A small glimpse into how my brain works. Over the past week I have been the recipient of two remarks, one of which wounded and upset me and one which didn't. In both cases, the results are surprising.
Remark #1: I was telling a colleague about my recent trip to Seattle. She remarked, "Well, I'm really glad that even in your current situation, you can still do things like that." For days, I could not let go of this remark. I felt like I had to defend myself, pointing out that I spent weeks preparing for a yard sale that netted me $250 and that I socked that money away for Christmas shopping. Or admit that actually, my mom paid for the hotel as well as the gas to get us there, because she knew I couldn't afford to chip in. I heard that remark and I thought of all the scrimping and saving I did for this trip, and how heavy the 'careful' mindset weighed on me through all our shopping. At the same time, it's ridiculous to want to defend myself, because my colleague has no idea her remark made me feel in need of defense. I'm sure she forgot about the entire conversation immediately after it ended.
Remark #2: A new mommyfriend was looking at a framed wedding picture on my wall. "How long ago did you get married?" she asked. "It was five years ago this fall," I responded. "Hmm, it's funny how we age, isn't it." I didn't even have time to process this remark when she suddenly exclaimed, "OH MY GOODNESS! I didn't mean that the way it sounded." We had a good laugh and agreed that it did sound really terrible, and it's true that parenthood makes us age faster. Hours later when the playdate ended she apologized again, but to me it wasn't a big deal. It's true: I am five years older than the woman in that wedding picture. And they were really full and intense years, too. But I wouldn't want to change any of those events, so why would I regret the changes to my own appearance that have taken place at the same time? I'm not an appearance-obsessed person to begin with, but of all the appearance-changing efforts people go through and all the related products they buy, aging seems to me to be the most silly. We all get old. That's not an insult. There's nothing in the world that could make me want to be sixteen again, so by that same token I'd better embrace and enjoy the fact that I'm thirty-six, and look it.