Did your parents tell you when you were younger that you could be anything you wanted? If so, when did you first realize it wasn't true? That there are only so many rock stars, professional ball players, and Food Network chefs in the world; that some of us have to hold down the fort in middle class? Lower middle class? Poverty?
Until now, it's been a steady downward slope for me. I can't think of a defining moment when I gave up on the idea of being the [whatever], content that there was still dignity in being a [whatever]. But somewhere along the line, it happened. And for awhile I coasted, unaware that sneaky entropy dragged me down below the rank of a [whatever] to the rank of discouraged, scatterbrained hack who but for the Grace of God would be homeless at the end of the month.
When did it happen to you? Did you ever think you were a writer, then somewhere along the line you became a salesperson, and finally a salesperson who doesn't get paid on time but does get her ass verbally kicked by clients on a daily basis? Did you ever, along with your husband, hold a job that required a college degree; only to get kicked out of the house you've been holding onto by a thread because of that one day when your twelve-year-old car bites the dust? You did everything they told you to do. You graduated. You went to work. You did a good job. You were told by employers that you were "fast," "smart," "reliable"... all the good stuff.
And then came the day when everything you'd worked for got yanked out from under you. I know, I know... we're in a recession, and Orlando is worse off than most places. C'est la vie. Boo fucking hoo.
I was just so sure that I could pull it out at the last second. I mean, me, of all people. My parents' pride and joy. The center of my own little universe. How humbling. How viciously humbling.
If this or something similar has happened in your life, I hope you had friends as wonderful as mine. Pork chops and pumpkin pie ice cream from Paul last night. Beatles Rock Band with Tod tonight. Though I will never plant a single measly shrub in the backyard garden I just started, I will not be left out in the rain. Though I will lose my coveted downtown location, I get to keep my wuvling husband, the cootest cat in the world, a supportive family, and a network of friends laced tightly enough to deflect destitution.
Dessert helps me recognize anticlimax. Last night, eating pumpkin pie ice cream in my living room, surrounded by positive presences, I realized all was not lost if I still had sugar. Sugar is a luxury. Generations before mine lived entire lives without tasting it. Members of my own generation have never tasted it. And here I am with a whole boxload in my freezer. What fortune. Well beyond what I deserve for being one of millions "doing a good job." Well beyond what I deserve for being a [whatever].
Desserts have the power to make you feel like a the. And when you feel like a the, what the hell does it matter if your day's been rotten? The end, at least, can be sweet.
Pick yourself up. Pack your bags not for a forced move, but for an adventure. Ride that sugar high to glory.
Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.