October 23rd, 2012
I was emailing with Temerity Jane the other day, and really, I highly recommend a friendship with Kelly, because her emails are genuine comedy gold even when the topic is serious, for they are fraught with rich imagery of her ranting and waving around pork chops while her dogs drool helplessly at her feet.
TJ was talking about being average (a point I will argue against later) and how so many of us believed we were destined for some large-scale greatness (I believe she used the words “plucked from the rubble” which just killed me), when the truth is, most of us are destined to be . . . well, average. And okay, let’s take that statement at face value. Doesn’t “average” sound so HORRIBLE? I’m not talking about in the statistical sense (“the average person eats five spiders”), but in the, okay, this person’s life is relatively unremarkable on the grand scheme of things. It seems sad to be average, like we all should have performed better, stronger, faster. Been leaders. Become CEOs, neurosurgeons, rocket scientists. Put one million shoes on the feet of indigent Africans or something. When no, actually, we are just going to be people doing everyday jobs, probably in a cubicle of some sort, then going home to our average little families.
Forgive me if this is all painfully obvious to you — and I’m certain that it is — but on the scale of enlightenment, generally, I fall pretty low. For all the navel-gazing I do, you’d think I’d have reached more conclusions about life in general, but most of the time I’m just . . . not that aware.
This whole concept is hilarious to me because I vividly remember being in my twenties — my early twenties, oh my lord, okay? I mean, lest you think I was painfully immature until— oh wait, you know what, I WAS painfully immature. This is why I make jokes that if I WERE famous in my early twenties, I would have gone full Lohan, and let’s all thank the baby Jesus that there was no twitter, because I don’t think the internet could stomach my drama. Bad enough that somewhere out there is a Diaryland blog wherein I remember writing some of the world’s most overwrought posts about LIFE and how we were all STRUGGLING and I don’t remember much about it except that I DO know that I used a lot of ten-dollar words because it made me sound smarter. I’m also curious what the HELL I could have been struggling with, although I vaguely remember feeling a strong kinship to the crew in Reality Bites, because THEIR PROBLEMS WERE HUGE, AM I RIGHT?
I viewed life through this soft-focus documentary lens, just waiting for the world to discover me, which is when my life would begin — when *I* would be plucked from the rubble, drawn to my One True Purpose of Greatness, because *I* was not going to be average, OH HO NO.
Oh, twentysomething Jonna.
I promise I will get to my point soon.
So you know how people rant and rave about Disney princesses and how they teach women All The Wrong Things? This blog post is just really not long enough to explain why I think so much of that is utter crap (both the princesses and the criticism of the princesses), but I WILL say that I think most of the criticism misses the boat. They all focus on appearance and having a man to fulfill you and the ridiculous notion of a fairy tale, yes, but the problem isn’t the male part of the fairy tale, but that there is a FAIRY TALE AT ALL. Jesus. I was watching Disney Jr. with Sam the other day (or maybe just myself, it could really go either way) and this ad for Sofia the First came on, and it’s about — wait for it — an ORDINARY GIRL plucked from the rubble to become an EXTRAORDINARY PRINCESS.
And Belle! Freaking BELLE! There must be more than this provincial life? Really? What, I ask you, is so wrong about being the jolly baker in a tiny town in Provence? NOT MUCH. She probably has a happy family. You want adventure? BOOK A CRUISE. Now go bake bread and feed the ducks. It sounds PEACEFUL.
God, it’s like we’re set up from the very beginning to be disappointed with an ordinary, average life, and if there’s one thing I will struggle with, it’s teaching my girls to simultaneously reach for the stars (TM Fresh Beat Band) and just be happy with an average, totally normal, non-fairy tale life.
Lest you think this is a lesson I have thoroughly learned for myself, you would be wrong. I mean, I no longer think I am particularly special, but I do occasionally struggle with the, ah, lack of larger meaning in what I do. What’s that you say, Ann Romney? I am a MOTHER, the most important job in the world? Eh. EH. I mean, it is, but sometimes I look back on the jobs I’ve had and the sense of accomplishment I gained — the titles and careers I’d be living if I’d kept going, and I get nostalgic and I feel like I’ve failed, somehow. I don’t have a fancy title or a huge list of accomplishments to my name anymore. I mean, there was an ENTIRE YEAR where I managed TWELVE mergers and acquisitions. Twelve, you guys.
And now, I wax poetic about Viva paper towels and I drive a giant Mom-mobile and I wipe butts and I sing songs and feel like a rockstar if I make dinner, and sometimes, man, SOMETIMES. After all, people who are a lot dumber than me do this mothering gig just as well as I do, so what does that make me? What kind of role model am I for my daughters, staying home and teaching them that they can be anything they want to be while . . . not, really, uh, doing that myself?
Well, it makes me average. Normal. Boring, just like everybody else. But the thing is, that makes me happy, and it’s so easy to forget that average doesn’t mean you’re not extraordinary — it just means your level of extraordinary translates to fewer people, which, you know, THANK GOD, because being the center of attention beyond my immediate family is vomit-inducing. I see it in Kelly when she describes herself as average, because I laugh. If that’s average, may we all be so lucky — she’s hilarious, vibrant, fun to be around, and I’m guessing, a shitton of fun to be married to. She’s special to the people around her (she’s going to kill me for this) and her daughter! Her DAUGHTER! So lucky!
You know what I want? A quiet, happy, healthy life (so far so good). I want a nice, strong marriage to Adam until the day I drop dead. (So far so good!) I want to own a cute little house (that I actually live in). I want my kids to grow up and find their own happiness, no matter what that entails, and I want them to be everything they want to be, even if that just means being average.
I’m sure that lesson won’t be hard to teach at all.
*I’m going with Kanye here, because honest to SHIT, is there a guy who would be LESS cool with average?