A Stranger Told Me to TALK to my Daughter
Recently my mother showed up at my house with my 6th grade spiral notebook. I flipped through the pages but never really read any of it. Which is weird, but I know I’m weird, just accept that as background.
There was an essay in there that is hideous. After sharing it on YouTube someone suggested to me that I get in touch with the folks from Mortified. And that is how I came to be standing a pretty girl’s living room while a kind stranger suggested I talk to my daughter.
In the middle of the day today I had my non-audition for Mortified. They don’t call it an audition, so I won’t either. For all intents and purposes it was an audition and I am not an auditioner. I got my job at Momversation from begging and pleading, you know, the old fashioned way.
So I’m there at 12.30 with a spiral notebook in my hands, and I’d been to mixed doubles last night where folks were really irritated with me for not shaking hands, but fuck ’em. I’m tired of having these low level illnesses. I’m taking a ridiculous amount of immunosuppresants and I’m still walking around with herpes explosions of my face every time I have the tiniest bit of stress. So I’m not shaking hands with anyone, but I still don’t know how to walk into a room without shaking hands with people or even hugging and kissing hello, because I’m touchy and huggy and an I want to make contact type of woman.
So I walk in the room and sort of wave hello and announce that I’m not shaking hands. This leads to a discussion of my Rheumatoid Arthritis which is not what I want to be discussing but like a dope I’ve led with it, so this is what we’re going to be discussing.
This is when I realize that I’m in an unusual setting. I’m the fourth person in a room full of story tellers. This trio is a trio of listeners, they ask probing questions and they actually care about the answers. One of them looks like my step brother, I’m relaxed and nervous all at once. I want them to like me because I like them and I wish with all my might that we could talk about them instead of me. I realize I’ve made a mistake. I’m not that interesting, I don’t have any angst ridden journals. I wasn’t introspective and it’s unlikely that I ever will be.
They ask me what I do for a living. I’m a blogger. I explain briefly that I’ve been building communities and blah blah, but no one really understands what a blogger really is. Which is fine. They ask me what I write about. “Lifestyle.” I say, “I’ll probably write about this.”
So now I’m reading and we all know it’s not a match, but they ask me what else is in there. “I don’t know.” I tell them. Because I really don’t know. I’d scanned the pages but it was all poetry and there are few things I hate more than poetry. Maya Angelou’s sentences seem incomplete, but I guess I can appreciate Poe.
So I read my 6th grade poem to them and as I’m reading the words for the first time in 28 years I realize that I’ve turned into my mother. Neil looks thoughtful and asks me if I’ve ever shared that with my daughter. I explain to him that I’m looking at it for the first time today. He’s thoughtful, David and Anne are complimentary and I realize that we could all sit in the room for hours and I have a million questions for them but really I just want to be with my family.
From 28 years ago, this is the poem.
Don’t wear too much makeup;
I don’t want to fight.
Please wear your jeans looser,
Your shirts not so tight.
I really don’t care,
What the others do;
They may look “flashy”,
But I don’t want you to.
I do this for you;
I may sound like a witch,
But later you’ll thank me,
And give your friends the pitch.
If we can be friends,
I’m sure we’ll get along.
And someday you’ll find,
It’s tough to be a mom.
Ugh. I know. Shut up!
My husband asked me where I was today. “I went to a thing about a thing.” I told him. “Can we talk later?”