4/20/06


My daughter is three years old and I’ve been calling her “Punky” ever since she first started talking. That’s when she developed her attitude and believe me, she had a lot of spunk. Still, I never thought it would lead to her wanting to wear mismatching socks. Just this morning I heard my Mom’s voice come out of my mouth when I told her “blue stripes don’t match with pink.”

I suddenly felt torn and began to question myself. Do I let her wear what she wants and let her develop her own sense of self? Do I squash her wishes so the preschool teachers won’t think she has a negligent mother? I finally convinced her to change one sock right before we left. I did tell her she could put the other one back on when she got home. I’m not really sure this was the best solution.

When I was in college, I was an English Ed. Major and I planned on teaching high school, but I foresaw a problem. I’m rather short, and at the time, I had long hair and I really didn’t think I looked much older than the students. I knew I would need to gain their respect, and I thought the best way to do so was to look the part. I decided I would get some black horn rimmed glasses and wear my hair in a bun every day, along with pencil skirts, starched shirts, pantyhose and heels.

Well thankfully I never became a teacher, but today I find myself pulling the same tricks.
I’ve started telling people I’m a freelance writer, though I’ve been paid for my writing a mere two times. I also find myself drinking lots more tea and coffee than I used to. Right now I’m sitting by the windows at the B&N café, listening to the Ipod, typing on my laptop. Could I be any more of a cliché?

I still struggle with the clothing though. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I ever shopped at Casual Corner or Petite Sophisticate. It’s just that I’m not a total hippie. I don’t smoke and I rarely drink. I’m married with kids and I just don’t feel right dressing like a total bum. The compromise: blue jeans, chunky flip-flops and a peasant looking white top.

I don’t have a pencil in my mouth, and I am wearing lipstick, but the weather makes up for these shortcomings. It is perfect writer-weather today. The skies are grey, but it’s not pouring rain or dripping humidity – just the right amount of melancholy. Of course I can still write on sunny days, but I’m more tempted to play.

I’ve wanted to do this writing thing my whole life, but it’s only been in the past six months that I’ve made any real progress. Quite a lot of that is due to getting that first piece published last December, and the boost of confidence it gave me. Another piece of the puzzle is that I am no longer the mother of two small children. My son is in 2nd grade now and my daughter started going to Mother’s Day Out two weeks ago. I now have two days a week where I find myself with time – four hours to be exact. Now that I’ve got time, I need the right place.

I have this problem that when I’m home, the messes scream at me. Clean up the toys. Wash those dishes. Do the laundry. Go buy groceries, and What are you cooking for dinner? Not to mention the twelve half-finished projects I have laying around – picture albums, sewing attempts and such.

I guess that’s how I ended up here at 11 in the morning – trying to ignore the aroma induced hunger pains in my stomach, so I can push through for another hour and feel like I’ve done my due diligence for the day.

Did I just say “due diligence?” That doesn’t sound much like the me I used to know, but it’s still true. This writing stuff takes work. And the girl I used to be, she’s a changin’ before my very eyes. That girl used to get very distracted by the pressure to succeed, and not just succeed, but actually blow the stuff out of the water. After all, if she was gonna pour out all her sweat, there’d better be a Nobel Prize at the end of her tour of duty. Otherwise, how would it be worth it? How could she justify wasting all this time – on herself.

And that brings me to the final piece of the puzzle – a little creamy white pill that I take every morning. Yes, it’s an anti-depressant. No it has not turned me into a mean, green writing machine. But the ways it has helped are significant. I still get sad. I still cry, and I definitely still have PMS. But I sleep better, so I have more energy. My husband says I smile more. People have even told me that my voice is different, stonger and quicker to respond. The bad voices in my head are quieter and only say things five times, instead of fifty. And things that used to totally overwhelm me, grocery shopping for example, are easier because I’m not as indecisive as I used to be.

Since September I’ve written seven articles, I’ve pretty much finished a children’s book that I hope to send out soon and I’m working on (shudder, shudder) a book type thing that will surely take months, maybe even years to finish.

So, what is this, a twelve paragraph drug commercial? No, I’m not name-dropping and I’m not getting paid. Am I just bragging on myself? Maybe, but what are blogs for if not self endorsement? I like to think I’m asking myself an important question. Do clothes really make the woman or have I finally arrived at the place where I don’t have to play dress-up? Can I actually leave my house with a hot pink sock on my right foot and a blue and white striped one on my left?