Thursday, May 5, 2011

lbs & mileage

Today I weighed myself and the needle actually stayed on a weight I haven't seen since I was in high school! It was thrilling especially since my weight has stayed the same for the last month gaining a pound, losing a pound. And perhaps tomorrow I will be up again. But today felt like a small victory, if only for a morning.

When I was home, I organized a box full of pictures that were beginning to get ruined. I organized my travels and my life over the past 10 years with notecards that read like this :
NYU 2000

NYU, Road Trip to Michigan, '01
NYC 9/11
Lindsey & Mike, San Frrancisco '01

Lindsey, Kilkenny '02
Lindsey, Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland '02

Lindsey & Shaun, Geneva '02
Lindsey & Shaun, Paris '02
Lindsey & Shaun, Pompeii '02
Lindsey, Barcelona '03
Lindsey & Shaun, Texas, Roadtrip to Vegas '03

Lindsey, Baja California '04
Lindsey, Dear America '05
New Zealand, '07

And so many more... It made me feel so blessed to go through all of these photographs and see how fortunate and full my life truly has been. Then I cracked into another box that I had organized years ago. It began with a random picture of me from 5th grade and went all the way up through my Sophomore year at NYU. I also saw my weight yo-yo over the years. At one point, almost 30 pounds heavier than I am today (Freshman year of college). In Ireland, my face is full with the weight of Guiness and fish and chips. In high school, when I'm sure I thought I was fat, I am lean, toned, not a wrinkle or cellulite dimple to be seen and sporting a six-pack on my high school trip to Puerto Vallarta. In some of the pictures, I have dark circles, and I can see the effects of that specific time worn on my face. In other pictures I am drunkenly happy, eyes glazed, middle fingers at cameras. And in some I have a cigarette which felt the most foreign of all. To see myself smoking was perhaps the most upsetting of all of them. At the time, I thought I looked cool, maybe rebellious. And now I look at those pictures with a little bit of sadness. Through my heaviest smoking days, I did not feel very good about myself. The idea of smoking a cigarette now feels dirty and completely gross. I never believed I had low self-esteem, but seeing where I am now and how happy I am now, it is so clear to me just how shitty I felt about myself  for so long. I had the same feelings when I flipped through a few pictures of an old boyfriend that I once would have done just about anything for. A sad, almost dirty feeling crept up and I realized that the feeling was a little bit of shame. I had sacraficed and compromised so much of myself in that relationship, as is evident in the pictures. Once I got really involved in that relationship, the pictures of my life stopped, almost completely. I have very few of us and the ones I do have seem sad now. There is no affection, he is barely able to crack a smile, and I am trying so very hard to be the light. And soon, there are no pictures at all. Then there is a burst of pictures from New Zealand which is full of color and lots of shots where I am looking away from the camera, off in the distance. I can see this is where things were changing for both of us. I was starting to find my own light, the light within me. And he was starting to notice me leaving. In fact, New Zealand was the most affectionate he ever was with me. I left him in a bar, four months later. The pictures of my life are absent in those years, other than my road trip for the documentary Dear America where I was ni search of everyone else's voice but really just in search of my own. Then there is a hole in the chronology...and then came Venice Beach, 2007, Chicago 2007, Colorado, 2007 - 2008, and the pictures resume again with a different smile...and a different guy.

In my apartment in Brooklyn, I have another bulging folder of pictures. Pictures and love letters between me and Mike from our first relationship when we were just kids, really. From before we both left the country and traveled to Europe and then so many more places. And pictures of our rekindled romance- Chicago '07, San Francisco '07, Boulder '07-'08, Aspen '08, New Jersey '08 - '09, Aruba '08, St. John '09, Vermont '08, Vermont '10, and the countless number of weddings, parties and memories we have shared in the last almost four years. We are kissing, laughing, hugging, holding, and in some flipping each other off. These are my favorite pictures of all and by far me at my best.  And although looking at some of those absent years was painful, it made me feel so grateful that me and Mike both had such different experiences and relationships before coming together again. It makes me wonder if the absent years, the years where I was trying to be the light for someone else were necessary in order for me to find the light that was just for me and to find the man that made that light even brighter.

I am feeling nostalgic today. It has been a year since I learned about my grandparents. I found out at school and fell apart so completely I scared myself. I remember looking at my hands that were shaking so much I was scared. I kept thinking, "Stop that." Mike hopped in a cab and met me at school and we walked to the pier where I called and told my Dad. The day was spent in a lost space, reminiscing and then sobbing and then joking and sobbing once again. I kept trying to take care of business. I called Tara to tell her I might be a little late delivering her coverage on the book she assigned to me and she left her important job and showed up at my house with a bottle of wine. We drank and talked and laughed and cried and we drank more. Mike canceled babysitting plans. I tried to book a flight, a conversation I later wrote about. Carmen stopped by for a little bit. I talked to my Mom again where she gave me a few more morbid details. My family called and I assurred them all I was okay, when I wasn't. Then the whole day had passed us by and we realized we hadn't eaten. We decided to get tacos, a favorite food of mine. But when we showed up at 10:00 at night to the Mexican restaurant, it was packed with party revelers and we couldn't understand why there would be a wait this late at night. It was just a Wednesday. And then I looked at one table, toasting with margaritas and coronas and it dawned on me that it was Cinco de Mayo.

The past year has been one of the hardest in my life and there has not been many pictures, but there has been writing. There has been airline miles and credit card debt. There has been melt downs and laughter. There has been me and Mike working through grief and depression and job changes and a surrender to all of the things in life that we think we can control. There have been losses and gains, babies and deaths. But, now a year later, I can say that this has been one of the best years of my life. And I know in my heart that the pictures for the next journey will be the best yet.

So, if you've read this far, thank you. Thank you to Vio for the creature comforts gift I had waiting for me when I got back from that trip to LA. I am just now running out of the lotion and I'm sad to see it go but thrilled it lasted so long. And for her email check-ins usually titled "How are you?" They began to take on a more profound connotation than you think. Thank you to Carmen for her patience and understanding with me this year during times I was not very kind. Thank you to Tara for bringing the laughter and the wine, always. Thank you to Morgan for that very healing trip with Delilah. Thank you to my friends at work who picked up the slack when I disappeared for a week and never once questioned it. Thank you to Courtney for that hike on Snake's Mountain during the summer when I was at such a loss and to Jagga for that Volleyball game where I remembered how I let things out. And to Courtney and Liam for the night we looked for constellations and for that moment when I realized this too shall pass. To Mike's family for that trip to the Jersey shore which gave me that moment by myself on the beach. To Laurie for making me sit. But most importantly to Mike, who I don't have enough words for. I don't know how I would have gotten through this year without you, but what I do know is that I never want to go through anything (good or bad) without you and that every day I feel like the luckiest girl in the world just to wake up next to you. But, words don't really do justice. They never do which is why I am constantly trying to find them. 



Carmen said...

that was beautiful and made me cry. you are such a wonderful writer. i love reading your work and your thoughts and reflections both here and anywhere else.

daleboca said...

damn girl! we must be related. i was just about to write almost the same exact thing.
tony, you are great and beautiful, as was the piece. may 2011 continue to be GREAT