My Mother’s Curves

 

Today, pop songs glorify body parts that daughters inherit from their mother. However, the curve of my mother’s hips were never any envy of mine. She let us know how much she didn’t like how they flared from her narrow waist. Us–her three daughters she borned in the United States–long after the war. Long after ESL classes. Long after summers spent taking the bus up north to pick strawberries for penny wages.

 

She told us stories about the time before the Interstate 15 freeway. How her father packed their whole family into a van and would drive on single lane highways through the California mountains to the middle-of-nowhere-city of Banning. She talked about how those roads curved in and out for miles through what felt like endless undulating countryside. And I would get bored listening to her talk about those childhood afternoons.

 

When I was about seven years old, my mother decided she did not like the curve of my belly. And I told her–at least I didn’t have her big fat hips! But that was before puberty; which set in fast and punishing. Mother Nature’s monthly gift came to me in the fourth grade, along with pimples that carved the shape of my face, and lastly, hips just like my mother’s.

 

That’s when the portioning began. She started restricting my meals. Maybe she thought if I was smaller, I’d be more consumable to my elementary school peers.

 

In middle school, I thought if I ran enough miles, I’d be able to put enough distance between me and her hips. But as I gradually became a better runner, I learned there were only so many things I could run from.

 

So I stopped running from problems and started running to solutions. Solutions that I derived from the pounding of my own heart. It is so much easier to hear it when I am running.

 

My mother is more conscious about details than I am. She kept her house like a model home. When I was in kindergarten, she’d scrutinize the curve of my handwriting if it wasn’t perfectly straight. She seemed to think people would correlate my ugly handwriting to my intelligence. Oddly for her, I quickly rose to the top of my class despite having subpar penmanship.

 

When I grew into my inherited curves, I found that I didn’t hate them the way she hated hers. She wears her curves like a bad accent she can’t hide with her perfect handwriting. I wonder if that is a side effect of growing up as an immigrant woman in the United States. Never feeling like you quite belong in your skin, in your body, in your language because you have to live up to two cultural standards. She tried her best to shield me from feeling all her inadequacies, ironically, by making me feel inadequate. But although our curves are the same; our journey’s are not.

Thank you Daily Prompts

 

 

Can I Do It In My Underwear?

She spoke like a politician, painting a perfect picture of our bachelorette pad. That’s what she called our two bedroom apartment the first month we moved in together in the beginning of September. Shortly after that, she got into a committed relationship. It took all of 2 months.

It isn’t that I was surprised it happened. My friend is a total catch. But it happened quickly and I just didn’t expect how it would affect my being able to walk around the apartment in my underwear. That was the hardest thing to give up. Because nothing screams bachelorette pad more than optional clothing in the shared living space.

Don’t get me wrong. He comes over maybe twice a week–hardly infringing on my pants-less mornings/evenings. But I find that in adulthood, one feels entitled to do what they want–when they want. And when one can’t, well, that’s when the adult diapers are required for the adult brat-fest about to be put on.

I am joking, of course. But maybe I’m not. Maybe its all the overtime I’ve been doing at work. Maybe I want to come home and not have to put on pants just because her boyfriend is over. Maybe it’s my period. Maybe I am the American Voter disillusioned by the glittering generalities of my elected representative. (LOL that was an incredibly terrible metaphor that took me too long to think up.)

I admit, I have not been the most helpful bachelorette pad buddy. She bounces around ideas with me to improve the visual aesthetic of our apartment. I often have nothing to contribute in ideas. I mean, that’s because I’ve got the taste of a tumblr browsing teenager. Her taste is a little more high brow, sophisticated and from the cover of a Pottery Barn catalog.

No one told me decorating was something adults had to worry about.

They told me there’d be bills to pay. Jobs to do. Responsibilities to be met. Careers to determine. Dreams to chase.

But decorating?

At least I can do it in my underwear.

Adulthood in a Walmart Aisle

Yesterday, I spent an hour in Walmart because I was unable to tear myself away from the aisle with the Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes. And I couldn’t help but think about how adulthood has been a complete circle for me. From sneaking extra dessert into my elementary lunchbox when my mom wasn’t looking to now standing in the junk food aisle after filing my income tax for the first time as a single independent adult, rationalizing the calories in my head. Because this is why children wish to grow up so quickly, right? To be able to decide when they can have extra dessert.

This self-autonomy thing is tricky business. All my life, my parents’ default answer was ‘No’ whenever I asked them for anything. I hated the word ‘No’. But when you are 24 years old, employed, and living on your own–you find out very quickly how to overuse ‘Yes’ and you have to learn to be frenemies with ‘No’. That means parenting your own damn self–and I’ve found out that I am rather a stubborn child.

No, I did not leave with any cream-filled pastry last night. Instead, I bagged two cans of Pringles, a bag of Kettle Cooked potato chips, and a box of chocolate.

They did not taste nearly as satisfying as how I imagined they would.

C’est la vie.

That’s another thing about being an adult. Being able to handle getting let down by the decisions you make. There’s nothing more humbling than accepting you’ve fucked up for no one’s fault but your own. For example, that box of chocolate I bought? I left it in my car at work today and by lunch time the chocolate was ready to be poured like hot fudge over a sundae. Except, I didn’t have a sundae.

But my favorite thing about what I’m doing with my life right now? Helping little girls achieve their dreams by buying their Girl Scout cookies. Destiny fulfilled.