Thursday, May 2, 2013

The 1 % Legacy


 
Mom is caught between who she is and who she wants to be

I was supposed to be a trophy wife. It's what my mother trained me to do. (I hope she unknowingly trained me in this and did not purposefully only give me the skills I'd need to trap keep a man.)
(I'll never know.)
(I suspect it was intentional.)
(I can't blame her though, growing up I gave no indication I could survive on my own.)

I learned how to chemically improve my hair, exploit the purpose of make-up, flirt…and take the path of least resistance. 

Unfortunately, trophy wife-ism is the only thing I fully trained for and now I'm too old to be one. I missed my calling AND since I'm not doing it, I'm drowning in a world I have to run because I have only useless skills to draw from. Smiling gratuitously does not help balance a budget.

It’s possible I have this all wrong, but the thought process of the moment is:

Perceived Trophy Wife Skills
Maintain Improve Appearance
I am very good at this on any budget level (currently I buy the fabulous $2 NYC nail polish at Target, the wonderful store where a spray tan in a can is $8 on sale...impossible to apply evenly, but it keeps me busy trying). However, I could actually look like a trophy wife with a professional manicure, pedicure, spray tan, eye lift, regular micro-dermabrasion and a daily massage. Now I use 20 gage sand paper in an “at-home” dermabrasion technique along with Scotch tape to lift my eyelids out of my eyes. 
My point is though – I have the skills to stand in a spray tan booth and sit with a manicurist.
Traveling
I am very good at staying in hotels. Plus, I speak French - which is useless unless you're a trophy wife who travels. (Oh!! My mother suggested I take French!)
Thoughtful Consumption
Drinking poolside, ordering dinner from the chef for children who are elsewhere, very discerning with fine chocolate, wine, Tuscan cuisine. I’m pretty sure I can do this.
Additionally, starving myself when the above get out of hand. 
Good with men
I can make a man feel - good. about himself. about me. That's the true calling of the trophy wife. I think. We didn’t get that far in my training. I did learn how to dance, laugh and smile gratuitously,  and flirting with men are the only areas in which I have found these skills to be useful.
Exciting previous career
I was a Rockette and something like 99% of Rockette's marry millionaires. Seriously. I am in the 1%. I did not marry a millionaire. 

That's it. 

How did I miss what I spent my entire life preparing for?

I know actually.  I said no to all the men who could give me a trophy life and married the confident boy who wisely made me laugh out loud and learn to like who I was underneath the $2 nail polish and $8 spray tan. And he's younger...I guess that actually makes me a cougar

I said yes to genuine laughter and joy - and a lifetime of luxury avoidance. I guess I'm deeper than my mother and I thought at the outset. And my life is not completely devoid of hedonistic richness, in fact, compared to most other countries – I live in the lap of luxury. A small, comfortable lap. 

So, what do I do with the skills I have, but don’t need? How do I get the skills I do need? Is it possible that I already have everything I need to be the wife of a teacher and a mother of two girls, just not the capacity to recognize it?

Am I just confusing a trophy wife with white trash? Am I just a white trash cougar? Probably.

Because if I was really trophy wife material I would 1) be one and 2) yeah, I don’t have a 2). Trophy wives are amazing now – they start multi-million dollar businesses. Gone are the days when they only looked good. Damn! Again, I say, I missed it!!!

Ultimately, my soul is torn between gratitude for our sweet, warm lives and the desire for lazy luxurious days. I am so very grateful for all I’ve been blessed with and haven’t yet destroyed by ignorance. Nothing changes that. Scared though, that the legacy I’m leaving my daughters is the same soul-searching struggle.

My girls are almost grown. It’s time. It’s just time, for me to become something more than a white-trash-cougar-trophy-wife-wanna-be. I wanna be something good. And where do I go from here? I'm still floundering around looking for something else I'm trained for. 

Where is the job that calls for a lazy, un-evenly tan, laughing woman with peeling nail polish and Scotch tape above her eyes? 
  
Is it possible the job is still at home, guiding two teenage girls to come into their own 1%? 

I hope I've trained them to say yes to good things. To respect themselves enough to consciously choose their path, not fall into it, maybe to find the boy who will help them change the world, or make $30 million his first year out and still be able to genuinely make them laugh - at themselves, and their mother. But, kindly, and while handing her a glass of Ch√Ęteau Lafite and a box of Godiva chocolate- in Paris (and by “her” I mean “me”).

My girls are going to be leaving home soon and I will have to find a paying job. 

Where do the 1% go back to work? 

I am seriously asking. Please feel free to suggest.