You know how you can’t rationalize with toddlers? You can tell them eating paste is bad, screaming in public isn’t polite, and they’ll get ice cream once they finish their veggies, but inevitably you’ll find one with his mouth glued shut, another screaming on a crowded subway and another dissolved in tears over two pieces of broccoli. You know they know better, and you know they’re trying, but it’s frustrating waiting for them to grow up a little and figure it out. When you’re a toddler, you don’t realize what’s happening outside of the three second emotional spectrum, furious one second, thrilled the next. You’re still learning and it’s all so new, and we as adults forgive them that lack of life experience and know it won’t last forever.
Sometimes I feel like I haven’t grown out of that phase, stuck making the same mistakes over and over, trying and trying but still metaphorically sticking the paste in my mouth, even though I know it’s going to end with me closed-mouth and screaming. As an adult, I’m supposed to do better, I’m supposed to know better. I mean it when I say things like “I can do better,” but then I don’t do better; I do the same thing, stuck in the same cycle of trying and failing and failing to learn. Maybe it’s immaturity in spite of my 26 years, maybe it’s some links in my brain that had a fight six months ago and refuse to talk it out. Maybe it’s years of bad habits becoming permanent habits, or maybe I’m just not seeing something clearly, and I’m not trying hard enough to open my eyes.
I sat down tonight to write a post about my weekend in Connecticut, a cozy few days isolated from the city hustle, taking in a Saturday matinee by myself and preparing for this week ahead. These are the only words I can call to mind, endlessly frustrated with myself for making a mistake that I’ve made before and from which I thought I’d learned. I debated not posting this, bottling these words in favor of something with sunshine and rainbows, spinning a funny story about a stupid mistake, but it’s just not where my head is these days. My mind isn’t on the big picture, what happens after you eat the paste or how easy it is to eat those last few vegetables; I’m the toddler screaming in Central Park at everything and nothing, emotional and empty somehow at the same time.
I don’t have an encouraging word here, don’t have a funny play on words or acronyms, or quotes that made me think. If there aren’t that many words here this week, just know I’m working on growing up a little in the next few days, showing the people around me I’m capable than so much more than I’ve been giving for far too long.