Friday, April 22, 2011

Thirty Shmirty

It's coming up...[sigh]
If you have been following me at all on facebook or have had a conversation with me at all in the last couple weeks, you'll know that the main theme of my discourse has been turning 30, or rather the cloud of depression hovering around the prospect of turning 30. One thing is certain. I am officially freaked. Valium, straight jacket, Sylvia Plath (the later years) freaked. But the thing I'm not sure about is...

Why am I so wigged about turning 30?

I've accomplished a lot. I feel good about where I am in my life right now. As a 20 yo, when I pictured my life as a 30 yo, it looked a lot like it does now. I've got the husband, children, home, yard, no dog yet--but soon, and 2 amazing careers. So why am I flipping out???

During some of my more dramatic, panicky status rants on facebook, I've gotten some really good/comforting/funny advice from my friends and family. For example, I posted this:

"My bday: I can just picture it. I'm wearing red peep toe heels, legs slung over the edge of my bathtub. Bubbles. Candles. From a CD player, Alanis Morrisette serenades me about nails that scratch passionate jealousy into the back of a lover. I lay, expressionless, except for a subtle despair behind the eyes. A tub of Chunky Monkey rests on my belly. A spoon in one hand and a razor in the other. Black tears mingle with bathwater.

A child swings open a door... candle is extinguished."

Here are some of my favorite responses:


"Rena, thirty looks great on you! Just look at all the neat stuff you've accomplished recently, stuff you couldn't have done a decade ago. I'm loving my thirties WAY more than I did my twenties (all except the grey hair part) ...and I plan to make a habit of getting better and more out of each year. Besides, that bathwater'll get cold quick and you'll break your neck trying to get outta the tub in the dim light. A woman your age can't be too careful, ya know!!"

It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to...

"Wah wah wah. You'll get over it big baby."
"Shut the thirty year young door! Try being so old you have to use math to figure it out."
"No freaking out! Look how hot you are! Strut it girl!!!"
"Dye your hair platinum blond and forget how to count! Then you can stay 29 forever!!!! :)"
"My worst b-day is the one I just had (64). Reason is, I had to get my drivers license renewed and when I saw that the next renewal date will be on my 70th b-day, I just about dropped over!!!! What is up with that!?!?"
"Rena--as my friend told me when I turned 30, it is the best age. You finally get to be grown up and "wise" at 30--no longer in your still- a-college- kid 20's BUT you aren't old yet either. She was right. I am loving my 30's"
"30 isn't too bad! But my brain keeps telling me I'm19 then I get a mortgage note in the mail and have to face the fact that my brain is a liar, now how do I get my body to lie and tell every one I'm 19?."
"Don't be freaked. You'll wake up and feel exactly like 29. Plus, let's party!"
"‎30 shmirty"
I'm going to get to the bottom of this cascading anxiety, and in the mean time, I am happy to have people in my life who are willing to give me a facebook version of a shoulder hug or--and sometimes more appropriately--a facebook slap for my craziness.
Love you all.
Thanks for enduring me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Can I get a "What-What?"

I don't know which is better...
Getting my first check stub from The Daily Herald through a company called Pulitzer Inc...

My feature on the REPLY ALL page of REDBOOK (p. 32 of the May issue with Kardashians on cover)...

Or this coversation with my 3yo:

ME: Look! That's Buffy. She's a Vampire Slayer.

G: Buffy's a vampire?

ME: No. She's a vampire slayer.

G: A pampire slayer?

ME: A vampire slayer.

G: a laser?

ME: a slayer.

G: a laser?

ME: a slay-er.
I said, "Give me monster faces."

G: Beefer's not a vampire?

ME: [laughing too hard to continue.]

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face."

Eat. Pray. Love.
Ate. Prayed. Loved.

This movie took the idea behind The Feminine Mystique and applied it to...people. Not just women. But all persons who feel out of place, like a misfit, or who is a don't-fit-the-mold type. I've felt out of place before, perhaps not to the extreme as the characters in this film, but I've felt alone in a room full of  people. Neighborless with neighbors living above, below, and next door. It's unnerving.

But Eat. Pray. Love. suggests embracing the scariness of situations like that, and learn from the people around you. "I need to be unnerved," says Julie Roberts as her lost femme fatale, and then glances away from James Franco, cradles the coffee cup...two long blinks--pensive in nature. This line seems to preface her brave journey of self-discovery. "I need to be unnerved." It resonates, "Try something new."

Another favorite quote: "Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face." You have to be fully committed. I must've laughed for a full 5 min. If only every parent brought the same kind of commitment to a parent/child relationship than it takes to ink the forehead. (I already know if I had a tattoo on my forehead it would say RELAX backwards, so that I could remind myself to take it easy every time I looked in the mirror. Either that or permanent eye-liner. Or the Weezer "=w=")

Another favorite quote is "Maybe you are a woman is search of her word." Julie ends up picking a word in Italian that means, "Cross over with me". It had plot significance in both the journey and the resolution. I wonder what word would I use to be the symbolic representation of my life's journey and current resolution. If I'm going for a foreign word like Julie, the language would have to be Spanish in honor of my heritage.

And my word...escritora  (writer)
And my fave English word...vermilion. It's the color of my personality.

Finally (just for fun) when Julie's character visits India she meets a man who she accuses of "always speaking in bumper sticker." I imagined a conversation between bumper stickers and me, and here's where my mind took me:

BS: Honk if you hate noise pollution.

ME: Honk yourself.

BS: Honk if you love Hanson, then drive into a tree.

ME: Good one.

BS: I is a college student.


ME: Better stay in school.

BS: I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing.

ME: [Puts arm over BS's shoulder. Head tilted. Polite Smile.] Of course you're not.

BS: [revs engine] Honk if you're horny.

ME: Whoa, Mister. I'm not that kinda girl!

BS: My son is an honor student at the state correctional facility.

ME: [eye brows pinched] Okkkaaaaayyyyy. I don't know how to respond to that.

BS: Some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them.

ME: What does that mean?

BS: Honk If You've Never Seen An Uzi Fired From A Car Window.

ME: [running away.]

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Friend's Soiree

I went to a BBQ. It was a loaded gun.
In a garage.
Families with plump babies, tearful toddlers, and school-aged kids riding bikes in the neighborhood.
A spread of veggies, chips, dip, cupcakes, buns, condiments.
A big guy grilling burgers next to a motorcycle as if the three (man, motorcycle, and grill) came in a set.
Conversation among party-goers is polite. Surface-y.
"How'd you meet?" "Your son is so big." "Where will you get married." "I remember when Cats opened."
I participate willingly. After all, not every conversation can be like Critical Theory class. Who would want it to be?
I don't expect to have to think much this weekend or at a get-together like this. It's your standard BBQ. It's not like anyone's gonna whip out a discourse on Libya... (Don't be fooled into thinking I'd be able to hold my own in that kind of conversation either.)
Which is why I gasp when one questions pierces through the rest. Stabs me in chest.

"What's next for you?"

Even though the question was innocent--TOTALLY innocent--my insecurities pick up on a connotation. An invention of my own panicky ambition.
The connotation says, "You aren't doing anything productive with your life. So get on it."
My mouth stumbles out a few goals and recent achievements, but I felt ambushed. Was there something about me that screamed, "You are one heel-click away from DEADBEAT"? Was I jealous b/c the questioneer had just announced that she was going to be submitting her thesis this week?
I dunno. I do know that the questioneer meant nothing by it, and that I tend to whig out too much over my own progression, success, and careers.
How do I know this? It's b/c I'm NOT in a static phase in my life. In fact, I can't remember a time that I ever was in a static phase...not since I left for college.
And at the risk of sounding resume-y, here's my evidence:

In college I published 4 short stories in 2 different journals.
I wrote for the UVU paper for a year.
I won 2nd place in a writing competition.
I've written 3 full length novels and published one as a Kindle before the age of 28.
For a year, I had my own bi-weekly book review column in a local paper.
I started a weight-loss blog, which after pitching to REDBOOK, landed me a feature in the May 2011 issue.
and I interviewed for and landed a job writing for one of the largest paper's in Utah.

In my education field:
I have a BS in English Ed.
I have a reading endorsement
I've been recognized with a couple of awards
I've gone to a handful of conferences

And most importantly, my family:
I have two great, healthy kids and an AWESOME husband.
My siblings are the coolest, and I love that my parents are nearby.
(I'd also like to add the BGW crew as surrogate family.)
I really am blessed.

So why is it that I felt like I'd been double-bounced on a trampoline when I heard that question?
Clearly, I've been working my butt off to further my careers and still actively maintain my "mom" role.
Haven't I done enough?

Nope. The fire in me burns freakishly bright.

What is next for me? Cuz it's not as if I'm stopping now.


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