back? Would it be worth it?
Truthfully, most of the parts of my nature that I've lost have been ushered out the door with a cheerful good riddance. Not that I've been able to shed these things entirely - anxiety, I mean, and perfectionism, and morbid self-consciousness and self-doubt - but they're around in much less of a big ugly capacity than they used to be. And that kicks major ass.
I think I'd rather talk about a part of my nature that I'm happy not to have lost, no matter how the world sometimes seems determined to steamroll it out of me - a certain skewed, some would say screwy, sense of humour.
I don't understand humourless people. By this I don't mean that I don't like them (I usually don't, but that's not what I mean in this particular instance) - I mean I literally can not understand them. How do you get through a day in this Kafka-esque adventure called life without seeing the funny side? I mean, come on - half the people in the world don't have enough to eat and the other half think a Twinkie is an edible substance. A teacher's starting salary is barely enough to live on, and Eddie Murphy made millions playing a bunch of fat farting people of various genders. You can die from walking, driving, flying, taking care of an elephant and not getting out of the way when it craps, eating too much stuff, not eating enough stuff, by fire, by water, by earth, by sun, and any day now it will likely be proven that reading too many blogs is fatal to lab mice (in which case -- SORRY!) How do you not laugh?
This quality, in fact, played a big part in turfing out the anxiety and self-consciousness. Four months after I had Angus, I was taking a Dance-fit aerobics class with a friend I'd met in playgroup. I got there one night and there was no one in the hall. I looked in the gym and there were people working out, so I thought I was late and rushed to the back and tried to join in unobtrusively. About two minutes in, I realized that this felt a lot more like a cool-down than a warm-up, and I caught the instructor's eye and called out "I'm totally in the wrong class, aren't I?" I was. I howled with laughter. I went back out and my friend was just arriving. Not only did I tell her what had happened, when the rest of the class got there and she demanded that I tell them also, I did. A few years before, I would have slunk home in humiliation and never gone back again.
At one point my doctor suggested I see a psychiatrist in addition to taking medication for my depression and anxiety. The psychiatrist's office was in the basement of the same building my doctor was in. As we went down the stairs and started toward his office, we passed rooms that were still unfinished, with bricks and dust and various sorts of debris lying around. I said "old bomb shelter?" He looked at me very seriously and said "No. Just an unfinished basement." You can imagine how long that therapeutic relationship lasted. My doctor, on the other hand, gets me. I walk into her office and I said "this is the kind of cancer I have this week" and she laughs (hear THAT, honey? SHE finds my rampant hypochondriacal tendencies CHARMING!)
When I was doing wedding preparation with my Mom, we started talking about what we should do for favours. I decided I would paint miniature plant pots to make candle holders, and as for what to put inside, my Mom said "just think of something that represents you", so I said "you mean like nuts?" She didn't love it, but I went with pistachios and everyone thought it was great. Oh, the tags read "Nuts to you from Matt and Allison". Add to this the fact that I had neglected to make clear to the wedding invitation printer that, although his official first name is Robert, he goes by Matt. So I gave them the written-out text for the inside of the card, forgetting that the outside of the card featured the bride's and groom's first names. So, yeah. Everyone knows him by Matt, and I sent out invitations that have people going "Allison's getting married - to some guy named Robert???". What do non-giggly people do when they pull crap like this?
I know, I know - humour's all well and good but you can't use it as a shield, sometimes you just have to feel your feelings, etc. etc. It works for us. I knew I'd brought the right kid home when I asked two-year-old Angus what he wanted for breakfast and he waved his hand in the air magesterially and yelled "fettucine!". And when Eve was doing a project where she had to put three things in a box that represented her family, she put in a baseball, a book, and a funny picture to represent 'bad jokes!' Not the worst legacy, I think.