After making a career of finding whatever job paid the most while supporting my husband through medical school, I gave birth to our first son. Seven cities, three states, a second son, too many tropical fish to count and a dog later, I found myself, on one very dismal February morning, standing catatonically on the back porch of my suburban Atlanta home. A gentle breeze stirred the air and the sound of a fluttering plastic grocery bag, stuck in the branches of a leafless dogwood, caught my attention. That’s me, I suddenly thought, a hollow, empty version of the me I used to be. I’m not the type to get all Feminine Mystique-ish on you and start quoting Betty Friedan so we’ll save the dramatic violin music for another day. I may be a product of the 1970’s, but I didn’t drink that flavor Kool-Aide.
Let’s get something straight. Contrary to what today’s false prophets of feminism would have you believe, women enjoy remarkable opportunities in this country. I am a mother and housewife, but I am not (never have been and doubt I ever will be) the victim of an oppressive patriarchy. Sure, I allow my husband’s and sons’ goals to trump my own, but no one is holding a gun to my head or a knife to my throat. I do it freely and willingly. Still, every so often the seeds of discontent will take root. I’m only human.
It was that plastic grocery bag that prompted me to begin the process of reclaiming the so-called me I used to be. My children were growing up fast and it was time to prepare myself for their inevitable flights from the nest. Perhaps this insidious emptiness that persisted to infect my psyche was a signal to dust the cobwebs from my own goals and dreams, the ones I’d set aside to be the best wife and mom I could be. After prayerful consideration and a quick skim of What Color Is Your Parachute, I decided it was time to write again. Thank you, plastic grocery bag.
Over the next few years, I carved time each day to pursue a freelance writing career. Simultaneously, I joined the growing throng of fans who became addicted to the wildly popular Dancing with the Stars. During season 10, I went from enthusiastically rooting for my favorite dance duo to fantasizing about being an actual celebrity contestant. I became obsessed with the idea that if Kate Gosselin (who possesses no discernible talent other than having given birth to two sets of twins and a set of quadruplets) qualified as a “celebrity” so could I. I began concocting strategies to get noticed by the folks at ABC and even went so far as to apply for a job as Good Morning America’s Advice Guru. I suppose it was my weird version of mid-life crisis (minus the red sports car and cabana boy) but it served as the catalyst I needed to launch my humor blog, Just Another Ordinary Day and for that I am grateful.
I convinced myself that publishing humorous essays depicting the shenanigans of just another ordinary housewife and mother (me) would lead to fame. I’m not talking about super-paparazzi-in-your-face fame, but just enough fame to be considered a minor celebrity so I could have a go at that coveted mirror ball trophy. I imagined a scenario in which some ABC executive would happen upon Just Another Ordinary Day while trolling the internet. He’d find me exceedingly funny and and would call an emergency meeting with DWTS’s producers and casting director. Together they would conclude putting a mildly famous, exceedingly funny ordinary housewife on the show would allow them to tap into a whole new viewing demographic, which would, of course, boost ratings. It could happen, right?
Fast forward four years. It hasn’t happened. In fact, in spite of becoming mildly famous – as in famous enough to be recognized as “that crazy housewife who writes the funny blog” at dry cleaners and deli counters across metro Atlanta AND famous enough to be invited to join the cast of an honest-to-goodness reality television series – the folks at Dancing with the Stars have yet to acknowledge me. (Shaking my head). I know… I can’t believe it either.
Anyway, there’s no need to get angry and write nasty letters to network executives or boycott the show’s sponsors or quit tuning in to Dancing with the Stars or anything like that (unless you want to). I’m okay. Really. I’m better than okay because as it turns out, there’s a spray tan and sequined dress in my future after all. A little over a year ago I dragged my husband through the doors of Dance Tonight Atlanta. Who knew one of the top ballroom dance facilities in the entire country is less than a five minute drive from my home?! AND THE PEOPLE THERE LOVE ME. Ha!
Dancing with the Stars, schmancing with the stars! Who needs your stupid mirror ball trophy! I’m chasing my own mirror ball now. The Dancing Housewife is the chronicle of my escapades and adventures from the land of competitive ballroom dance. I hope you’ll come back soon and visit often to see how things unfold.
Copyright © 2014 The Dancing Housewife by Antoinette Datoc All Rights Reserved