This weekend we hosted the first exclusive Tesla Owner’s club meet up. There were 11 Tesla parked in our tree-lined driveway, and a couple of dozen of the occupants piled from their cars into our warm and welcoming home. Our ears, hearts, heads and tummies were filled with chat and treats.
Among the guests, of course, were the wonderful wives. We shared stories of our husbands’ obsessive chit-chat and forum shenanigans regarding electric cars, politics, futurism, and climate change. We swapped tales of silent speed and forcing our children to starve rather than eat on the new upholstery… and then giving up that rule in short order to steal some sweet silence on the first road trip, or even a commute that lasted more than 20 minutes.
The truth is, Phteven and I haven’t entertained much in the past several months. Nor have we ventured out very often. There are times, even quintessentially social creatures resort to their cocoon. I’ve been a human burrito since last October, and I hope this weekend signifies a tear in this chrysalis. I’ve got wings and they need to dry out so I can get back to flitting and flapping as is my nature.
Today was a treat on too many levels to speak of. Our guests were divine, and their kids were cheeky and giggled at perfectly timed intervals. Everyone was gone by 7:00pm, even though we practically tried everything short of kidnapping to keep last guests from leaving. After piling them high with leftovers, there were still plenty of buns, fillings, fizzy drinks, and baking to fill the kids and I up. Phteven had a hot date with one of his bromantic life partners, so it was just the kids and I for dinner after the last Tesla drove away.
While the gathering was going, the noise was steady and the smiles were plentiful. Belly laughs and big smiles filled a space that has been empty on balance for so many months. We covered a lot of ground and made some new friends, but the conversation pieces that stuck out, and the impetus for this blog post were these:
1) Life is seriously fucking messy. 2)Parenting is the hardest thing any of us have ever faced. 3) People have stuff, and the ugly stuff, is actually quite beautiful.
Let me elaborate.
Catherine and I were looking out the window, over the epic view across to Herald Island. We started with comfortable small talk, and watched the planes fly over the house as they do most days. After some cringey mom jokes and a sigh or two, she looked me in the face and asked how I was doing. Not as a progression or to be politic. She asked like she gave a fuck, and in a tone that made me know she wasn’t a stranger too shit getting a bit real sometimes too.
I smiled, a big, goofy Dee grin that started in my heart and radiated onto my fat little face. Everyone with an Internet connection in my extended social and even professional circle is aware of my struggles lately. I’ve been too sad to move for weeks, and shattered and defeated for well over six months. She’s no stranger to shoveling shit either. She was enquiring from a place of care and concern, and we had one of those rare and perfect moments of magic, where two hearts meet at the same place after trudging through their own trenches.
Our chatting continued and between expletive filled accounts of our various parenting fails, and remembering fondly the time before time, when we just KNEW we would be amazing at adulting and especially parenting. We came up with the unanimous conclusion, that no one is a better or more qualified parent, than people who have not had children. We were all in total agreement that we DEFINITELY knew more about parenting before we actually had kids. What I wouldn’t give for THAT level of confidence, even occasionally, now. Sigh.
Our small group grew by a few as our animated chat continued. We shared stories of tears, tantrums and sometimes screaming through struggles and strife. Accounts were even verified by husbands who were within earshot.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, and share and over-share because I do not think my faults or struggles are unique. I think most of us feel lost, scared, unworthy, anxious or completely out of our depth sometimes. The fact I am more than comfortable being the hot mess that I am for the whole world to see, means I don’t have to lug around the fear of people figuring out that I am batshit. Being my very own, unique, ridiculous, indulgent, sometimes-self-aware-but-too-fucking-lazy-and-stubborn-to-change brand of crazy is something I can claim. Work in progress, but don’t judge, we all are just that, works in progress, and some days and phases are better than others.
I got to hang out with new people, who seem to have everything well and truly figured out. They did. They do. But they have their own struggles and stories too.
Another unanimously notable observation, was that a lot of people, waste a lot of time giving a lot of fucks about what other people think. The absurdity of trying to prove to other people that we have our shit together is just too exhausting at this stage of life. We are not the crowd you’ll find sporting designer shades, perfect nails, or posting only our highlights reel on the socials. We are a vast and varied bunch, but we are also, all pretty clear on where the fucks we have available are given. We care about our families, our journeys, our planet, and the future. We all face these passions in our own ways and feel considerably stronger given an opportunity of doing it together.
In case you were wondering, the fact that we ARE the crowd who drive around in very expensive electric performance vehicles, has not escaped me. A Tesla is not a toy. It is a hefty investment, and only the tiniest sliver of our society will be able to afford one. Our guests today celebrate their choice, and all feel compelled to make a difference, particularly concerning climate change. They choose to spend their precious spare time taking family and friends for rides and drives, or chatting with interested members of the public at chargers, or volunteering at schools and events. You will find them on any number of digital and real communities, flying their own flags for a better tomorrow. Everyone in my home today had a unique story. Everyone in my home today had seen feast and famine in their lives, everyone in my home chooses to dedicate significant resources and time to making things better for their kids, and every person and thing on the planet as well.
Part of feeling shitty lately, is the white middle class guilt that I labor around with. There are other layers of shit too. Crippling imposter’s syndrome, raising four fabulous and equally fucked up humans (we are all fucked up, but being a parent means you get front row seats to the fucked upedness of your children). Even feeling shitty makes a person feel shitty sometimes, because there’s really not that much to actually feel shitty about. I won’t go on. I could bang on almost infinitely on this tangent, but I will spare you.
What I am saying, in the typically sweary, convoluted, and long-winded way is simple.
Everyone has their stuff. Metaphorical, tangible, and just general… stuff. What we do with our stuff defines us far more than what that stuff actually is.