How I Scare Myself

I baked muffins this morning and am sewing my daughter’s Halloween costume. I kissed my husband on the way out the door to his office job. I get breakfast ready for my child and one of her playmates, who I feed and take to school each morning for a little extra cash. Later this morning, I will be preparing all the games and prizes and craft supplies for my daughter’s class Halloween party tomorrow.

I’m freaking myself out – the domestic devil has risen. I feel like I need a cigarette and a large quantity of unboxed red wine to wash the taste of suburbia away. I completely understand why 1950s housewives sometimes lived on valium and cheap martinis. I would embrace those choices fully, if not for a few saving graces.

I’m wrapping up the job description and transition plan for the job I am leaving. It’s a bittersweet project, but reminds me of all the things I am capable of doing. Tomorrow, I am meeting Caitlin Kelly of the Broadside Blog for coffee. She’s an experienced, sophisticated freelance writer and author, in town for a presentation at the University of Minnesota. I will be ripping apart my wardrobe to find clothing that does not smack of mom jeans and the unwashed heathen I’ve become, working from home and being a parent these last few years. All my Talbot’s business clothes were dispensed with long ago and I admit, my fashion sense goes more to the “will it show dirt?” mentality these days.

National Novel Writing Month starts in a few days. I am completely prepared, if by “completely prepared” I mean that I know the first word will be “The”. Once all the Halloween hullabaloo is over with, my work plan completed and my mind unburdened, I look forward to throwing myself wholeheartedly into writing to my heart’s content. Until I can’t – and have to drag the words, kicking and screaming, out of my brain. Still, it’s a shiny, new thing for me to do. It should keep my attention for a full day or two.

I could have never imagined my life this way – a life of choice, variety, challenges and being needed by causes and people better than all my decadent impulses. Some days it scares the hell out of me, as if it’s a life that belongs to someone else, and I am an imposter waiting to be found out. Most days I’m really too damned busy to think about it.

Have a Happy Halloween!

35 thoughts on “How I Scare Myself

  1. I am feeling unprepared for NaNo as well. Love your writing style! I can relate to your humor and whirlwind of mom-stuff to do!


  2. What’s your NaNOWriMo handle? I’m right there with you, except I don’t have “mommy jeans” anymore. I do have the Haynes sweat pant collection in a variety of colors 🙂
    Great post, and always, scary real!


    1. MMJayne is my NNWM handle (< getting even lazier with that acronym!). I did manage a transition from Hanes sweats to an unending collection of black yoga pants – jammies, workout clothes – very versatile! Thanks for reading. Now, can you tell me how to sew a damned hood to a shirt? That kid is going in a pillowcase with a head and arm holes cut out.


  3. You pick out clothes like I pick out flooring: Will it show dirt? Actually, I pick out clothes that way too :o)


  4. Stand back, take a deep breath, and gather it all in to your heart. You are a fortunate imposter, if you even are one at all. Good luck with that experienced and sophisticated lady; your resilience and insight should balance well against those two attributes.


        1. Hah – I was trying to figure that out last night – I’m thinking of starting another blog just for the novel. Today I am letting most of my friends know that I am doing it so they can help keep me encouraged and accountable.


  5. I think everyone gets flashes of that kind. The ‘oh my, is this really my life?’ moments. I know I do. I think it’s totally normal and healthy – our choices wouldn’t be sound if we didn’t stop to question them and really think about them. I know I miss my hedonistic city lifestyle of old, but honestly, I’m happier in my small town ways.

    I’m keen on Nanowrimo for tomorrow (being from Australia, I’m also slightly in the future!) I too choose to use the method of ‘No Plans, No Idea.’ Hopefully it works out for me!

    Best of luck!


    1. It reminds me of that Talking Heads song “Once in a Lifetime”. I appreciate my life, but it was never in the landscape of my imagination. I can’t remember what actually was, but then, I used to drink a lot.

      Good luck tomorrow – lead the way, my friend! I’ll be straggling 1,667 words behind you!


      1. Synchronicity: I just heard that song this morning on the radio!

        It’s funny how differently people can see the elephant. For the short time I was married, my constant thought was, “Wow, I finally made it. I have some aspect of a normal life.” It made me feel more… human, part of the club. Maybe the grass is always greener, but standing outside the bakery window looking in seems the harder fate.

        Now, in a movie, a magic statue would cause us to switch lives somehow only to discover the true value of the lives we already had. (Why can’t that ever happen in the real world? Why can’t bad people ever have those Twilight Zone experiences that scare them into being better people?)


        1. I do suspect it’s just as an intrinsic part of human nature to see the grass as greener elsewhere, as it is to feel like an outsider. Like any other skill, learning to appreciate where we are, staying in the moment, seems to be key.

          Your movie comment reminded me of “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Carol”. Same concept and outcome, but one was good and the other started out mean and miserly.


  6. The best posts start with “The” so I’m thinking you’re on the right track! 🙂
    And you’re living the life I intend to be living in the next year or two. In the mean time, I’ll live vicariously and eat these almonds at my desk. Yum.


      1. Haha! I’d be on candy patrol, too, if I hadn’t inhaled forty cough drops yesterday for this sore throat. My teeth are very angry creatures now. Why they don’t put “Don’t inhale forty of these things” on the bag is beyond. Oh, wait. It’s because most people don’t.


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