Jewel went to her first prom a couple of weekends ago. I was so excited for her—and anxious for her, too—what time will you be home? are you going in a group? where are you going after prom? what time will you be home? did I already ask that? OMG I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU.
"You are stressing me out, Mom," she said at one point. "Can you just—like. Can you not?"
She was right. I was firing off questions and instructions like a crazed robot. I needed to check myself. But not before I snapped a bazillion pics of her on my iPhone. Because PRIORITIES.
I know moms say this all the time but seriously, WHERE DID THE TIME GO? How did my tiny baby girl grow up into this strong, confident young woman who organizes an entire group of sixteen people for prom? How did this all happen so fast?
It's a question that I've been dealing with for the past year or so. I've mentioned it before but I'm pretty sure I'm in full-blown mid-life crisis mode. Do all women feel this? We near forty and start feeling as if we are becoming slowly invisible, slowly irrelevant, slowly unnecessary, slowly unimportant?
A few days later, just as Jewel was climbing in the car with her friends to go to prom, I felt the Old Pain rise up inside me. So, I ran to her and and hugged her before it became too much. I caught a glimpse of my face in the car window as I shut the door for her—I looked so....old.
I ran inside and up to my room. The Old Pain washed over me—the regret, the missed opportunities, the prom I never got to attend because we were fundamentalists and fundamentalists didn't go to proms.
I can't believe it still matters. But it does.
It's so stupid. But it's true.
It still matters that I never went to my own high school prom. It still matters that I missed out on things. After all this time, it still matters, dammit.
Just when I'm beginning to think that I've finally shed the last dead layer of fundamentalism, something happens to remind me that nope, nope. I'm still that weird girl from the cult. I still inhabit this skin.
Growing up fundamentalist made me old long before my time. When I was 20, I felt like I was 40. Now that I'm almost 40, I feel like I'm closer to 60....
It's not all bad, of course. I've accomplished a lot of amazing things in my 39 years. I'm proud of myself. I suppose my tendency is to be a "glass half empty" kind of person. I've been working on that. I love the science of neuroplasticity and I've been trying to actively "re-wire" my thought patterns through meditation, daily affirmations, happy-lists (my version of gratitude lists) and "acting as if" things are good until I feel better. It's working. Slowly.
I believe happiness is possible for me. Indeed, it becomes more possible each day. I love people. I love working. I love going to school.
The Old Pain isn't as strong anymore. But it's still there. I guess I needed to share it with you just to say: Hey, it's ok that we're human. It's ok if we feel the Old Pain sometimes. We're getting better, you and me. One day, one blog post at a time!
And THAT'S what matters most.