The other night, I went for a massage and as usual for me, spent a bunch of time talking. I started seeing this particular massage therapist when I was about five months pregnant, and have continued seeing her because I think she’s awesome and I can make her laugh. And I love making people laugh (ideally not at me, but sometimes I’ll take that, too).
Somehow, I got to relating stories about what I was like in high school, and how ‘fashionable’ (huge t-shirts and jeans, baggy sweatshirts, shorts that I usually wear for sleeping in) I was and how obnoxious I could be. I even told the story of what I did the day I went to back to school after we had our cat, Sookie, put to sleep.
And the amazing thing about it all was that I don’t really remember caring that much about what I wore, or how I looked, or what other people thought of me. To a point, of course, since I’m a neurotic little thing and I tend to take things to heart too much sometimes, but for the most part, I think I wore what made me happy and it didn’t really matter if it was flattering or not. And I acted how I pleased, and somehow still had friends, and hopefully was a good friend in return.
When I was in elementary school, I used to read all the time — to the exclusion of spending time with friends sometimes — and I got picked on for being smart, and I chose to make some adjustments. When I went to high school, it was a different one than most of the kids I’d gone to school with up to that point, and it allowed me to change who I was and figure myself out a bit. I think being in music helped significantly; I got to be a medium-sized fish in a medium-sized pool, which is a position that still seems to work for me, and I got to figure out who I was.
Of course I went overboard, as I think most of us do, but that’s what happens when we’re hit with hormones and boyfriends or girlfriends and a bit more freedom and so on.
And then I got out of high school and went to university, where no one cared who you were so long as you weren’t the annoying one in the class, and I started working more real jobs and doing more serious dating and learning more (and adopting two cats).
And eventually, I started working a career job, and I met my husband (and a false start or two later we started dating), and then we eventually bought a house, got married, bought a car, had a baby, and now I’m back at my career job.
Before I left, I had a real fire about my job, and I put in tons of overtime and I did my best and got really really worked up about things and let people get under my skin and was probably a giant pain in the ass more often than people are willing to admit.
But one thing that being away from the office has done for me is that it’s helped refine my sense of perspective. I’m not at all claiming that having a baby has made me a better person or any of that stuff, but just getting to be out of the office world for a year has really been healthy and helpful for me. Now, people don’t seem to get under my skin the same way, and I don’t really get riled up about anything — at least, not yet. Maybe I’m still in a fog. I’m sure that having the baby has helped me develop more patience, but I think that it was the break from it all that helped more than anything. Certainly when I left I was full of terror and hormones, and that’s gone, so I’m sure that’s also an aid.
And on another note; I still sometimes feel weird about referring to myself as a mom, because on some levels I still can’t seem to process the fact that I actually did have a baby. I have a digital frame on my desk that rotates pictures of her, and I think of her throughout the day and look forward to seeing her when I pick her up, but sometimes it feels like she’s still an abstract concept and not a reality that I’ve been dealing with for almost a year.
I do sometimes try to picture how the baby might/will see me through her eyes. I know how I see my mom and my family, and I try to imagine us from her perspective, and I find it super-trippy, but also kinda cool.
There were so many days when I was out with her in her stroller that I just felt like a teenager with a kid; I didn’t feel like a grown-up who’s now responsible for another human being. Even coworkers of mine who are close in age to me — hell, our neighbours, who are the DH’s age are part of this — seem like grown ups that I should go to when I’m confused about something. I’m still waiting for someone to flip that switch on me that turns me to grown up.