So I think my mom has gotten me another year long subscription to Women's Day magazine.
I'm serious, thank you. I find myself needing mindless entertainment for just a few brief moments today, and Women's Day is doing the trick. Not that it's mindless, but it certainly doesn't require much from my heart and soul.
So I'm saying thank you in the same way that my gallbladder says thank you when I eat a salad and not a steak.
Anyways, here I am reading my women's day magazine and the very first ad in the July issue shows a beautiful, baby blue, infinity pool spilling over into a perfect, oil-free ocean. The pool is edged by khaki lounge chairs, yellow striped beach towels, and mahogany poolside tables. I can practically hear the seagulls and feel the wind blowing right off the page. And the ad says this, "If you want to be here...
Stop right there. Yes. I want to be there. I want to be there so badly I might jump in my car and not turn around. I want to stick my feet in the water and look over the ocean. I want to smell the salty sea instead of the stinky diapers. I want to feel the sand instead of the spaghetti that invariably ends up in my hair after Annie's dinner. I want to sleep with the wind and the seagulls. I want to be in the sun, in a bikini, with a pool of gorgeous water waiting to envelop me at the first sign of sweat. Yes, I want to be there. Are you going to take me?
"If you want to be here... (next page) Smell Here,"
And a picture of a Glade wall plug-in hovers obtrusively over the water with a "rub to activate" caption below it.
I am royally disappointed.
Really? Bring me to Fiji on the first page and then leave me with a consolation prize of Glade air freshener scratch and sniff and the daunting reality of life on the next? What kind of ad exec thinks that up? That's just mean.
As if to prove a point, my phone vibrates while I am being mad at Glade for leading me on and one of the guys from the band has sent a picture and this text message, "Guys... I've never been so excited about deodorant before in my life. Old Spice has a new line out. It's called Denali. 'Smells like Wilderness, Open Air, and Freedom' and it does!"
There's a picture of old spice staring me in the face.
Promising me 'wilderness, open air, and freedom.' I tell my friend I am happy he's found underarm freedom. He writes back and says there's one called Fiji that he bets I would like. I write back and say, "Will it physically deliver me to Fiji? If so, I will take it." He writes back and says, "Yeah, just close your eyes and sniff your pits." I write back and say, "I so needed to smile today. Y'all will find me in my closet wearing a bikini, listening to Bob Marley, drinking from a coconut, Fiji deodorant in one hand and my Glade room freshener in another... and I'll probably be high on fumes... but hey, I will have finally made it to Fiji." At one point, he writes back to say he's praying for me.
Praying for me? Do I sound like a woman who needs prayers??? I just want to go to the real Fiji and don't want to go there through sniffing deodorant fumes and reading mean magazines in my house... is that too much to freaking ask for???
He's gonna pray for me... ha.
And then, in a final twist of fate, I get an email update from Southwest Airlines.
"Wanna get away?"
Reality People, Reality.
Reality is this. I just flew home two nights ago from a week of camp. Annie's first night back home she woke up screaming every hour on the hour. The next morning, Ryan blew his back out and he's been on heavy drugs ever since. My house is covered in a layer of dust from being gone for so long, but I only have 48 hours, and I have to choose: do the laundry before the next trip and clean the strange ring out of the toilet or dust. Option A wins.
Reality is this. I have to get Annie from the church daycare in 13 minutes and I still have 200 new emails in my inbox that I didn't get to, and I feel perpetually guilty lately for being a bad friend. I feel a bit lonely and disconnected from my sisters, friends, and my church today. I could really use a girl night. Some coffee. A cupcake. A good laugh. A night out. But all those require a babysitter... and babysitters require money... and I suppose real money comes from a real job. And of course it requires time, which I have very little of today. I have very little of until sometime in July.
And this is not a pity party. It's not even to say that reality stinks. It's just to say. This is reality.
And I'm so tired of picking up magazines and tubes of deodorant and hearing about all the ways that all the products can help me escape reality.
Is that really the answer? Glade? Old Spice? Fiji?
I just want someone to tell me the truth.
Instead of products, people, movies, and songs that encourage me to escape reality, why doesn't someone say, "Here, use this deodorant. It smells good. And while it won't do the dishes, mow the yard, or raise your child for you... you'll smell pretty dang good while you suck it up and be an adult and do the things you have to do anyways."
That's what I want to hear.
"Here, use Glade. You won't be in Fiji and the dust won't disappear and we can't help the strange ring in your toilet and we are really sorry you are tired and only home for 48 hours, but at least the house will smell good."
"Here, drink our soda. It won't give you time with your friends, but you'll feel so fricking hyper that it won't matter."
"Here, use our sugar scrub. It won't actually deliver you to a Thai Massage Parlor, but if you close your eyes and turn up the music loud enough, then maybe, just maybe, you will have a few minutes of peace and quiet in your busy life."
I'd rather here the truth than buy into the lies.
The lies tell me that the answers to my problems lie in people, places, and things. Las Vegas. Wine Country. The Spa. The mall. The ocean. The cruise. New York. Europe. The pool. The deodorant. The glade plug-in.
Truth is, the answer lies within myself and my ability to own my responsibilities, to find joy in my current situation, and to be content with my little apartment far, far away from Fiji.
Yeah, we all need a break from time to time. Everyone can use a vacation. But when I spend my life wrapped up in all the places I want to escape to, I forget that the toil and sweat of each day, the reality of my day to day life... well, I forget that that is reality.
So, I was supposed to pick Annie up six minutes ago and now I am "that mom" who comes late. But that's ok. Today I'm praying for an extra dose of reality. I want to be happy where I'm at. And if I ever find myself lusting over a Glade ad again... I hope Annie will throw up on me and snap me out of it.
Why would I want to be in Fiji when I could be loving on a sweet baby girl who has just puked on me?
Reality trumps make-believe. It has to.