It's time for me to stick my face in the proverbial paint can and huff.
A few years ago, I tried to convince myself that going to the gym was a hobby. It is not. Jogging on a treadmill while watching reruns of Law & Order does not constitute "an activity done during leisure time for pleasure." It is, at best, an activity done under threat of type 2 diabetes.
I should add that I haven't been to the gym in over 2 years. Not long after I became pregnant, I decided that growing a baby directly on top of my bladder was something that must be suffered from the comfort of a bed or a warm bath or a McDonald's. And when my son arrived and all meaningful rest ended, I told myself that breastfeeding was a reasonable alternative to exercise. Like jogging, nursing my son burned calories and required a special bra. Of course, I stopped nursing my son almost 6 months ago. Nowadays, I burn calories by staying awake at night, my belly slumped on the bed beside me, and wondering why I've been cursed with a car and a washing machine and a vacuum — implements designed to efficiently run my life even as I devolve into a heap of unused muscle.
By comparison, my middle sister enjoys training for triathlons and charity runs. She eats oatmeal for breakfast and grilled chicken for lunch. She wears spandex with abandon. There are photos of her crawling out of a choppy ocean and sprinting toward an awaiting bike. I can't even step in a puddle without running home to change my shoes; I'll be damned if I would ride a bike in a soggy swim suit. Actually, I'll be damned if I would ride a bike. My point being that my sister does all of this "during leisure time for pleasure." But some people wear gimp masks and ball gags in their leisure time for pleasure. So cross triathlons off my list of possible hobbies.
You'd think I could turn to my husband for inspiration. He's a man of a million hobbies, having taken up everything from cycling to podcasting. His latest pursuit is home brewing. Plastic tubing and metal sieves are piled in the basement sink. Murky liquid bubbles inside glass jugs scattered around our laundry room. In another 2 weeks, he'll either have his first batch of porter or a chemical weapon. Aside from the clutter, I support Shelby's hobby, because I support beer. Sadly, I cannot be trusted around foodstuffs. I've memorized how to make a package of ramen noodles, but every time I try to cook in earnest, something catches fire or is served raw in the center. If I'm really on top of my game, the same something catches fires and is served raw in the center. The delicate beer fermentation process is best left to people who can at least microwave a Lean Cuisine without needing to summon the fire department. Strike beer brewing from my hobby options.
|Good luck sewing with those oven mitts on, genius.|
My cohorts in MOMS Club are no help either. As Halloween looms on the horizon like a giant, awful candy corn, talk at play group turns to costumes and crafts.
"Who's planning to order a Frozen costume this year?" asks one mom.
A collective "Me!" rises from the gathered group.
"Well," explains the first mom, "I've come up with an easy way to make your own Olaf costume. And it's cheap!"
The mamas lean in. A reverent hush falls across the room.
As crafty mom describes fabric paint and squares of felt and hot glue, I think to myself, "I'm a grown-ass woman with a credit card."
Let's get real. I have routinely used Scotch tape to fix a drooping hem. In an attempt to trim my own bangs, I once removed half of an eyebrow. I will not be making my son's Halloween costume. We will go to Target on October 30th and buy whatever outfit is left on the holiday aisle's smoldering heap. Crafting was long ago bucked from my hobby horse.
Athletics: no. Cooking: no way. Crafting: nope. Painting: no good. Woodworking: terrible idea. Music: ugh. Bird watching: what? Quilting: shut up. Listing everything that I'm no good at and feeling badly about myself: ding, ding, ding!
I hate imperfection. If a crust burns, I give up baking. If I miss a step, dancing is over. The fear of looking foolish tags along on all of my errands, on every outing. Before I had Pork Chop, that fear circumscribed my life, but it was my life. Now I have this precious, precocious toddler, a boy bursting at the seams to try it all. He's recently mastered stomping, flushing the potty, swirling his hands in the potty, and screaming "So funny!" at the top of his lungs.
Yes, I'm stumped by a needle and thread. Yes, I get nervous and squeaky when I sing. But my son doesn't care. He falls on his face a hundred times a day. He fails and fails and fails until, eventually, he gets it, or at least until he stops hurting himself. Every day, his little life expands. May it never stop expanding.
So let it be known, Internet, that, starting right now, I am going to stride boldly(ish) toward failure. Smoke detectors may sound. An ambulance may be summoned. I may be asked to put down a glue gun and back away slowly. But I could use a little more breathing room in this life of mine. It's not so much that I need to get a life, as it is that I need to get a life addition — one with space for a yoga mat or, god help us, a karaoke machine.
Normally, I like to end a post with some pithy observation or funny turn of phrase, but today I am going to end with a promise: I will try something new. Hell, I will try somethings. And I will keep you posted.
And if you see a ball of flame erupt in the skies above Alexandria, Virginia, do me a solid and call 911.