A few weeks ago, Husband and I went swimming with the girls in South Carolina and Toddler said something that I can’t stop thinking about. She wore both a water ring and water wings and she said to me, her little voice stuffed with panic, “Mommy! Help! I keep floating to the deep, deep part!” And like a good mom, I threw my arms around her and hugged her and assured her that she was okay and that we were in fact in the shallow end.
The shallow end.
Lately, my pool is lacking a shallow end. And this is odd. Because I used to be plenty shallow. Embarrassingly shallow. I used to subsist on shopping trips to trendy stores and celebrity gossip. I used to obsessively sample fad diets in an effort to be skinny and hot. I used to camp out at the gym for hours a day, spinning away, going nowhere. I used to panic when I was late to get my highlights touched up.
But somewhere along the way, life got delightfully deeper. Maybe it was becoming a wife or a parent or a fatherless girl? Maybe it was becoming a writer or a blogger or a Professor of Insecurities? Maybe it was flirting with the often harsh and humorless realities of adulthood, of aging, of lingering mortality? I would wager that it was all of these things.
But it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I think I’ve swung too far in the other direction. What matters is that I miss my shallow end. I miss the superficial things I used to enjoy. I miss watching mindless reality television and searching for the most flattering jeans. I miss talking about celebrities.
I miss my goofy, silly, blondeness.
And so. I am reclaiming it. Consider yourself warned.
I came to this conclusion yesterday afternoon. We all know that I’m epiphany-prone and yesterday was no exception. I was talking with my friend (and superstar nutritionist) Lauren Slayton. I asked Lauren to meet me because I want to up the ante health-wise in my life. I want to focus on my body, on my nutrition, on the health of my young family. I want to feel more energetic and do what I can to prevent cancer and to raise good eaters. At the end of our meeting, I said to Lauren, “It’s so funny because for so many years I watched what I ate and worked out because I wanted to look hot, but now my priority is to be healthy.” And as I said this, I realized something.
I want both. I want to be healthy and hot.
“I want to be hot for my book party!” I said to her and she smiled. Truth be told, it’s not about losing weight. But it is about looking my best. Far more importantly though, I would like to feel my best. And then Lauren and I talked about this, whether it is shallow to want to maximize our attractiveness. Whether it is shallow or selfish to want to feel amazing. And we didn’t come to any ready conclusion. Maybe it is a bit shallow to want to be hot. But I think that’s okay. I think that’s more than okay.
We all need a shallow end.
At least I do. I love the deep end. I do. I love writing about the complex and shifting depths of human existence. I love scrutinizing the universal insecurities that shake our days. But I cannot do this all the time. It affects me. Maybe this is foolish, but it just occurred to me that I might not have control over most things in life, but I do have control over what I write about. And this is an important awakening for me. Because what I write about affects what I think about and what I think about affects how I feel and how I see the world.
This is all a long-winded and clumsy way of saying what Toddler said so succinctly,
I keep slipping to the deep end.
But there is a shallow end. A silly end. There still is. And writing about its mere existence makes me smile big. And so I will write about it from time to time. Not all the time because I love the deep end too much. But some of the time. And maybe by writing about the more superficial aspects of my existence, I will find my way to my shallow end once more. And if and when I get there, I will celebrate the fact that I can touch the bottom. And I will splash around a bit.
The blonde is back, kids. Get ready.