I just realized today that it’s Tuesday already, which means Monday, somehow, did that ninja-sneak thing where it manages to squeak by without me realizing it. And, of course, this means that I am now two days into a new week and one day behind. I stared at my calendar this morning in my half-awake state and thought about how I wished I hadn’t forgotten to do my blog post yesterday.
And then, that led me to think about wishing, in general. And about how I spend a lot of time wishing for things. Mostly, I wish I was “more”. You know, more capable of achieving perfection — or, well, the ideal of “perfection” that the people around me seem to have. I wish I was more organized. Or braver. Or prettier. Or thinner. Or taller. I wish for taller a lot; I think it’s because my mom is only five feet tall, and she always felt I “fell short” (literally) because I didn’t manage to hit six feet. Sometimes, I wish I was funnier or more clever. I wish I had better hair. I really wish I had better hair. I wish I could summon up the energy to give a shit about the things that are supposed to be (according to others) so important to me. I wish I had my life together. I used to think I had all my proverbial ducks in a row, walking the straight and narrow and quacking exactly on cue. Now, in my second twenties, I realize all of that was a shabby illusion, and I am more lost and confused now than I was decades ago. The difference is that the world around us makes allowances for “lost” when you are in your twenties. People expect it. But the universe doesn’t like it when the same thing happens to a chubby chick pushing the big 5-0.
I wish I could go back in time and change things. Would I make the same decisions if I had it all to do over again? Would I still end up where I am now — a nobody with no prospects and little future, who failed entirely to live up to her potential? Would I make the same mistakes? Were the choices I made even mistakes at all? I wish I could right the wrongs I did in my past. They were mostly unintentional: things done or said carelessly, because I was young and stupid about the world and about life. Even so, those things haunt me. I can’t find forgiveness in my heart for them.
I wish I had been able to have a second child. Oh, how I wish that. I particularly wish it when people ask me to explain WHY I chose to have an only child, as if my reproductive choices are any of their business. As if I have to justify myself. I wish it when people ask me if I worry about my daughter being all alone in the world after my husband and I are gone. Of course I worry about that. And yet, I have to remind myself of how very blessed I am. Having that one, precious child wasn’t easy for my husband and me. We really had to work for it. For a long time. I am lucky — so lucky — to have her. I know that. I KNOW that. Still, it doesn’t stop me from wishing for more, because I am human and I think we are all inherently a bit selfish and grabby with life.
Often, I wish I was a different person entirely. This wish kind of encompasses all the other, smaller wishes I have (braver, thinner, better hair, taller, etc …). I think this is why I love writing so much. When the words are flowing and I can feel the world that I see so clearly in my mind jumping out onto the page, I really can be a different person — someone who has exciting adventures, or someone who doesn’t have exciting adventures but is okay with that, or … well, whatever. When the writing is good, I can be anyone I want to be, even if it’s just for a little while and only in my imagination.
Lately, though, writing has been The Suck. So I spend a lot of time staring at my computer screen’s dastardly blinking cursor and wishing I could figure out why my words have deserted me. I also spend a lot of time distracting myself away from writing by finding little, unimportant tasks to occupy my mind. I know I am afraid, and that’s why I’m doing my level best to avoid the whole thing. Even though I hate myself for doing that. Even though avoiding writing makes me feel even worse, even more like a failure. I wish I could figure out how to stop ignoring the thoughts and words in my brain and start putting them out there. It’s the only thing I ever really wanted to do — the only thing that was ever truly “me” and not something I did or wanted because the people around me wanted it for me. It hurts to think that, maybe, all of that is gone. I wish I was brave enough to believe in myself.
Mostly, though, I wish I could stand in front of the mirror and look at myself — really, really look at myself — with compassion and love. I wish I could smile at reflection me and tell her, “Hey. Don’t worry. You’re okay. It’s okay to be who you are.” And I wish she would believe me. I wish I believed it, too.