Somewhere there’s a group of psychologists researching babies’ brains in hopes of understanding what our littlest humans are thinking long before they can express themselves with language. I can picture the team at Yale or the University of Wales devising protocols and running regression models to nail down ways we can learn about the actual thoughts that babies think.
I can tell you right now what my baby self was thinking 39.5-ish years ago. There’s no question in my mind that little me was thinking FUCK THAT.
In my deepest core, I know I am hardwired not for perseverance or scrambling over obstacles after expending genuine effort. Nope. My protons and electrons were programmed for give-upped-ness, not stick-to-it-ness.
Sharp pointing bones stabbing out of my gums during teething? Little Christie was undoubtedly sobbing in hopes that someone would understand that my message to the universe was Fuck this; I don’t want teeth, I want a mouth that doesn’t feel like I’m being murdered from the inside. Getting shots or being deprived of my desire for unlimited licorice and candy corn? Fuck this, get me out of this world.
My drive to throw in the towel when things get tough is so automatic, so deeply engrained as my M.O., that it has to be something I was born with. There’s not one single thing I’ve faced where my first and truest reaction wasn’t Fuck it. Most of the time, my fuck it is more colorful. Today’s was fuck it. hard. with a stick. That was my refrain when I came face to face with my latest demon. Carpool line. It’s my Moby Dick. Call me Fuck It Ishmael.
As I sat locked in a traffic jam comprised of parents doing what I was doing (except they were just driving to school and I was losing my everlasting shit), I felt that innate thing inside of me mushroom, that thing that wants to GIVE UP when things get stressful. My temperature rises and my adrenaline surges and my mind offers one delicious, tantalizing option: FUCK IT.
This morning’s carpool line fuck it had me swearing I would move to the suburbs or to Wyoming where there is enough room for everyone to put their car somewhere while they walk their kids to school. Rural Canada sounded like an ideal option. Today was just like the time I was learning to ski–when my alpine skills failed to produce actual skiing after a few hours of lessons, I thought Fuck this, let’s go to the beach. When calculus got hard, I said fuck this, let’s major in English. One bad date and I was all fuck this, I’ma be a lesbian nun. When attempting a VBAC became excruciating, believe me you could hear my fuck this, where’s the scalpel to cut out my baby! all the way across the border… of outer Mongolia.
It’s so deep inside of me that I can’t get it out. I think it is me. It’s equal parts fear of struggle and fear I won’t make it to the other side. It also feels like I am going to die. How someone thinks traffic jams, the quadratic equation, or shitty speed dating could end in the cessation of life is beyond me, but that’s how it feels.
And it’s not subject to logic. Like this morning– I knew that some day soon we’ll figure out the whole carpool line, but in that frantic moment my truest self dominates and she says this will never get better and someone will probably die here, even though I couldn’t see how a fleet of family friendly cars going ZERO miles per hour could result in a fatality.
Honestly, I’m a little disappointed that my core isn’t more resilient or inspirational. Why can’t the theme of my consciousness be I love a challenge or Watch me dominate this situation? Why does folding my cards without a fight always have to be my go to?