Thank you, Enfamil, for reminding me how old Baby #1 would be right now. And by “thank you” of course I mean, “bite me.” I swear, I unsubscribe to these emails every three weeks or so. Follow my example, Enfamil: Let it go. I know it’s hard to unwrite something, to unregister information. I feel you. But it’s time.
Muscle memory is extremely powerful. (Except, apparently, when I attempt an exercise program. I get Muscle Alzheimers when working out. A study should be done.) Even now, I had to go through the above paragraph and delete the extra spaces after the periods because I’ve been recently informed that two spaces are too many after a sentence. My thumbs are twitching. I feel compelled to click the space bar twice. I just did it.
My body’s muscles are quite insignificant. As they frequently remind me. The heart is a muscle. I can only assume mine is reasonably strong. But if imagination were a muscle I would be Miss Universe.
I have recently acquired and cultivated an obsession with Korean dramatic television starring a certain Korean actor–an obsession akin to the mindless infatuation experienced in the early 90s with one Sean Patrick Flannery who starred in the series “The Young Indiana Jones.” For the first time since middle school, I have had the pleasure of feeling the kind of brainlessness that produces such thoughts as, “If I were not myself I would totally have a shot with this person. It could happen!” and then leads to the purchasing of various teen magazines consisting mainly of neon framed photographs and headshots with little to no text to muddle the reader with the boundaries of reality. Watching these shows propels me back to my young teenager self, reflexes reverting to questing for Tiger Beat, collectable cards, and posters.
(…Does Korea have Tiger Beat? An equivalent surely. Can I google that? Who do I know still stationed in Korea?…)
I know several things. In my brain. Things like: That character is not a real person. That guy you see with your eyes, having memorized those great lines and practiced those facial expressions and movements, he actually goes home and changes into less awesome clothes (you know, of this current century), probably has less than perfect skin and bloodshot eyes, tells rude jokes, short changes his waiter, and kicks his puppy. And: I’m quite happily married. Even if I actually met this person, there’d be no way I’d do anything about it. But on the days when it seems the culmination of my life’s work is the combined accomplishment of spending less than 200 dollars at Costco, mopping the kitchen floor AND vacuuming the upstairs, getting my daughter to use the toilet, and applying my eyeliner perfectly, I find myself escaping into that 13 year old’s World Of Ever Rising Hope. It happens without my realizing it until I’m pulling into the garage, putting the minivan in “park,” and my life as a 21 year old scrappy orphaned shop-keeper with perfect skin who has finally realized she loves The Guy who has relentlessly and amusingly (yet with an aloofness boarding on rudeness) pursued her after first rescuing her from a sniper suddenly ends. Or something involving time travel.
It’s a habit. I do it without thinking. And I feel like I should stop, cuz it can’t be too healthy, right? I have a good life. I have a beautiful and loving family. I’ve even almost stopped hating Hawaii. (The fact of my being surrounded by beautiful Asian people enables me to pretend I myself am a beautiful Asian person and thus that much closer to being a fictional character in a TV show whose plot would be unintelligible to me without subtitles is irrelevant.)
But hey, Self, whatever moves your furniture. At least you’re not doing heroine.
Muscle memory is an interesting thing. (two spaces, delete) I have no problem with memory. Or maybe I have a HUGE problem with memory, in that I hold on to stuff longer than I should. If the ideal muscle is strong and toned, which is the more effective strategy: hold on to everything/power through or let go of everything/free myself of the potentially painful before I know its purpose? If I power through, focusing on the reality of each situation, I’ll become a more rational person. If I escape into my Choose Your Own Adventure head several times a day, whenever I feel something unpleasant, I’ll eventually become incapable of operating without the constant scrolling of an alternate ending in the back of my mind.
I tried a new exercise DVD last week and was so proud of myself for pushing through the pain. The next morning, my own legs nearly threw me down the stairs because they couldn’t handle stepping down. This is not a humorous exaggeration. I slid down two steps and had to cling to the railing with both hands like I was on the sharply tipping Titanic. I’ve only just regained the proper use of them and am hesitant to attempt such a work out again. But I’m about to be 35 and suddenly acutely aware that spending my free time reclining on various soft surfaces while scooping forkfuls of King Cake into my mouth does not benefit my physique. So. Hold on to everything, remember it all, do battle with my fantasy coping skills, push through the pain, and risk throwing myself down a staircase? Or let go of the past, escape into my increasingly complex library of imaginary scenarios that distract me and make me feel better, accept daily disappointments with an immediate irrational substitution, and risk getting fat? (Yeah. This is how my mind works.)
Cue the subtitles.
In the right light, this could absolutely be me.