On the weekend I made a big pot of chili. Usually I keep it vegetarian but this time, maybe on account of this chilly weather, I needed a little meat in there.
It turned out wonderfully. In fact, I think it’s the best batch of chili I’ve ever made. The first night we enjoyed it with toasted and buttered English muffins. Like you, the Beast finds the pairing of chili with English muffins peculiar. But that’s how I ate it growing up. Try it.
The second night, I decided to enjoy my bowl of chili with more English muffins. The Beast, however, had another plan. He picked up hot dog buns, jumbo-sized wieners (gross!) and cheddar cheese so that he could make chili and cheddar cheese dogs.
Before we rendezvoused at home for chili two-ways, the Beast called me at work to tell me that he had to pick up some frames at an art supply store for stretching canvas. He was going to start a couple of painting projects. Do you want to know how I reacted to this? Well, for starters, I didn’t say, “A painting? How wonderful! Tell me more about it.” I said something like, “A painting? Hehehe. Must be nice to have time to paint. And where, pray tell, do you plan on making your little paintings? You’re sure going to have hard time getting those canvases stretched in your music room because it’s packed with shit. And I certainly hope you’re not planning on starting this project in the dining room.”
I think the Beast is immune to my nasty, party-pooper attitude, my pessimism and to my crazy manic-mother fits. What are those? Because every mother goes crazy a few times a year, I’m certain you know what that means. Here are a couple of examples: let’s say a mother just did eight loads of laundry for her family and she feels really great about it. The hampers are all empty, until her two teenage kids come home with gym bags full of dirty laundry and her baby shits itself so now that hamper is filled up again. Another example: a mother has just finished cleaning up the kitchen after a lavish Sunday meal she spent all day preparing for her family. Her husband is on the couch watching fucking hockey or some bullshit thing and the kids are, I don’t know, texting their friends on cell phones that their mother pays for. And one of this kids comes in and starts making a grilled cheese sandwich and dirtying up the just-tidied kitchen. What happens? Ballistic shit happens.
That’s how I feel a lot of the time. Like a crazy mother. Not just at home, but at work, too. It’s not a good headspace to be in, especially considering I’m not actually a mother. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I’d turn out like this.
I got home that night. The house was quiet. The wind was blowing something fierce outside. I went upstairs and opened up my filing cabinet and pulled out a pile of old notebooks and journals.
And under the glow of a 40 watt lightbulb, I sat in my chair and looked through them. I’m not sure what I was looking for, exactly. I think I was envious of the Beast and I needed to remind myself, in a childish sort of way, that I used to make stuff too. Or remind myself that I, oh I don’t know, wasn’t always such a fucking manic mother fucker.
I saw glimpses of genius in my early childhood diary pages.
And a disturbing peak into the psyche of my future possessive, overly confident adult self.
I saw that I had written poetry in high school that presently causes me to cringe with humiliation. And I saw that I spent a lot of time in grad school watching movies.
I saw that I had big plans! I was going to make movies, write movies, write novels, design book covers and some CD covers, too, and I was going to travel and just be, you know, like so awesomely creative. I feel embarrassed reading this now.
I saw that I’d discovered the art of drinking while writing over ten years ago (I’m not drunk now.) And that I was pretentious. So terribly pretentious. And so full of ego (which I tried to pawn off as humble self-doubt.)
Despite the cringing, I guess I felt a bit happy there in my chair; pleased knowing that I used to dream of doing so much. Because it was genuine back then. Now though, every time I think about making a painting or writing a poem (this happens perhaps three times a year), I start making fun of myself before I start. I’m lucky that my job involves some creativity. But there’s still something I miss–maybe just the spontaneity of deciding to make something. Anything. Without feeling silly about it.
Anyway, the Beast got home and I didn’t tell him that I’d gone through my old crap. I just said that I wanted him to use the dining room for his art project. My only suggestion was that maybe he could finish it by the holidays, when I might want to do some entertaining in there.
And I was so happy to come home last night to see this.
I want to be the type of person who doesn’t get mad when somebody wants to make something, just because there might be a little mess involved. And, hopefully, maybe I’ll want to make a little mess myself someday soon.
(Wait, does that ending sound dirty? Like make a mess in my pants? Because it was supposed to sound really serious and sentimental, like, hopefully I’ll want to make art again someday. That’s how I wanted to end this. On a serious note. But I had to go and ruin it all by making a joke. So typical.)