It was a simple question but it stopped me in my tracks because I didn’t know the answer and I couldn’t remember when I stopped knowing it.
It was 2010. We were getting better aquatinted with some new friends on a rare night away from the kids.
What kind of music do you like?
I used to know that, right? My husband rattled his answer off easily. He’s a musician. I smiled and nodded and hoped his words would suffice for both of us. Unfortunately for me, these new friends of ours actually seemed to care. They pressed for my opinion, but I truly did not have one to give them.
“What about you, Steph.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Anything really.”
“Well, if you had to pick, what would you say your favorite band is?”
“Honestly, I don’t really listen to grown up music. There are 3 different Dora The Explorer CD’s in my car.”
“What if they weren’t there? What would you pick then?”
I think I mumbled something about Taylor Swift just to move the conversation forward. Do I even like Taylor Swift? Nothing against the woman, I’m sure she’s lovely. But I don’t own any of her music. I certainly didn’t know enough about her to claim her as my favorite.
I started thinking about who I was and how I could explain it to people. If I had to fill out a Getting to Know You paper like our teachers used to make us on the first day of school I think I would have a really hard time.
My old favorites are not my favorites any more. I rewatched Reality Bites recently and found myself wondering why in the world Lelaina would ever pick Troy over Michael. Like, seriously. Just no.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the same girl who was jumping on the bed and rocking out to Less Than Jake in the early 2000’s, but I never bothered replacing those old favorites with new ones as time went by. I transitioned immediately from a teenager to a young married woman and mother. I was happy doing that. That had always been my goal. I don’t regret it.
But somewhere along the way I lost the me to the mom.
I don’t think that’s good for anybody, not my kids or my husband, but especially not me.
I’ve decided that my word of the year for 2017 is authenticity.
I want to be present and engaged in conversations. I want to be honest with my readers and open to new experiences. And most of all, I need to find my authentic self again and bring her back.
I will be doing more writing off the blog, because creating new people and the stories of their lives has always been one of my biggest passions.
I am going to start going to counseling because, well, that’s never a bad idea even when you think you have everything handled. And over the past several years this family has been through A LOT of everything.
I will be going through my home piece by piece and clearing it out of things that we don’t need and we are only holding onto “because it was a gift from so-and-so.” I’m only keeping things in my house that we actually need, use, or want.
I will be spending more time on things I enjoy.
I’m going to slowly update my wardrobe so that it is a reflection of my personal style, as soon as I figure out what that is.
I’m going to form opinions and not apologize for them. One of the most freeing things I heard a friend say this year was, “I am allowed to exist. I am entitled to take up exactly this much space.” I have never felt the need to make myself bigger than other people, but what I have learned recently is that I also don’t need to make myself any smaller to accommodate them. I am allowed to exist.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I do have opinions now. I know what my perfect day is. A day full of favorites:
I would wake up in a cabin in the country. A nice cabin, with electricity and a fireplace and more than one bathroom. My husband would have taken the kids out for breakfast at some local diner and then to play at a park so I could sleep. Then I would take a bubble bath with candles and listen to my the Head and The Heart station on Pandora. When I was finished I would have some time to write and make myself tea before Eddie came back with the kids. They would bring lunch back with them and we would all sit around the fire and eat soup and desserts from some local restaurant (because who needs entrees?). Then the kids would go off for the night wit the grandparents, who were renting a nearby cabin and we would have friends come spend the entire night playing board games, having drinks, and talking.
Oh, and by the way, I can finally answer that question. This is my favorite song.
What is your word of the year this year?