“The Me I’ve Become”

Last week I wrote about the book: “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson in this blog post. I wanted to share another good quote from her book that really inspired and resonated with me.

Do you know how you look back on your childhood, or maybe your high school or college years and remember embarrassing moments that you know you will never forget? I can think of plenty. There are times when I look back on those moments and cringe. Maybe I cringe because it was not my fault that we could not afford the trendy clothes, that I often had hand me downs, or that my mom would attempt to make my clothes. I think what embarrassed me most was my mom making my clothes as I always felt it was obvious that it was homemade. Now I appreciate so much what she was trying to do. Other times I look back and know that I survived many embarrassing moments and that they actually made me stronger. Which is why I really loved this quote from Jenny’s memoir:

“But most important, I see me … or rather, the me I’ve become. Because I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me “weird” and “different,” were actually the most important parts of my life. There were the parts that made me me. And this was the very reason I decided to tell this story … to celebrate the strange, to give thanks to the bizarre, and to one day help my daughter understand that the reason her mother appeared mostly naked on Fox News (that’s in book two, sorry) is probably the same reason her grandfather occasionally brings his pet donkey into bars: Because you are defined not by life’s imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them. Because there is joy in embracing–rather than running screaming from–the utter absurdity of life.” page 308

Do you remember those embarrassing moments of your life? Or the ones when you just felt completely awkward? I still have them. Do you? These days I am a little more bold about those embarrassing moments. Like the other day at work, I pronounced challah bread with the “Ch” at the beginning. I pronounced it phonetically. Does that ever happen to you? Where you may sometimes say something and then realize what you were thinking and what came out of your mouth are different things. And, then I started laughing at myself, when I heard my mistake. I brought it up again later in the week, making fun of myself. I think it is good to do that once in a while. It keeps us on our toes and reminds us that life is funny, people are funny, and even if it is slightly embarrassing (trust me I embarrass myself all the time) to go with it, have fun with the moment, laugh, and move on with your life.

So I leave you with a reminder to be YOU in all your bizarreness, and in Jenny’s words: “Because you are defined not by life’s imperfect moments, but by your reaction to them.”

“Homesick For A Place That Never Existed?”

“Have you ever been homesick for someplace that doesn’t actually exist anymore? Someplace that exists only in your mind?” page 103

A quote from the book: “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson. A memoir about her life, at times hilarious, blunt, and sassy. The above quote makes me think of what I often feel. Do you ever go over old memories in your head, sometimes over and over again to see if you still remember the smallest details? I think about things from my childhood that make me nostalgic. Things that made me happy as a kid. Was it my mom’s chocolate chess pie that I LOVED and no longer have the recipe for, but have NEVER been able to recreate. Or, remembering times when we would somehow end up on my parents king size bed laughing and tickling each other. Did that really happen? I know it did, but with so much time that has passed I often wonder, was there one time when that happened, or was it many times that created my memory?

We all have a part of us that sugar coats the bad aspects of life. Often over time we forget the bad parts. The ones that made us cry, or feel horrible about ourselves, or alone. There are times when I make a nice creme brulee shell over the painful parts of my childhood, and others show the raw memories of abuse and abandonment. Which is why I related so much to what Jenny says here:

“He quietly said (as if to himself) that the memories of the places we’d been before were always more golden-tinted in retrospect than they had ever been at the time, and I nodded, surprised that he’d known more than he’d let on. He was right, but I didn’t know if that made it better or worse. Was it worse to be homesick for a time that was once home, but now lived only in your own mind … or to be homesick for a place that never really existed at all?” 103-104

I think my homesickness comes as a picture of what I dreamed a family and home life could have been. When I miss my parents and my family together, it is more from telling myself what it would be like to still have parents that are alive. Parents that I can call up when I am having a hard day, or when I needs some words of advice. Honestly though, my parents were never really those kinds of parents. Maybe I feel that way because they passed on when I was so young, that I had to move on with my life without having them fill the roles of advice giver, supporter, and nurturer. In the end, my imagination of what my relationship could have been if they were alive is what makes me homesick.

Does that mean I am “homesick for a place that never really existed at all?”

ah memories: my maroon bike with banana seat!