November 19, 2017 by Amy
Who I am
“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?”
I thought I might go into my archives to find today’s post, as there are plenty of pieces I started and never finished for a variety of reasons. I couldn’t find anything that fit, though, because so much has happened since I began them that they’re no longer relevant or my feelings have changed or I’m just not in the same head space to complete them with the same voice. It was a weird trip down memory lane, though, and a huge realization of how different things are now than just a year ago, or two years ago. I constantly feel like I used to be funnier. More funny. Whatever. I used to be able to more easily see the humor in just about every situation, nearly every day. And I’ve been beating myself up for losing that, for losing touch with who I used to be. Who I used to be, frankly, was someone way more fun to be around. I’m talking about hanging out with myself, which I do a lot of now with working from home. I miss that old me.
Looking through my old drafts, though, I realized that I need to cut myself some slack because some pretty crappy things have happened, particularly in the past year or two. Health issues for people I love dearly. Family feuds that lasted months. My mom’s rapid decline from Posterior Cortical Atrophy, and her death. Having to put both of my cats down, which I’d had for my entire married life…all 20 years. Leaving a job I loved. Having a coworker I respected and liked unexpectedly make inappropriate comments about my body, resulting in feelings of anxiety and discomfort, and then being told that it was, perhaps, my fault, because of what I wore that day or my outgoing personality, and also being told that I’d have to pretend nothing had happened because if anything changed, our colleagues might figure out something happened and “we have to protect his reputation.” His reputation.
I look at all that and I think, “Yep. I’m pretty sure I know why you’re not as much fun anymore.” I know that time changes us all, and our experiences continue to shape who we become. I’ll never be who I was at 23, thankfully, and I’ll never be who I was before this past year. I guess I’ll just keep exploring and trying to figure out who I am every day. Writing helps me do this. William Wordsworth said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” This is exactly what I try to do, while I try to figure out who I am and what I think about things. Lucky you…you get to come along for the ride.
I’m making lasagna for dinner tonight (which you already know if you read my last, insanely boring post. I’m already regretting including my damn shopping list. Who does that? Maybe Thoreau. He seems like just the kind of asshole who thinks his readers are interested in his grocery list.) and the sauce is simmering on the stove. I thought about everything that went into that pot: lean ground turkey, an onion, salt and pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, basil, Italian seasoning, oregano. I thought about how some of that stuff would be pretty nasty if consumed on its own. Who wants to eat raw ground turkey? Or garlic? Or a heaping tablespoon of dried basil? But when it’s all thrown into a pot and a little heat is added, I get delicious sauce that feeds and nourishes people I love. So this year, I’m the sauce. A bunch of crap has been thrown into my life, and definitely some heat added, and here I am. Maybe not as saucy as I used to be, but still here, and that ain’t nothin’.
I was going to write off 2017, and look for 2018 to be a great year. You know what, though? I can’t count on that. And I can’t wait for the turn of the calendar to magically make things better. I’ll never be as irreverent as I was, and that’s okay. But I can remember to be happy with where I am, with all the joys in my life every day. There are a lot, and there is plenty of laughter. We’re gonna be okay.
Editor’s Note: my humor writing is also severely lacking these days due to my husband, who has served as my muse for many years. The funniest man I know has insisted that I no longer write about him. This development is a huge source of inspiration down the toilet. So, you know, blame him. Seriously…blame him. Tell him when you see him that he’s doing a disservice to society and insist he let me write about him again.