Hollywood vs. Me
I recently turned on a movie, where in the hot Hollywood Dad was telling a story to his equally gorgeous Hollywood plucky offspring, about how he met her mother and subsequently, how they fell in love and made such a perfect child.
Sounds a little dumb and I would agree with you normally, but I have a point. I promise.
It was a long winded beginning, as the camera focused on his perfect manly eyebrows and the girls engrossed look of wonderment as he started off the story with the beginning of how their lives converged.
It began with college, them being friends first, of course, finding each other spangly and awkward there, shortly followed by some in-between-finding-yourself-time. They traveled separately (cut to her in Paris studying Art History and he in Greece studying Anthropology or some shit) and grew into themselves as they miraculously became smarter and more beautiful as the time went on. How incredible. It’s like watching them in a time machine.
Next came that ever slow and humiliating crawl up the work horse ladder. The paying your dues ladder. The, I’m going to work 80 hours for you for little pay, ladder, so that you can see how meaningful hiring me as a regularly well paid employee will be. I call this the coffee fetching phase. It’s more like a monster flight of stairs, rather than a ladder. He talks about it all; how they broke up a couple times in there somewhere, but always ended up finding each other in the end. It’s amazing really, how many times can one person bump into another in such a large city.
Eventually he gets to the point in the story where they get to the serious part. They decide this is it; meeting the folks, popping the question in that cute, fumbling way he has. “I blurted it out.” He says. Calling it unromantic, but as we all get the feels from this undeniably adorable man, we know it’s the opposite. This sweet mis-opportune guy who wants to marry her so badly that he can’t get the words out.
Then they have the wedding of the century. Probably in a barn with lots of lace and homemade chalk board sayings. All the drinks are served in mason jars carved with their initials. He slow dances with her to some cheesy love song they listened to in a car once, and he so chivalrously carries her over a threshold where they have a perfect night of lovemaking ahead. Well, at least we get to see his naked shoulders. He really is very pretty.
Time to buy the house. We can’t live in the city and raise a kid! Why not!? They argue. She wins. Baby in the suburbs it is. Cut to her wearing cute overalls and painting a wall yellow. (We all know how bad paint is for a pregnancy, but it’s necessary to the montage).
Then they have this big talk one night after the baby comes. They stare at this impossible looking child, carved out by greek gods, and marvel at creation. She says it. “I can’t go back to work and leave her…”
The ladder falls.
She loses all the things she climbed for. That; up all night making airline reservations for the boss she can’t stand. For the, running errands in high heels while she tries to pay off her Ivy League education. Oh, and then there is that magical step where the boss tells her in that very pivotal moment;
“Hey. Good job kid. Ya got moxy”.
Ah. Hollywood. The only place you can use that word when it’s not 1923.
Her eyes get glowy as she fist pumps the air behind his back so he doesn’t see.
And now she’s given that up for kids. Kids who don’t let her sleep, eat, poop, drink anything while it’s still hot, or have a half decent orgasm.
As the story progressed, I found myself losing interest for the simple fact that all she did was lament over her decision. We needed to see in the end, as her dad was telling her how worth it she was to give all that up, that you should live life to be happy, not to climb some corporate ladder.
Moral of the story as a woman sees it: “Guy marries ambitious girl. Girl makes something out of herself. Girl gives it all up to be a mom. Girl is happy in her decision, and the dad tells the offspring how lucky she is that she has a mom like her. Dad in the mean time, gives up nothing.”
Not a god damn thing.
I don’t even think he loses a testicle in a bike accident. Nothing.
It was really something I could not possibly relate to. Me? I didn’t move up any crappy ladder. I simply worked jobs while my kids were small that made sense at the time.
I worked in retail, weekends, nights. Etc. I made extra money for paying the smaller bills, for the fun days we took as a family. I was lucky in that my husband climbed that ladder and didn’t have to walk away like most women had do.
Now some don’t. And that’s fine too. I just didn’t make enough money as a full time travel agent to put twins in daycare. So we made it work. I stayed home and the ladder fell. Far. In movie world we would see the visual. The mom in the beginning of the movie in her Nine West high heels and Coach bag. Cut to the yoga pants, stained t- shirt and struggle bun. Her t-shirt says something cute, like “Living the dream” with ‘whomp whomp’ music in the background.
Ha ha. Funny.
Last year my twins went to middle school and I got a day job. A real one. The youngest was in 4th grade, and for the most part the three of them were a little team. They were fairly self sufficient and I could start leaving them home for stretches of time.
I had done all the volunteering at school. I had made cupcakes and attended all things related to American Education week, Book Fair and Holiday Shop. I was present and I ate it up.
Things are different now. They didn’t need me every five seconds, and once I wrapped my head around that, I changed tack.
Because I let the ladder fall, I had to start from scratch. See, I’m a writer by trade, but that kind of job is hard to get when you don’t have any legitimate “experience” doing that. Nothing major has been published, I’m not a journalist, and I have no desire to hunt stories down. That being said, I’m applying for creative writing internships. The ladder climbing ones.
But at 40, does that makes sense? Of course it does. I mean, there is no real difference between being 20, and stopping at 30 to have kids, is there? Now I start at 40 and go to the end, yes? I’m not having anymore kids and hell, I can finally get that sports car. I may not be as hot driving it, but really, who cares.
I don’t think anyone will make a movie from this scenario, the mom who chose herself after the kids decided to be little adults that no longer need hand holding. It’s not that exciting is it? Getting married at 22, and barely having a life before pushing squawking mini-versions of myself from my wicker basket.
I don’t think they will make a movie of my life, but I’m excited for the next chapter all the same. When normal moms are winding down, I’m just getting started.
Don’t be one of those people that say it’s too late. I may not be as adorable as a Hollywood starlet, but I think I still have my overalls from the 90’s if they want them for a shot of me gardening with my flowery hat in front of my Camaro.
I mean, I’m game for that, Ryan Reynolds.
Go for it, kids….life isn’t scripted. Make your own movie, and don’t take any shit. 🙂