I am from laundry dried on the clothesline, Tropicana orange juice, and Johnson & Johnson’s baby oil. I am from Vicks in the winter and school supplies bought at Woolworth before September. I am from a three-story, green, attached house … Continue reading
If you do not enjoy being you, then you have some work to do. As I approach my fourth decade, I feel only one thing is being asked of me: that I let my true self take root and live authentically—with no qualifications or apologies. Not conceit—just love and acceptance of self and confidence.
My first decade was marked by an abundance of self-assurance. As a child I was confident (perhaps even conceited), bold, brave, and out-going. I had no antagonistic or ambivalent feelings towards my body. I had an unlimited well of faith in my abilities.
However, puberty proved to be something of a Trojan horse for me. At first (mostly thanks to Judy Blume books), I saw no reason to be any different. I would (as my pediatrician commanded) shy away from nothing just because I had my period. Menstruation would never be an excuse I used for stepping back from something I wanted to do—neither would my gender. I was fiercely feminist—proud to be a girl and looking forward to being a woman.
But then my body began to visibly change—thickening and rounding in very non-ballerina-esque ways. I ceased to see the physique I’d come to esteem and associate with beauty when I looked in the mirror. And that’s when the Trojan horse of puberty burst open—insecurities pouring out of it like an armed and hostile regiment then attacking my identity along with all the confidence I’d cultivated.
My second decade contained a cold war between me and my body. I tried to will it and then deprive it back to the lean and lanky way it had once been. I hid it under bulky clothes. I regretted the veiny appearance of my arms. I appreciated my body’s speed, agility, and strength, but I wished it looked different.
College proved to be a summit of diplomacy. I negotiated a cease fire and then true peace in the company of diverse bodies. I began to focus less on what my body looked like and more on what it could do. I stopped having any feelings of guilt connected to food. And as others made their appreciation of my form known, I began to appreciate it too.
Every decade since has been a journey forward to get back to the unabashed confidence I had as a child. There is still more internal territory to reclaim—still further to go and grow in loving and being who I truly am—both the exterior and what’s inside. But each day, as I age, I try to take a few steps past my comfort zone and to be even more comfortable in my own skin. Each day I seek to love myself more—and this body I’m in.
The first time I fell in love, it was with dance. The notion of movement and music coming together to produce something new and altogether elevated delighted and moved me. The second time I fell in love, it was with … Continue reading
Sometimes people are the gifts. I’ve often gained what I lacked via a relationship. So much of what has enriched my life can’t be bought in a store or ordered online. Instead, my most valued resources have been the care, … Continue reading
Dear Home, I miss you. I miss what you used to give me: shelter, warmth, and security. I miss running up and down your steps—taking the stairs two at a time and always jumping down from three up (much to … Continue reading
I recently rediscovered one of my mother’s DayMinder appointment books. It’s from 1998. Back then the Twin Towers still had three years left. We were watching Seventh Heaven, ER, and Friends. I was a sophomore in college—my brother and sister … Continue reading
As an only child for seven years, writing was one of my first companions—after stuffed animals and Barbie dolls, that is. And unlike my imaginary friends (of which I had many), words were tangible and ostensibly powerful. Even then I loved that words are adaptable to any situation; and there are always more to discover and add to my collection. Finding a fantastic new word is like receiving a gift from a secret admirer—and the gift suits you perfectly—a new possession so apt it feels old.
As an adult, I still enjoy playing with words. They can be as supple as Play-Doh and as solid as Legos. Words are conducive to both the serious and the light. They can make you think, make you angry, make you laugh, or make you cry.
Writing is alchemy. It is mysterious magic—conjuring ideas, characters, landscapes and more out of mere syllables—willing something into existence out of loops and lines and curves. Starting movements, forging history, testing paradigms with nothing but words.
Writing is the path, the destination, and the journey. It is an act of perpetual exploration and discovery. It is the vehicle—a means of moving to new and unexplored regions of imagination and reality. It is a mirror, a microscope, a rhythm, and a melody. Quite simply: writing is everything.
Home smelled like love. It smelled of the milk my parents would warm for my breakfast cereal—peeling off the taut skin first because they knew I didn’t like it. Home smelled like early morning wakeups without the help of an … Continue reading
I’ve always been prone to nostalgia. I had it good as a kid, and I knew it. And while I do find joy in the present and try to cultivate hope for the future, there is an allure to memory … Continue reading
When it comes to the landscape of my mind, worries grow like weeds. Ridding my thoughts of fear, doubt, or anxiety does not come easily for me. I’ve always had a tendency to entertain worry. It was my first imaginary … Continue reading