Body Image Issues: Forgetting the Fun-House Mirror Image of Myself

From journal #37, dated 12.14.16
Tonight I went to Aqua Zumba for the very first time. I want to discuss how it felt to get into a bathing suit for the first time in six months, and how I saw myself differently than I had in the past.

God made my body, and I almost wrecked it. I am always on the verge of wrecking it.

Tonight I put on my one-piece blue bathing suit, the one with three tones of blue that stripe obliquely across my chest and abdomen before they go horizontal across the pubic area. This year was the first year in probably nine or ten that I wore a suit like this. I still have my two-piece that looks like a one-piece with a skirt. I bought it specifically to cover my saddlebags and thighs.

When I bought the blue one-piece this past summer, before we went on our vacation to North Carolina in June, I was pleased that the tops of my thighs did not bulge out like an opened can of frozen dough does, oozing its way out of the can. Well, on second thought, may be they did ooze a little, but certainly not to the degree that they would have if I had tried on this suit a few years ago. Back then, I would have been disgusted at the sight of it. I would have angrily removed the suit, perhaps with tears filling my eyes, and placed it back on the rack, avoiding the image in the mirror that felt like a fun-house joke.

All through high school I struggled with the idea that I was fat. My butt, hips and thighs were too big. I remember thinking that if I didn’t rollerblade daily, I would get even fatter. What’s sad is when I see pictures of myself from that era, I can now see that I was NOT fat. I was a healthy 120-pound young woman who had a very nice shape. There was aboslutely nothing wrong with my body back in those days. I wasted many years thinking I was fat and ugly.

Interestingly, I became overweight after leaving high school.Very soon after I started college, I began dating a man who could really cook. My once-120 pound frame packed on an extra 20 to 30 pounds over the next year. During that first year of college, and for several years following, I felt uncomfortable. A lot. My clothes never fit right. My jeans always felt too tight. My face felt too big, too puffy. I couldn’t stand the look of myself. Later, I had my hair cut boy-short. It was not a good look for me, but by that point, I felt that it no longer mattered. I felt ugly all around. My body took on a stocky appearance. 

Now, when I see photos from that era, I see that I was never really that fat. I was definitely overweight, but not as huge as I felt. But I also remember that my knees ached a lot and I just always felt uncomfortable. I never felt good about myself during those ten years of being overweight.

Here’s the question that I now ask myself occasionally: should I have tried to embrace my size at that time? If I were to talk to a girl now who was the size that I was back then, I would say “Yes, embrace who you are. You can walk, you can move, you can keep doing these things despite your size.” At that time, I did a lot of walking and outdoor rollerblading. Even at that size (I was between a size 10 – 14, depending on the manufacturer), I was moving quite a bit.

Looking back now, I know that I was not healthy in many ways, not just physically. I was emotionally not well, so I ate. I grew out when I should have been growing up. My soul’s decay reflected itself on my outside. I felt miserable, I looked miserable, so I felt even more miserable; one of those vicious circles we sometimes battle.

The problem that I can recognize now, though, is that I was too self-conscious, too focused on my appearance. I hated how my whole body looked. Instead of being thankful for my mostly active body, I instead only saw the lumps, puckers and bulges. I completely overlooked the freedom that came with everyday movements I took for granted like walking, jogging, and rollerblading.

It didn’t help that I had the distant voices of family members and friends in my head who often berated themselves for their looks: boobs that were too small, noses that were too big, butts that were too plump, hips that were huge. These words were like a non-musical soundtrack playing throughout my childhood. I also carried mental images of the thin, willowy women from fashion magazines, lamenting that I never looked like that.

Without realizing it, I had been conditioned to have a very negative view of my body which did so much for me, for others. Instead of focusing on what I could do with my body, I instead wasted many years berating myself for how I looked.

Eventually I started dating a new guy, who is now my husband. In our earlier years, we spent a lot of our time eating out, which did not help either of us in our weight struggles. In 2006, as I completed a bachelor’s degree and also prepared for our June wedding, the stress of it all caused me to fall back very close to my high school weight. I remember, at our wedding, one of my childhood friends noted that I looked “anorexic”. I knew I wasn’t. Perhaps the last time she had seen me, I was at my chunky stage. I see pictures of myself from a walk we all had taken that wedding weekend, and even to this day I think my legs look like gigantic smoke stacks.

Even being so close to my original high school weight, I still felt fat. The loathing continued for the next nine years of our marriage.

I believe things began to change when we joined our local YMCA in October 2015. One of our first nights there, we were walking clockwise around the track, watching a Zumba class in session. I had always been curious about Zumba, and they looked like they were having fun. I got brave enough to try it another night. I remember that rush of endorphins, the “Zumba high”. I started going to the Sunday class since I wasn’t always around during the week because of my traveling job. 

I started out wearing baggy capri exercise pants, while admiring the brave women who wore tighter capris in fashionable designs. “Not me,” I reasoned, “You’ll never see me in those.” That changed around Christmas, when I bought some jogger pants before eventually buying and wearing the tighter capris out of sheer comfort (I felt too awkward from constantly pulling wedgies out of my butt with the looser pants).

I noticed some positive changes in my appearance, nothing huge. More importantly, though, I wasn’t having the back pain after injuring my back in 2014. My back, arms and legs felt stronger with the use of weight machines a few times a week. Plus, because we had a warm place to go in the winter time, within 15 minutes of our house, so we were more motivated to exercise consistently through that winter. 

But in June 2016 and again more recently, what I noticed was that I didn’t feel disgusting when I slipped into that blue one-piece bathing suit. My legs aren’t perfect, my saddlebags are not completely gone, but I feel healthier.

Now, when I look in the mirror, instead of smoke stacks, I see legs that dance, bringing me much joy in my Zumba classes. They are legs that, just a week ago, clumbed up a large sand dune near Lake Michigan and did not get tired. Those legs ran without abandon down the other side of that dune with my niece Teagan and nephew Cooper, and we laughed hysterically. 

Instead of a “muffin top” waist because of my previous back injury, I now see a waist that looks and feels a little stronger because I’m learning the value of working my core. My stomach, which used to give me many problems years ago, is now pretty calm with careful eating and increased water consumption. 

I see arms that are getting stronger and more toned. They are arms that carry groceries, hug my husband. They are arms that held hands with Teagan and Cooper as we walked in the woods one cold December afternoon.

My shoulders are nice.

I like my big, round butt!

I like that my legs still rollerblade, and they have for over 22 years.

My back feels almost normal, three years post-injury. I had expected to have constant pain for the rest of my life, as I had for the first year and half post-injury.

I am still coming to terms with my aging face, puffy eyes and graying hair. But for now, I am thankful that I can appreciate the body that God gave me, appreciate it for what it can do, instread of trashing it for how ugly I once thought it was. Perhaps I am finally learning to ignore the fun-house mirror in my head and see things as they really are.

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Winter, the Death of Autumn

[I wrote this a few days after the death of Autumn Mehl, a young lady who taught Zumba classes at our local YMCA. I recently updated it and decided to share now that it’s been over six months since her death.]

I am still in shock. I suppose I will be for quite some time.

I did not know her at all, really, but she became an important role in my recent journey to fitness, and I was inspired by her enthusiasm and energy on the Zumba fitness floor.

My husband and I joined our local YMCA in October 2015, after several years of discussing and then ultimately rejecting because we thought the price was out of our budget. Through a few efforts, finally we were able to, and I noticed that an almost-two year old back injury began to feel the benefits of regular exercising (not only at our local YMCA, but at others that I can visit while traveling for my work).

I noticed on the local Y’s fitness schedule that Zumba was a daily offering, and I began attending the Sunday morning class.The instructor’s name was listed as “Autumn” on the schedule. Autumn quickly broke a sweat with her routine, and so did I. I watched in fascination as her trim body moved  like fluid and guided her students through an hour’s worth of high-energy Zumba moves. I began to think, “I wonder if she looks amazing from just doing  Zumba, and if I keep doing it, will I look the same?” I tried hard to mimic her moves, just in case the answer was “yes”.

I had no way of knowing that my last class with her would be Sunday, 2.7.16. She threw me off the first half-hour, doing songs that I did not know, so that I fumbled around a bit and had to work especially hard to watch her – I usually go to the front of the class so I can see better, but now I was potentially misleading the people behind me. The last half hour, she reverted back to songs that I knew which brought relief. I left there that day feeling my “Zumba High”, the rush of endorphins that I get from a good class.

On Saturday evening, 2.13.16, I was preparing to go to bed, eager as usual for the Sunday morning Zumba class. I took a final glance at Facebook, and I saw something that caught my attention – someone had changed their profile picture to a picture of Autumn, and around her face it said “Missing – Help Find Autumn”. After doing some checking, I found a Facebook page that was created earlier that evening. It appeared that Autumn and a male friend left a local bar at 2 a.m. on 2.13.16 and had not been seen since. I felt my stomach turn. I looked at her Facebook page – she had over 1,000 friends, and no one had heard from her all day. Both of their phones were shut off, an ominous sign. Search parties had formed and dozens of people were driving around the frozen, snowy Michigan night searching for her white Toyota. I stayed up until after 2 a.m. reading posts, and posting my own notices on local police Facebook pages. I prayed several prayers that night, knowing the outcome was not good, but hoping for the best anyway.

It was a bad night of sleeping – I had been fighting a constant cough anyway – but I awakened at 6:30 a.m. on 2.14.16 and kept reading the posts. Another search party was gathering at our local Y, and within an hour and a half, they found her car, upside down in a creek, both she and her friend dead inside the car.

It appeared that her car slid off a very narrow road (that had no guard rails) into the creek below. Even if alcohol was not a factor, the weather that night was not good; we had received more lake effect snow on top of snow that had fallen during the week. It was not a good night for driving for anyone. Later, toxicology results confirmed that her blood alcohol level was almost twice the legal limit. Howevever, I am of the persuasion that if there had been guard rails present, the outcome would have been very different. In fact, guard rails were finally erected soon after their deaths.

I think what bothers me more than anything is that she left behind three small children and two step-children, who will grow up not knowing their mother, not having her in their precious lives. Her life, which was energetic and enthusiastic from what I could tell, was now snuffed out, all because she made the choice to take a road that should not have been taken that night, figuratively and literally. I will miss her in Zumba, but more importantly, those who loved her will miss her for all the right reasons: they will miss her as a mother, a sister, daughter, and friend. All because the perils of winter claimed her life way too soon.

Springtime Sonata

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I returned home yesterday from traveling a few days in central Illinois, where the air temperature was in the lower- to mid-80s, and farmers were zooming around their dusty fields in their tractors, preparing the soil for planting. When I had left our little corner of Michigan on Wednesday morning, the trees had an abundance of shy, green buds waiting to pop open. Trillium dotted the landscape at a local county park amid a minimalist-green backdrop. Upon my arrival home, instead of shy, tentative buds, I was greeted by fully-foliaged trees, and a bush in our back yard that was so abundant with small, white blossoms that it looked like popcorn had popped all over it.

Spring is very much on my mind these days; not just meteorological spring, but also personal seasons of spring, where lessons are learned after the winter seasons of life. I recently read a journal entry from 3.11.15, written while working in southern Indiana. Spring fever was apparent as I wrote these words:

“Maybe it’s the weather, that glorious thaw beginning to relax the icy grip of winter. Perhaps it’s the extra sunlight in my retinas. It could be the recent victories, benchmarks of progress: [my husband] getting accepted into the PhD program, and [my husband] fighting the battle to graduate in May – and against some serious opposition – he won! Also, a general rapport with [my husband] that has sustained itself over many months – we bicker at times, but end of up humoring our way out of a deceleration into madness.

“Maybe it’s the way the roads stretch out before me, long and fluid, leading to possibilities. It could be the hike through [the local county park] on Sunday, trudging through more than two feet of old snow, followed by [a long-time friend], whose face took on a ruddy, healthy look, contrasting nicely against the backdrop of the white, brown, and gray winter landscape.

“It’s possible that returning to and working on my blog, in addition to visiting and writing in my journal after a short dry spell, has something to do with it…

“…or maybe it’s because my back hasn’t been hurting lately – I’m back to that elusive place where it almost feels like it was never injured last year, and that’s a beautiful victory – for now.

“One last possibility is that it’s my new morning devotional time, reading Jo Ann Davidson’s ‘Glimpses of Our God’, seeing her passion illuminating the fabric of her words. Plus I’m really pausing to pray to God in the morning, in addition to the conversations that I normally have with Him throughout the day.

“Or it could be a combination of all these things. “I’m waking up to a joy that I haven’t had for a long time, and the messed-up pessimist in me is struggling to believe that I’m even in this current place.

“I am, as they say, ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop”, as if I don’t deserve this current rest area along the way. I’m enjoying the scenery, the sunshine on my winter-weary soul, the progress and laughter with my husband, being outdoors (with longtime friends, no less!), the writing, the diminution of my almost-constant back pain, the joy of rediscovering God. So why can’t I just sit here, soak it all in? Thank God for all of it? Because I know this can’t remain this way. And already I’m preparing myself for that giant shoe to drop, the way that small tree crashed suddenly onto the hood of my Toyota Corolla last July while driving on I-80 in Illinois. I’m waiting for it so I’m not surprised by the disappointment. Yes, it’s cliché, but I’ll say it anyway: I’m still learning to pause and just enjoy this moment. I couldn’t appreciate all of these ‘sparkles’ if I didn’t have to dig through so much to dirt to get here:

  • “The cold, brittle winter to appreciate the slide into warm, majestic spring.
  • Working through four years of supporting my husband’s studies to see him progress to the next important step in his life, and mine.
  • Navigating some challenging communication in order to understand one another and get past the snags of conflict.
  • The illness that I had three weeks ago that dropped me back to ‘sedentary’ status – now I appreciate health even more than I thought I could.
  • The back injury in February 2014 that plagued me for most of this last year, which also caused me to take exercise and dependence on God more seriously.”

These are the thoughts I wrote on that day in March. With the wisdom of hindsight, I know the growing process is worth it. For now, I’ll bookmark this moment of clarity and revisit it when the next shoe decides to drop.

Twilight of the Ovaries and the Dawning of the Disesteemed Barren Womb

Recently my husband and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. It fell in the middle of the week, and since he was in the middle of his second summer session at school, I felt no need to take that day off from work. It passed by with very little ceremony. We bought some cupcakes from a college town store that offered vegan options, which were disappointingly gross at best, and then ventured over to a Thai restaurant that mildly satisfied our appetite for Asian cuisine.

I was reminded of some of our conversations before we married, conversations that centered around our belief that we should not be irresponsible and bring children into this messed up world. More than eight years ago, just a few years after 9.11.01, and with wars taking place in Afghanistan and Iraq, it seemed a good decision. Later, we talked about how we did not feel called to be parents, that it was indeed a calling. Also, my husband felt that he did not have a good role model in his own father to lean upon in formulating his own paternal identity, should the occasion arise. Overall, we decided, the decision would be moderated by God’s will. If He wanted us to be parents, He would have to make that very clear.

Five years passed without any significant status change. We began packing our little 650 square foot apartment in southern Indiana and moved to Michigan for my husband to attend seminary in the spring of 2011. Now it seemed that my life was starting to take on a shape in the otherwise-formless void of seeking my life meaning; I was putting my husband through school and bringing him through a very necessary phase of his career. He determined to obtain his Master of Divinity degree, followed by a PhD. We would be in this for quite a while, I realized, but I was okay with this because I had a job of my own that I really enjoyed. But the following year, the spring of 2012, I was derailed by a desire that came with such vicissitude I could not even talk to my husband about it for quite a while.

One of my friends, in her very late 30s, was pregnant with her first child. Suddenly I was confronted with my own desire to become a mother. Even now I do not understand why this happened. I remember sometime that summer feeling the desire so intensely that I excitedly purchased a pregnancy test at the drug store because my period was a week late. That excitement quickly faded with the negative indicator glowing mockingly on the stick, and a few short days later, my body confirmed what the stick professed. I realized that it was probably just as well, because I had no idea how I could be a full-time breadwinner and mother while my husband continued his studies.

However, since that time, I have not shaken the desire, and two more years have passed since the desire began. My husband teases me about my loudly ticking biological clock. I, in turn, remind him that it’s perfectly normal for a woman to think about having children. I even remind him that several of his seminarian colleagues are managing scholastic life with family life. I just turned 36; I have crossed a threshold in my mind that tells me that time is quickly ticking away. I warn my husband that I am entering a twilight of the ovaries, but it’s a nebulous twilight; women do not get an expiration date on their ovaries, a two-minute warning of sorts to know just how much time is left. We get medical guesses, perhaps an idea from the menopause histories from the women in our family, but nothing certain. We don’t even get evidence that we are capable of carrying a child until we actually start trying. So can we start trying? I ask him jokingly, promising him that the trying part will be a lot of fun. I even wink for extra motivation.

But he is not ready. Not ready to be a dad, not ready for the extraordinary life change that it brings, not ready to surrender what precious time we have together (“It’s hard enough having quality time with you as it is,” he says. “Having kids would make it even more difficult.”). He has no pattern on which to base his knowledge of fatherhood. He grew up with a father who was abusive, emotionally stunted, incapable of proper parenting. I remind him that many guys grew up with bad dads, no role models, and by the way, no history is too hard for God to overcome. Of course he knows this. But he doesn’t feel called. Wants to get through school. Wants to keep our time together.

I completely understand this. I, too, still oscillate around the questions of whether I am truly ready to be a mom. I am impatient and unsteady sometimes. I work too much and enjoy too little. It seems that now truly is not the best time for us to start our parenting lives together. But my ovaries are quickly slipping away, riding off into a sunset that I will never see. I am fearful of missing that chance.

Obviously the fear of missing the chance is a different struggle from those couples who are actively trying and cannot conceive, but it is no less a struggle. So when I was part of a conversation yesterday about bringing socially shunned people into homes and how it could negatively impact one’s children, I was not prepared when, I was told, “Well, you don’t understand because you don’t have kids.”

Translation: Your opinion has no merit because you don’t meet the criteria to be in this conversation.

While it may not seem like it, I have forgiven this woman who made this ill-timed and insensitive comment. I believe she is entitled to her opinion, however insensitive it may be. I will likely talk to her about this because she has made a similar comment to another childless couple a few weeks ago, and I believe she needs to understand that this comment is an unnecessary argument to support her opinions.

We are living in an age where political correctness has scared many people into silence, afraid of speaking against the sociopolitical flavor-of-the day. I am glad this woman felt comfortable stating her opinion. I would hope that my labeling it “insensitive” does not give the opposite impression. But she does not understand the weight of her statement. Perhaps I am wrong and being too sensitive, but making a statement like that sends the message that only women who are mothers have a right to comment on anything to do with children. I am smart enough to keep my mouth tightly closed and do not express opinions about how to disciple or raise children. But over the years, my childlessness has caused women to say some pretty ridiculous things to me (and perhaps others) about my somehow-incomplete adulthood because of my barren womb (by choice, for now).

For example, several years ago, a well-meaning friend who is my age must have assumed I was younger because she felt the need to say “You’ll mature when you have kids.” I politely reminded her that we were the same age. The same friend, and countless others, have stated that motherhood makes you “less selfish” (miraculously, this appears to be an automatic process). I counter this argument by saying that there are plenty of selfish parents in the world. From my Christian perspective, only God can help a person’s selfishness, not children. If children removed one’s selfishness, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus. And then yesterday, to be told that I couldn’t understand a position because I didn’t have children, well, I began to wonder if motherhood was now a new women’s rights movement, a sort of opposition to the women’s rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

Those of us who postpone parenthood because of the very difficult struggle with whether to become parents are no less human because we have not taken that brave step. We are not less human because we struggle with whether we are truly called to parenthood. I admire all of my mother-friends and family members who have braved this complex and challenging adventure. I do not criticize them or patronize them for their decision. I imagine that many of them faced the same struggle before they plunged themselves into the world of parenthood. I believe they do have a different perspective of the world because of it, a perspective I value and admire because I do not have it.

The woman who made the comment about not understanding because I do not have children did not seem to value this struggle; even worse, she did not seem to consider that some people don’t have children because they can’t. Perhaps there is an opportunity to educate, in a non-condescending way, a person who simply did not think about what she was saying.

And perhaps by writing this, I am reminding myself to be careful about how I think about someone who says something contrary to my beliefs or opinions. We do not know the roads that have been traveled, often difficult roads that bring a person to their current position. My hope is that this is not a new type of women’s movement (silencing the childless minority and flaunting motherhood as the only valuable life experience). My belief is that a barren womb does not disqualify a woman from being a valuable, informed and yes, authentic woman.

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The First Journal: Reflections on the Journey That Began in 1992

“January 26, 1992 Today I gave my sister $10.00 to buy me a real journal, and this is what she chose…”

I read this line with interest, the line that christens my first “real” journal.  Somehow over the 20+ years of journal writing, the memory of my sister choosing this important first journal slipped away from me.  Perhaps the myriad vapid musings that would fill (currently) 27 journal books slowly erased that particular memory.

The book is an interesting one.  It is narrow with somewhat puffy covers.  The background design is a honeycomb pattern, each hexagon containing a different fill: some have stars, some have swirls, flowers, cartoon-like creatures, checkered patterns, doves, a bird, a goose, horizontal lines, etc.  I remember many times staring at the different designs for many minutes, trying to figure out if there was a pattern I was supposed to understand, a secret code of sorts.  Only now, almost 22 years later, I imagine that each hexagon represents the variety in a person’s thought life, which is a very appropriate representation. On the front cover, in the very middle, there is an arched, window-like frame with even smaller honeycomb patterns similar to the ones on the rest of the cover, but these are background to a large black and white cat that sits prettily in the middle of this frame.  The cat is a contrast to the mostly pink-hued color scheme of the honeycombed patterns, both within the window frame and the surrounding cover.  While there are other colors, the dominant hue is pink, making this journal a very girly journal in my now-adult estimation.  Suddenly I wonder: what made my sister choose this particular journal?  What were her other options?  It no longer matters, actually, it never did, because she chose it for me and I happily began to fill its pages with all kinds of adolescent nonsense.

I read the entries with mostly amused boredom nowadays.  In January of 1992, I was a 13-year old eighth grader in a public middle school located in a small town just outside of Akron, Ohio.  I had two close friends who play starring roles in my moody rants that season the book with (not surprisingly) a very immature outlook.  Thrown in for good measure, I also have many insipid thoughts about certain boys who had my attention throughout that eighth-grade year.  Kyle. Ross. Dave. Randy. Robbie. Richard.  Even the occasional eighth-grade teacher. I was not discriminating when it came to age … adult men were just as much on my radar as the boys my age.

What produces a low-grade concern in me now, after all these years, is reading through the often-tenebrous entries where I wished for death to take me out of my sullenness  … the rape of a friend the spring of our eighth-grade year … There is nothing particularly well-written in this journal, just a glimpse into the mind of an immature, extremely moody teen who couldn’t wait to grow up and be a “real” adult, whatever that means.

Reading these entries, on the heels of recently watching a BBC documentary about teenaged girls with anorexia, further exacerbates my indecisiveness about whether or not to have children.  This is something my husband and I decided together when we discussed marriage; both of us felt that it was irresponsible to bring children into such a messed up world.  As time has passed and now that I am being confronted with twilight of the ovaries (another forthcoming blog discussion), I am much more open to it than he is at the moment … until I watched the documentary a few days ago.  As it finished, I felt relief to not have a prospective daughter of mine staring the horrors of adolescence in the face.  And when I read the dizzying rollercoaster rides that represent my terrible mood swings during my eighth-grade year (and beyond), I think, “Wow, I survived that horrible time (as we all do), so why would I want to subject another human being (or beings) to that horror?”

This is just a digression from my original thought journey while reflecting on my first journal.  It’s these very issues that jump out to me as I read the scariness that shines out of an adolescent’s journal.  It may have caused me to briefly reflect on the terrors of raising children, but ultimately what I have appreciated about reading this first journal is seeing the changes and development that began with the writing of those first few words … “Today…” it was the beginning of something much bigger than expected.  “Today I…” How many times have you sat down to something in order to record what you did on that particular day?  Photographers do this in a sense, don’t they?  They capture a scene or an image, or create an atmosphere using their lenses, perhaps using the lighting, and they say, “Today I ….”  Other artists do, too, I’m sure.  But to be able to look back more than 20 years ago and get a quick glimpse into the growing cerebral mess that was one’s self during adolescence, well, it’s pretty amazing to consider how life has changed from that particular moment, and it’s interesting to note that we do, in fact,  survive those changes, regardless of the horror the can accompany those changes.

I look again at that first phrase:

“Today I gave my sister $10.00 to buy me a real journal, and this is what she chose…”

Ten dollars to a 13-year old is a big deal.  Entrusting my older sister to come up with something worthwhile with that money is even more fascinating.  That first journal marks an epoch of something that continues to be a parallel universe, a reflecting pool of sorts that has followed me as a shadow for the incredibly bumpy journey of growing up.  That reflecting pool formed in 1992 and the image reflected there is very different than the the image I see in the current pool.  At this point in time, I am not sure if it’s nothing more than just an older-looking face.  I’d like to think that the cerebral mess underneath the scalp is somewhat better, more articulate than the eighth-grader who bravely started this journey, regardless of its insipid and meandering beginnings.  It has been a puzzling ride full of deep emotions, from depression to exhilaration, and now mostly-calm drifting through the maze of mentation.

(C) 2013 The First Journal DOB: 1.26.92
(C) 2013
The First Journal
DOB: 1.26.92