Small, Frivolous Things

There are probably a lot of things we don’t know about each other, things we keep from one another. Things we omit when discussing ourselves, even when talking with good friends over vodka martinis or bottles of Bud. At least, this is what life is like for me now, as a grown person.

However, I remember a time when there were no secrets among friends.

When I was say 12 or 13, my best friends knew everything from my obsession over Corey Hart (I wear my sunglasses at night, anyone?) to my deepest fantasy of someday marrying Chris Avery, a soccer player on my brother’s school team. My friends knew I loved Cathy but that her tendency to talk too much really bothered me. They knew that my sixth grade history teacher grated on my nerves and bored me to tears. They knew that I hated Red Rover because of that one girl in PE who was much too rough and would leave your arms burning.

As we get older, however, we talk less about those tiny, mundane secrets, especially about those girlhood fantasies and obsessions, but they are still there. For instance, I have one or two female celebrities that I swoon over sometimes. I want their hair or their figure or their cool sense of style. This might sound surprising, but it’s true. Somewhere inside, I am still 13 and possibly, for good.

Much of the time, however, this part of me is hidden or buried. I don’t want to admit to myself or the world that I’d love to spend an hour reading Cosmo or Vogue. Because I am not supposed to allow myself such frivolity. I mean, I am a college professor, and that stuff doesn’t look good on a resume: hobbies include cutting out pictures for my manifestation board, watching HGTV, and obsessing over Michelle Williams’ latest movies and haircuts. Not so impressive.

But I think these things are oh so necessary. For me, and maybe for you, these moments of perusing through knee level fashion boots and drooling over a house makeover (and for under $500) brings a sense of sanity. It’s these tiny, mundane things in the world that help me forget my troubles. And if you read my last post, you can glean that troubles are sometimes as sharp and biting as the Big Bad Wolf’s pearly white teeth.

I am allowing myself – and you – to get lost in something ridiculous or meaningless. To spend some time perusing the Internet for Game of Thrones paraphernalia (or fill in any fetish you want here). You are allowed to search for the perfect fabric for your favorite arm chair. You are allowed to read sci-fi and romance novels.

You are allowed to “let the soft animal of your body/ love what it loves,” as Mary Oliver tells us in her cherished poem, “Wild Geese.”

It’s really OK. I won’t tell. In fact, maybe we can meet over a cold one and go over the hottest hairstyles together.


Posted by

It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s