until dawn this morning, let’s stick with the Poppins quote.

I’m pretty sure I’m a self-sabotager. (is that a word?)

“Let me explain. No. It is too much. Let me sum up.”

I’ve never had any shortage of dreams, goals, and aspirations, and yet somehow they all seemed like the proverbial desert mirage–unobtainable, feathery figments of my mind. I’d desperately desire to be and do the things I claimed were my dreams, but never actualized any scenario where I would see those dreams lived out.

I would cite varying reasons why I could never accomplish such and such, or I’d do just enough to make it look like I had given my best shot at it; all the while knowing that I had zero intentions of actually being or doing the thing I wanted to do.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else keep themselves at bay?

I’m sure there are a zillion psychological insights which could tell me why I do this, but I’m guessing fear and control are the primary motivators. You know, like breaking up with your boyfriend because you’re certain he’s going to break up with you, or knowing you’re going to fail so you quit before you fall on your ass in front if a crowd. That type of thing.

This past year, though, has smacked that silly shit right out of me.

Maybe I’m having some type of aging crisis. Admittedly, I have blogged and facebooked about turning thirty-five more than anyone should be allowed to do.

Maybe I’ve just now accepted that my untapped potential is worth a go.

Maybe I’ve finally decided that I am special enough to have special things happen to me.

Maybe it was that Ashton Kutcher speech.

Either way, I’ve personally challenged myself and met those challenges with fireworks, confetti, and champagne. Metaphorically, of course–I hate cleaning up confetti.

This may be the start of a whole new way of life, and now that I reflect on it, I wish I had realized all of this much sooner. Who knows where I’d be or what I’d be doing? I could be singing on the Met stage. I could be autographing CDs for adoring fans. I could be the director for an award winning high school choir.

It doesn’t do for us to worry about the “might have been’s” in life, so today I’m making an official declaration. (cue the royal trumpeters!) Going forward from here on out, I’ll no longer find myself surprised when I get to “see the ocean.” Instead, I’ll expect it–because I drove the car down to Florida myself.

Who’s up for a roadtrip with me?

Thirty (gulp!) Five!!!

I’m slightly freaked out.

Ok, so it’s more like I’m freaked out in an overreaction that presents itself in a melodramatic show of: wailing and gnashing of teeth, listening to sad music for emotional cutting purposes, and gorging myself on chocolate, cookie dough ice cream, and copious amounts of homemade wine.

I’m (gasp!) turning 35 in just over a month.

Waaaaaaaiiiiiiiillllllll!!!

To be stereotypical as possible– How did this happen? How am I this old?

I burst into tears today while doing laundry; grieving over the passing of my youth, I imagine.

I’ve got crow’s feet and white hair.

My cheek isn’t as high as it used to be.

My tits certainly aren’t where they used to be.

My ass never really has been what I wanted it to be.

Bottom line, I can tell that my looks are fading, and I’m taking the loss of them terribly hard.

This shock and sadness over my appearance solidifies what I’ve been adamantly denying for years. Admitting it is the first step, so here we go, folks…

I’m superficial and vain.

That song IS about me.

Although I’ve never been what some would call a “real beauty,” like Elizabeth Taylor, Jennifer Aniston, or Ingrid Bergman; with the right makeup, lighting, and Instagram filter, I can hold my own.

I was a late bloomer though. In high school, I was a dorky girl with a flannel shirt ’round my waist and wild Alanis Morissette hair–because middle-of-nowhere-Tennessee is exactly the place for the 90’s grunge look, right?
Wild hair coupled with an outrageous wardrobe that was equal parts thrift store and hand me downs pretty much nailed down my role as the token teenage misanthrope. I never felt pretty in high school, not even at my prom.

So naturally I tried to reinvent myself in college as a pretty and preppy sorority girl.
There were two problems, though: 1. The sorority I joined was full of rabble rousing girls who cared more about having good times than being the cutest group of girls on campus. (and boy, did we had some good times, folks…whew!) And 2. It was the late 90’s when wearing baggy overalls and an Old Navy tee was considered being “cute.”

Thank God for Sex and the City and In Style magazine! I suddenly became aware of haute couture, dressing for my body type, how to tame my Alanis mane, and the right way to apply make up.

I was 20, and feeling pretty for the first time!

I felt pretty confident most of the time during my early 20’s–especially when walking arm-in-arm with my two girlfriends who were taller than my own 5’9″ frame. We’d wear four inch stilettos and own any bar we walked into. Ah, those glorious 20’s! With all the cat calls and wolf whistles, I’d forgotten there was ever a time when I felt less than beautiful.

I rode this wave of beauty for more than a decade; navigating two pregnancies and the coinciding yo-yo weight with clothing savvy to minimize the flaws in my appearance.

Stacey and Clinton would’ve been so proud.

This upcoming birthday, though is messing with my head like a philosophy professor.
I’m actually seeing the bloom fading before my eyes…

Waaaaaaaaaiiiiillllll again!!!!!!

I decided to do something daring, adventurous, and Sex and the City inspired.

I had boudoir and nudie pictures taken.

Oh yes, I did.

Now, dear readers, there is photographic evidence that I once was pretty.

I know that real beauty is on the inside. It’s in the way mothers love their children. It’s in the way girlfriends are always there for one another. It’s in the tears you cry when you’re moved with overwhelming compassion for a stranger. It’s the sweat on your brow as you prepare a big Sunday afternoon feast for your family. It’s the light in your eyes when you laugh.

I know all of these things.

But that doesn’t make the onset of middle age any easier.

This does.

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Photo by: Emily Ann Hill Photography.