I’ve been having a bit of an identity crisis lately. Warning, this blog may be a touch whiney and I realize I could be living in Haiti or missing a leg. I know…there are people a lot worse off than I am and quite frankly I’m sick of hearing about it. I want to wallow a little in what it’s like to be an Ethel.
I’m an only child, raised by a single mother. I had a unique and wonderful childhood. I felt loved and downright magical when I was growing up. I burst into the world sure, absolutely certain, that I was a Lucy. I was a shining star, the apple of my mother’s eye, everyone would flock to me and I had that “something” everyone was drawn to. I was going to be a lawyer when I entered college. Not just any lawyer, but a top federal prosecutor. I would lead the team that would finally bring down John Gotti. I changed my major during my sophomore year to Theatre – Acting. I had a gift and I was going to let my talent blossom. I would be the next Meryl Streep. Do you see where I’m going here?
During college I met a wonderful man. After college, we were married and made three incredible children. Lots of people were married and had children. Becoming a mother was humbling, so was promising to be with one person for the rest of my life. I could not say, “I’m going to be the best mother in the world!” or “I’m going to be the perfect wife!” There’s no meter for that kind of thing. You just do the best you can and hope you don’t hurt your lover and/or completely screw up your children. I grew up and my world was no longer based in “someday I’ll be the greatest…” It was based in reality. In my mind, I became an Ethel. There was no more magic. I was just average.
Fortunately I was attracted to an exciting man that kept me on my toes. He’s a real Lucy. Naturally. He can’t help it. Which is weird, because he came into the world thinking, “I’m smart and I work hard, so I’m going to try my best to make things happen.” He started out as an Ethel. Grounded and hard working. He never thought he’d be a Lucy, he just is. I’m good at some things, but he’s better. He doesn’t try to be better, he just is. If I know how Coco Chanel got her start, he can tell you where she grew up and when she launched her first line and why her designs were so ground breaking. Lucy.
I’m frustrated about this tonight. Why did I start out as a Lucy and fizzle to an Ethel? How the hell could I have married what I thought was an Ethel to my Lucy and ended up with a Lucy? Damn it, the idea of being mediocre really pisses me off. I need to be exceptional, dynamic, wonderful at something.
After two scoops of peanut butter it occurs to me…
Lucy works hard at being Lucy. She makes it look easy, but behind the scenes she is really working at it. After we watched Coco Before Chanel (my suggestion by the way…I always pick the good movies) I went to bed. My husband googled Chanel and read for 15 minutes about her life. The next morning at the breakfast table he was Lucy and I was Ethel. He doesn’t get it. He’s happy and just wants to live our life. He doesn’t understand why I’m so moody. Of course he doesn’t, he’s a Lucy.
If I want to be Lucy I need to stop hoping for some miracle or relying on the magic I thought I had as a child. I need to put in the time and work it takes to be a Lucy. That’s it. It’s not luck or talent or some fluke that separates the Lucys from the Ethels. It’s just hard work, going the extra mile.
I want to be the Lucy that I thought I was as a child, but wanting is not enough.
That’s all from the laundry room for tonight. Set the alarm!