Yeah, that's me. Isn't it cool? And look how svelte I look? The reality, though, is that the difference between Bionic woman and myself is about 20 pounds (and mortality).
It's true, folks. I have gained 20 pounds between trader joes jalapeno cheese doodles, lack of tracking since I returned to work after surgery, and not much physical activity. I'm thicker and softer. And I'm sad by this. Luckily, though I have 12 hour work days to distract me. I've become my job. The very thing I vowed never EVER to become. That, and a mormon.
Life, however, has a way of removing the distraction from your vision and smacking you upside of the head (no matter how fat you think it may be).
Allow me to provide you the back story: About a week ago, I was on the Manhattan bound R train heading to work at 5am (after being in the office until 1am four hours before, running home for a two hour nap, and then making my way back. Yep, it is that exhausting). I decided to do some reading to keep my eyes open. One would normally go for a book, but since my career involves designing and laying out type for books, I basically loathe them at this particular moment. Books were invading my life, being entirely too clingy, and not appreciating me for all my hard work. If books were my boyfriend, I would block him from g-chat, break up with him via text, and encourage him to seek therapy to get over his mommy issues.
Anywho, since books were absolutely out of the question, I grabbed the next best thing off my book shelf that morning and shoved it in my purse. An old journal. Those are always fun to read when you think your life is in the pooper. Nothing like reading "the world according to a naive and self-centered twenty something who thought SHE had problems" to show you just how grateful you should be. And so, after taking a ten minute power nap on the R train, I awoke with the notion that it wasn't the safest setting for nap time, since I was the only female on the train without facial hair (come to think of it. It may have been all dudes. Identifying sexes before a morning triple grande cappuccino with a side of espresso via injection should be added to the list of impossibles, along with walking on water and making shoulder pads fashionably ok).
So I took out my journal and started to read it. I instantly awoke. Not due to caffeine, crack, or a cold shower, but because my veins were filled with jubilant euphoria, catalyzed by memories of a once upon a time when I lived for love and only love. After some years of therapy, though, it was actually more like dependency and co-dependency. However, that morning, on that R train, I had forgotten, just for a second, all that had happened and remembered how amazing it felt to be in love, and how much I believed in it. A whirlwind of glorious, love-filled thoughts were put into singing sentences that danced through the pages of the lilac hard-cover journal with high quality hall-marky paper. The basic motif of the first half of the book was:
As I kept reading though, I realized just how quickly it can all change. The words in the journal painted a picture of a dark metamorphosis. I started to lose myself, rather, hiding behind a relationship gone completely awry. As I read, I found myself getting as jubilant and anxious as when reading a V.C. Andrews novel, getting caught up in the drama and anger of the protagonist. I had forgotten, for a moment, that I was reading about me. It suddenly occurred to me that the book went from euphoric love to , well, this:
I couldn't help but chuckle a little. I was so naive and caught up in such a bad romance (suck it, gaga. I've lived it, so I can use it), that I had lost sight of living my life. "I'm so much better now! Good grief, what a crazy child I was. Giggle Giggle Giggle," I thought to myself, as the train left the last stop in Queens.
And then, I came across this:
I wrote this on September 28th, 2002. Besides the back of my perfectly manicured nail, the words of the entry I wrote almost ten years ago say the following:
My outlook on life has changed. I don't want it to be work, work, work. I want to travel, enjoy my boyfriend, explore nyc, grow as a writer, become one with God, and identify the real me.
And just as the R train does when you are standing and not holding on to a bar (as it ALWAYS SEEMS TO DO), my eyes did a sudden halt! If I had been standing, I would have fallen on a day laborer who would have proposed to me after he copped a feel. Luckily I was sitting, but somehow I felt like the floor gave out and I was somehow frozen. I could not get past two lines, "I don't want it to be work, work, work," and, "identify the real me." Words like "explore," "grow," and "enjoy" were such foreign verbs that I could only associate them with children, thanks to Flintstone vitamins, Dora, and Crayola crayons.
Yet, somehow, ten years before, I wanted to live my life this way. Maybe because I was a child then? But was I child? Or maybe because we lose the ability to hope for the impossible (it will NEVER be shoulder pads, though)? Or maybe our metaphoric balls shrink and we become great big pus, eh, scaredy-cats?
Sadly, while ten years before I wanted my life to be this way, I could easily conclude that in fact, I was nowhere near what my 21 year old self wanted for herself.
I let her down.
At around 5:30am that morning, I almost missed my stop being so fixated on this realization. Not to mention, my ipod started playing Jimmy Eat World's " The Middle."
I got off the train, went to the office, and proceeded to work. And I worked, for the next 14 hours, completely forgetting what had transpired that morning.
Until now. I thought blogging about it would be a good start. I also have to find myself again. Explore and enjoy that life I want to live, all the while growing.
I'm lost though. And my eating habits during the last week, since I came across the journal, have been an atrocity, a very clear repercussion of this new found land mind I just stepped on.
But now I know why I have been completely off track. Why, for the last 4 months, I've lost so much, gaining only stress, sleepless nights, and twenty pounds. The why''s being hidden within the lines of a ten year-old journal entry.
Twenty pounds, while a travesty, can be addressed and evicted. I know how to lose it. I know how to tone up, raise the toosh, and embrace working out again.
Waking up in ten years and realizing I haven't done what I wanted, that I haven't lived life, that I am exactly where I was, on the same R train, only I'd be listening to Justin Bieber's album inspired by Nirvana (ya heard it here first, folks), well, there is no solution to that.
I don't know what the answer is, just yet. But at least now, it's all extremely apparent.
Stay tuned . . .