As I sit here pumping my boobs, a few thoughts strike me. First, it’s difficult to pump and type at the same time. Second, my life is not quite as glamorous as I once thought it would be.
When we were on the verge of puberty, my friends and I (you know who you are) wore ourselves out playing M-A-S-H. M-A-S-H was a simple game, requiring only pen, paper and the count of a swirly design to determine your entire future. Would you live in a Mansion? An Apartment? A Shack? A House? Would you marry the cutie in homeroom? The cutie in choir? The cutie from summer camp? Or the acne-stricken lad who sat in the corner at lunch and smelled of stewed cabbage? 1 kid? 2? 3? 18?
The key was the crap option thrown in there to keep things in perspective – this was your fate, after all. If you were going to be rich and famous and live in a mansion, you might have to come to terms with having kids that smelled like cabbage. It was only fair.
Predictably, the same “who will you marry” names cropped up on everyone’s list – Chris, Steve, Sean Astin (the Goonies version, not the Lord of the Rings version) and, sadly, probably the same acne/cabbage boy as the husband-of-doom. Also predictably, though the job choices varied, all of them led to vast amounts of wealth and a life of luxury.
My “what job will you have” section never wavered: Actress first, writer second, actress/writer combo third. I volleyed between janitor and sewage worker for my go-to crap option (pun intended), but the other three never varied; never fell out of order.
So why am I not sauntering down the red carpet, Harry Winston’s sparkling, boobs inflated to the size of my head instead of deflating on this breast pump? Why, already today, have I stripped poop-spattered socks off my newborn, slipped in strategically placed cat vomit, and wrestled something green and foul-smelling (and possibly moving) from the fridge, janitor-like?
I don’t know exactly. What went wrong? In high school, I studied at the finest summer arts institute in Oklahoma. No, seriously, it’s good. Shut up.
In college, I got scholarships for creative excellence and the 4.0 I touted throughout my academic life. (Insert “nerd” comment here). I graduated with the coveted degree in theater, performance emphasis, from OU. I was even chosen to accept the degrees for the College of Fine Arts on the President’s Platform at commencement.
And, here I am. Pumping my boobs. In suburbia.
Don’t get me wrong. I moved to Austin and lived the dream for awhile – professional actress and defiant waitress, roughly $20 in the bank at any given time. Mom and Dad got to see their investment at work when I played a coked-up stripper in a film that showcased at SXSW, a principal role. (For the record, even though I pop up on “Mr. Skin” when you google my name, I did not, in fact, appear nude. I was in a black satin negligee from Victoria’s Secret). However, I did make out with a girl, which made for an uncomfortable screening for the family at our Memorial Day reunion. I should’ve popped in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” instead. Hindsight, folks.
If I had been honest with myself, I would’ve known Hollywood wasn’t for me when I won an International performing arts contest in 2000 and was flown there for a showcase. On a break, my new friend Alice – winner, modern dance, Australia – and I went shopping on Melrose. I was at my tiniest, just out of college, wearing a size 1/2. I tried on a small – which didn’t fit – and a very helpful salesperson looked at me up and down and informed me that I was “not a ‘small’ in L.A.” I shudder to think what comments my post-baby, mid-thirties body would elicit.
Regardless, at some point it hit me. This likely happened around the time that a GM I absolutely loathed – let’s call him Glen* – stood in the kitchen shaking small cruets of oil and vinegar from one of my tables at me because, God forbid, I had not “followed procedure” and removed them before presenting the check. Prick. I had served my last Spaghettini Bolognese.
And, with that, *poof* went the dream of living in a closet-sized, cockroach infested apartment in East Hollywood. *Poof* went the never-changing balance of $19.89 in my bank account. *Poof* went the irresponsibility of life waiting tables, going out every night, and complaining about “open” shifts where clock-in was a bright and early 10 a.m. (GASP!)
I do have a point. We should rethink the rules of M-A-S-H for Adults:
- It’s not so bad to have the “H” circled and get to live in a house, or even an Apartment, instead of a mansion. (Oh, the horror).
- It’s not so bad to have a job, any job really, that pays your bills and then some, even though you’re never on the cover of the “People” magazine you eyeball in the checkout line. (Would you want to be John Travolta right now?)
- It’s not so bad to marry a decent guy who thought he was destined to be a professional athlete (there goes the ‘decent’) and living a normal, stressful life. And, no, it’s not depressing that your combined joy comes from sharing a bottle of wine and watching DVR’d episodes of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” in the evenings…
The only Hollywood Star I have is a cheap plastic framed (and now slightly bent) version I won in 9th grade. But I am content. For me, producing a beautiful, healthy daughter is it’s own happy ending, albeit one that involves little sleep, more poop than I expected, and a lot of boob-pumping. THANK GOD that I don’t have the paparazzi peering in my window and questioning when I’m going to lose the baby weight…
*his name was Glen