Yes, she's strange and different...but not THAT different.

01 June 2006

What Happened?

When my son was very young and just starting to talk, one of the phrases he often used was “Wha hoppen?”  This was one of his two all-purpose queries – the other being “Why?” - meant to cover all requests for information and/or explanation.  I mention this because that phrase bobbed to the surface of my brain the other day as I contemplated my navel.  OK, maybe I wasn’t exactly contemplating it, but I did notice it and what I noticed was that my navel is a lot deeper today than it used to be.  Wha hoppen?

Now, I’d like to think that my navel is now deeper because my internal organs are slowly shrinking and pulling my navel deeper into my body.  But I do maintain enough contact with reality to understand that my navel is deeper nowadays because the belly around the belly button has gotten thicker.  When did this happen, and why wasn’t I notified?  I mean, I know that I’ve had to buy some bigger pants but that’s just because the old ones slowly shrunk with repeated laundering – right?

And then some other realities of my life started to really sneak into my perception.  For instance, I was talking to my son (now over ten years old) the other night when it slowly dawned on me that he’s rapidly approaching his mother’s height and that he and I were actually carrying on a conversation about meaningful subjects.  The “Wha hoppen” boy has been replaced by this short but growing young person.  Soon, he’s going to be taller than I am and then he’ll be leaving home and then having kids of his own.  What happened to my baby boy?

As long as I'm looking for answers, what happened to my shyness?  It used to terrify me to have to speak to any sized group of people.  Now I stand up on stage in front of hundreds of people and deliberately try to make them laugh at me.  What happened to my shame and my guilt?  For a good portion of my life I was certain that there was no one else in the world as perverted as I was.  Now I know that not only are there thousands and thousands of people like me, but also that Albert Einstein was right: the world IS stranger than you think.  (I think Al said that.)  And what happened to my fear?  I live my life every day now without hardly any regard for what other people might think about my appearance.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t miss any of those things.  I just wonder why I never really saw them leave and what happened to them when they did?

In reality, I know that I’m a very different person today than I was 30 or 20 or 10 years ago, and I’d like to think that I’m a better person today, too.  We all grow and are changed by our lives as we do so.  It’s good to live in the moment, to live for today, but it’s also good to remember and learn from the past.  It’s possible to live so much in the present that one suffers from “Baby Duck Syndrome”, where one wakes up in a brand new world every day.  I would imagine that such a life would be fun because everything is new but also short because there is no learned wisdom to use in avoiding danger.  It’s also possible to live so much in the past or the future that everyday life escapes notice.  Life has always been a balancing act and this is no different.

Summer is almost upon us (here in Houston, anyway) and change and growth are in the air along with the mold and the pollen.  I sometimes wonder what happened to winter, but I don’t miss it.  I sometimes wonder what happened to the boy I used to be, but I don’t miss him.  Whether we’re aware of it or not, we carry experiences from all that we used to know or used to have or used to be.  They make us who we are today and spending too much time wondering about what happened to all those experiences is time that might be better spent in simply making today a little better.  

But I still want to know what happened to my belly button.

  • On 6/01/2006 6:27 PM, Blogger Tonya said…

    I wouldn't change a thing in my life but I do wish I had two copies of my boys. One at about 8 and one the way they are now. I miss my little boys but I love the young men they have become.

    i have pondered the deeper belly button myself. i prefer my old shallow one but i don't think it's gonna make a return.

     
  • On 6/02/2006 7:12 AM, Blogger DeniseUMLaw said…

    I can't speak for 20 years ago (though we are approaching that), but I can say that you're a better person today than you were 10 years ago! Damn, I could hardly stand you back then. ;-)

    Yep, life is interesting. The changes in it are what make it fun and fascinating. And the inexorable marches of time never cease to cause me wonder. It was only yesterday that my baby was born. Now, suddenly, I have three of them -- and they're all adults! Wha hoppen?

    I've had a really successful life of balancing the living between being informed by the past, preparing for the future and living in the present. Sometimes, one or the other garners too much of my attention, but it doesn't take too long before it's back in balance.

    That belly button thing, though, has me completely stymied. I weigh more now than I ever have in my life and I seem utterly helpless to do anything about it. Well, I've got to run. If I don't leave now I won't have time to stop for my bacon, cheese and egg bagel before work.

     
  • On 6/02/2006 12:06 PM, Blogger Jen said…

    “Baby Duck Syndrome”: never heard of this before until today. Good name.

    I'm trying to think of a pet name involving "navel." Puddin' navel? Somehow "kitten navel" doesn't cut it.

     
  • On 6/02/2006 12:08 PM, Blogger Jami said…

    Tonya - as much as I'd like to freeze the kids at various points, I've decided that I really only want one of each of them. If that means they keep changing, so be it. (Of course, I might feel differently when they hit puberty.)

    Denise - I know you've always loved me because I'm just a lovable person. I understand the weight deal, too. I got pretty hefty a few years ago, dropped the weight and the inches down to high school levels, kept both down for almost two years and recently realized that I'm almost back where I was before I started the whole cycle. So, now I'm starting again.

     
  • On 6/02/2006 12:25 PM, Blogger Jami said…

    Jen - puddin' somehow doesn't scan right to me. I think it needs to start with "N". Nifty navel? Naughty navel? Nacho navel? Naffy navel? Nectar navel? Neon navel? Nicci navel? Nipple navel? There's more ...

     
  • On 6/03/2006 4:30 AM, Blogger Jen said…

    I have to nix Nacho Navel. That makes me think you touched your navel with Dorito fingers, and that makes me think of Kevin Federline, which is never, ever a good thing. Naffy and nectar have possibilities....

     
  • On 6/03/2006 2:21 PM, Blogger Jami said…

    Ew, Ew, Ew - Kevin Federline! OK, Nacho is definitely out. Personally, I'm partial to Naffy Navel. It seems to be on a par with KT.

    (and just FYI, when I was in the submarine service, I had a naval navel).

     
  • On 6/04/2006 4:01 AM, Blogger Jen said…

    I just reread your post. For the life of me, I can't picture you shy. What were you like at, let's say, 25?

     
  • On 6/05/2006 11:14 AM, Blogger Jami said…

    Let's see ... to start with I was a lot younger at 25! ;-) (NO SMART REMARKS, DENISE!) I was also very closeted, which was probably the biggest contributor to my shyness. My first foray out into the world didn't take place until a few years later. (Writing this has just made me realize that was almost exactly 30 years ago: July of 1976.) Once I finally accepted myself, the rest just kind of happened. I first did stand-up in 1995 on a whim. I wrote ten minutes of material, memorized it and performed it all within 24 hours. The rest is history. Am I shy? Sometimes I still am, but I also tend to joke and talk a lot nowadays to cover it up, so it doesn't show.

     
  • On 6/16/2006 5:54 PM, Blogger Jen said…

    It always amazes me that there can be that one thing - the unresolved trauma from your past; living authentically your true sexuality; whatever - and that unlocks the key for you to become you more fully with other people.

    Jen's off to take her anti-New Agey pill. Please ignore that Yanni music you hear in the background.

     
  • On 7/21/2006 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very best site. Keep working. Will return in the near future.
    »

     

Post a Comment

<< Back to Front Page