Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nostalgia Run Amok

Well, on top of all the "new house" hysteria - or near hysteria on my part- other developments this week are bringing a different kind of drama to my life. For some dumb reason, known only to people who have gone before me, I decided to rifle through the internet and look up old friends and classmates. Sounds harmless right? Well, not so much. I found quite a few friends actually, thanks to the fact that I belong to a young generation of techies, everyone is on the internet these days. So a few key strokes here and there and I find most of my high school classmates and a few faces I knew but didn't go to school with. The drama is purely internal and ensues because I was a different person back then. The me that they remember was wild and rebellious. I had a foul mouth, purple hair, black fingernail polish, listened to heavy metal, mutilated my body with razor blades, did drugs, got pregnant in the 10th grade and was asked to leave the school. I somewhat expected that times have probably changed and that we've all grown up. Well, we have all grown up and most of us are even married and have children, but they for the most part are the same people. They all still do have wild hair color, like heavy metal, have tons of tattoo and piercings, etc.
The website profiles that they have for themselves are covered with metal band ads, tattoo pictures and graffiti art. I have been brave enough to talk to some old friends and they are doing fabulous. They have done and seen some awesome things. They have really made a life for themselves. Yet, they retain the rebellion and hard core tastes of their youth. "Why?", I ask myself. How can they be normal sounding, well-adjusted and successful when they still flout the rebellious and hard core images from high school? I am baffled. For me, some things had to go the moment I became a mother. Other habits and preferences just faded away with time, and I assumed, maturity. I believed that the transition I made from Hard core to Betty Crocker was a natural progression that came with age, wisdom and responsibility. What if it isn't? What if I became what I thought I should look like to the outside world? Did I sell out? We used to use this word to describe someone who gave up their individuality for the acceptance of others. I feel like a sell out. Why? Because I still think that all the stuff I see on their websites is cool. So, I ask myself, "If you like tattoos and hard music and wild hair styles and funky clothes so much why don't you have any of them?" If I had to be honest, every answer boils down to someone else's opinion either expressed to me or assumed. My husband once told me years ago that tattoos were trashy. Years have passed since then and he even has a tattoo now. Do I think he would tell me no if I wanted one bad enough? No, I don't think so, but just knowing that he used to feel this way stops me cold in my tracks from wanting one. I secretly listen to heavy metal when my kids and husband aren't in the car. Why? Because as a Christian I worry that the references in the lyrics are too strong for my children and my husband might disapprove of it. I even worry that the fact that I still like it means in some way that I'm not a good enough Christian. I admire edgy haircuts, hair colors and funky clothes but I don't have the nerve to indulge in them myself. Why? Because I'm afraid that someone will look at me and say "isn't she too old for that?", or just the opposite, "How could someone that young have a teenager?" The last one has been something I have faced discrimination over for 15 years. I have a severe complex about the fact that I was only 15 when I gave birth to my oldest son. I have spent years trying to appear older so as not to be judged. Also, I'm afraid if I act too much like I feel inside - which is very young - or dress in things I admire that I will embarrass my son. Now that I've made it into my 30's I sort of, well, really miss those young days. So my basic question is this: Did I change because I wanted the changes or did I sell out? Another question is this: Would it be a step backwards to my faith to admit these things? How do I dig through the years and find me...the real me...the me that is authentic. Most of the "hard core" me was wrapped up in pain and bondage that I've since been released from, and most of the Suzy Homemaker me is wrapped up in wanting to please other where is the real me? Is there a middle ground between Goth Tramp and Homeschool Mother of Three with a Mortgage? All I want is to know that when I say "I like that" that its based on truth, not a desire to belong to one group of people or another. How? How am I going to be able to do this? I think the only thing I can do at this point is to ask myself a series of questions when I make decisions from now on. Like that haircut? What is it that makes you not want it? Like this song? Why wouldn't you listen to it in front of the kids? Are these invalid excuses or intelligent points? My thought process is going to have to slow down but maybe in time I will have the confidence in myself to make decisions based on what I truly want. I am notorious for not being able to make up my mind...maybe once I have one I can make decisions with it. I hope that this doesn't take too long though, I've got paint colors and interior design to decide on and Lord knows I'm going to need all the help I can get!


webless said...

"My thought process is going to have to slow down but maybe in time I will have the confidence in myself to make decisions based on what I truly want."

If what you truly want and what God wants are at peace and in sync, then it probably doesn't really matter too much what everyone else thinks. Does it?

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