GREAT expectations.

8 Feb

It makes me tired to have to think so hard all of the time. It takes so much work to take the right path and do the right thing. To think the right thoughts. To eat all of your veggies (and compost what you don’t).

I knew I was in trouble just a few shorts months after our escape west. We’d plotted for months and were so relieved to have finally shed all of those expectations. To have the right job. Live in the right neighborhood. Join the right country club. Play the right sport. Wear the right collared shirt. Host all the right parties (on the right serving pieces). Only to land ourselves smack dab at a campfire in Moab. We’d spent the day being expected to land the right jumps, scale the right rocks and survive the right trails. ON A MOUNTAIN BIKE. And we’d made the the fatal mistake of bringing our trusty styrofoam plates camping.

Damn if those plates weren’t better. Nothing soaks though. No folded-plate-in-lap mishaps. Seriously. So when we were done eating the right camp food, we tossed that damned plate right into the fire. Just like everyone did back home.

The howl that went up was chorused by the coyotes and I think the milkyway even flickered. “WHAT?!? What is it?!?” The startled faces surrounded us in the flickering glow. Our mortification at being called out hung in the air like the fog from a mosquito spray truck. Our deadly sin? Burning styrofoam releases FLUOROCARBONS into the atmosphere. Which instantly KILLS THE ENTIRE EARTH. (Geesh. Every bonehead knows that.)

Except us.

And that was only the beginning. We had LOTS O’ LEARNIN’ TO DO.

We had racial sensitivity to learn. (From our new friends who’d never even seen a brown face except on TV.) Recycling to do. Water to conserve. Straw to clean from our teeth (because once we uttered a single word, everyone we encountered suddenly knew EVERYTHING THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT US SOUTHERN FOLK.)

We did okay. We rounded ourselves out. Went to a you just squat in a field and the baby comes out brand of child-birthing class. We wore our birks and clogs with pride. Went all organic. Backpacked and hiked 14ers. Went to composting class. Learned how to garden organically. Commuted to work on our bikes. Spoke passionately to all of our old friends from home about the importance of sorting your plastics and papers and why YOU NEVER EVER SHOP AT WALMART. (Our audience consisted —in part— of our own parents who used their green curbside bins to store firewood and proudly showed us the small container of organic milk they’d bought especially for us at…SUPER WALMART.)

The accents cleared out just enough to fade into the background of an occasional mention.

And we just went on living. Smacking into a wall or two of ignorance when we’d get called out for wearing leather when we were strictly vegetarian. Or blasting Eminem when it was “how could YOU — being such a femi-nazi — ever, ever, ever listen to THAT?!?”

It was during one of those moments that I first had the thought. “This is too fucking HARD.”

Because I LIKE rap music. I like to RUN to it on my iPOD. It makes me want to wiggle my fat white ass and belt out all the bitches and hoes like I own the fucking joint. (Not that I don’t appreciate bluegrass and Wilco too. I do. I really, really DO.)

Which brings me to Beyonce at the Superbowl. I watched it live. With my 12-year-old daughter (the bean was in the tub). Saw every ass jiggle/lick-my-finger-and-touch-my-breast-cause-I’m-fucking-hot/pelvic thrust to the beat. I thought the dominatrix outfits left very little to the imagination. But I thought it was entertaining. A show. Didn’t think a thing of it really. Except that those women were on fire. Felt their power. Weren’t afraid to shake it for the world to see. No matter their size or shape. Miss-miss and I discussed girl power. How Beyonce’s songs support strong women. And how we are all strong women. (The hubby nodding, “No question there,” thereby admitting his over-powered-out-numbered-maleness-in-this-house defeat.)

And then.

The styrofoam plate hit the fire. (Also known as the social media-o-sphere.) The talk was about oversexualization. Objectification. Appropriateness. Why a woman as talented and powerful as the BEY would stoop to such theatrics. Clearly aimed at playing to the masses of men that this particular audience consists of.

I read. Then read some more. Clicked share on a couple that hit home. Then stopped and hit cancel.

I was conflicted. But mostly just tired (again). The pressure to DO THE RIGHT THING and denounce the performance weighed heavily. I want my girls to grow up STRONG and sure and GOOD. Confident in who they are without the need to play to a target audience or throw their bodies around like a plastic bag in the wind (which aren’t allowed in Boulder anymore anyway).

They should know all that already. I know we’ve raised them right. So why couldn’t we just enjoy a performance by a sick-with-talent woman and clap our hands at the bey-in-the-mirror tricks and fire shooting out of her ass (okay, I made that part up).

Because we have to do the right thing. Teach the right lessons. Model the right behavior. Be the right kind of parent.

So now I am supposed to drink less wine because I am medicating with alcohol. Yell less (or not at all) when those girls drive me ape shit. Drive carpool in a Prius that doesn’t fit my two kids much less the rest of the volleyball team (we went with the Pilot). Skip dessert because I am medicating with food. Rinse out the gag-a-fying wet dog food can so it can be recycled. Live with the fruit flies that are all just a part of the compost plan. Skip TV because it’s selling me the wrong messages. Turn off the A/C because I’m pulling too much from the coal-fired grid.


I don’t really have a point. Except this: Doing the right thing makes me tired. But I still drag my ass out of bed every morning and give it a go. And if I sometimes misguidedly think that spraying a little round-up on a pesky weed or two is OKAY, just give me some space, mmm-kay? Nobody’s perfect and nobody is telling you to dress in a few spare strips of leather and call it an outfit either. (I wonder if she’s vegan…)

TODAY’S THEME SONG: Little Talks. Of Monsters and Men. There’s an old voice in my head that’s holding me back. Well tell her that I miss our little talks. Soon it will be over and buried with our past. We used to play outside when we were young. And full of life and full of love.


3 Responses to “GREAT expectations.”

  1. Amy G February 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Love this!


  2. metamegan February 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Might I recommend this as the theme song: Run The World (Girls)? I had to buy some more Beyonce after the super bowl.


  3. Amy Menell February 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    You know, I identify SOOOOO MUCH! You, my dear, are a lovely and sublime southerner. I on the other hand am a bossy-pants, LOUD, supremely opinionated NEW YORKER. And you know what? In the end I am downright fed up with the stress of doing the “right” thing. I drink, I curse, I love my kids beyond words and they love me – and tell me so every damn day. What is right is what is right TO US. Gut level, all things considered, trying to calmly come form a place of love & compassion. Bring on the fuckin’ Styrofoam! (and while you’re at it put my martini in one!)


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