I’ve been getting very little sleep. Even for me.
This isn’t a whine, just setting up the background. For me this means that most nights I’m getting a broken up four hours or so. I’m in just-had-a-newborn-baby territory without the baby and any of you moms and dads have been there, you know how it makes you loony.
The cause of said sleep deprivation is my four-year old. He’s been waking up between the hours of eleven and two and sleeping in my bed. With his leg at some point wrapped around my neck. Lovely.
Now in case you think it’s time for some tough love, I assure you I’ve done that before. Two kids made it through relatively short stints before they were rerouted back to their own bed. But the little guy it turns out has tonsils so big that he has sleep apnea. So, he stops breathing, snorts, wakes himself up terrified and comes flying into my bed. For the next few hours the situation repeats itself but he doesn’t get scared as long as he’s with me. I however hear him snort and am awake the rest of the night making sure he breathes. Because moms can will shit like that.
We just figured out what was going on, and the appointment has been set next Thursday to remove the gigantic golf balls he has instead of tonsils. Yes, I’m panicked but enough about that. If you know anything about me, if I’m truly frightened, I disengage. I don’t want to discuss it. I want to ignore it until it is dealt with because I can’t process the complications. Okay.
So six months of no sleep, and today in the ladies’ room at work, I took a look at myself. I’ve put on weight (again) but that wasn’t really the concern. My hair has grown out and the gray roots are showing. I had to cancel the appointment I had because it falls the weekend following the surgery and the next time my hair magician can see me is sometime mid February. Eh, first world problems.
But when I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw an average forty-year old woman. Pants an inch too short as are my coat sleeves (this is chronic. too short for Tall and too tall for Regular), and belly pudge hanging over the belt. I can still suck it in but it’s quite a suck. Hair, air-dried on the train like always, now dry and a frizzy, long mess. Mascara, foundation, blush, none noticeable. Large circles under my eyes, face plump (too much microbrew?) and wrinkles that won’t go away any longer.
Here’s the strange part. When I look in the mirror, I still see me as a phase. Right now, I want you to think back to your second grade picture, maybe third. No one, I mean no one looked good at that age. The bangs were always trimmed by family, most of us just started to wear hideous brown camouflage glasses.
When I look in the mirror now, I think of the me in my second grade picture and how that was a phase. I think this is a phase. I think I am sleep-deprived and delusional as well.
The same way that people at work don’t know about my writing life, I feel like my outside doesn’t match my inside. It never has. Never.
Sometimes I’m New York chic. Black clothes head to toe, tailored. Heeled oxfords, patent leather of course. My hair would be slicked back and I’d have dark lashes and red lipstick, a classic Robert Palmer girl.
Other days, I’m hippy flower chick. Long maxi skirt with flat sandles, Dave Matthews t-shirt hanging by a thread. I’d wear a large brown leather belt and a bag across my chest hanging limply to one side. My hair would be beachy and windblown, the way only Kate Hudson can look walking down the beach.
Or maybe I’m nerd chic. Black glasses, shaggy cropped hair. Tight black band t-shirt, some large, loose-fit, worn-out, threadbare jeans. Maybe some polka dotted suspenders. Black combat boots.
Or how about fancy? Men’s tuxedo, tailored for a woman, with the coat button just so that I can not wear a shirt and not get arrested. Satin seams along the outside of the pants. Black stillettos. Long hair, red, straightened. Burgundy lipstick. Black eyeliner.
All of those? Me. The me in my mind, the me inside, the me of the future, the me of the past.
The person in the bathroom mirror, twelve floors above a busy Chicago downtown street? Business coat. Black shirt. Business pants. Practical flat gray shoes. Not me.
How do I become them?