Have you ever wondered why your life is the way it is?
As in, why were you born into the family you were born into? Why were you born into the Country, State or Town you were born into? Why your skin is the color it is? Even the decade you grew up, especially the decade, why then? When I little I used to ask myself this all the time.
My dad was 44 when I was born. He’s pretty old school, he looks like he’s part of the ‘Rat Pack.’ We watched black and white movies together, mostly because he’d play with my hair… but eventually, I really liked the old movies. I liked how everyone dressed, I liked the music. When I was an 80’s baby he’d play records, The Platters in particular. In the 90’s I taught him how to use CDs and he bought the oldies CDs from that commercial on TV where you’d get 100 CDs if you called right then. If there were a game show for young people who knew lyrics to oldies songs, I would have won.
My sister who is 15 years older than me loves all things related to American and German history and she exposed me to some of it. In particular, I felt captivated by the movie North and South and ahh… Moll Flanders.
I remember exactly where I was and how I felt when my mother read to me about Harriet Tubman. I believed strongly that I would have done the same. I was little but I started to think, what is the purpose of being “safe” if you are living a life that you can’t stand behind and be proud of. She was fearless, purposeful and clever. I only hoped that I really would be that courageous.
I wanted to be Heidi. I’m not kidding. I wanted to live in the mountains and sleep in a hayloft and wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread, wood carvings and goat cheese. I wanted to wear tight lace boots, black tights and white dresses, like My Fair Lady and Sara from the Little Princess. I still do.
These things all made me think. I was convinced that someone upstairs made a mistake. I was supposed to be born in the 1800’s in America or even more likely… that I was supposed to be born in London or Austria where the Sound of Music was filmed. I thought my parents and siblings were far too old for me to exist. My siblings were 15-20 years older than me. I didn’t think I was a mistake per say, I just thought that heaven messed up their paper work and I was supposed to be born 100 years earlier, or at least 40 years earlier. Also, why was I a white girl learning about Harriet Tubman from a book, under my soft pink and white canopy bed? Why wasn’t I black? Or Native American? I lived in a town that had a pretty rich Native American history and so I knew a lot about 2 races. Exactly 2, and pretty much nothing more. These are things I thought about often.
Now, I just wonder how my life got here. Why did I choose Chicago? Why did I choose the career path I did?
I meet people all the time who are lucky, just lucky. Sure, I meet people who work their butt off too. I had a conversation a month ago with a woman that told me that wives don’t client toilets, maids do. She presented it as a fact. I felt like I was hanging out with someone from a Bravo TV special. I also met with a potential client this week who wanted me to look at his condo that he bought for his girlfriend. He bought it because she has a couple of college classes in the City that she’s taking. Who are these people? Do they wonder why they were born into the family and decade they were? I should mention both of these people were incredibly kind.
I’ve also known a lot of bussers and barbacks that work 3 restaurant jobs and take the train in to work from an hour away. They generally live with their entire family in a 3 bedroom apartment but I don’t recall ever hearing a complaint, they happily tell me about their kids. I bet they think nothing of it.
Then there’s the Middle Ages, when Kings would just claim some pretty peasant girl as their own. What kind of dice roll is that!?
I feel lucky lately, but not because I’ve had the red carpet rolled out but because I’m smack in the middle of all of it.
I wrote this 2 years ago and it’s been sitting in my draft folder. Until now.
Love to you,