This post originally appeared in Mae Mucho: The Diary of a Myers Park Mom on August 24, 2009
You Know Who You Are
Last night my husband walked into our family room and groaned. The pained look on his face said it all. Really? This is what you want to spend your limited free time watching? You chose this to add to the self-diagnosed Adult Attention Deficit Disorder that’s swirling around your brain?
It does not surprise me that he cannot appreciate the most fabulous entertainment currently available on television, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, only to be surpassed by The Real Housewives of New Jersey with New York a close second (sorry, Orange County – guess I’m an East Coast girl). After 20 years together that man would have to do cartwheels naked on the roof with his hair on fire to surprise me. Nope, my husband will never get it—his idea of compelling TV is a special on the nesting habits of the Mexican leaf beetle on the Discovery Channel. As they say, opposites attract. More on that later.
Anyway, my name is Mae and I am not only into watching desperate housewives on TV, I play one in real life. Actually, my name isn’t Mae. That’s a nickname that a few folks who really know me would recognize. But you don’t really know me yet, so you don’t really know me. And I’m not entirely desperate anymore. Most days. But I am a housewife.
I live in Charlotte, North Carolina with my very patient husband and two wild and wonderful children. Myers Park is our little corner of town, named for a Mr. Myers who once owned this land. The park part came from a landscape architect who had a vision for the neighborhood which included a lot of green space and tasteful homes set back on the lots. By the way things have developed (so to speak) recently, some days on some streets you have to squint real hard with your eyes nearly closed, hold your breath until everything gets super- fuzzy, plug your ears to drown out the sounds of construction, and then you can kinda, almost feel the park–y thing. Many Myers Park families enjoy quite a bit of privilege — which if you think is fine wouldn’t impact your speech. If this fact made you bitter, however, you would pronounce it Maah-hers Paahk, very southern and affected.
Back in a former life I used to be a fairly normal, somewhat high-achieving (or is that functioning?) individual. I went to a great college up the road and majored in English with a minor in Gender (that’s PC for “Women’s”) Studies. Most recently I completed a graduate program and now have my Masters in Writing About Myself.
In fact, the pursuit of the Masters degree was quite a departure for me, the lady who liked things neat and organized; the compulsive list-maker who would start each “To Do” with things already accomplished– just for the pleasure of striking them through. Going for this degree was a bit random, not connected to any particular goal beyond the pure joy of learning (jeez, complete geek-out there. You know I totally kissed — I mean kicked — ass in school). In my case there was no grand plan, no strategic work-related promotion dependent upon graduate education, no consulting business waiting in the wings to be born when I decided to go back to school.
What was “being born” instead were my children: My first, in 2002, prompting my “retirement” from the non-profit sector where I had worked for ten years; and then my last, some years later, prompting my descent into chaos and low-grade depression. As it turns out, two children are twice as hard to care for as one. With a super-active toddler and a colicky baby who never slept from midnight ‘til daybreak, I became a REAL DESPERATE housewife.
All of my work seemed endless and my accomplishments fleeting –we swirled around those early weeks and months with everything un-done moments after it had been completed. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, books, bath . . . and start again! My house was always messy and my cooking generally sucks. I am not particularly gifted in the aesthetic aspects of the “home – making” part of my job . . . so what exactly did I have to show for all of my hard work? OK, importantly, two children whom I had managed to keep alive for one more day — no small feat for a mom like me, someone with a knack for taking the simplest task and making it complicated. But still.
I was frantic then, to find something that would help me to embrace the gifts I had in my life – the blessings of this wonderful family and these sweet children. I needed something for myself that would help me be the best wife and mother to them.
I found myself surfing the Internet in the wee hours of those long nights, not sure for what I was looking, but thinking about work (outside of the home) and maybe school. (Ummm, yes, I do get how lucky I was and am to have these options, these choices, that I am not required to drag myself away from my babies in order to pay the bills. Damn ungrateful Maahers Paahk bitch. Believe me, I do get it).
So, two things emerged. One, a connection to a few blogs that I happily devoured — a kind of antidote to my loneliness. And second, the Masters program that I just completed — a kind of nourishment for my starving brain.
Yes, but SO WHAT?! as one of my dearest professors would always ask. What is the fucking point?—ok, that’s me, not my teach. Will this first post ever end? No shit, you don’t do Twitter, 140 characters, are you kidding me?!! OK! Here’s the point: Those things are what have brought me to you now.
Back in school I rekindled a passion for writing that two dear classmates, Hanz y Franz, encouraged me to continue through blogging. (As Hollis Gillespie would say, names have been changed to protect the guilty). In addition, my interest in blogs has persisted and now demands a personal commitment. You know when you just feel like there is something you have to do? This is just a little itch that I must scratch.
So here we are. I am planning on writing here and there and maybe you will like what I say. Maybe you will hate what I say and think I am full of shit. Maybe you will figure out who I am, in which case, you will know I am full of shit. Or maybe you could care less. Either way, I am not desperate for your approval; only to have a place to express myself a little bit. For real.