sometimes i get questioned whether or not i ever get scared sharing such intimate details about my life. that somehow my affection for self-transparency in the public realm will one day be my demise. but seeing as it has not only kind of sort of landed me a boyfriend, reaffirmed a few dozen friendships, and has even resulted in a very lucrative side “job” (that sounds super shady and/or inappropriate), i’d say i’m doing surprisingly well for myself…
this weekend i finally managed to finish reading let’s pretend this never happened on my flights to and from san jose. and duh, i loved it. and probably raised quite an eyebrow or five from my fellow airport goer in the process for the fact that on more than one occasion, i could not stop audibly laughing.
but aside from recounts of trivial fights with her husband over wet towels on the floor and giant wire chickens, i think what i most admired about jenny’s writing was her commitment to sharing some of the most vulnerable parts of her life in an attempt to drive home the lesson that while no one’s life is perfect, it is the only one you have, so you can either choose to play victim to your circumstances or allow yourself to be shaped and made better by them. and well, a really really good sense of humor helps, too.
because i guarantee you, that no matter how obscure or painful or seriously twisted the recounting may be, it will resonate with someone. a soul will be touched and a lesson learned. whether it’s a tale of a skinny jean-shopping gone wrong or the struggle with comparison that habitually plagues us all, we’re all just looking for a story to help us feel a little more normal and a little less alone.
Fifteen years of marriage and one beautiful daughter later, Victor and I are still as mismatched as ever. We fight. We make up. We occasionally threaten to put cobras in the mailbox for the other person to find. And that’s okay. Because after fifteen years, I know that when I call Victor from the emergency room to tell him that I was attacked by bogs when visiting my parents, he’ll take a deep breath and remind himself that this is our life.
I watch Victor almost in wonderment at the man he’s become, now completely unfazed when my father asks him to pull over so he can peel a dead skunk off the road because he “might know someone who could use it.” I see Hailey slip easily between the world of ballet classes and helping her grandfather build a moonshine still.
I see how we’ve changed to create a “normal” that no sane person would even consider “normal,” but that works for us. A new normal. I see us becoming comfortable with our own brand of dysfunctional functionality, our own unique way of measuring successes.
But most important, I see me…or rather, the me I’ve become. Because I can finally see that all the terrible parts of my life, the embarrassing parts, the incidents I wanted to pretend never happened, and the things that make me “weird” and “different,” were actually the most important parts of my life. They were the parts that made me me. And this was the very reason I decided to tell this story…to celebrate the strange, to give thanks for the bizarre, and to one day help my daughter understand that the reason her mother appeared mostly naked on Fox News (that’s in book two, sorry) is probably the same reason her grandfather occasionally bring his pet donkey into bars. Because you are defined not by life’s imperfect moments, but your reaction to them. Because there is joy in embracing –rather than running screaming from –the utter absurdity of life. And because it’s illegal to leave an unattended donkey in your car, even if you do live in Texas…(Jenny Lawson)