When I Grow Up

First I wanted to be a housewife, a “stay at home mommy” for my babies.  I was five, but I think my mother took it as a personal criticism since she worked nine to five at a local hospital.  I cried with frustration when she presented scenarios like, “what if your husband leaves and you’ve never had a job of your own?  How will you support your babies then?”

I decided on music teacher.  I liked the dusty volumes of simple songbooks on wooden shelves and rows of risers.  Plus, our music teacher wore a lovely mauve shade of nail polish and matching lipstick, creamy and perfect beside her gold bracelets and long dresses. 

In middle school, when we began to study archetypes and Romeo and Juliet, I switched to English teacher, but my mother told me I’d have to start with remedial English students.  Then it was photographer—no insurance; writer—same as photographer but WORSE…writers were moody and some what delusional and had no place in the real world (my father wanted to write); architect—I was bad at math; actress—“what does it mean to you,” my mother asked, “to have the world looking?  It sounds terrible and insecure…”; college professor—there were too many and I would have a hard time finding a job. 

Today I’ve had a series of failed office jobs.  But they are always responsible positions most people wouldn’t want, with insurance and 401k.  When they fire me my mother tells me “you’ll find something new.  You are the most resilient person I know.”

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