Subourbon Mom

Blank Slate
September 23, 2012, 7:45 pm
Filed under: Middle Age | Tags: , , , , , ,

I was watching Katie Couric’s new show (self-named, of course), and marveling that she can still pull off wearing a super-tight, red dress. As I made snarky comments to myself about how the camera seemed to be carefully fuzzy around her face, I finally began listening to her chirpy voice. The guest Katie introduced was one of my favorite bloggers, The Bloggess (hysterically funny, when she’s not going all Oprah on us–check out the link). Apparently, The Bloggess found a way to pull herself up out of a deep depression by wearing an outrageous, fun red dress and having a photo shoot in a Texas graveyard. In the spirit of the Traveling Pants, she then decided to pay it forward and send the dress on to others who might need the lift. The dress and others like it has gone around the world, helping women get through their personal dark times.

Being loud and flamboyant, I don’t think just wearing a red dress would do it for me, no matter what the symbolism is. So I started to think about what it would take to remind me of who I am after wife, mother and teacher. In other words, when was I most, well, ME?

My immediate thought was college, because I was still all the “-uns:” un-married, un-employed, and un-taxed.The only thing I had to do was learn; everything else was gravy. So naturally, I spent an enormous amount of time playing practical jokes on people, drinking gallons of Beast and choosing the easiest Minor (women’s studies). One of the jokes we did a lot was to put an inappropriate book (i.e. Lesbian Ethics) in someone’s backpack, watch them get caught going through the detectors and have their bag searched at the front desk. So I thought maybe sending that book would be inspirational to those in their darkest times (Hey, no one said I was the brightest bulb in the bunch). I quickly discarded that idea, realizing that many, many people of all persuasions would be offended by getting a book with that title. So, I thought maybe an empty can of Beast, but declined for the same reason.

I decided to go back even farther….I think you’re the most free when you’re about 10 years old. Back in the day, you could roam the neighborhood for hours, only coming home at dusk when your mom would yell, or ring the bell, or do whatever your family’s signal was. You could build stuff and get cut, scratched and bruised without the world coming to an end. You were only dimly aware of responsibility, racism, world events and the vast future that lay before you. But what symbol to use for such freedom? My “blankie?”–too young. My Big Wheel–too bulky to mail.

Then it came to me. The answer wasn’t beer, toys or clothes–it was nothing. I know that for me to be free I need to be naked. Clothes, no matter how well-intended, always say something about you–where you’ve been (“I LOVE NY”), your job, your interests, your sense of humor, where you shop/your spending habits, etc. By shedding my clothes I could be me…and that means all the parts of me now. I want to go to a nude beach and walk around in the sun, letting it kiss the parts that are so white they look like a white bikini. I want to feel my drooping breasts bounce as I walk, and feel the muffin top I can’t get rid of jiggle. I want to feel the sand squish between my toes, and the salty air lift my hair so that the gray underneath sees the light of day. Most of all I want to feel weightless–not a mom, not a wife, not a teacher, not a daughter or sister or friend. Just me, the way I came into the world–a blank slate.

Ok, a much bigger blank slate.

So just imagine, all you soul-searchers out there just dying to be free of your life for a few minutes. It’s time to take them off. Walk around your house if you can’t go outside. Make sure the family isn’t there–this is definitely a by-yourself-thing. And you’re probably banking a lot of therapy hours for your kids already, so why add more?

Feel the air, open a window and stand just out of view–the breeze will still get you.

The best part of doing this is you can pay it forward by telling someone else about it. No post office fees, no badly-fitting dress to hem or take in.

Just you.


Blank slate.

2 Comments so far
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Subourbonmom, I loved reading this post.  I had such a blessed feeling of freedom.  One that doesn’t come to my mind often enough.  Thank you for so eloquently reminding me…how simple things are and should be before life gets in the way.



Comment by Norm Armitage

You discovered my secret!!! 🙂


Comment by Kimberly Anderson

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