It’s true, much as I hate to admit it, I’m never going to be King. Not Virginia Woolf, not Laura Ingalls Wilder. Not even a princess. And really, that’s just fine. A quiet life is appealing. But a silent one?
When I first began thinking of putting a blog together, my original idea was to have a collaborative blog, women of somewhat varying ages and perspectives, focusing on the differences between what we thought our adult lives would be, and what they are. That idea never got beyond early planning stages, and eventually I started Mrs Fringe.
But due to some recent happenings in the lives of friends, and the never ending brain crunching non-happenings in my own life, I’m thinking about those early ideas again. Specifically, the life I’m living and the Grand Canyon that separates it from the life I thought I would have. While I won’t deny I have a vivid imagination, not all of my scenarios involved a crown and scepter. I never actually thought I would become rich, never thought I would live in a palace, never thought I would lie on a bed of thornless roses. Of course, I’m allergic to roses, so that one might not be fair.
But I also never imagined having to worry quite this much about finances, when I’m not living a life of extravagance. I never imagined not having a little area for myself for writing (I think I weaned on A Room of One’s Own). I never imagined I’d be living a life at 40,000 years old where I would never, ever, ever have a day off. I never imagined I would be trapped in New York, between finances and familial obligations.
I never imagined a family of five where each of the five would have such totally, completely separate needs. I know, we’re all individuals. I value that fact, Husband and I were never the type of couple that were on the phone 58 times a day when we weren’t together, I’ve tried to raise my children to value their individuality. But I didn’t think, in the twenty first century, with all the societal and personal awareness, that I would lose my own self in the process. Sheesh, I feel like a damned ’70’s cliche just re-reading that sentence. Should I go find myself? In a consciousness raising group sitting on someone’s shag carpet, drinking dandelion wine.
So now what? I write, and that’s good for me. It feels good, and part of me still believes–or at least wants to believe– there’s hope of publication at some point. But I can’t live inside my head all the time. It isn’t productive for any of my roles, and frankly, it isn’t all that fun. I’ve thought about drinking more regularly, but I’m not very good at it. One drink and I’m buzzed, in between one and two and I’m looped, useless; a full two and it’s get-out-of-my-way-I-need-my-bed!
I’m a grown up. I have a family, I have obligations, I have a budget. There is no magic answer, magic solution. But there has to be a way to make something better, at least try.
Virginia Woolf said, “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” Is it still true? I don’t think silent lives are truly silent, they’re sirens and songs no one hears.