Monday, March 31, 2008

Life at Chateau Gahan Isn't Always a Bowl of Cherries

My sister commented to me the other day that my blog is making her sick. Sick, she says, because I sound all Pollyanna. "Your life sounds way too perfect", she whines. Now, you have to know my sister to know that she says this in a very loving way, albeit whiny. She adores me (as much, no, not as much, as I adore her). We pick on each other as only two best friends can. There are never any hurt feelings involved, for the simple reason that we know how far we can push it with each other. And, the bottom line is that all of our conversations end in us laughing hysterically. In the case of her protest about my blog, the ensuing laughfest was all about our dysfunctional lives, our regrets. Granted, I want my blog to be uplifting and reflect my, for the most part, content lifestyle. But perhaps a little dose of reality would make me more real. So here goes . . . a list of the things that make my life very real. Humbling to write, but like Pollyanna herself, I'm including a line that gives the ugly reality a somewhat positive slant.

10. I'm chunky. But children like to cuddle with me.
9. I've come out of a terribly failed marriage. But have come to find myself — whom I rather like, I might add.
8. My daughter and I have our rocky moments. But she sure is my favorite person to be around (when I like her, which is 99.9% of the time).
7. I have a horrible sense of personal style. My home and surroundings are lovely, and that's where my creative energies go. I don't go so far as to embarrass my daughter with my clothes choices, but suffice it to say that she and her friends have talked about getting me onto What Not to Wear. Pollyanna would commend me for all the money I save by buying big men's shirts and polyester pants at Goodwill.
6. I pick at the skin on my thumbs. A bad and ugly habit. But at least I'm not picking on people.
5. I regret the selfishness I displayed in my twenties. I know I hurt a lot of people, even alienated some. The silver lining is that I'm 47 now and wiser, and whenever I get the chance, I apologize to those people and ask forgiveness.
4. I wish I would have pursued my life's passions. I remember as a child digging in the yard and pretending to be an archaeologist. As a "world famous magazine editor," taking blank sheets of paper and creating kids' and lifestyle mags filled with my own articles and drawings. Laying out house plans, complete with furniture, on graph paper, dreaming of becoming an interior designer. The bright side: at least I took my art history degree and worked for two years at a museum of art AND I do have the other half of my life ahead of me.
3. As a mother, though, had I been financially able to, I would have been a stay-at-home mom. I could never understand why any woman would choose to have a career if financially she could be at home with her children; that's just my personal opinion. Nothing can get back the time I lost with my daughter; it would have been so fun to be more involved in her school and afterschool activities. But, I've been super lucky to have a well paying job with a certain degree of flexibility.
2. I suppose I'm probably odd-woman-out, but I have no desire to date or have a man in my life. Is this selfish of me considering that Harleigh would love nothing more than to have a loving father in her life? Just the thought of going on a date sucks the life out of me. I'm happy with things the way they are. Perhaps I'll have a change of heart when my girlie goes off to college. Or I will wind up what the neighborhood children call "the character," who lives alone in a house full of cats, pulls a wagon to the grocery store, and festoons her front porch with a giant plastic goose adorned in an ever-changing parade of holiday attire.
1. And finally, I sometimes battle with depression. I think it is very hormone-related, as it came upon me when pre-menopausal night sweats began and the period started ignoring the calendar. Before I experienced these bouts, had anyone come to me looking for a sympathetic ear about their depression, I would have told them to suck it up, think of happy things, and get on with their life. But now that I know depression on a fairly intimate basis, I have a whole new appreciation for what people go through in this state.

And so, there I am, exposed. And happy to be the me that I am.


Julie said...

That was very brave. You are a wonderful, kind, creative and funny women.

Cece Marie said...

Thank you for sharing all of that! I relate to so much of it! I know for me, there was a turning point, or shift I guess where I have started channeling my creative energy into my home, others, and creating things and therefore, focusing much less on my physical self. That has been freeing for me. I totally relate to your men's shirts and thrift store pants! Between you and I (and the rest of blogland) having a Mother who needs a man to fill some void has always made me sad for her sake. I respect that you don't need a man and are content and it is my belief that that will be a powerful life lesson for your daughter. I've learned the hard way via a poor example that you will not be happy with anyone else until you are content with being alone. Oh, and I'm a bit on the cuddly side myself. :)

ali said...

See, that's what's so great about you. You're a Realistic Pollyanna! You know what it's all about and you choose to see what is good in it (and yourself) anyways. That's what you've always taught me - you have a choice in how you see things and how you move on from things. Yeah, life isn't always beautiful and perfectly planned, so I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with taking rose-colored glasses along for ride. Blog on, sista, blog on.

Loretta said...

You sound like a pretty normal, pretty interesting, and pretty cool person. Someone I'd like to hang around the neighborhood with.

I struggle with the Pollyanna blog thing, too, but then I think I get too dark. Hard to keep a balance, but that's what keeps it interesting

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