On Being Ordinary

In the second to last year of high school my first boyfriend is the most popular boy in our year. He is a triumph of style over substance and to say that we have nothing in common does not begin to describe the valleys that separate his personality from mine. New to the school, he approaches without knowing a single thing about me and I understand that it is my place to feel grateful.

I won’t lie, I enjoy looking at him and I enjoy everybody else looking at him too. Before this brief liaison with popularity I was as I always have been – bookish and antisocial. Not equipped for attention. But then people start looking at me too and I understand that it is my place to feel grateful

One day in my final year of high school I find myself opposite the careers co-ordinator. “Lacking direction” lead me straight here. “What do you want to do with yourself Luana, with your life, with your writing?”
I lean into to face him “My neighbours mother is a greens keeper. She works the ride on lawn mower in a crochet bikini and smokes joints. Her tan is wicked & her husband is a hot surfer, she cooks on the BBQ with a beer in hand – I want to be like her”. In the only moment of true connection that I have ever shared with a teacher, my career advisor looks me straight in the eyes and says “Me too”

I sit in college lectures wishing time away to get home & sit on the couch with the man that will have my hand, despite having done that last night and every other for the last few years. I think about tending to our house, growing vegetables in winter and fruit in summer. I think about what I’m going to cook that weekend when there is time. Maybe I’ll write a little on the beach while he surfs. I think about the trips we’ve had all over the world, walking the streets together feeling at home in corners of Paris, Costa Rica, Italy, at home in each other’s presence. I drop out of college 3.5 years into a 4 year degree for a more ordinary adventure

My first born daughter is so beautiful and complicated and witty. She is curious, clever & takes a while to warm up. Confronting the fact that her personality is just like mine is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to face. But nothing is written and she will be who she is to become – doesn’t the anticipation send a shiver? She is nobodies, not mine not her fathers – she is from us not for us. Learning to become a parent with her has me feeling like myself finally, I am at home elbows deep in the mundane. These are the moments I dreamt of but everything seemed so intangible that I didn’t have the language to express what I wanted to be, it was always just a feeling

The maternal health nurse tells me Rio is in the 100th percentile for height and the 10th for weight. She comments that these are proportions we all dream of and that I’ll have to do something about her teeth. I give her my signature fuck you smile but say nothing. I look at the gap toothed grin passed down from her father, one of the things that I fell in love with first. Thinking about her feeling bound by her appearance makes me want to rip my own head off. My girl dreams bigger than perfect proportions, I know that. Nothing is written

Yesterday a stranger told me that Bowie Rose has rare Mauve eyes like Elizabeth Taylor, with a name and eyes like these she is destined to be a star. Last night before bed I bath and feed her, she nuzzles into me – a 7 month old newborn, I have never seen anyone love like this baby loves me. She is just like her father – quick to smile, her insides match her outsides. I kiss her face, squeeze her fat little bum and tell her that if she wants to be ordinary and only blaze a subtle little trail I will still think she is more special than Elizabeth Taylor just for being herself

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