Do you ever cringe when you think about something you’ve said or done? I do it all the time. On the conservative side, I’d say probably 10-15 times a day. My brain really just serves as a catalog of awkward encounters or embarrassing displays I’ve put on over the years, with the occasional movie quote sprinkled here and there. Conveniently for me, this means I have plenty of material to reflect on anytime I’m just trying to have a nice, quiet moment to myself. Thanks, brain.
If you’re thinking, “oh, it can’t be that bad!”, let me introduce you to a few highlights my memory enjoys torturing me with constantly:
This One Time At Bible Camp:
It was the summer before 5th grade and my parents sent me off to Bible Camp. I straight up did not have a good time and obsessively called home every single day, using 1-800-Collect like some sort of inmate who swore by their innocence, and BEGGED to be picked up. I faked wasp stings, I invented illnesses, I was awful to my camp counselor. I was cringey as hell. AND I didn’t get picked up early? Mom.
Long story short, a hug went wrong at a family member’s graduation party and I accidentally brushed lips with a much older, unnamed second cousin. I didn’t even have any alcohol in my system to soften the blow. Cringe level 100%
No specific incident, just, the whole time in general. Every interaction. In fact, to this day, I can’t even look a person who I attended college with in the eye without giving a general apology for my behavior first. I was a real…handful. The whole college experience, one big cringe.
So, now that you feel better about yourself. Let’s move on.
In life, we have so many versions of ourselves. Heck, in one short phase of life we can have multiple versions of ourselves. That’s what it’s all about, right? Changing and evolving as life throws different challenges and banana peels your way. We have to do what we have to do. Sometimes that means looking back and not loving some of the versions of ourselves we once were. Again, I have plenty of examples, but I’ve given you enough for today. I need you to remember me as the angelic, pure, hilarious, beautiful version that I am today…*coughs*…right? JUST KIDDING. Stop!
I have found, however, that I’ve landed on a version of myself that I can truly get down with. I’m sure there are a lot of factors that go into this version of me, but I know without a doubt, the biggest ingredient to the recipe, is the big M.
MASKS…they hide all of the…wait no, that’s not right.
MOTHERHOOD. That’s it, there we go! Motherhood. I’m a mom and I love being a mom. I love that I’ve been forced to do the hard stuff. I love that I have people who need me. I love that I’ve found a version of myself that I can look back on and not have any moments I actually cringe about. Now, do not misinterpret that for me saying motherhood is easy and beautiful and perfect OR that motherhood is the only job that requires these skills. I am absolutely and would never (are you kidding me?) say that. I had to endure chapped nipples, wear an actual diaper and lose half of my hair to earn this title, but, I am saying I would never look back, even on the hardest days, and cringe. This shit right here? It’s hard. Any decision, action, word or thought I’ve had as a parent represents growth in one way or another, and growth should never be cringed at. Remember that, please, for yourself and when you catch a glimpse of a fellow parent during a moment of weakness.
So, yeah. This version of myself does love being a mom. But, there was a version of myself, LONG before (and to be honest, NOT so long before) kids where I did not want to do it. I didn’t want to do it for the same reason I currently don’t want to run a marathon. I knew it would test me mentally, it would definitely push me physically, there’s a good chance I could shit my pants in the middle of it, and worst of all…I could fail.
But, here we are. Two kids and a raging case of baby fever later, and I love it. I love that it tests me mentally every day and I’ve had to think of creative ways to replace curse words in sentences, I look at a body in the mirror I don’t really recognize and KNOW it’s pushed me physically, I am extremely proud to say I haven’t shit my pants….yet and I continue to fail…and grow, daily. I am not saying it’s for everyone, but it’s definitely for me, and I’m so proud of the version I am today because of it.
So, while there still may be some people from college that I owe apologies to (requests for said apologies can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org), I know that unless I drink a bottle of UV Blue and have access to a Motorola Razr, I won’t have too many cringey moments in the near future, and I can thank motherhood for that.