When I was in high school – specifically, the summer between my sophomore and junior years – I decided I needed a makeover. I have no idea what inspired this thought . . . maybe I was bored, maybe I was feeling a little down on myself, maybe just looking for a change. But I got the idea in my brain, and decided it must be done. At the time, I was spending the summer with my dad and stepmom in Seattle, away from my hometown and friends back in Boise, Idaho. Since I was in The Big City, I figured my makeover would be all the more dramatic. Since I had my driver’s license (and, gasp, my parents allowed me to drive one of their cars! in the city!), I decided my makeover had to be done at the nicest place I could imagine – the big, beautiful mall in Bellevue, all the way across Lake Washington (by freeway!) from where we lived.
So I booked an appointment at an upscale salon, and off I went. And a couple hours later
there I was, all “made over”. I looked good, I’m sure. I’m half tempted to dig out a picture to see . . . but then again it was the late 80’s and really, did any of us look that good? At any rate, what I remember most was the feeling in my stomach. Sort of . . . empty. Not unhappy. Surprised, maybe. Because suddenly I had realized that my Grand Makeover was really just a hair cut and some makeup. I was still the same person on the inside. My life was still the same on the outside. Nothing had actually changed. Luckily, I was okay with that.
The funny part about the makeover is that I was never a girly-girl. I didn’t pay all that much attention to fashion or makeup, and in fact by the time I started college I gave up makeup all together and didn’t own a pair of heels for approximately 12 years (I only own one pair now, and have worn them exactly once). The makeover idea was really born out of what I call my “middle of the road” intentions – the vague idea that I should be paying attention to things like my appearance and clothes, because that’s what other girls did.
It took me a long time to understand that I just march to my own tune, and that tune rarely seems to fall in the middle of the road compared to my peer group. It’s not out of any desire to be different – I’m certainly not extreme in my different-ness. It’s just how my brain is wired. I was the girl who wore the business suit, more appropriate for a 30 year old, to my high school graduation. I was the 28 year old bride who wore a black velvet dress to get married in. Because it was December – cold, and a weird time to wear white – and because that was the dress that I thought looked good on me. Of course, the wedding ceremony also happened in a juvenile justice center courtroom under very harsh fluorescent lights, and lasted exactly 4 minutes – but that is another story.
That different wiring also applies to my maternal instincts. I wasn’t sure I had any, to be honest. I didn’t play with dolls that much as a child – the thing I loved about my dollhouse was making miniature furniture for it. I’m not sure I ever had dolls for it. I wasn’t the teenager who wanted to “play house” with my boyfriends, or who dreamed of being a mommy someday. Even in my 20’s, and then married and in my early 30’s, I didn’t hear any clocks ticking in my womb.
I wasn’t ever opposed to kids. I just never longed for them.
But now everything has changed. After 10 years together, my husband and I decided we didn’t want to miss out on the ultimate adventure- parenting. And now, in the blink of an eye I’m a Mom. And this really is the ultimate makeover. I’ve changed on the outside, of course (hello flabby belly!) – but those changes are just a tiny piece of the whole pie. Everything is changing. And everything will keep changing. My relationship with my husband, with my family. What I’m doing with my life, on a grand scale and on a tiny day to day scale. I have no idea where it will all end up, but I’m excited to find out. It’s going to be a whole new me.
So I just wanted to tell you that I’ll be disappearing for a bit – into my “makeover space” – unplugging from the digital world for a while. Breathing it all in and finding my new rhythm. Finding out who this whole new me is. And getting to know the new little person responsible for the change. I’m pretty sure she’s amazing.
I’ll be back . . . .
Two years ago on C&T: Beer Can Chicken