February 15, 2009

freeze frame

Friday night, a group of my neighbors/friends went to see The Vagina Monologues at UPS, over in Tacoma. Susan's daughter, Toni, is a freshman there and was performing in the play. We hit a bar beforehand and had a couple of drinks; Susan was a bit nervous about seeing her little girl up on stage, doing this particular piece. Honestly, she's an extremely liberal and open-minded woman; I think it was just the first-time jitters of realizing that her baby is actually a grown woman.

The play was outstanding, on so many levels. The acting was knock-out good; 30-some women participated in the production and they were all amazing. The script is powerful and funny and thought-provoking and uncomfortable and devastating and beautiful, all at the same time. I don't think I even moved a muscle the whole first act, (not counting smile muscles) and found my hands stiff and clenched, involuntarily. I loved it. And what I loved the most was being in that room, in a gorgeous auditorium at a stunning northwest university, old brick buildings sagging under ivy, huge lawns of perfect grass scattered with massive, ancient trees.....surrounded by people who weren't too old, too tired, too busy - or too afraid - to be there.

I'm almost 45 years old and suddenly I realize, that whole part of my life is gone. Feeling liberated and powerful and able to change every last injustice in the Congo, single-handedly, just me and my hemp-woven ankle bracelet. I felt so utterly suburban. So conservative, regardless of the revealing cleavage and my witty ability to make jokes with Toni's "boy" friend about getting stoned. I didn't so much feel old as I felt lost. This path I have taken has led me somewhere altogether different than I had planned or expected. From the days in college when I acted in similar feminist movement pieces and rallied at abortion clinics and pushed against the conventions of my parents and the world, to now.

Me, in my sporty little Kia and my $$$ Silpada jewelry, me with my mom friends listening to the latest episode of the Tamara Show all the way across town, drama extraordinaire this week.

Me with my Jessica Simpson purse, housing my PTA membership card, antacid pills and a yellow HotWheels car.

Me trying to be cool and hip, chatting goofily with Toni's friends, as if I get them, as if I could go, later, hang with them in their dorm room.

And they're so sweet, to all of us. They're respectful and grateful that we've come, they're college kids you would pay every last penny to have as your own, kids who will go so far in life and become such great things. And I'm proud to be a part of this night for them; I'm proud that they are brave enough and big enough to do this play, that they are stepping out of the suburban lives their mothers lead, out of all they've ever known, to challenge it all. And I want to freeze them right there, to make a lasting imprint in their hearts of this moment - this moment when changing the world is possible, when being everything is possible.

I go home to my house and my kids. I put a load of laundry in and make a cup of tea to settle my stomach for a good night's sleep. I tidy up my kitchen and check my email and let the cat out. This is my life. It's a great life, a stable, comfortable life with so many blessings I can hardly count them all. I fall asleep in my 400-thread count sheets, thinking I'm ok; I've made it, I am living the dream...

...and I fall asleep praying, with every fiber of my being, that in 20 years, I find Toni and her friends somewhere far across the world, still fighting, still believing.


  1. As I settle in to watch my Netflix with a glass of wine and plate of cheese and crackers--no husband, no kids, no cats-- I feel the same, Tam.
    My favorite post so far.
    Well done, my dear friend. Brava.

  2. I am so jealous that JD didn't pick up the tickets for us guys. We need bonding moments, too. Some how the Nut Sack Chronicles doesn't sound as chic!

    And, btw, I like having you in my suburban life.