Dear thirty-something parallel me,
I hope you’re well.
I’m sure you’re enjoying your stressful day at the office, ordering staff around and demanding impossible things and loving every second of it.
See, that’s so you. Even back at sixteen when we first laid eyes on The Hub, you were challenging every rule and going against the grain. I wonder what would have happened if, unlike me, you decided to continue walking out that canteen door when he told us off-handily that he thought we were hot.
I’m sure you would have played it out many times in your head like I did. You wouldn’t have found it awkward at all. Far from it, you would have relished the attention back then.
I’m sure you would have still gone to college and studied Travel and Tourism, and like me, swapped after three days because the girls in the group reminded you of school and you couldn’t hack that all over again. Media Writing and Film was definitely more our thing, and the class was ace.
University would have still been on the cards. You probably had a great time. You certainly would have had a load more hangovers, properly a few one night stands and nursed a broken heart once or twice, because that’s just you.
You certainly wouldn’t have fallen out with your housemates near the end like I did. You loved changing your personality to suit other people and would have done anything and everything to stay popular.
Saying that, you wouldn’t have been whisked off to New York by The Hub. You wouldn’t have experienced that utter shock and pure joy when he went down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. And there is NO way on this planet you would have sat and twisted your hand all night just to see the ring sparkle in the restaurant’s light.
I know for a fact that this would have damn right horrified you. Agreeing to marry a man at twenty-one? Forget it, sister, you have your whole life ahead of you right? You would have smiled politely and said “umm, I don’t believe in marriage, remember?” and try and crack a funny joke to ease his discomfort.
You had dreams, and high ones too. After Uni, you wanted to go to London or New York film school. You hadn’t quite decided but after three years studying for your Creative Writing degree, you knew that this is what you wanted to do more than anything.
Did you reach your goal? I’m sure you did. I still haven’t come across a more motivated yet short-sighted person than you.
God, sometimes I envy you. The days, like today, when every sound that comes out of The Baby’s mouth just grates me and I wince, knowing that’s not how I should feel. How I can feel the tears hovering when The Kid screams “mum” for the hundredth time, when all I really want is to piss in peace.
Last night I wished I was you. For the first time since The Baby was born, I wished my life was different. This would never have happened to you. You didn’t believe in mistakes, in depression or in wallowing in your own self-pity. You believed people made their own luck and depression and guilt was something to forget, that you could just take another pill for.
I miss your easy going attitude, your ability to talk to everyone and your interchangeable personality depending on who you were with. You would have never let sleep deprivation get you down. Hell, you thrived on working ten-hour shifts six days a week and loved nothing better than drinking your money away. You’d be appalled to learn that even sniffing alcohol now days gives me a headache. My last glass was on Easter Sunday and boy did it knock me for six! I know, I know. What happened to that girl who would drink a bottle of wine after a shit day at work then party till 1am with her friends, and still get up, perfectly fine for work at 5.30am? Let me tell you now, she’s gone, kaput.
I sometimes think about what you would say if you saw me now. Would you laugh at my puke-stained clothes or my greasy hair? Would you tell me that I should MAKE time for myself as nothing is more important then making sure your face is made up and your hair is straight?
I know for a fact you would comment on my kid’s behaviour, especially in a restaurant. Dad was a stickler for making sure we sat on our arses during a meal and I know you used to agree. “There’s nothing more annoying then screaming brats running around while you eat” you used to say. And I agree, but my goodness my kids are like the possessed when the clock strikes 4pm. Regardless of where we are, they seem to think mealtimes are for running, throwing and blowing bubbles in their food. I bet you would be one of those snotty nosed people who asked me to control my kids and keep it down.
You always had black and white views, I just couldn’t see it. Now, since having the babies I realised how condescending you were. You had views on everything, and if people didn’t agree with you then be damned because you were always right regardless of the topic at hand.
Breastfeeding was gross to you. Who the hell would want to get their tits out in public? Marriage, screw that. You watched your mum and dad get hitched so many times that marriage is a complete joke to you. Money? You could always make more and forward thinking was never your strong point. You always spoke before thinking, fuck how it would make everyone else feel and generally were like a bull in a china shop.
Do I wish I was you?
Today yes. Today I can’t shake that black dog that keeps following me around. Always sniffing at my heels and plaguing me with doubt.
No. I love my kids, and however much I bitch about being tired or complain I have no free time, I wouldn’t swap them for the world or more.
I love being woken up at the crack of dawn by The Kid. Her snuggly warm body fitting perfectly into mine as she whispers every morning in my ear “I love you.” I just melt. I swear and scream at The Hub in the middle of the night when The Baby has me up again and it’s not even midnight, but I declare to anyone reading this, that I would much prefer to sleep on her floor then do controlled crying like I have been told to do.
Parallel me, you are missing out on so much. Yes, my house is a complete state 99.9% of the time, and without my mother in law I would have gone stir crazy by now but it’s so worth it, I swear.
Don’t let my big black dog or my BO put you off having kids. I know we didn’t have the most traditional childhood, but who does nowadays and I wouldn’t change it. It made you into the strong independent yet boneheaded person you are now and turned me into the caring guilt-ridden mum I knew I would always be.
I know you think staying at home with the kids is an easy job. Any bum could do it. I wish you could see me now and I’m sure you’d eat that comment straight back up. Let me tell you now how fucking hard it is and how you get no time for yourself. I’m sure you are not having an easy time of it either. You’re very competitive and don’t make things easy for yourself. Saying that, I’m sure you’re either a famous film director or a hot shot author with five best-sellers under your belt.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all. I’m happy for you, I really am, but that life just isn’t for me anymore.
Kids parties, play dates and slouching in front of the sofa is more me. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes right now but nothing pleases me more than a night in with The Hub, eating cake while watching The West Wing.
If you have a chance, have kids. Get married. Buy a house and stop working so much. Enjoy life and live for someone else for a change. There really is nothing more amazing then tucking your kids in at night or rocking your baby to sleep then watching as they dream with a huge smile on their face.
Anyway, I must dash. The Kid has decided to ride The Baby like a pony again and I’m pretty sure I smell dinner burning. The Hub is at work and sends his regards but says that he doesn’t miss your snotty attitude or your crap taste in music.
Your Other Self