NYC: It’s okay

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In my recent visit back home, to Austin, I had to recount my life here in NYC to a lot of different people. It was interesting to listen to my own sum-up of the last seven months slowly go from a lengthy description to a simple “It’s hell on a cracker, but I love it.” As I went through the tellings of my daily life, I would watch as excited and caring expressions slowly turned to that of concern and appall. And as their faces quickly changed, I automatically likened them to how quickly a good day can be turned into a bad, one minute you are walking on air, the next cursing the MTA as the subway doors close on your face.*

So, I am going to use this as an opportunity to set the record straight on my experience (so far) of living in the biggest city in the country – to those I met on my visit home, to those who read my Facebook statuses or get sudden grumpy text messages, and to myself. 

New York has this way of yelling at you. “Who do you think you are?” and “What the hell do you want?”

So far, I’ve only begun to answer the first. The second has now become my permanent mantra. I cannot begin to tell you how many times a day I ask myself that question – and it’s much more difficult to answer than I ever thought possible. 

Here, it is difficult not to let yourself get surrounded by negativity – as it is as constant as the presence of yellow cabs. It is also just as easy to get mesmerized by the constant sight of the Empire State Building sticking up out of the skyline, frequent celebrity sightings, and that somewhat eery feeling of being sure you know where you are until you suddenly realize you only recognize your surroundings from a scene in You’ve Got Mail. Somewhere between the stress and elation, you have reality. 

As much as I thought my life would change dramatically when I moved, much is still the same: I spend the majority of my time with people I live and work with, I spend way too much time getting sucked into TV shows on Netflix, and my biggest problem is trying to figure out when I’m going to find the time to do my laundry. But, while daily life has not seemed to change much on the surface, this city has already taught me a great deal about myself, the world, and my place in it. And it has done that by constantly revealing to me one simple, but difficult fact: in a city of over eight million people, you are alone. 

This might seem like a harsh or negative idea. And it can be. Let’s face it, it has been for me. I’ve always been surrounded by people – family, friends, college, co-opers, the list can continue. But suddenly, somehow, my life has brought me here, with very minimal company. As time went on, the idea of loneliness continued to rub itself in my face and I was ashamed by it. Somehow I felt myself lesser because I didn’t have a hoard of new friends and that I had to make excuses for myself because of it. 

Around this time, a Facebook friend posted a video entitled “How to be Alone.” It challenged my idea of what it means to be alone, and to be lonely, and what it was that I could take from it. Slowly, I began my attempt of seeing this predicament as a positive, a blessing even, to slowly reap some good from what life has brought me to. 

So surrounded by lights and constant advertisements and noise and people, I turned inward to focus on myself. And being alone for once, I didn’t have anyone else telling me who I was. As strong a person as you might be, the influence of those around you does have some toll – and I saw the toll my loved ones had on my identity. I don’t mean this in a bad way particularly, only that, much like many when they move away from their parents’ house, hometown, or large group of old friends, I began to question what was mine and what was theirs. And what was always missing. A sudden need to create an unbrainwashed self – one who makes decisions based off of her own wants, needs, and goals, and not based off the environment and circumstances of the past. 

Moving to New York City was like starting from the recently dried concrete of a somewhat sturdy foundation – created by my family, college, and Austin. And then suddenly, without any actual instruction for how to safely build it, asked what kind of house it was that I wanted to build myself into. How big? How small? Modern? Victorian? And then carefully choosing each brick as I slowly build my own life. So, first, it seemed, I had to figure out what I already was. 

I asked myself who I was daily. I tried new things – yoga, mediation, walks in the park, spinning. When I was stressed, I would ask myself the simple question, “What do you need?” I started caring for myself – giving myself nights in with the television, using facial moisturizer, and buying myself bottles of wine for no apparent reason. I examined why I liked doing certain things, didn’t like doing others, and constantly procrastinated on things that I thought I deemed important. I even changed my diet a few times – tried quitting coffee, becoming a vegan. 

I let myself be angry if I felt it. Sad if I felt it. Happy if I felt it. Danced if I felt like it. Cussed if I felt like it. I was able to break out of the social cage of steady controlled emotion that was slowly driving me crazy – never ecstatic, never depressed, never high, never low, just a constant middle C. I told myself it was okay to yell, okay to cry, okay to sing, okay to talk about difficult things and not ignore them. And it was okay to dance on the subway, even when people are there, because most likely, you are not the weirdest person they have seen today. Plus, there’s the added bonus of the very small likelihood of you ever seeing them again.

And I began to examine things from my past that have been rattling around in my mental baggage for many years. Things that I assumed would eventually go away, if ignored.

And finally one day I thought about the time last summer on the beach outside of San Francisco when, in a not completely sober state of mind, I started yelling “I love myself!” over and over again into a bright blue ocean – I wasn’t lying or putting on. It wasn’t a drunken thought suddenly brought forward for attention. It was a subconscious feeling that I had never let myself acknowledge. Because somehow the love of oneself is seen as self-absorbed and arrogant. But there is a difference between that kind of love and the kind of love that brings about a bettering of oneself and of embracing yourself as an individual, beautiful, human being – together with all the good and all the flaws. And I realized that while family and friends come and go, I can be happy with the dear fact that I get to spend the rest of my life in the company of myself.

So I unpacked mental baggage and selected what should go and what should stay. I acknowledged what of the past impacted my decisions negatively and which I could turn into positive. And even the act of acknowledgment made it all a little lighter to bare. I let myself grow and heal from past negativity and realize the only value in it was what I could turn into good sturdy bricks of positivity.

My short visit back to Austin showed me how far I have come in these past seven months. And while I miss Austin dearly, I know that New York still has much more to teach me, force out of me, and offer me. 

So, yes, it’s been a rough ride so far, but sometimes you need a good shake and a few hard questions. Questions that only I can figure out how to answer truthfully. And for all the answers I already have, I have this city to thank.

 

 

*I’ve noticed, many of my negative portrayals ultimately end in my audibly cursing – it’s better than just doing it in your head, I find.

Is this my river?

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Moving to New York is exhausting – like running a marathon. It takes so much endurance and the first several months, your sides are aching and you don’t know how to properly hydrate. Little things that were once so easy now seem to take up an entire day. Running errands, doing laundry, grocery shopping – it all takes forever. And you want to make sure that you aren’t having to lug bags upon bags of crap with you on the subway. Those marathon days of running from one end of the city to the other, it’s difficult to ever want to get out again.

But then those moments happen. After a few months, it does wear off a bit. It becomes normal every day life, but it’s in the beginning when you need these moments most. When you run across a patch of clean, new snow in Central Park. When you take the train halfway across the city for the first time without having to stare at a map. When you’re ice skating in Bryant Park as the sun goes down beside the Chrysler Building. When you sit in the middle of Grand Central and stare at the ceiling. Those moments. The ones where you realize where you are and what it means that you got here.

And later, after those moments become a little fewer and farther between, when you no longer think it’s cute that your laundromat blasts Everybody Loves Raymond at top volume, or when a homeless person yells obscenities at you for not giving them change,  it starts getting harder to find those moments. You pick up the New Yorker attitude and automatically loath and detest anyone who gets in your way on the sidewalk. You bitch about how your friends in Brooklyn never come into the city. You yell at cab drivers. You cuss in front of children. It gets to you. The stress and the anxiety. You stop seeing the wonder and start succumbing to the emotional mechanical bull that you are not allowed to get off of.

And then you leave, even if just for a weekend. Or someone asks you, “Do you like New York?” And you stop to think. It’s been a while since you’ve had time to miss something, had time to ask yourself if you’ve enjoyed something more substantial than your morning cup of coffee. Do I like it here? Does this get to be home?

And the answer is a strange one. If you’ve listened to the answers I have given people, even in the past few weeks, of “How do you like the city?” you would be extremely confused. It’s hard to give a solid grounded answer to that question, because it’s difficult to feel solid and grounded – especially in your first few years, I am told. I always wind up starting with an unconvincing “… yeah,” followed by a long explanation the listener is never ready for. And neither am I, for that matter. It usually starts out the same way, with a line not unlike the one I began this with: “It’s exhausting.” As I continue with my anecdotes and horror stories, I usually disintegrate into rambling and end with the sentence that, even though I have said it many times, always comes as a huge realization: “But I love it.”

Because if all I do all day is go around the corner for a cup of coffee, I feel like I’ve done something. Because every month that I send in that check for rent, I feel like I’ve accomplished something huge. Because when you finally let go and let the rapid current of the city take over, you realize you don’t need solid, you don’t need grounded. All you need is enough confidence and clarity to relax and float straight to the top. Because, as cliche is it is, if you can make it here, nothing else really seems that difficult anymore.

On Mondays, I Wear Dresses

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Procrastination. The thing I learned best in school. Why is it that it feels so good to push something onto the back burner that you know you are going to have to confront and get done, that you WANT to get done. To just ignore it. That feeling of accomplishment when you are mentally pushing back on what you should be doing. You feel so independent from your more responsible self. Screw that, I’m watching mindless television!

Sadly, that has been my problem with my blog this week. I am attempting to post something religiously every week on Tuesday at the latest and here it is, Thursday and I have nothing. But of course, I know the reason why. I needed to feel that little bit of control. The control over your life where you can say, “You know, I really don’t have to do this today.” It’s nice and necessary at times. But unfortunately, it can also become a disease.

Which is ultimately what procrastination has become in my life over the past few months. Everything that I have wanted to do, wanted to focus on was on a list in the back of my head, on my own subconscious back burner, and I kept telling myself “you don’t have to do this now.” As if putting it off would somehow make it so I could just pull it forward and there it would be – perfectly seasoned and simmered and ready for consumption. Important parts of my life were shoved back there – health, relationships, family, friends, writing, my career, exercise, money. I was living day by day focusing only on what it took to get through just that one, and not even considering the next.

The result? No progress, a close examination of my self-destructive behavior, and enough stress to produce my first white hair. Not gray hair, mind you. White. Stark white.

So, I decided it was time for a change. While I am a firm believer in that change comes slowly, there are times that require a sudden lifestyle change. On my birthday in April, I made a pact with myself to extract poisons from my life, in all spectrums. I ended a few friendships that had become toxic, I found a new day job, I quit smoking. All in all, a pretty successful resolution.

A few weeks ago, I realized the plague procrastination was putting on me. I needed to extract it. So I did something that everyone says is important to do. I made a list.

I started with things that I wanted to do every day. Then every week. Then every month. Every three months. Every year. I am not going to share this list. Some of these things are embarrassing to have to write down…

And finally, I made a list of all the things I have been meaning to get done. Things like writing letters, visiting cities, cleaning the bathtub. Things I want to do – that I would really enjoy doing. Things I should be doing. Instead of just wasting my time watching the same episode of Friends or Big Bang Theory for the fourth time.

So I took this list and started budgeting time alongside money. Every Sunday night, I plan my week, dollar by dollar and hour by hour, down to an alert that tells me when I need to get ready for bed to be able to get up in the morning for coffee, breakfast, and reading and still not be rushed.

Perry makes fun of me for this. As I’m sure you all are in your heads right now. Don’t get me wrong, I rarely follow this plan. I’m usually good until Tuesday night rolls around. Then the whole thing gets completely off to the point where you could barely recognize my life and my plan were supposed to be alike.

But in essence, that’s kind of the point of the change. I’m trying to see what pops up in life that turns out to be more important than my plan. And what in my plan turns out to be more important than what life is throwing at me.

In the end, no matter what, I’m more focused on what I deem important. And I’m hoping to make sure that I’m not wasting what I have – that when I am mindlessly watching Big Bang Theory, it’s because I NEED some mindless television. Not that I am simply at a loss of what to do with the time between waking up and going to work.

So now I’m actually on time for my internship, coffee in hand. I wear dresses on Mondays. And I might actually finish Nicholas Nickleby before the year is out.

After Neverland

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You may have heard me say, or have said it yourself, that there should have been a class at the end of college that taught you how to be a grown up. You know, the basic simple things the world assumes is common sense, but every individual most likely has some kind of horror story about. 

I had told myself after graduation almost two years ago, after busting ass and graduating at 20 while working and keeping a scholarship, that I didn’t have to grow up yet. I moved to Austin and I told myself in my best Peter Pan voice that I didn’t have to grow up yet, that I deserved a little time to go wild with freedom and an open schedule. I gave myself my Neverland Year. And it served its grand purpose.

By the end of it, however, I was a Lost Boy through and through. I began to believe that growing up was an option, and it would never be one that I would take. Travel the world, never get tied down, be a free spirit. Then I jumped from my Lost Boy Treehouse into the Concrete Jungle. And I saw that life up in those trees is much easier than down here on the ground. Down here, there are more mistakes to be made and more predators waiting for you to make them. I began to see that getting what I truly want out of life is going to require much more effort from me – not just waiting for the perfect situation to be thrown in my lap. Life is work, it’s just finding the work that makes you happy.

The hassle is juggling it all. When you are fully away from family and close friends, you start to realize how much you relied on them for support. They’re still all there, of course – emotional support – but it’s not quite the same. Somehow, those people ultimately dictated what parts of your life needed most attention. You’re in school, so are all your friends and your parents only ask you about grades. Your best friend starts training for a marathon, you start joining her at the gym and start watching what you eat. But here, people don’t seem to run in packs. The sidewalks aren’t wide enough for them.

So, which part of my life do I focus on first? In college, it was pretty simple. School came first, over social life or work or even health (as evidenced by overdosage of Red Bull, sleep depravation, and weight gain), and as to subjects, whichever one you were least prepared for was always a good place to start. Or whichever class came next. But now, there’s is an ultimate three-way tug of war between money, time, and health that are being pulled across a plane of what I want and what I need. How can I become secure in any area without knowing which to focus on first? And that’s the thing. You can’t just focus on just one area – you have to focus on all of it at once. In the grand scheme, what should I put as top priority? 

And through all this priority making, I have to learn how to do things for the first time. Survive in the worst possible job market without hating my life every day I go into work. Navigating a budget in a city with the highest cost of living. Figuring out basic health focuses – finding dentists, discovering exercise that won’t kill my bad back, how to eat on the go, learning what a podiatrist is. But there seem to always be compromises – to get one thing, you have to sacrifice another. Even if you plan, you have to prioritize as to what’s most important when the shit hits the fan and your plan crumbles. What should come first? Money? My health? Work? Basically, priorities are hard. And I’m lucky to be learning this now when I can be selfish – with no one else in the picture whose life I have to prioritize alongside mine. 

Everyone here moved here for a reason. Or else, stayed here for a reason. The first question you are asked upon meeting a fresh face is “where are you from?” closely followed by a “why did you come?” Those reasons are what run everyone’s decisions here, whether they’re breaking into business, theatre, or publishing like me. 

So I ask myself, I who, six months ago, would have told you that I would be smothered if forced to sit behind a desk from nine to five Monday through Friday, why did I move?

And while I believe that is easily answered by a mixture of two conflicting ideas: my hippie mentality of traveling to try something completely off my map and to stick a toe into the publishing pool to see if a fully submerged career might be in my future – I also believe that this, while being a childhood dream, was my opportunity to push myself completely out of my nest, and grow up.

But don’t worry. A little bit of pixie dust will help me as I learn to fly.

(photograph from http://skyheartphotography.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/march-10-2012-concrete-jungle/)

10 Things I wish I Knew: Getting Around NYC

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One of the many things that I wish I understood about New York City before I moved here is the simple act of getting around. Having always had a car when I lived elsewhere, I likened myself to a typical suburban soccer mom and lived out of my mini SUV. On any given day, you could find a number of important objects in my floorboards: extra pairs of shoes, work shirts, left over McDonald’s, gum, umbrella, change, dirty dishes. You get the idea. My little CR-V was my massive purse.

But living without a car was an aspect I didn’t think twice about when moving to The Big City. Public transportation was available and I figured that would be adequate. And it is. But there are a few general things I wish I’d known:

1) It will take you an hour to get just about anywhere. Get use to it.

2) Treat the subway like an elevator. Let the people off before you get on and move all the way in if there are people behind you. This is basic curtesy like letting people with canes or elderly or pregnant women sit down. It’s also nice to let parents sit with their kids – they’re less likely to get lost this way.

3) Don’t go into the park at night, even just to cross through. You’re just asking for trouble.

4) Ultimately, the subway is one of the single most disgusting things. You don’t realize this until you witness a sniffling child wipe they’re dripping nose on a hand rail or have your own nose fill with the smell of a homeless person shitting on a seat and you ask yourself – where is the Lysol?Simply put, hand sanitizer is your best friend.

5) You have to start living simply. My first reaction to living without a car was to simply replace the storage space with a gigantic backpack. But I soon discovered several problems with this plan. First of all, I have a bad back. I should have pinpointed the issue beforehand but I had the image in my head of Emily “hiking” through the city like it was a camping trip having everything she needed in her pack. My screaming back soon informed me that my reality of city life was vastly different from what I had pictured. Not only that, but have you ever gone into a gay bar at midnight on a Friday with a backpack containing your apartment? Because I have. And it’s not very conducive to dancing in an environment of people already unimpressed with your gender.

This idea of simplicity on the move has slowly carried over to the apartment as well. I don’t think anyone has to explain the sizes of New York City apartments, but please understand that Perry and I got extremely lucky when it comes to space. And we’re still struggling for it – the contents of my closet usually displayed on the floor (although that’s probably just because I’m messy). And things will only get more cramped as we add on two roommates over the summer.

6) Those little carts aren’t just for homeless people. They can be really helpful when grocery shopping, doing laundry, or buying toilet paper in bulk.

7) A good pair of shoes goes a long way. I’ve never been a girl obsessed with shoes. I’ve liked them, even loved a few, but never have I found the need to obsess. Until I moved here.

Since my move, I have watched as my shoes have slowly begun to disintegrate. I’ve seen my once favorite shoes be shunned to our entryway, no longer welcome onto the clean floor of our living room due to the filth of New York sidewalks that now covers them. Pairs I use to show off and save for special occasions are now despised when my feet swell into watermelons.

The value of good footwear cannot be appropriately expressed. I have never known the importance of arch support more so than after working five shifts in a row and while waiting for the subway, used those little raised dots on the yellow line to massage my aching feet.

The worst part is that you can’t just go buy a pair of walking shoes and use them every day. I mean you can, but there’s one little problem – shoes are kind of important. It’s an unfortunately true fact that many people in this city judge you by your shoes. And indeed, a great deal about a personality can be gleaned from the analyzation of a pair of shoes. But I digress. I simply would hate to be judged poorly based on the fact that my feet are overly sensitive due to waiting tables. So I have begun the grand task of trying to purchase a pair of perfect shoes – ones that speak truly to my character that also have enough cushion to not make me want to cut my feet off at the ankles when I come home at night.

And please don’t even get started on high heels. Some things are simply not practical in this city and they are one of them. If you come here having delusions of fabulous Sex and the City moments as you walk up and down 5th Avenue in a pair of Manolos, please let me know you’re coming. I will be ready to point and laugh and then take pity on you to hail you a cab. Because THAT my friends is the secret behind these fabulous New Yorkers (other than them all being on television and not being real), they not only have the money to buy fancy footwear, they also have the money to protect their aching feet by taking cabs everywhere.

I don’t take cabs. I ride the subway. I don’t wear heels.

8) If for any reason you think you might fall asleep on the train ride home, hide your valuables in your bra and wrap the strap of your bag around your leg.

9) Road rage quickly becomes sidewalk rage. You know when you scream obscenities at someone who won’t go at a green light or cuts you off in traffic? Well, perhaps this is why some New Yorkers are considered rude, because it is really difficult to keep your voice down after someone stabs you in the face with their umbrella or stops mid-stride to take a picture with their iPhone. Especially when you’re late or dealing with a place like Times Square that is swarming with tourists who only seem to be looking up.

10) And finally, never start laughing when someone makes a general statement about race on an Bronx bound 2 train. Especially if you are a hundred forty pound white girl from south Alabama.

A very belated Happy Mother’s Day.

This morning, as I sat down to begin work at my internship, I noticed in a different light what it was that I had brought with me for my on-the-go breakfast – a Diet Coke, a Nature Valley peanut-flavored chewy breakfast bar, and my thermos of coffee with hazelnut coffee creamer. I stared at these few seemingly meaningless objects before I pushed back my bangs with my right hand to notice the ring I was wearing. The one that I’ve been wearing more often lately because it reminds me of the one my mom used to wear when I was little. This is perhaps my first ah-ha moment.

I am my mother.

In the past five years, I have been told I look like her. I have been stopped mid-sentence by my older sisters, who completely freaked out as a Joanne-like expression crossed my face. I have been interrupted by my Uncle Steve, my mom’s older brother, at a sister’s wedding two or three drinks in, for him to say: “I’m sorry, but I feel like I’m talking to your mother forty years ago. Your siblings, they’re Moores. You, Emily, are an Owen. You’ve got our cheekbones.”

As indeed I do. Cheekbones that look exactly like my mother’s. Not to mention her eyes, eyebrows, nose, and even similar haircut for a good long while. Not to say I don’t look like my siblings, or my father – there is no denying parentage for myself or any of my siblings. But as my mother put it, “you have to have six before you get one that looks like you.”

But this realization is the first that not only do I look like my mother, I am, indeed, slowly becoming her.

I once had a professor, one of the last in my college career in fact, who was so completely chauvinistic, he could only be qualified to be teaching a feminist literature class. One quote I will always remember and I will always want to punch him in the face for: “Women’s worst fear is that they will become exactly like their mothers. And their destiny is to do so.”

Feminism aside, no one wants to hear that. I don’t care how much you love your parents, respect them for all they have done, and are lucky to end up exactly like them. Male or female, no one wants to hear that they are lumped into one assigned group that is destined to repeat exactly what has been done before them. Maybe it’s our generation of being constantly told to be unique, to be special, to stand out against the crowd. But I don’t think that’s even all of it. It would be true fifty years ago just as it was two years ago in that classroom – I was insulted. Albeit, mostly as a woman. For a man to say that about women in general, I was insulted for all women everywhere.

And anyone that knows my mother would know that I was not insulted because of the implications of what that would mean when specifically considering my mother. But it brought about a feeling I have realized is extremely common in my character – the need to challenge boundaries and expectations given to me by others who like to act like they know more than me.

So I stuck up my nose, called him a chauvinist prick (in my head), and subconsciously decided that I would never be like my mother. I might look like her, yes, but that was where the likenesses would end. I began making a mental list of the ways I was different from her. I convinced myself and let the chauvinistic prick drown in my wake of individuality and uniqueness. So, in the best way to deal with reality, I ignored it. It was a simple fact – I was not and never would be my mother.

I got into a Facebook comment conversation with two of my sisters the other day after I reposted something encouraging young girls to look to female role models who have accomplished something – Amelia Earhart, Coco Chanel, Susan B. Anthony – instead of Disney princesses who are chiefly just sitting pretty. We examined the roles of both sides and what young girls tend to take from the different examples. It was then that I realized that being raised the way I was, I did not have media telling me who to make my role models as a young girl. I had my sisters… and my mom.

In January, I moved here to New York City. After going through perhaps the toughest few months of my life, so far away from family and friends and most things familiar, I have found myself missing something. I hadn’t really figured out what it was. That is, until today.

Even as the baby of my family, I never feel like I was much of a whiner or one to cry and run to Momma (my siblings might have a different perspective). From a young age, I felt a need to make myself independent, unique, and different from the rest of my large family, including my parents. I was convinced that I could handle my life on my own, without Mom and Dad and siblings. I appreciated their help, yes, but I could do it on my own if I had to.

Even so, I always felt it strange that I never found the need to call my mom every day. That when a boyfriend broke up with me, I didn’t call her crying. When I was in pain in the hospital after a serious surgery and the doctor asked her to leave so that they could extract the drainage tube from my recently-collapsed lung, I didn’t gasp and cry to ask her to stay. When she was in the hospital after her stroke, I didn’t feel the need to be by her side every minute.

And going through the extreme maturing years between college and now, when most are separated from their parents for the first real time, I looked at the lack of constant communication as a flaw. Something must be wrong with our relationship, because it wasn’t like others I saw, even with my other siblings.

It was then, this morning, as I stared at my breakfast of champions, when all these pieces fell into place. I have never felt the need to run to my mother for comfort or solace or advice, because she’s here. Her soothing voice of reason, fairness, and compassion is the same over the phone as it is in the back of my head. It’s been her voice egging me on when I’ve been so close to quitting. Her’s is the voice that tells me the worst will be over soon. And it’s her example that makes me want to live in my moment, in my present, as much as possible. In passing down so much to me, in somehow making me so much like her, she has given me more independence than I could ever hope to have otherwise. Because when I look in the mirror, I see my mom. She’s always been right here, and indeed, she always will be.

So I drink hazelnut-flavored coffee. I feel the little calluses on my baby toes that I know she still has. I eat Nature Valley breakfast bars. I wear my ring with the big black stone on my index finger. I treat myself to a Diet Coke. And I call my mom when I know we both have the time, because she deserves what she has given me – independence with the constant knowledge of a loving, helping hand.

And I mentally tell that chauvinistic prick that he was still wrong – while it might be my destiny to become my mother, I could never possibly have a fear of doing so.
Momma with my nephew, Douglas Charles.

Momma with my nephew, Douglas Charles.