I just caught myself internally mommy-talking to the onion rings I pulled out of the oven. I left them in a bit too long and, as I peeled them off the pan, I realized that my thoughts were saying things like, “It’s okay, onion rings, mommy’s here, I won’t let you burn…” It’s possible I need to grab an hour of kid-free time tomorrow. Or maybe a month would be more sufficient.
This is actually not a post about my totally out of control onion rings habit.
A couple of weeks ago I complained to Ryan about something meaningless and he responded, “Go cry me a Pocahontas river.” For those of you who haven’t known me since I was 15, this is a VERY UNLOVING reference to the fact that as a teenager, I watched Disney’s Pocahontas and cried at the end. Or it’s possible I wept.
Not to shock you, but I am actually no longer a fan of Pocahontas. This incident, however, got me thinking about things that I spent my younger days loving but that now seem wildly un-Corinne.
For example, as a teenager, I thought I loved musicals. As an adult, I now know that I enjoy going to see live musicals but that’s about all I can handle because I find breaking into song for the purpose of narration (“I’m putting the dishes! In the dishwasher! Because they need to be cleeeeaaaaaannnneeeeeeedddd!!!!”) supremely obnoxious. I actually watched Glee for awhile, but stopped when I realized that I hated all the parts where people sang. Which is like 85% of the show.
Sometimes I feel embarrassed when I think of things like this because I fee like maybe I should’ve known that feeling so many emotions about John Smith’s departure would embarrass me later. Which is like embarrassment on top of embarrassment, like that story “The Princess and the Pea.” But instead of piles of mattresses there are piles of cinematic shame. And instead of a pea there’s a tiny kernel of what’s left of my dignity. THIS IS DEFINITELY THAT DRAMATIC.
So all the musicals and the Pocahontas started a thought avalanche that ended with thinking about things I used to think were true about myself that seem totally ridiculous now. Put together, these things are called “TIDKAMUIWWTO,” which obviously stands for “Things I Didn’t Know About Myself Until I Was Way Too Old.”
1. I AM NOT LAID BACK
Some of you will straight up “lol” at the thought of me being super chill about life, and really, I have no idea why I thought I was laid back. Perhaps it was a complete lack of understanding of what being an adult would be like. I had some vague idea that as soon as I turned 18, or maybe 21, one of my inner gnomes would flip some sort of switch labeled “adult” and I’d suddenly be as confident and self-assured as the adults I saw on commercials, prancing around in their business suits while their armpits stayed fresh or their maxi pads weren’t leaking.
I definitely expected I would eventually achieve sort of a “Santa’s coming!!!” type feeling about life – childlike excitement coupled with some type of incredible talent (like building rocking horses out of furniture or eating syrup on my spaghetti noodles) that would ensure I would maintain a blissfully happy, I-can-buy-all-the-My-Little-Ponies-I-want state.
At the time I was, in fact, aware that I was not the most relaxed child or adolescent. But I assumed that would all change when I finally made it to the Magic Land of Adulthood – a place where I could stay up super late, drive my very own car, and eat peanut M&Ms whenever I wanted to. Because everyone knows that people with unlimited access to peanut M&Ms cannot possibly have anything to worry about.
When I finally reached this blessed destination, I’m pleased to report that the Magic Land of Adulthood offered me many peanut M&Ms – but then it was like, “Pay these bills! Spend exorbitant sums of money on car repairs! You want to stay up late? Don’t worry – your baby is about to wake up and scream in your face for hours, then poop himself 30 seconds after you last changed his diaper!” Dang, Adulthood. You are kind-of a big a-hole.
Now while I have most certainly taken advantage of the incredible accessibility of peanut M&Ms, as it happens I am more or less the same anxious, inflexible, must-do-everything-right-so-as-not-to-be-overcome-by-guilt Corinne I always was. Except the adult version has fairly healthy gums, stretch marks, and now gets to actually say things like, “No, sweetie, I don’t think Optimus Prime has a penis” on a pretty regular basis.
2. I DO NOT HAVE SUPERIOR SOCIAL SKILLS
Maybe it’s because I compared myself to door-to-door Mormon missionaries or kids I knew who were homeschooled, but I thought my social skills were unmatched. I was pretty sure that if there was a conversation to be had, I would grab my sword and slay it, like how He-Man slayed things with the power of Greyskull.
This terrible fallacy hit home one morning at church. I approached a girl I know-ish, standing in line for coffee. After two minutes or so of some pretty painful small talk, she turned her body ever so slightly toward the coffee line and ever so slightly away from me. Totally failing to notice this common social cue, I plunged ahead, saying something stimulating like, “So…work is good?” When she turned back to look at me, her face was like, “Oh – are we still talking?”
That was when I realized I might not be the He-Man of social skills. I might be more like the Skeletor, who was probably only evil because he was socially awkward and couldn’t figure out when to stop having conversations with people.
3. I AM NOT MATURE FOR MY AGE
Growing up, people were always telling me how “mature” I was for my age. I am pretty sure I gave people this impression because I wasn’t much of a miscreant. I was real chatty, but besides that I pretty much always got good grades and did what I was told.
Unfortunately, this was more a comment on my personality type rather than any mark of some form of advanced maturity. Doing the “wrong” things made me feel guilty and didn’t give me nearly as much satisfaction as doing the “right” things…so most of the time, I did what felt better, and in the process I guess I made it look like I was miles ahead of my peers.
But mistaking my do-gooder-ness for maturity is what my writing textbooks call a “post hoc fallacy,” which is basically where you make totally crap connections, such as: “At 12:30pm, I watched Golden Girls. At 12:45pm, I began to feel nauseated. Therefore, watching Golden Girls nauseates me,” which might be true, but you also left out loads of relevant facts, like you had Taco Time for lunch or heard Justin Bieber sing.
(Using “post hoc fallacy” in my blog makes me look like the smartest girl EVER. Plus, it increases my chance of actually remembering what that means by a solid 1%.)
A lack of grown-up skillz might strike you as the stupidest problem ever, but thinking I was so mature all those years was stifling. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know you have, right? Like, if Vanilla Ice was all like, “Hey Corinne, if you got a problem, yo, I’ll solve it,” I would’ve been like, “Go get your fades re-shaved, Vanilla Ice, ’cause I don’t need your help.” You see what I’m saying? Vanilla Ice was totally going to help me achieve greater maturity, which by the way I desperately needed, and I would’ve refused Vanilla Ice. It doesn’t get much lower than that.
Oh man, I could make this lost much longer, and if you want me to I’d be willing to consider it…but maybe you could tell me something embarrassing about yourself that you figured out after you entered the Magic Land of Adulthood.
You know what was a good surprise about this magical land, though? ESPRESSO.