I typed my maiden name into a form on a webpage and it looked odd sitting beside my first. Foreign and out of place. It was like when you catch a whiff of something and are sure you know the smell, but can’t remember from what. My fears have been affirmed. You see, I was reluctant to change it in the first place. It actually took me almost 3 years. Changing my name felt a lot like giving up, like defeat. I love my history, loved my life. I didn’t need a new one to bury the old; I was hoping they could coexist. But my daughter was born a Longstreet, and I wanted to be as much like her as possible. She is ultimate goals, so I made the swap. I stopped fighting the battle to be me before them.
Kenny, Tim, Garth… if I close my eyes and they’re on the radio, I’m just a girl getting ready for a date at the Olive Garden. Whenever someone orders Southern Comfort or Jagermeister, I’m in the middle of a corn field drunk on brown liquor and a high school basketball star’s love. When a mix tape emerges in my car, I’m driving solo to and from college. I’m transplanted to a time when the only thing in my backseat was 7 pairs of high heels. They’ve since been replaced by crumbs and a carseat; it just takes a glance in my rearview to remind me how you can sit in the same seat but be somewhere completely different.
Those old songs on the radio have me missing boys that aren’t my husband, boys I don’t really love. But my heart aches the most for a girl with tan skin and brown hair. If a genie gave me 3 wishes, one would put me right back next to her. Right next to 17 year old me. Wild and free rushing towards the future, with no idea how much she’d miss the past.
Love bears the biggest responsibility of all. Its byproducts are permanent: marriage, children, and family. Now I know why parents tremble when their teenagers speak of it. I know firsthand it has the power to derail dreams, talent, and careers. Sometimes it takes hold before you have a chance to figure any of that out.
They don’t ever tell you about the unique longing that comes with marriage and children. That a storybook life isn’t free of want, for a past life that you just can’t quite tap into. That you wouldn’t trade what you’ve built for what you were born into, but the right lyric can send you reeling. Send you searching.
The autonomy of the past can’t be simulated with a girls’ weekend or a spa day. And what’s this illusive spa day you all speak of? Who is spending an entire day at the spa, this must be a 1% thing. Every 6 months I spend 45 minutes and $35 dollars on a pedicure that feels more like a punishment than a reward. I leave with bleeding cuticles and a heightened anxiety about fungal infections.
And an entire weekend away from my kid? That sounds amazing. Except that I’d miss her? Kids are really annoying that way. Trust me, I want nothing more than to free myself of her white cheddar encrusted claws, but she owns me. I’ve Googled flights, but I can’t seem to pull the trigger. I’ve found I’m more comfortable repeatedly talking about how glorious a girls weekend away would be, rather than actually being away. What’s the use in taking your body somewhere if you leave behind your mind.
And who doesn’t love the idea of being desired? I wish someone would look at me like my daughter looks at a bag of flavor blast Goldfish. Being hit on by another guy is so appealing until it actually happens. It always ends with the same conclusion; these are the people electing our officials huh?
My husband doesn’t have to worry about me going out because it just results in me running back into his arms with an exaggerated appreciation for who he is. Call me harsh but does everyone really suck this much? Within 5 minutes I’m always arguing with someone about gun control (BTW, no one wants to take your guns away… that’s not a thing. Please finish your Gentlemen Jack, leave your less than 20% tip, and move along so the bartender and I can lock eyes and be engulfed by a sense of relief). Or the conversation will inevitably lead to a discourse on marriage and their unfavorable opinion of it. Which is an odd hand to play, cause you know… talking to a married girl. But I guess I am writing this blog about how I wish I was 21 again, maybe this is just a very roundabout thank you note to the men in bars that make me realize how badly I don’t want to be 21 again. The end?
Or maybe this is a letter to young girls reminding them to appreciate having nowhere to be. A letter to women who are carrying around their whole hearts, pieces of it aren’t yet resting in cribs and twin sized beds, or traveling in the morning commute. Those pieces magnetizing you home, to wherever they are. Slow down, enjoy the days with boys who won’t be as good as your husband. Embrace thinking of only yourself, even if it’s for just a little while longer.
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