if she can write a book before she's 40, why can't i. and that's why i got out of bed.
a little while earlier, a text from my best friend at home woke me up...you are truly missed. everyone kept asking where you were tonight. my family goes to church on xmas eve, and i don't go, so for years i've been going to my friend's family dinner. when i was a kid, grade school age, before my dad started going to church, he and i would go to my uncle's xmas eve party. if i close my eyes, i remember it exactly...black outside because there were no street lights, snow on the ground, dad parallel parking his blazer on the super-narrow street, he and i walking down the super-steep steps to the covered porch and then through the kitchen door, where my aunt with the forever smile and the koala bear eyes would be scurrying around the kitchen. she made the best cookies. then we'd go into the living room...it was so dark in there, maybe even darker because their house was built into a hillside and one wall of the living room was bound by earth. i'd sit on the outside bench of the table that resembled a picnic table but wasn't. that living room in my uncle's house is where i saw the very first music video on mtv, "video killed the radio star." i remember lying on my belly in front of the tv, trying to stay awake for it. and how my uncle's daughter, my cousin, had a barbie doll house and a canopy bed that i coveted for years. i never had either. i'm glad, now.
my life is never going to be...that was what i thought after my friend's text, after realizing i'll probably never spend xmas eve w her family again, that those days are gone. and like the box of unwrapped xmas gifts my mom sent me, so was that thought. i had to leave it unfinished, because i didn't know which words would finish it. i couldn't say my life is never going to be the way i thought, because i've never been quite sure what i think. at times i've thought maybe i'm not one of them. "them"...they are women who marry and have children and are always w family for holidays and special events. maybe i do need to move to the city, because i'm not one of them. i remember, when i was 12, standing in the hallway by the row of lockers in front of my home room at central jr. high and imagining myself carrying a brief case and wearing my hair in a bun in new york city. that might have been the day when i wore my new bongo jeans w the wide black belt that my mom got me, right around the time when i thought she and my dad were getting a divorce. i wasn't upset about it. i thought it would be exciting, mom and i on our own. i have wondered, as an adult, if that was a typical reaction for a child my age. it seems so detached.
on my way out of bed, somewhere after the text and in one of the interstices among all my maybe-ing, i thought about julie powell, the blogger whose life became the movie i'd just watched. julie powell was cute and innocuous and dressed conservatively and married the nice guy, and she still said "fuck" in her blog and wrote about her personal life for all the world to see, so tonight i'm not going to hold back, either. fuck it.
this has been a miserable xmas. so far, at least. i suppose something unforeseen could happen tomorrow...like some absent-minded business person could forget it's xmas and call to offer me a great job, writing for their website or co-authoring their book or hell, even working in their ad agency part time. a girl who isn't sure what she wants can't be picky, can she? or i could win the lottery...or boys could not be eternally pointless to bother with...or my dryer could start working again after it quit a few hours ago. right after i'd forgotten my leftovers in the oven and burnt them, and not long after a phone call with my mom, whose defeat was painfully obvious after hearing that her daughter would not accept anyone's invitations and would be spending xmas alone. but why, honey, wouldn't it be better to go? no, mom, i don't think so. and then the dryer breaks. come on. it's really kind of trite, all this stuff happening on one day. like, lifetime movie trite. except lifetime movies have happy endings. i don't want happy, nor do i want an ending. i want contentedness, and progress. both are ever-evolving. which is why i can say: this xmas sucks. and i can know it sounds awful to say such a thing for public consumption, but, well, who cares. who cares, because it's the truth anyway. and who cares, because today is already over and tomorrow is only 24 hrs. and who cares, because mostly, except for that thumping scarlet mass in the upper right quadrant of my chest, i am made of steel.
merry xmas. i'm still hoping to wake up to snow.