Today is my birthday. Two years ago I timed contractions at a baseball game, terrifying everyone around me. One year ago was my deadline for finishing my project. Today I sit at my kitchen table while both of my children nap. Instead of napping myself, I decided I owe you an explanation. After all, you’ve been nice to me all this time and seemed to express genuine interest in my little blogging experiment. What a sweetheart.
I finished my 27 Things. I am happy to talk to you about the final seven. But as I started writing about them, I felt like mine was another useless voice clogging up the Internet. I didn’t feel funny. I didn’t feel charming or thought-provoking or relatable or any of the things I aimed to be. So I stopped.
Also I got super pregnant.
It’s just been a tricky nine months.
After Thing 20 broke America, I had this “I’m stupid. You’re stupid. This is all stupid.” attitude that I’m happy to say has finally lifted. This was compounded by my final attempt to change my oil. If I was writing this fresh from the experience, I would include dramatic details about hitting my car’s undercarriage with a wrench and crying and feeling quite confidently that a woman can do anything she wants except be president or change her oil. But time makes us forget such details and my misadventure seems a bit less dramatic.
I ended up taking my car to my regular shop. The mechanic came out and asked who had been working on my car. I shrugged and said “Just you” with a smile, confirming my suspicions that I should have at least dabbled in theater. He said the oil pan plug had been tightened so tight that they were struggling to get it off with their hydraulic man machine (my words, not his) and that they would need to order a new plug (presumably one that hadn’t been stripped). With the extra hour added to my wait time, I walked to the closest grocery store and bought a dozen mini cupcakes and ATE THEM IN THE PARKING LOT. This wouldn’t be such a big deal except I was on Day 9 of a Whole30, which was supposed to be Thing 22 (after finally changing my oil was Thing 21). I continued feeling like everything was stupid including an earlier challenge to not buy new clothes. There was definitely a crying-into-a-bag-of-donuts-in-the-Lululemon-parking-lot episode. I wallowed in my failures, certain nothing mattered.
…it’s been a tricky nine months.
I have a daughter now. A baby girl. I still can’t believe it. I started this project concerned about being a proper role model for my son. Now I am trying to be a person worthy of my daughter’s admiration. I can’t fathom how to go about doing that. I’ve failed so many times already and she’s 18 days old.
Her names mean “battle ready” and “renowned fighter.” That’s what I want for her—when she fails, for her stand back up and be ready to fight the next battle. No wallowing. No self-pity. No stopping at the donut store on the way (but definitely do that after the battle to celebrate).
This project taught me about my reactions to failure. I don’t handle it well, probably because I rarely give myself the opportunity to fail. But I’ve felt myself changing over the past year. I’ve had terrifying conversations with close family and friends that I think I would have been too scared to initiate. I hesitate less to try something new. I speak up more when something truly bothers me. I’m learning to stand up for myself and for my family. I’ve grown bolder, ballsier, maybe even a little bit of a B word. I still mess up a lot, but like I hope Rafe and Matilda see, I can get back up and try again. Try harder. Try differently.
Thank you for tagging along with me as I learned all these things. Forgive me for the extreme delay and cliff hanger. Call me if you have a flat tire. But if your oil needs changed, I am not your girl.
Maybe my daughter will be.