I walked away from the mirror thinking “I know just the person who can help me find her!” He was at the stove, helping me finish the cooking. I stood before him as the most bare, vulnerable version of myself I’d ever known, and suddenly the cheesy compliments I always giggled and rolled my eyes about sounded pretty sweet. I desperately needed to hear one.
“Do you love me?”
“Do you still think I’m pretty?”
“Do you think I’m smart?”
“Do you think I’ll be able to find a job soon?”
The woman with the long, dark, sexy hair knew the answers to all these questions. In fact, she was never impressed by compliments. She knew she was amazing because she felt amazing. But she was nowhere in sight. I needed him to help me find her.
“Of course I love you. Of course you’re beautiful- I tell you all the time.”
I could sense his confusion. The woman with the long, dark, sexy hair didn’t need daily reassurance of his commitment nor did she need compliments to feel beautiful. He just didn’t understand. So where was she? I couldn’t seem to find her. And with each passing day she became a distant memory.
I got into my car and did the unthinkable. I drove myself to my hairdresser. I sat in her chair, took down my messy bun, and there it was: the long, dark, sexy hair I hadn’t seen in months. Just as the women in the Romantic Dramas, the thought of cutting more than two inches at a time gave me not one bit of anxiety. I closed my eyes and listened to the sound of the scissors opening and closing.
I opened my eyes and there she was: the woman I’d been in search of for months.
You know those scenes in Romantic dramas, where the woman becomes a mother and goes from sexy long hair to bob, from one scene to the next? Well I told myself throughout my pregnancy that I would never be that woman. My long, wavy hair was a part of me. I mean, seriously the thought of cutting more than two inches at a time gave me anxiety. Until one day, the mother in me desperately searched for the woman with the long, dark, sexy hair. She wasn’t there.
My days were short and my nights were long. There were just never enough hours in the day to finish all of the things on my to-do list. Everyone told me to nap while my daughter did, but I always thought that was the most absurd suggestion for a new mother. Let’s be real- I could cook an entire meal, or finish laundry for three while she napped, but it was as if turning the shower knobs was her cue to cry. And so began the messy bun days.
I went from getting manicures, to polishing my own nails, to cuticles galore. I wore sneakers and yoga pants daily- without the yoga! The longer I went without a hair cut, the less I saw my hair. I had no time for it. I simply had no time for myself. I was loving my daughter and her father selflessly and tirelessly, until one day I looked in the mirror and saw a tired woman.
She wore no make up. She wore over sized pajamas and could never find her own slippers. She wore her long, dark, sexy hair in a messy bun. Who was this woman? I didn’t recognize her. I looked so deeply into the mirror in search of the confident woman I’d seen before but she was nowhere in sight.
You just met and you’re so intrigued. He might just be the one. His smile, the sparkle in his eyes, his charm, the laughter you share. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to think about him. These are the butterflies everyone talked about, right? You want to feel more of them. This is what everyone said it would feel like.
Days turn into weeks. Weeks become years. You’re sharing everything. Your bank account became a joint one, his car and his slippers became yours. He doesn’t clean enough, you don’t cook as often. No one ever talked about this.
Playful, innocent debates over ice cream for two become arguments that hurt. Arguments that bring about uncertainty and fear. Bottled emotions spew from the mouth like vomit. He pushes and you pull. All he wants is you. You push and he pulls. All you want is him. So you tell him to leave and never return. He never listens but he listens today. He leaves and doesn’t return. No one ever talked about this.
Why didn’t anyone ever talk about this? No one ever told you not to tell a man to leave when you want him to stay. No one ever told him not to give up on the woman he loves, yet somehow he doesn’t. You’re in each other’s arms, tangled in each other’s love. You want this. You can make it last forever. You get him. He gets you- You are one. Time is fleeting and today is your forever. No one ever talked about this.
“If I knew then what I know now.” I’ve sat in solitude and said that to myself more than a handful of times, but the closer I get to the beginning of a new decade in my life, the less often that thought crosses my mind. Come to think of it, very rarely do I even sit in solitude these days. I guess I kissed sitting in solitude goodbye when I gave birth to my daughter two years ago. I mean I can barely sit on the toilet in solitude for two seconds before hearing “Mommy! What are you doing?!” in her loud, high pitched voice.
Liora is her name, and that loud, high pitched voice of hers is ironically my voice of reason- it gives me perspective; Even in the midst of her biggest tantrum, my takeaway is always that I didn’t know then what I know now because had I known it then, I wouldn’t be who I am now. Much of what I write stems from the thought process of a young, evolving mother who allows herself to be entirely influenced by the teachings of her two year old.
I’m very excited for you all to join me as I navigate through life and motherhood.