For years I’ve been saying to my kids: If I ever ________, just shoot me. They have teased me for having said it to so many things. At one point Middle Man said to me, “There’s so many things you say to shoot you about mom, first you’re going to have to buy a gun!” (If I buy one, shoot me.)
Yesterday, talking to a friend, the phrase slipped from my lips. I began to think of what things might one day lead to my demise:
I once thought that any kind of plastic surgery or vanity procedure was disgusting. My mother, who had a face lift in her 40s, and I argued endlessly about why I would never do such a thing, and how I thought 5o+ years of smoking had caused her wrinkles. Now, with one very droopy eye and a growing trail of lines, the DNA writing is on the wall, and the idea of “help” is not so far fetched. However, if I ever start looking like the Cat Woman, or the myriad of women who start out sensible and end up a parody (pulled so tight you can’t blink), or a character in Brazil, just shoot me. (Cat Woman, aka Jocelyn Wildenstein-L, and Katherine Helmond, in Brazil-R)
I don’t care how fit I get, or how good I look, if I ever show up at a public place in a thong bathing suit, shoot me. I accept that the two piece I wear is pushing the envelope, but if I lose track of that line and you see me in something thongy, you know what to do.
If I become one of those old ladies who forgets what she once believed in, and starts saying the kind of racist, elitist, sexist, intolerant, prejudiced, hurtful things that a lot of older people turn to… put us all out of our misery.
To my kids: If I ever become one of those mother-in-laws who makes my kids or the ones they love, miserable– if I bring hurt to your home– sit me down and set me straight. If I don’t listen, support your partner and lock your door. If I don’t listen, and I huff and puff and blow your door down, just shoot me.
If I start wearing pajamas in public, and think it’s fashion, shoot me. Seriously.
I’m lucky enough to not have needed to color my hair so far, but if I start, and I ever have that super fake orange/red hair, but tell you it’s real, just shoot me. Actually, if I get to that point, where my hair is a Crayola color, shoot me anyway.
If I ever turn on those I love (be they family or friends), because I don’t like what they say or do; if I judge them and turn my back– without trying, and trying again, to re-connect– If demand that they say what I want to hear, rather than what they really believe… I hope I will always work to listen first, and try to understand. I hope that love will be bigger than being right. But if I truly turn on those I love, without working hard to meet in the middle; just shoot me.
If I ever show up at our local market (or anywhere!), in skin tight, leopard print leggings, with a big ass silver bag and ridiculously high heels, just shoot me.
If I ever start carrying large, fake Gucci, Coach, or Louis Vuitton (etc) hand bags, and pretend they’re real… just shoot me.
If I live to see the day when our air is not clean enough to breath, our oceans don’t make my heart soar, and the glaciers truly disappear… if we truly destroy the natural world that I love so much… please shoot me.
If we live in a world where we become complacent when a young black boy is shot, for “looking suspicious,” or we allow young gay teens to be bullied to death; if we don’t care about the loss of another mother’s child because our children are safe and happy, or don’t care that others can’t be married, because they don’t live like us, then put me out of my misery.
If I lose my sense of humor, slap me. If that doesn’t do it, and I seem determined to be sour and flat, if my sense of humor is really gone, if I lose my ability or desire to play… shoot me.
If I stop working to grow, if I settle into a dry, judgmental place; if my heart stops bleeding, or no longer lives on my sleeve; if I stop hugging my friends when I see them, if I don’t cry during “Kodak moments,” if my heart doesn’t swell each time my kids say “I love you,” if my passion deserts me… Just shoot me.
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