I have to travel for work this week. On one hand, it is nice to go to bed when I want to, not worry about monitoring minion behavior, and share a bed with two children and a dog. On the other hand, I typically end up missing my kids terribly and spend a lot of time on Facetime exchanging “I want you”s with my daughter and trying to get my son’s attention. In any case, they both spend a lot of time making faces or playing with their hair and looking at themselves on the screen rather than focusing on any coherent conversation with me.
One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to find an episode of Law and Order on TV. It is almost guaranteed that you can find an episode playing on some hotel TV. This time I found L&O Criminal Intent. What a great show. Vincent D’Onofrio is brilliant. Through unique detective work and clever interactions and pinpointed perceptions, he is always able to put together very quickly who committed the crime and the person’s intentions, motive, weaknesses, strengths, etc. Yes, it’s very make believe, but wouldn’t it be grand if that’s how crime was solved and criminals were caught? Like a beautifully scripted dance…which inevitably ends with the person charged with the crime crying out at the end “I don’t know why I do this!” or “I don’t know how I became this person!” This is exactly what happened in two episodes I watched tonight.
In one, a woman who had become a murderous monster on account of her greedy husband and a nightmare divorce (“Look what you turned me into!” she screamed as she was hauled off camera by two NYC police officers). In the other, a shy, socially awkward man in his 20s who performs lobotomies on women he drugs and kidnaps so that he can cuddle with them and care for them and they never leave him. He even eats some of their body parts to connect with them (“I don’t know why I do this, I’m so disgusting”). With tears and snot running down his face, the cannibal, played by Neil Patrick Harris, breaks down after being coaxed into a tearful confession by D’Onofrio, who has taken pity on this young nerdy guy who can never get the girl, and masterfully pulls the confession from him in order to avoid the death penalty.
I can relate to these revelations. While I have not murdered anyone, disabled people so I could cuddle with them against their will, or eaten human body parts (THANK GOD!!!!), I often find myself alone crying “How did I become this person?” or “How did I get here?” At first, I would blame something or someone, usually a husband, romantic interest, family member, or more recently, children. If I wouldn’t have met that person, made that decision, sacrificed for that partner, things would be different. Then it was unhealthily turned inward (and still sometimes is) with I’m so screwed up, I’m stupid, I’m unlovable, God hates me, I’m worthless. I once visited with a sort of “medium” who tried to explain to me what had happened in my past lives that had caused certain things to happen to me in this life.
I guess when we are young, we often imagine our future lives as something that is known or familiar already. So it resembles our childhood experience or something we saw on MTV Cribs (wow, that dates me). I certainly didn’t envision two failed marriages, having children by myself, dealing with several mental health diagnoses or living in my MTV Un-Cribs neighborhood and single in my mid-40s (yeah, I’m on the high side of mid but nearly 50 sounds totally inaccurate). These kind of thoughts haunt me on a daily basis. I imagine it might be a common experience, but people rarely talk about it unless it’s a positive thing.
“I never thought I’d win the Powerball!”
“I never thought I’d get to work with Lil Wayne!”
“I never thought I’d win a Grammy!”
“I never thought Bradley Cooper would discover me singing at a drag club and I would sleep with him!”
You get the point. Some days it’s hard to combat the “I never thoughts” with gratitude. And yet, on the positive side, I’m not killing people or eating them. There are no restraining orders out on me. I have a job that is in the field of my passion. I own a house (which is a privilege reserved for the very wealthy in Denver these days). I have great friends. I have two amazing children. I have a great family where there is relatively little drama (it depends on any given day how much I might be causing).
Do you ever think about the “I never thoughts”? How do you deal with them?
(Photo credit: Me)