This morning on the way to school, I was so rarely happy with my kids that I took a selfie at the lights. Big. Mistake. Not only was I hideously unattractive in a getting-my-mother’s-jowls kind of way, I could also see bristling in the sunlight against my 11-year-old’s nubile cheek, a lovely auburn mustache. It was almost a handlebar. Cheaper and easier than waxing, would be to kill me.
I know I am supposed to be gracious. My kids are healthy, I shit pretty regular and there’s food in the fridge (until aforesaid kids have been at my house for more than two days and then there’s no food at all.) Without direct sunlight picking up the follicles, and most especially if the camera is angled downwards from above, I am still an attractive woman. (Does Hillary worry about her jowls?) And yet on many days I also feel, conclusively, that I have wasted my entire life. How’s that for Hump Day?
This year for Valentine’s Day, I will actually have someone who loves me (and my matching facial hair) as opposed to just someone who used to love me. And my kids, they love me, when they’re not sipping on my guts through a curly straw. “Mmmm, delicious, mommy’s guts! Bring me some water mommy, it will go so good with your guts, bring it mommy BECAUSE I HAVE NO ARMS AND LEGS.” (“That’s go WELL with your guts, WELL, not good.”)
I know people call parenting the most important job in the world. Well guess what? No. No it isn’t. You can’t quantify jobs by importance. Is Bernie Sanders more important than the guy who works at Chick-Fil-A? (Bernie wouldn’t say so, but let’s not forget he is still a career politician.) Is working for Congress more important than brain surgery or being in the navy or designing dresses or purifying drinking water or defending women against genital mutilation or sweeping garbage off the street or being a street mime or or? Is there a subjective standard for what occupations are more useful for humanity? Who decides on the importance scale? If motherhood is so important, WHERE MY MONEY AT?
I will tell you what doesn’t feel useful to me, cooking dinner. Over and over and over again. I am not a chef. I do not find creative expression or “my Zen” through food. (“I just love to whip up some macrobiotic ghee stew in the fall…”) I am not a “foodie.” I do not like “food porn” I like “real porn.”
Yes (she admits grudgingly) there is a certain satisfaction to cooking. Of course I love when they are fed and am grateful to feed them in a healthy way, although it leaves me literally no money for hair removal. But is this the life I envisioned? No. Absolutely not. Did I have delusions of grandeur? Of course. But why am I not permitted to hold on to just a few of them? I understand that the ideas about youth and beauty and glamour I harbored as a show business newbie are unbecoming of a woman who is more than forty years of age. Perhaps I should grow my sideburns out into a full mutton chop and be done with it.
Everywhere I turn in the community where my kids reside are people who seem thrilled to be involved in the endless grunt work involved in childrearing – the chauffeuring, the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, the repetitive strain injury from making sure they do homework… all of it. (Either that, or they’re paying people to do it.) That’s not to mention the whining, the crying, the fighting-not my kids-me, because those are the tactics I resort to to get them to do shit.
I am proud to be meeting the emotional needs of my children, as mine were not met (frowny face, world’s smallest violin meme, insert therapy bill here.) At the same time, I feel like I give my kids so much energy, like I have already given them my best years, and have nothing left to channel into a more global pursuit. Which would be…? Do I think that if I didn’t have kids I might be a fashion designing, brain surgery performing, running for President street mime? Probably not. Probably, I would be dead from drugs, bad boyfriends or would have taken myself out. So um, thanks kids?
All children have their own issues, and I will not go into specifics about my kids’ challenges, because it wouldn’t be fair to them (ugh, I sound so mature right now, UGH.) However I will tell you what my issue is – chronic selfishness. Is it wrong that I just want to lie in bed and fuck and fuck and fuck? Is this a character failing? I am not a sex addict, people, I just like what I like. I am in touch with my interests and proclivities, and even do an excellent job of helping people find theirs. But other than that, there is just not that much I am excited to get out of bed for. Obviously I need to be medicated immediately “LIFEYATM, a new suppository from Proctor Gamble, accept the hand life has dealt you and stick it up your immature assTM.”
What has this rant been about, I ask myself, as well may you be. Middle age, dissatisfaction, saying your truth? Yes, to all of those things. I have a podcast each week with my beautiful friend and fellow comic Felicia Michaels, and I show up and smile and flirt, but I do not lie and I am not about to start. I want my life to mean more on a global level than it does, and yet I do not know how to make that happen if I don’t want to get out of bed. I’m even writing this in bed. Not even a digital record of the horror of my jowls could force me to exercise today. Fuck Los Angeles. Fuck mirrors. I want to let myself go. How big could my jowls be and still deserve love?
Apparently, though I understand that it is important and necessary and admirable, I do not want to be engaged in the actual life I currently lead, but only in some fantasy world inside my head. And yet I regret to inform you that I am currently, for better or worse, engaged fully in that life- with my children, and in my relationship, and with my girlfriends, and clients, etc. etc. I show up, mustache and all. So I guess don’t kill me just yet…