Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Can't Go Back To Yesterday

"I can't go back to yesterday because I was a different person then."  
~ Lewis Carroll

Caterpillar: Who... are... you? 
Alice: I'm afraid I can't explain myself, you see, because I'm not myself, you know. 
Caterpillar: I do not know.
Alice: I can't put it any more clearly, sir, because it isn't clear to me. 

Earlier this month, I celebrated my 36th birthday and today is my 1 year blogoversary.  And so I'm taking today to indulge in self-reflection.  (Flashbacks via blog post.)

It's New Year's Eve and I'm home with my family.  We're watching Dick Clark.  I am 14 years old.  I am still under my mother's thumb.  I have not kissed a boy.  I weigh less than 115 lbs and an "A" cup.  I wear glasses, am certain the acne across my forehead is a secret message in braille and growing out a bad haircut - the trifecta of teen angst.    

There is talk about the year 2000.  And I quickly do the math in my head.  In the year 2000, I will turn 25 years old.  And in my young mind, 25 seems old.  I imagine what I would look like.  What my life would be like.  I have an vivid imagination so I conjure up this fabulous life.  My acne has cleared.  I have long perfectly straight hair.  I am married to Johnny Depp.    

It's New Year's Eve and I'm at Sound Factory.  Working as the cashier. (It's one of my jobs.) But I don't mind, I'm working with my best friend.  And we sip free cheap champagne.    Throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning, clubgoers shove their sweaty crumpled dollar bills under the bullet proof window.  

I have boyshort hair, jet black and slicked back.  Lacquer red glasses. Twenty five is 9 months away.  And I haven't met Johnny Depp.  I'm a receptionist, a part-time college student and on the weekends I work at various clubs throughout the city, as cashier as coatcheck girl. The weekends I'm not working.  I am out all night.  I spend my days sleeping.  

It is not the life I imagined at 14.    

It's New Years Eve at 10 pm, I'm fighting my sleep.  I am 30 years old and almost 3 years married.  Working 1 job and still a part-time college student.  I am 33 weeks pregnant.  I know I'm having a boy and we have a name picked out.  His crib is set up, his clothes washed, folded and waiting for him.  We are waiting for him. 

I have read books on motherhood, swaddling and sleep.  I researched bottles and pampers.  I am nervous and excited.  Scared.  Swollen.  I am uncertain of what kind of mother I will be.  Will I be good at?  Will I like it?  Will I change?  

It is still not the life I imagined at 14.  Or the life I imagined at 25.       

2011 (Today)
I have spent many years wondering who I am.  Wandering aimlessly from place to place.  Imagining the kind of life I would have, of the kind of person I would become.  

I never imagined pursuing a masters degree.  I never imagined being a writer.  Or a mother to child with autism.  I never imagined being a voice for someone else.  I never imagined wanting to make a difference.  Or having a cause to believe in and fight for.  

I am all of those things.      

This is one instance where I don't feel like Alice.  I know exactly who I am.  And I know the kind of person I want to be.  I don't have to spend another New Year's wondering or waiting for something to happen.   

It is not the life I ever imagined for myself.  It's so much more.  

Post inspired by a Kick in the Blog prompt, Who are You?

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.