What She Does Not See

She has this way about her. They gravitate toward her. Maybe it is intentional on her end, maybe she is blind to it. 

Looking at her now, I think she is blind in it. She is so lost within herself, I don’t think she notices the outside world’s reaction to her living presence anymore. 

I see her talking to this shadow lurking behind her. 

She looks better now. 

Not the same as before and not where she should be. But, better. 

Whether she notices it or not, we notice her. 

We see her smile from ear to ear when Drew runs over and scoops her up, Alex and Cam following suit. 

The girls and I hang back, smile, and run over to her after the boys find it in them to let go of her.

Each one of them.

She’s always been a boy’s girl. I used to think she wanted the attention.

I still do.

But still, I run over and hug her. I celebrate her being here. 

Here in the apartment, yes, but really, I celebrated her being here, on Earth.

She is small. But, she is here. 

Her voice booms the way it used to. The last time I saw her, her voice shook. 

4 months ago.

The last time I saw her was four months ago and I hadn’t seen her since. She disappeared.

Some say rehab, others say drugs. Looking at her in the entryway of Andrew’s apartment I think if I asked her where she has been the past four months she would say “I don’t know.”

“Finding myself,” maybe. 

Now she is here, though. 

Different.

And, still the center of attention.

Fat Jeans, what a bitch.

I wrote this a hot minute ago, back when I lived in East Nashville, where the Sun was warmer and the days were slower.

For the past month I have been in a writing workshop with one of my favorite authors – I feel spoiled to be apart of this group of women. So. Dang. Lucky.

Any-who! I wrote this two years ago. Recovery is still recovery and life goes on. None the less, when I read my writing from two years ago, my heart breaks for the pain I felt and at the same time wildly appreciates the honesty I managed to get onto paper.

My fat jeans last year are my skinny jeans this year.  

Hung from hangers in my closet are lifeless moments from years past. 

Size zero pants from the dirtbike in Western Massachusetts. 

A medium dress I wore partially because my body swam in it, unable to fill it out from Nicole’s wedding. 

Size two boyfriend jeans from the stuffed and bloated feeling that overcame me after dessert – one scoop of lowfat, non-dairy Halotop ice cream. 

Looking at my closet now, the hangers have more space in-between them. 

Size four, the fuschia Anthrpologie jumpsuit I wore for graduation with those strappy blue leather strappy heels Mom bought as a graduation from Able. 

27, the J.Crew jeans short my body quickly was growing out of, into something greater. 

My fat jeans last year are supposed to be my recovery jeans this year. 

My fat jeans last year are supposed to be ok with growing.

My fat jeans last year were never meant to be a size two from Gap. 

My fat jeans never should have existed. 

But, here we are, on my front porch in East Nashville, grown out of my fat jeans. 

Fat is a feeling my nutritionist tells me. 

Fine. 

I’ll rename that pair of jeans – my ‘I detest recovery jeans sometimes’ jeans. 

Is that better? 

My fat jeans last year do not fit me any more. 

That is okay. 

Because, I am okay. 

I am here. 

Thirty-pound Body of Tears

I don’t remember what season it was, or the time of day. I remember crying when my three-year-old self pieced together she was leaving.

Maybe it was 9am, maybe 4pm, I’m not sure.

She looked at me, gave me a long hug and held on tight. I latched on, unable to let go.

Most three-year-olds would do the same.

She walked out the door and got into her car. A shadow of abandonment cast on the driveway.

Standing in our entryway I faced the grief of abandonment for the first time in memory.

As she started to get into her car, my feet carried this thirty-pound body of tears out the door. My screams turned to wales, asking her not to leave.

Why did she leave?

I watched her pull out of the driveway, waving and smiling back at me. I was not smiling.

She drove away, and I ran.

I ran across the lawn to the corner of our yard where the grass meets the road, and the road turns to stone. I watched the gray minivan drive down Claude Road.

I called out for her between the sobs, my own eventually replaced by tears. The further she drove, the more pungent the loss felt.

I have to imagine she was crying too.

I texted her after I wrote this bit, needing to know she remembered it the same way I did.

She didn’t, she said she couldn’t recall a memory like it.

She mentioned my kicking and screaming whenever playdates at my best friend’s came to an end, or the fits I threw when my dad left the house.

Nothing for her.

“If anything,” she said, “I remember me crying when I pulled away from you guys, I hated leaving you.”

A few days later, she called to let me know the memory came to her.

She remembered.

Hold your Heart with Two Hands

We sat across from each other at the farm style dining table in her dining room. She sipped on her glass of chardonnay, I talked about upcoming plans for New York. I sipped on my glass of Bordeaux while she talked about working for the United Nations and parading around New York City.

The almost weekly ritual, talking about life while drinking wine became a staple the Summer of 2016.

Deep into the conversation she paused, raised her glance from her glass of wine toward my eyes.

She asked if she could change the subject.

“No Mimi, you can’t,” I laughed.

Who tells their grandmother they can’t change the subject?

“Of course you can,” I said.

Her blue eyes smiled, her blue eyes spoke for her most of the time. So, she paused, took a sip of wine, and started her weekly sermon I looked forward to.  

This week we would talk about love.

To be honest, most weeks we talked about love. It was a thing of ours.

She started in on Poppi. He passed away at 51 or 52, I can’t quite remember, from a heart attack, a common thing in the 80s when everyone started to realize three packs of cigarettes a day won’t do the body any good.

Mimi loved the man so much she never remarried, never dated again, never allowed anyone else to touch her heart.

Mimi’s love for Poppi paralyzed her.

She asked me to find a love capable of paralyzing me. She asked me to hold my heart with both hands and never let go. Love is precious and once you find it with the right person, you’re supposed to hold onto it for fucking life.

I nodded and assured her I would.

Mimi died suddenly six months later.

It paralyzed me.

Sent me into shock, turned my world upside down, sent me into an eating disorder that captured each ounce of my being from my toes to my heart.

She told me to hold my heart with both hands but, months after her death, sitting at the very same farm table she asked me to find a paralyzing love at, I had no idea what the hell she meant.

Jesus Christ.

What did she mean?

Sorry.

Pardon my french.

I started writing in my journal overwhelmed by grief. More or less the grief I neglected to care for in respect for outlining situations.

I  wrote, two glasses of wine in and emotions at a high.

I flipped back to last year when she told me to hold my heart with two hands.

Mimi, what does this mean?

How do you hold your heart with two hands?

How do you hold your heart, keep it from breaking, and go through day-to-day life without letting it fall through the palms of your hands?

Cue the tears, a Meg staple.

I walked up to her room, it still looked the exact same, down to the smell of her Lancome perfume and daily pills on her nightstand.

I searched her nightstand for traces of her.

I  held a note from her she had left me.

It held her heart all those years after Poppi’s death. How she kept her heart from breaking again. How she learned to stand on her own two feet after a loss.

I sat on her bed skimming through pages, pausing in-between to run my hands over the lines she wrote, hoping to feel her presence just a little bit more.

I held the letter with two hands, turning each page with care, reading through the days of grief, the days of hope, and the days of joy. I read through her questions to God, her demands for answers, her need eternal rest.

I held her heart in both hands and answered so many of the questions I had only an hour earlier.

Find a love capable of paralyzing you. Check

Hold your heart with both hands and take care of it. Check.

Find a way to move on and grow with your heart. Check.

The PA Diaries: Fostering Humility

MAY 2ND, 2017 | Life takes a step ahead of us sometimes and decides to leave no time in our calendars for hobbies. Written on April 10th, this has been sitting in my drafts file for a few weeks. But alas, I rediscovered it, and its original purpose has now been fulfilled. 

APRIL 10TH, 2017 |I have 7 weeks left.

7 weeks until I leave for San Fransico to work on the festival. Until I move back to Tennessee. Until I leave the life I created here.

There are elements of life in New York I expected, changes I knew would come my way. This beckoning for what I thought I deserved. Then there is the realization, through insane circumstances for anyone living in this city. 

Life is not predictable to the point we are comfortable to admit.

Sometimes the amount of change going on in my head is too much. A sip of wine after eating coffee for breakfast and a salad for lunch – too much too soon.

I need humility. Neither a strength nor a fault of mine, it is a term I’ve come to know. Humbled by experience and graced with a community of thinkers & do-ers, I don’t see my situation any different than other aspiring production kids my age.

At the end of a day, we’re all kids running around on-site, putting together a string of musical acts, finding our sense of ownership in a craft we fell for.

The small act, small or large, reminds us, while we’re collecting our own successes. It’s personal. It is ours. So, stay humble.

A few successes from a year with myself.

  1. I fell further in love with love. The kind you don’t find in another person.
  2. I experienced loss of immediate family. It sucked.
  3. Friendship comes in all shapes and forms.
  4. Emptying out the filing cabinet and sorting through your shit thoughts leaves room for growth. Sort it out. Find a way.
  5. Furthermore, I need to stop planning so much.
  6. Adult life, or the little I have started to experience, is not a walk in the park.
  7. I’m not done here, there is more work to be done.

Food For Thought: Superfly Edition

I didn’t learn until recently there are communities of like-minded people out there waiting for you. We joke about the possibility of pursuing a career in a field we love, but the realities often have us beat, because, life can’t always be perfect. We seem to have learned and accepted this.

Then I left Nashville and things got better. Significantly.

I found that company, a community, an environment where it all makes sense.

The type of place where you can have a programming music time meeting and geek over new music our team is obsessing over and call it work.

Hold onto that.

That is what I keep telling myself at least.

Pick yourself up and go somewhere unfamiliar, be overwhelmed with the parts of yourself you never got to get to know before, and in some cases get in touch with parts you once lost in a battle within you.

I’m pushing myself to be selfish, in the right ways at least. It may not make everyone happy, but where’s the gain in always making everyone else happy in the end? My happiness should not suffer.

Sometimes, we leave places, sometimes we leave people. But in return, we see places, we see new people.

New people, new stories, new experiences come into our lives, and they push us to take keep on going, keep moving.

People have been asking if I miss Nashville. Yes and no. I miss the people, I miss restaurants, I miss elements of music city. But I don’t miss Nashville yet. 

Nashville isn’t going anywhere, I am.