Black, White, and Jewish, that is the name of the book that taught me you can’t judge a book by it’s title. I’ll never forget seeing that book on the shelf thinking “wow she’s black, white, and Jewish just like me, this autobiography will be such an inspiration.” At the time I was 16, young, confused about my identity, and very impressionable. I bought the book, and began to read, but the further along I read the less she shared about being black, white, and Jewish; And the more she talked about being the daughter of a famous author (Alice Walker, you know the one who wrote The Color Purple) and the daughter of divorced bi-coastal parents. I was so exceedingly upset over the blatant lie of a title, that I returned the book to the store. I mean honestly if a nutrition label on a snickers bar said it was the healthiest candy bar on the planet, then you open it only to see it’s rigged with dynamite, I’m sure you’d want to refund too. Okay, so maybe that example was a bit of an extreme, but you get the point at least, I was very let down.
I’m guessing some of you have caught on by now, but this story is not about my being black, white, or Jewish either. And don’t you just hate that, being reeled in, only to find out that the meat of the story wasn’t accurately portrayed in it’s title? That is the exact feeling I had when I woke up this morning, just thinking. Thinking about life, now, as an adult. Sometimes life can be stressful (okay most of the time), moments like losing a job, looking for a job, figuring out the best algorithm for your cash flow, the best time of day to run your errands, the best time of day to drive just about anywhere, childcare for the kids, which grandparent’s you’re going to for the holidays this year, you catch my drift . I seriously wish there was a cashier I could go to and ask for a refund on my adulthood, “I’m sorry adulthood just isn’t living up to the warranty as promised, can I get a refund?”
And, the crazy part is we all wanted to rush through childhood to get here, we so desperately just wanted to be an adult, without knowing what that entailed. As a child all I could think about was how wonderfully fantastic life would be as a grown up. I remember being 9 years old watching marathons of Absolutely Fabulous with my best friend, and that is exactly what I thought adulthood would be like. I imagined grown up me would, drive my Jaguar around town in my mink coat with a cigarette in one hand and a chardonnay in the other, and at this point I would have somehow adopted a British accent. I was looking forward to making up my own rules and doing what I wanted whenever I wanted. Drinking, partying, R rated movies, kissing boys, going on dates, I knew that I was going to own the world as an adult.
But no one ever told me that when I finally reached a capable age, I wouldn’t want to do any of those things. Now that I’m an adult I don’t drink, because I know I’ll most likely drink too much and get a hangover. I don’t party, well because someone’s going to have to clean that mess up at the end of the night, and that someone aint gonna be me. To be fair I still enjoy kissing boys, well one-man-my husband, and I do enjoy R rated movies, but these aren’t the highlights of my life that I thought they would be. If I were to be completely honest, I’m at my happiest if I get 2 hours of alone time to just get some cleaning done, to go on a hike, exercise, do some sewing, my own manicure, a pedicure on my kid; And as I type these words down I can still imagine 9 year old me thinking “no way would that ever be my life.”
Now that I’m older, I’ve learned to look past the disappointments in life. With every self-help book, and spiritual guidance blog I find, I’m one step closer to the silver lining. No more frustration over a book title not accurately depicting it’s story, no more upset over adulthood not living up to it’s expectations. I’m going to take everything for face value, see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, make the lemonade from those lemons, and accept that gift horse. So on days like today when I wake up just drenched in stress, I have to remind myself that today is going to be Black White and Jewish, and the stress and frustration I feel in the morning will not be the meat of my day.