Sunday, August 1, 2010

Awkward phase (26-year-old edition)

You know in a romantic comedy when the 57-year-old, pilates-obsessed stepmom is like, "You know, the older I get, the younger I feel" and everyone is thinking "UGH she's OBNOXIOUS"? No? Well, humor me for a minute here.

I'm gonna say it, everyone: the older I get, the younger I feel... and for the purpose of this melodramatic post, I mean that in the worst possible way.

One of the few clear memories I have from childhood the last 26 years is drawing a picture of what I would look like as an adult. In addition to thinking I would have long blonde hair, an extensive gown collection, big boobs, and better hygiene habits, I also thought I would look radically different. Considering this is what I was working with, can you blame me?

But as I grew older and - surprise! - just looked like an adult version of that and not an entirely different person, I slowly grew to accept that fate. Nonetheless, I have this version of "adulthood" that lingers. Adults are financially independent. Adults have loving monogamous relationships. Adults have tasteful and spartan decorating in their roomy, owned homes. Adults don't get regular pimples. And just for extra measure, I seem to be going through a 2nd awkward chubby phase.

Having a child is really the only way I feel like an adult, and I even question how well I do that. In so many ways, I long for that romanticized version of adulthood. Like some day I will just wake up and be 20 pounds lighter, have flawless, glowing skin, a respectable job, and a savings account (!!!!).

That's the American Way, ain't it? Just wish and it'll be so? I know to accomplish any of this crap, I need to actually work for it. Despite my seemingly spotty work ethic, I am indeed a firm believer in working hard toward things that really matter to you. So that leaves me in an awkward spot of asking myself, "how much does this actually matter to me?" Most of the items on my list are just BS norms and ideals, many rooted in the sexist, sizeist, classist, and ageist institutions I so staunchly oppose. It's awful seeing, and seeing clearly, that something is total bullshit, yet still giving it power to make you feel like a garbage can.

I don't have any answers really, and I'll assume that finding them comes with that mythical savings account. But I do have any audio pep talk. Ladies, for your consideration, I present "Take Me As I Am" by Mary J. Blige:

"Put my life all up in these songs this blog, just so you can feel me, so you can get the real me"

I feel like a total cheeseball when I talk about how much I love Mary J. Blige, but shit, she tells me what I need to hear, all too often. And for all its hysterics, I actually really love this video. As simple as the lyric is, I really feel Mary J. when she says "I can only be me" and that's what I need to remind myself of all the time.

It breaks my heart that all of us probably go through some version of this. It kills me to think that my beautiful, wonderful friends might also be over-analyzing their flaws; in my eyes, you're all perfect, just the way you are. But maybe I need to grant myself that same pass... maybe we all just need to take ourselves and each other as we are.


  1. Dear BackYardSax, I have the SAME adult issues all the tiiiime. Comparing yourself to where you're "supposed" to be by a certain age can be exhausting. It can make you sterile, frigid, moody, hungry, and wrinkly. This is a new generation that is upon us and it's hard to get used to. Those girls from high school that got married early, had 2.5 kids and are now stay at home moms while their husbands work with concrete, is probably where they thought they should be too. But that was our parents generation and look how well that turned out (lots of divorces and stuck in rut jobs). I think it's especially hard because it feels like if you don't make all of your life decisions before the age of 25, then you're a loser! that's like 1/4 of your life and the stupidest you'll ever be and you're supposed do everything RIGHT by then. what-ev-er. If someone does have long blonde hair, perfect skin, and a bodacious bod with a wicked tan, they would attract those fugly douche bags that live in the marina (and who wants that? I think we (as in the spinecrackers and the like) are the hippies of this generation....trying out different careers, spending years trying to find the right person to marry, going through any and all styles of fashion and music...we're the generation that listens to Ace of Base on HEAVY ROTATION, and doesn't say "woah this song is OLDSKEWL.". The difference between "us" and "them" is on so many different levels that it's almost silly to compare lives. I think us Crackers get along so well because we admire things in each other and look for inspiration within all of us. If you asked anyone of us, we would give you a mega list of how many things are admirable about you. I see a new Spinecrackers Self-Esteem Meeting in the works! xoxoxo

  2. I agree with Ashley's comment.

    Also, couple things come to mind when I read your honest and thoughtful post.

    A. When I see that picture I think, "what a super cool, interesting little girl." I mean, you're playing a saxaphone for crying out loud.

    B. It feels like SO much of our lives revolve around what everyone looks like and can afford. It's sickening! It's like two of the variables we sometimes have least control over take center stage in how people receive others. I HATE IT!

    C. You are so incredibly smart and hardworking it impresses me all the time. No one who has achieved what you have in your education and in how you influence friends and family can say they have anything less than a strong work ethic. You continue to be an ethical inspiration to me. I hope that doesn't put any weird pressure or embarrassment on you, but it's so g'damn easy to go through life looking out for oneself and you constantly open my eyes to how differently people are treated. The best part is you do it without lecturing or condescending; you do it by example and in conversation.

    D. I totally understand awkward phases, but I think you are beautiful exactly how you are. I think we all go through phases of feeling not-so-hot, but it's rarely how other people see us. I like that as friends, we see all sides of each other. You're a BEAUTIFUL mother. I think Hanna is the luckiest girl around. She is already so thoughtful and kind and sure of herself. You're a lovely singer, baker, and selfless friend. Also, not to embarrass you again, but I think you've got a bangin' bod. haha. When we took hip-hop I was like d-d-d-amn girrrrrl.

    E. I'm finding it easier and easier to trust myself with my own choices and how I live my life, but it's always been difficult. I think you're doing great, Tate.

    F. I also had a second awkward phase around 25. I grew outta all my pants haha. I think I've heard about a metabolism shift that happens in the mid-20's times.



  3. Also, I wish for you to be easy on yourself because you are so wonderful and you've been through sizable changes as of late. Obviously your Dad's passing has probably turned things upside down. Don't forget that finishing school is also a form of loss and now you're facing some new changes as you figure out your "next moves" (haaate that term). I'm here for you girl. You're going to get over this hump and shine like a happy Tate-star.

  4. Girl I HEAR you!! To me I feel like I need to reach this certain place in order to relax and live my life. I'm so busy rushing to get my life in order that I kinda miss out on enjoying each moment that I have. I feel overwhelmed in almost every aspect of my life down to the face wash I use. I feel like I'm supposed to find the one shampoo and conditioner I will use for the REST of my life. But seriously I am so anxious about life I can feel it in my stomach on a second by second basis. Anywho, I don't why I was in such a damn hurry to grow up, because I am completely and utterly stressed the fuck out. When will I finish school? When will I get a real job? When will I feel normal!!? I might seem normal, but I'm really not. Ok I don't know where this is going anymore and I almost just erased all of that. It is comforting to know that my dearest friends are struggling with their own issues. I think all of you do great things with your lives and wouldn't change a thing about you except maybe the size of your bank account so you wouldn't have to worry about moneyz. I probably could have just said what I wanted to say with a song by Alabama that goes, "i'm in a hurry to get things done oh i rush and rush until life's no fun. all i really gotta do is live and die, but i'm in a hurry and don't know why"

  5. Realizing that I never said THANK YOUz for all these loving and thoughtful comments. We're all doing a really good job, and need to say "eff it" to sources who say otherwise. I always tell Hanna "it's not a contest!" and I need to remind my self the same thing about my whole stinkin' life.