humor, mental health, parenting

Abba Love: The Continuing Quest to be Happy with Myself

There are a lot of embarrassing things that can happen. Walking out of a bathroom with toilet paper stuck to the heel of your shoe, walking out of the bathroom with your dress tucked into your nylons and falling on your face… after walking out of the bathroom.

I need to learn that simply being me is not an embarrassment.

I’m envious of people who live their lives unabashedly. They are who they are and don’t care who knows it or who has a problem with it. Those people can be huge heroes of mine. Unless, you are unabashedly wearing a swastika… then I might have some problems with you.

But there are these amazing, incredible people, who don’t hide their true selves. They wear what they want to wear and say what they want to say.

I’m not one of those people.

I have always hidden things away. My fears? That people will see how much of an actual dork I am and run screaming for the hills.

“Good grief. They can’t know that I know every single line from Jaws, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, E.T.,…” The list goes on and on.

“What kind of world can accept a woman secretly wishing for a copy of “The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers” for Christmas?” Santa doesn’t like things like that. Santa calls the cops if he sees things like that written in letters to him.

I’ve hidden so many of my interests and loves from the world because I was terrified that ¬†someone wouldn’t like me if they found out. I’m nearly 35 and I still feel like that kid that has to put the dust cover of “A Tale of Two Cities” over her comic book.

I remember one time, I really wanted to check out the entire first season of “Tales from the Crypt” from our library. That show captivated me to no end as a kid, as did Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and Jim Henson’s “Storyteller”. (See? There’s the geek coming out). So there I was, with that precious gem in my hand when the thought crossed my mind,

“I’m a 34 year old mother of two, about to walk up to the desk, with my two kids in tow, and check out “Tales from the Crypt”. A show both of my kids are waaaayy to little to see. A show the librarian with know, for sure, is for me. A librarian I, then, have to see week after week. And she’ll know who I really am and what I actually like.”

I got scared and grabbed a copy of “North by Northwest.” I love Hitchcock and it was something “library check out” approved, all classic cinema is. But there was “Tales from the Crypt” still on the shelf with my self confidence.

This may seem like such a small thing, but it really is part of a bigger battle that I, and so many other people, have.

So, I know what you’re wondering, what does Abba have to do with this?

Abba has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. I love them, but I always listen to them with the windows rolled up in my car.

Let those young folks think I’m listening to Jay-Z.

Last weekend something amazing happened. Andy took the kids out and I was left all alone in the house. Yes, that is amazing. But something even MORE amazing happened after that. I opened the window in our kitchen and, started to play music.

I live in a small development and in an apartment building, my neighbors are always ever present.

If you had walked by my window that day, you would have heard, The Beatles (my safe choice) and then the glorious sounds of Abba wafting down from my open kitchen window.

I got the courage to take another step forward to being okay with who I am.

I love Abba. I’m not going to apologize for it any more. In fact, I might try really hard to not apologize for any of the things I like.

It’s tricky.

We have the term “guilty pleasure” for a reason. But maybe the term should simply be “pleasure”. Maybe the “guilt” needs to go. Maybe we have enough pressure to feel guilty about other things in life, like how we are parenting, how our relationships or our jobs are going. Let’s not start to feel guilty about the things that actually bring us joy in life.

When I was younger, the world was in black and white. As get older and meet so many new, incredible people, each with their own incredible story, each with their own book cover not to be judged by, I am reminded of a great new phrase, one far better than “guilty pleasure”.

“If it makes you happy and you’re not hurting anyone, it’s a good thing.”

Maybe armed with my new favorite phrase, I’ll break down more barriers I’ve put up for myself.

I might even check “Tales from the Crypt” out of the library… or just watch it on Netflix when it comes out.

Another great phrase:

“Rome wasn’t built in one day.”


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