I mentioned to Ted my feeling that I’ve gotten worse with age, that I’ve become this terribly selfish, self-centered, cold, crabby person who spends most of her time being a hater.
“You’ve never been the warmest fish.”
Have you ever noticed how, when you’re driving and you let go of the steering wheel for a second, your car will start to drift slightly? Apparently your car’s not really supposed to do this, but I’ve found that even one that’s been going straight can have a natural inclination to the left or right if you let go of the wheel.
More and more, I feel like that’s how I am: Like if I don’t keep a tight grip on the metaphorical steering wheel of my behavior, my personality will naturally trend toward who I really am. Which wouldn’t be an issue if drifting toward the real me were the equivalent of edging slightly into the next lane. But lately, it seems the real me is instead more of a sharp veering off the road, through two lanes of traffic and into a storefront window advertising 5-cent copies and 24-hour laminating services.
My mother once confided that what she had always wished for her kids was that my brother would be successful and rich in his chosen career… and that I would marry a loving, wealthy man who would take care of me.
“How come you didn’t wish for me to have a successful career so that I could get rich on my own?” I asked.
“Oh.” The question genuinely seemed to surprise her. “I don’t know… I guess it never occurred to me.”
This is not to say that I was discouraged from excelling at school, attending college or finding gainful employment after graduating. My mom, after all, is a Tiger Mom, and me doing poorly academically or with my post-college endeavors would no doubt have reflected badly upon her, and that would have been unacceptable. But whatever excellence I may have been able to attain on my own, apparently my parents would never have been able to rest easy had I not found a spouse who would provide for his little woman.