Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some Stuff Should Stay Buried

Something I just remembered: when I was young there were certain things I was convinced I was going to do every single day when I finally achieved adulthood. Item the first: buy candy. Man! In my head, I was going to be buying so much fucking candy! I didn't understand why adults weren't constantly rolling into stores . They had all that money! Item the second: I was going to dress myself. And when I say "dress myself," I mean "attire myself in the traditional ethnic costumes of the world," because I used to love the parade of nations they had during the Miss Universe pageants. I had a whole plan for my Grown Up working Lady's Wardrobe. Like, Monday I would dress up like Miss Ecuador, and Tuesday would be Miss Kenya; Wednesday is Miss Russian Steppes day or something...I don't know. I didn't actually plan it out in that much detail. I just thought that the minute I hit eighteen and left the cruel tyrannical fiefdom of my playa-hating parents, I was going to be eating so much candy and wearing so many folk costumes.

Those [blessed, merry] few of you who read this and are parents: how do you decide how much self-expression to allow your kids? I mean, you have to see them doing stuff some times and think, Yes, that's my baby. That's who he/she is. And you see their little personality forming their choices and tastes and it's cool, right? Even though the thing they're currently expressing is bullshit? I'm just wondering, because I have been thinking about having children and I wondering what to do if I have a dork, nutball, insane dumbass like I was as a kid.

I don't know what triggered that memory yesterday, but there it is; at one point in my loser adolescence, I was obsessed with clothes. Not particularly notable for a girl-child in the promised land, I agree. But the point is, I a)had no taste and b) came from a working-class family* so I couldn't afford any of the things I actually wanted to wear. I dressed out of KMart and Goodwill, mostly. And I was aware that this marked me, in the same way that my giant Sally Jessy Raphael-glasses marked me, and my overwhelming need to talk about Doctor Who marked me, and a whole host of other unfortunate unmentionables marked me [I'm not talking Wasp Factory stuff here, so don't get excited].

So anyway, I watch these shows like My Super Sweet 16 [actually, I watch the Spanish-language version, Quiero Mi Quinces, because that shit is way better] and I wonder if maybe, if I grew up in a ridiculously wealthy family and had only semi-involved parents...would I have been able to realize my dream of dressing like a one-woman "We Are the World" video but without waiting until I was an adult?!

Sometimes I think about those things.

* we were a military family. We weren't poor, but we certainly didn't have any money. My mom worked two jobs for as long as I can remember


Mrs. Swank said...

When I was a kid, I always wanted to get Cookie Crisp cereal, but my Mom (being the responsible parent that she was) would never buy it. So I bought a box my first or second year in college ...

... and it was awful :).

You know, if you're going to give it a name like that, the least you can do is make it taste like cookies!

thptpth said...

I already have the nerdiest kid on the planet. Apparently KB the supernerd and Caroline the ultranerd have given birth to MEGA nerd boy.

And it's all good.

I personally could not give less of a shit about some of the things he's interested in (see also: Cars, Vehicles in General, the inner workings of the toilet) but I'm glad he's interested in something.

I think the thing to keep in mind is that ALL kids are dork, nutball, insane dumbasses about SOMETHING, it's just that some of them, based on the feedback they get from their parents and the world at large, learn how to cover up, stifle, suppress and smother those interests/urges better than others.

Aaaaaaand then some of them grow up and post about them on the internet.