Inside my head there is a heated struggle, not unlike a big, fat tug-of-war, complete with ginormous, aircraft carrier-sized rope and a banner with the words “REAL ME” printed across it tied around the exact center point which is being pulled back and forth across the pit of my brain. On one side of the rope, is the team consisting of Mouth Filter, Maturity, Responsibility, Punctuality, Middle-Aged Wisdom, Tasteful Polite Adult, and Mannerly Etiquette. (You’ll notice them immediately as they shower daily, actually iron their clothes and handle all of the “image issues” that the other team doesn’t.) We’ll call them Team A.

The opposing team is much rowdier and includes Call-It-Like-I-See-It, 12 year old, the twins (Blow-It-Off and Do-It-Later), Meh-At-Least-I-Showed-Up, Frat-House-Furniture/Yard Sale Queen, and Burps-Like-A-Champ.  They wear whatever isn’t moist and balled up in the bottom of the hamper, get showers every three days whether they need one or not, and really don’t give a shit if you think that their holey Black Sabbath concert t-shirt from some tour you can’t remember back in the early 80’s is appropriate for the PTA meeting or not. We’ll call them Team B.

Team A and Team B can both get kind of loud as they pull my opposing personality traits with all their might in an attempt to finally lay claim to whichever is the real me and thus proclaim bragging rights and a larger section in the closet with most of the loser’s wardrobe being donated to Mission Arlington. Also, this would be the final outcome of the internal argument about whether it was a good idea to buy a fussball coffee table for the living room of our house. If Team A wins, my teenagers will be so sad.

Team A is great for the deep thinking and determining what’s good for our family. That’s the side that decided that cleaning the bathrooms with Hydrogen Peroxide is a fantastic way to kill mold and mildew, unclog drains, and cut back on fume-induced asthma attacks by the kids, all while saving money on  cleaning products. Team A is a freaking group of geniuses.
(Or is that genii?  HA! Team A says BOTH are acceptable.)

Team B keeps me young at heart. It’s the side of me that still laughs at farting, makes quick decisions about day trips during 3-day weekends that help the kids experience more than just our small town, and buys things like that fussball coffee table, while arguing with Team A that it will cut back the number of “screen time” hours that the kids spend on electronics. (That was actually a pretty good point for Team B and Team A relented.) Of course, Team B gets me into loads of trouble, too, like last week when the security guard over at the Arlington ISD Softball Complex yelled that my “great idea” about having my sons outline their bodies in chalk in a parking space was NOT acceptable and I had to leave the complex with my head hanging in shame at age 46 in front of my teenagers. I bounced back quickly, though. Team B decided to yell at the rather thick traffic that wouldn’t allow us to turn left onto the road we needed to get home.

I am not actually cheering for either side. I kind of see that REAL ME is a balance between Teams A and B and that if either one were to win more than 2 or 3 inches of rope on their side, that I’d never be the same again. Those of you who know me seem to think I’m just the right balance of “nuts” and “proper” as I am; with the two teams using their properties as strengths when needed. I have been able to maintain a pretty good sense of balance all these years by cutting out alcohol completely. (It tends to force me to lean more toward Team B since it has a big crush on Burps-Like-A-Champ.) I think that Team A has pushed me to eat far healthier than most people of my generation, although occasionally 12 year old will insist on having me make Brinner or calling it “Junk Food Night” where we will have frozen pizzas, nachos, and ramen noodles.

I guess that REAL ME is ultimately the salad of both Teams A and B, with members stepping up to be in the spotlight as needed. I think I’ll just not tell them that I think their tug-of-war is stupid. None are winners and all are winners. But if this is the way they need to take turns being REAL ME, who am I to question it?

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