I think I’m going through something over here. I don’t know what it is – but it. is. a. struggle. at the Laplante household. Usually when things feel like this, I try to attribute it to something that has a defined amount of time to make myself feel better, like, “Oh this is just the summer,” or “Man when is 2017 going to be over,” but right now it just feels like a day to day climb. Like yesterday, when I pulled away from the gas pump with the nozzle still attached to my car. Or this past weekend! When I tried to dye my dirty blond hair back to a darker brown and instead turned it FIRE ENGINE RED. Or this afternoon, when the Cumberland Farms cashier noted she liked my top, which is actually a dress, which was the moment I realized it was (waaaaaay) too short.
I went to Rockport with my family a few weeks ago and gave $5 to a woman to read my palm – which I do on (depressed) occasion – to the same woman, who never remembers me, which I find annoying even though really – I’m like a half hour of her entire year. Last summer she said I’d have another baby, and the summer before she predicted my pending marriage to my then-love, but this summer, the first thing she said, while my doubts settled in and she took my hand was, “You’re a writer.” When I gave her a skeptical look, because what, and she saw the doubt covering my face, she said, “I don’t know what kind of writer, but you put your thoughts and feelings into words in a way that people understand.”
And then I fell in love with her.
Sure, she then told me I needed a protective stone for $35 (I’m a sucker but a broke one right now so I didn’t buy it) and that my aura was very murky (and it DOES feel murky you guys!) and needed an additional $30 cleanse, but she at least provided a little comfort and a reminder that I had not yet reported out on my summer vacation. Top 3:
I looked for a summer love and found a summer love: Somewhere around May, I want to be in (new) love. Every year. It happens in November too – I think it’s the pending summer or holidays and the thought of being able to hold hands with someone that is as excited to hold hands with you as you are with them. Also though, probably something scientific that I don’t understand. (Like my need to fulfill my palm reader predictions of future babies). About three weeks into the summer, though, I was in the car with Anna running somewhere, and we were talking – like two people talk to each other, and laughing, like two people that like each other laugh, and I realized the mother-daughter dynamics had shifted a little, and although I was still too impatient and she still knows absolutely everything before I say it and I am still so embarrassing and we still both slammed doors 100 times (mostly me, sigh), we were having so much fun with each other. And in the quiet moments, we hugged, and watched movies, and made pizza, and went for tea, and walks, and ate dinner at the beach after a long day, and sometimes, when she knew it was certain that no one was paying attention, we held hands.
I looked for a way to stop feeling guilty: I don’t know if there is one, but I’m hopeful I’m on my way to finding it, and hoping that writing it here will put it out into the universe in a way that will help. There is no end to the guilt of the summer of 2017. My boundaries, level of exhaustion, parenting, worth ethic and ability to function in high-stress situations were tested this summer more than they have been in a long time. In my head – I didn’t spend enough time with Anna, didn’t work hard enough, I wasn’t a good enough friend, or good person all around. In reality – I ignored texts, didn’t reply to emails, showed up late, didn’t show up at all, forgot birthdays, and forgot what direction I was going in, a thousand times over. At what seemed like the culmination of the ridiculousness, I had the most dramatic fight with one of my coworkers, on stage, of course, – ending with him yelling “DON’T DO IT THEN!” and my responding “FINE!” and then attempting to storm out of the theatre, tripping over an extension cord and realizing as I attempted to slam the door that it wouldn’t slam – it has one of those response systems that won’t allow it to – and then barely making it to the parking lot before I burst into tears, at the same time that my coworker burst into laughter on the other side of the building – both of us realizing how utterly ridiculous the last 10 minutes had been. What I realized, though – or realize now that the dust has settled, is that I have to figure out out my balance. How to take care of myself, my family, give love to my friends, work hard, and draw my boundaries. And then, when I lay down at night, let the *fuck* go of the guilt, no matter what category it happens to fall in.
It doesn’t do anything anyway, besides wake up me at 3am in a sweat.
I looked to give a little (too much) leg: A large part of this summer was utter chaos. Most days, I could barely remember where I was, where Anna was, and how we were supposed to get to the end of the day. For some reason (because I took it from her, that’s why) I had my coworkers credit card, and she needed it to go get supplies for something – but this need happened while I was in the middle of Market Square, on Market Square Day, which meant half of downtown Portsmouth was shut down. We agreed I would stand at the corner of one of the closed off streets and she would slow down in the line of traffic on the one open street I was near so I could run over and hand it to her. I waited for what seemed like forever until her van pulled up to the stoplight – and for some reason (because I think I’m hilarious, that’s why) I proceeded to stand in the road and pull my skirt up, showing my leg a la It Happened One Night as she pulled up.
What I didn’t realize as I stepped off the curb and lifted my skirt, was that my coworker was not the only one to drive a grey van that would be downtown on Market Square Day. Also, there could be grey vans chock full of teenage boys. Also, there could be a cop watching the exchange.
Also, I don’t look anything like Claudette Colbert, especially after half a day in the blazing hot sun passing out pamphlets.
Just like a creepy, sweaty 39 year-old woman hitting on a car of teenage boys.
So. My lessons from the summer.
1) No matter what you’re looking for, summer love can come in different forms than a lover.
2) Look for ways to let go of the guilt, and
3) Unless you’re looking to get arrested, keep your skirt down, because that van is filled with teenage boys.