Saturday, November 26, 2011

adventures in self-hood: volume 1

This attempt at writing about myself has been brewing inside me for quite some time. Years, maybe, but I started writing it back in September. It is a commentary on a tale of a personal evolution, one that progressed without the realization that it was even happening. Then, when I realized it was in fact happening, it was here. I changed. I grew. Of course I understand that this process will not stop here. I am experimenting with who I am still. I am like a ball of clay in the hands of those closest to me. I am being molded in many directions. Sometimes, like a only a surreal Dali painting might be able to capture, my own slender hands extend from the ball of clay and I attempt to mold myself. I am still growing with them. It's quite the adventure.

I started thinking of how my life is right now, at this moment. Life with three little girls is how you might imagine it. Drama, tears, high fashion and lots of lovey-dovey affection to go around for everyone. I had to stop and wonder how it is that someone like me managed to grow into a mother of three girls, now with another on the way. Having grown up with two brothers, I never really found myself to be much of a girly girl. This can be proven by the few photos I have seen of myself wearing dresses that my mother insisted on, with the Reebok sneakers I must have insisted on. I was never into clothes the way my friends were, and as they all would willingly attest I was never one for make-up until relatively recently.  Fast forward two decades later and here I stand, comb in one hand and bows in the other. A few months ago, in what little spare time I had I found myself watching YouTube tutorials on new ways to braid hair, make bows and even add flashy embellishments to my daughters' clothes. ME. I can still barely pick my own clothes, do my own hair and God forbid I had no friends around to help if I needed to put eyeshadow on for a special occasion.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not subscribing to the stereotypical gender role expectations and feeling anxiety that I don't fit in perfectly with them. This isn't about that. It is more about the fact that I never could fit into them and find myself now dabbling in each. Even if it's just a toe testing the water, it is quite the sight to see. Thankfully, I don't have many photos to prove it, but back in high school I was quite the sore for sight eyes. I'm not talking about ugly, just unkempt, or effortless maybe, but not in the positive sense. I never really did my hair. I wore messy buns or hats most of the time. When I got older and did start worrying more about boys, I tried to keep up, and I started straightening my hair. That was the high point. I only remember wearing make-up when I was in a wedding, to school dances, and the occasional times one of my friends would experiment with make-up on me. Come to think of the pictures I do remember seeing, even when I wore make-up, my hair didn't have enough effort put into it so I just looked as plain as can be. I guess that was my style. Plain. I was okay with it. To this day, my best friend still makes fun of me because whenever I put make-up on, I have this physical urge (and I give into it) to wipe it off with my hands. Like I'm toning it down or something. I definitely have the I'm-scared-to-look-like-a-clown-oh-my-god-this-is-too-much complex going on. Even if it probably isn't too much.

Back then, it must've been that I just didn't think too much about it. I mean, I was as self-conscious as the next girl, but it isn't as if I didn't have any opportunities to step up my A game. My dad spoiled me, in case you didn't know. He would take us on shopping trips to LA anytime we had the excuse to need new clothes (seasonal wardrobe changes, back to school, special occasions). So there I found myself, in LA, browsing the racks with no aim. I picked some pretty weird stores and bought a lot of clothes I either only wore a few times, or never had the courage to wear in public at all. It wasn't until I was a few years into high school that I found my personal clothing style. And to make all the aforementioned matters worse times 10, it was like a grunge-I-don't-care-what-I-look-like-look-at-my-vintage-t-shirt-aren't-I-cool-yeah-I-don't-care style. Perfect. I still remember my favorite shirt. A bedazzled vintage Bulldogs shirt that cost around $40. Of course I lost it because my clothing style matched my lifestyle. But that's a whole notha' story.

So, before children, I was this jumbled mess of randomosity. At the tender age of 19, before I had my first precious baby, I was just a girl, trying to be a girl to keep a guy, but barely knew who I was. Maybe I wasn't really anyone yet. Then she came. I was a mother. My life had already started changing with marriage, moving out of town, and starting college, but now I was a mother. A new creature. This is where things got down-right mind-boggling for me.

::::To Be Continued::::

1 comment: