and then realize 20 minutes later that this is just life and I need not be a drama queen about it.
In my defense, I didn’t start the day thinking anything was happening. It all started when my aunts suggested I read Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties. A request I initially scoffed at like “Psst, I’m not having a quarter life crisis.” After talking to my friend, it became ”I’m not having a quarter life crisis… am I?” But then I kept coming back to “I’m not having a quarter life crisis.” and the definitive “I’m just (grad school) broke.” But for twenty minutes, I had a mini quarter life crisis wondering if I was actually in the middle of an actual one and didn’t get it. I don’t feel like I’m going crazy. This isn’t a crisis, this is life.
Anyway, my friend described her quarter life, which was acting crazy for her (and embarrassingly normal for me). The drinking, the partying, the ahem… yeah that’s what I normally call Summer Eva and that’s how I have spent most of the summers of my adult life. My friend described how her friends had to stage an intervention and how she was so angry because she didn’t think anything was wrong then, but now, she looks back and calls shenanigans. I commented that if I ever had a quarter life crisis it was right after college and I coped with it in all kinds of bad ways, but the worst was men. I did a fairly good job of concealing it (if you didn’t read my xanga, which most of my friends didn’t), so no one knew how out of control my behavior had become and no one staged an intervention to bring my back to myself, mainly because no one knew… or I guess even if they did, they didn’t think it was that out of character. And now, I find people encourage that behavior because it’s fun. But that’s a different post.
Then I talked to Jose, who very knowingly said something to the effect of “No you’re not having a quarter life crisis, stupid. Now get to writing.” This snapped be back to reality. I realized (remembered?) that I wasn’t having a quarter life crisis just as easily as I had dismissed it earlier. I am not in a crisis, not even financially even though I complain about it all the time. It’s more that I’m at a crossroad. At this point in my academic career, I have so many options, it’s a little scary – but not crisis scary. More of an exciting-and-I’m-lucky-to-have-this-”problem” scary. What my friends have started to call “first world problems.”
I’m guessing it’s because I have so many options that it looks like I’m out of control. There’s nothing wrong with options in my opinion. I know my boss and family would probably sleep easier if I would just commit to a path, but that’s never been my way. That doesn’t mean I’m in a crisis, it means I’m embracing an opportunity. I’m taking my time making a really important decision that has multiple right answers. I’m taking some pretty major risks, but I’ve always done that. Even when I’m acting crazy, I’ve always landed on my feet. Maybe I’ve tumbled a little upon hitting the ground, but I’ve always been able to dust myself off and get back up again. That’s what life is about.
This weekend my mother came down to help me declutter and to stage my apartment so I can get (yet another) roommate. I figured it would be all work and no play since I have a ton of stuff and we hadn’t planned any activities. In fact, I felt bad that all we could do is hang out with each other. But it turns out that was exactly what we both needed. We actually ended up chilling way more than working but it was so fun. Some of my best friends came down to hang out with my mom or just meet her for the first. We ate well, we drank a lot. We watched rom coms and talked about happiness and our dreams for the future. When it was done, I realized that this was easily the best weekend I’ve had all year and runner up for the most fun I’ve ever had in New York.
And it was all so simple. And that is so awesome. Just spending time with people that you love, that’s what it’s all about. And that’s what I love about New York. It’s not the night life or the shops; it’s that most of my favorite people in the entire world are here. And that it’s close enough for my mom, another one of my favs, to come down for the weekend.
And when it was over, something very strange happened. I missed my mom. Like really missed her. It was more strange considering I had just seen her the weekend before and I can very easily see her this weekend. I can talk to her all the time, in fact, I do. But after this weekend, I missed her. I still do.
But back to the subject at hand, this weekend reminded me that is really is all about the simple things. What a pleasant reminder.
Now honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about this film. On the one hand, I’m glad there is a film portraying how young women feel when their fathers aren’t around. And I really like that he shows the fathers how they make their daughters feel and I’m hoping the filmmaker tries to connect the father and daughter in the end. But what I do not like is a full minute of daughter’s crying, breaking completely down to get the point across. I think it is crazy exploitiative to have a film full of children crying and asking why their father doesn’t love them. And most, if not every, documentary of fatherlessness that I’ve seen uses this.
I am not saying that it’s not painful and that children don’t feel this way. I know they do because I used to feel that way. But there’s a fine line between showing a painful experience and exploiting it. I feel the same way about the documentary Dark Girls which only shows the most hurt of all darker women and portrays this idea that all dark women feel ugly and less than.
For fatherlessness documentaries, I agree that is important to show that it hurts children. I think it is also important to show that it doesn’t have to destroy them. Growing up without a father does not have to be a life sentence of pain, poverty or loneliness. Even if you don’t have a surrogate father to give you what you think a father should have given or taught you does not mean that you can’t have or learn certain things. Thus far in my interviews with adult women who have grown up without their fathers, there’s this profound sense of loss. This feeling that fathers hold a secret to love and to life and that they will never learn them because their father wasn’t there. And because they never learned it, they accept all kinds of grief in their lives because they believe they’ve missed out on some special gift, for lack of a better word, that only a father can give.
That’s not true. And that’s what I see in this film and it makes me sad. Yes, I think it is important. I will most likely support it financially and tell people to watch it. But I hope in the future, these types of documentaries will evolve and show that while it is painful, it is not the end of the world. You can grow up fatherless and be successful and happy and feel loved.
I’m not quite sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way I lost myself. I lost my muchness.
There’s a scene in the remake of Alice in Wonderland when the Mad Hatter meets up again with Alice and notices that she’s different. She’s afraid and she’s not who she used to be. He tells her, “You used to be much muchier. You’ve lost your muchness.” I know, it’s a child’s movie and a silly scene, but lately that’s how I’ve begun to feel about myself.
When I was younger, I was a character. I did my own thing and didn’t care what anyone thought about it. I was myself. And then something happened, I’m not quite sure. From then I began to doubt myself and my abilities. And I became scared of everything – success, failure, trying. And it was sad. And it was exhausting. And I am tired of it.
So join me as I try to regain my muchness again and become that cool kid I know I am.