So, I watch a lot of the Today Show. It boggles my younger sister’s mind because she finds it vapid, but I do, and I love it. You have to navigate it though. Emotionally, there’s the sad stories about kidnappings and plane crashes. Intellectually there’s all the recession news and pieces about protecting your credit score and saving juxtaposed with stories about buying new clothes and cars and weekend getaways, which, I dunno, maybe you should not be spending money on if you are broke or unemployed or underemployed as the Today Show tells us each day that we are.
Last week they had on a woman who has come up with the term Formerly. She’s in her late thirties or early forties now (she was very coy about which) and so the term refers to her “former” hot self, when she was in her twenties. Don’t laugh. Wait for it, wait for it…cause she has a point.
She used to be young and glowing, with that glow you have when you’re in your twenties that you don’t realize is youth. You think you’ve just grown into who you are supposed to be cause teenagedome and high school were so abysmal. But you haven’t. But you don’t know that yet. Because you’re still young, yet. Because you haven’t even turned thirty yet. This woman used to be young and glowing but then she got married, she had kids. All the wants we’re supposed to want, came to her. House, car, family, career. Fab, fab, fabulous. And I can tell. I watch so much of the Today Show that I can scan an interview background better than anyone. Her book cases? Beautiful permanent structures filled with hardcovers. Her kitchen? Modern and family oriented which means lots of good, probably expensive lighting and terrific counter space and cabinets. But then after all that she began to realize, something was missing. Something had been lost. That glow. That hotness. Lost, lost, gone, gone. She described sitting in a subway and suddenly having men ask her the time cause they really do want to know the time, not just because they want to get her number.
And I can relate.
Not that I was so full of the hotness when I was in my twenties. But I was a late bloomer. I didn’t kiss anyone ‘til I was eighteen. Don’t even ask me how old I was when I did more. But my late arrival to being aware of how I could interact with others and exploit all that new found glow meant that I spent my twenties really enjoying that part of life. I got bought a lot of drinks. I spent many subway rides looking demurely at my watch and flashing cute, twenty something smiles.
But now I am no longer twenty something.
In fact, I can attest that any glow I’ve had over the last four years has been due to pregnancy hormones or the sickly, sweaty luster you get when you don’t sleep for more than two hours in a row (on average) for a few years straight. Since I had my daughter just about nine months after eloping with my husband, it really did seem as if I went from bright young hotness to haggish hot mess almost over night. And haggish hot mess is what you call someone who often wears the same set of clothes during the day, to bed, and through the next day, or whose daughter says to her, as mine just said to me, during bedtime kisses “You smell bad. Your breath? It smells.” Or who gleefully sees that another mommy in the playground is wearing her same shorts. Which were on sale right around the time Monica Lewinsky was basking in her hotness and not even bothering to dry clean. (I was just happy I am not the only one who has not gone shopping, even for mommy clothes, since Friends was on the air).
So I can relate very much.
And it has taken some getting used to, this realizing that when I walk down a street, and people say beautiful girl, that they are talking about my daughter, not me. Or that when I walk down a street no one cares two shakes about me at all. That those workmen are really, um, working, when I push my double wide stroller past them and that those boys on the corner are checking me out because they think I could buy for them, but my mommy-look means the guy in the liquor store might think I’ve already had my share today and not sell to me anyway.
I could get very sappy and say that my life now is not about me. That in some way this is part of a beautiful cycle, where I have moved on to a less self centered way of being. Cause let’s face it, twenty somethings have the ability to be very much that, especially in this age of I pod, I phone, I touch, I Me Me Me Me Me. I could get very sappy and say as a woman in my thirties who is a mother, my life is now about others and this is exemplified by how sad I am about the Gulf and Pakistan and the wars, in addition to how invested I am in baby sleep, baby eating, vaccines, car seat recalls, and attachment parenting. But.
But the truth is, I miss me. A little. I am glad I’ve had the refocus experience, because how many Jack and Cokes can a girl drink in a lifetime and still be a viable member of adult society? Even if they are free.
And the term Formerly suggests I will always be defined in relation to that twenty something who went glitzing around everywhere. It suggests I molted her away and molting don’t sound like the hotness. Molting sounds disgusting.
I like to think that, in my thirties, I have earned a few things. I have earned the right to be comfortable in my own skin. I have earned the right to tell some loser who asks that he should buy his own damn watch. I have earned the right to buy my own jack and cokes and not have to worry I am at a bar alone or don’t have anyone to go to the bar with me or had someone to go the bar with me but her sitter canceled so I feel a okay fine going to the bar alone. And buying my own drinks. If I could get a hold of my own sitter, that is, and glowing in the ever-loving glow that comes from being a divine mixture of the hot mess and the hotness.
Not formerly myself, but everly myself.