My old college roomy is having a giveaway at her amazing little jewelry shop near Cape Cod. All you have to do to enter the $300 giveaway is to send her a love story. Any kind of love story...how you love your house, your dog, your toe nails. You name it. She's all about love. Any kind.
I was digging deep in the recesses of the memory to pull up moments of my falling. My big fall. My leap off the cliff into Paul Bunyan's life. There was his goatee, the mountain, the smell of his cigarettes (god damn it, I thought I forgot that part), the time he stuck his head in my car to get a whiff of the chapstick I wore. You know, the details that conjure up the goosebumps (those forgotten things after 12 years of marriage).
I was digging in the more recent recesses of the memory of the moment I locked eyes with my first born. After the morphine wore off. She and me. Alone. In a hospital room. I know how the light was low, where I was sitting, how Paul Bunyan was sleeping next to us.
I was digging in the most recent recesses of the memory...when two identical things were ripped from my belly and they had penises even though I had convinced myself and Paul that they had tiny vagina's. And even though the love was instant, I've had to dig deep for the details that gave me goosebumps because that year, the year they figured out how to sit up, crawl, sleep, walk, eat, talk...I don't remember much of it. My love story would be fraught with fears and insanity and panic attacks. And no one wants to hear that.
And because of all this digging around, snooping in the crevices, I happened upon my story. In the layers of my memories- from the moment I jumped off the cliff into Paul Bunyan's arms until now- I have fallen in love with myself. This is my love story.
Before Paul Bunyan, before college, before high school I was flailing in the swampy murky mire of mean adolescent girls. I gave so much of me away just to be liked, accepted, associated with. The fun I had was guarded, hoping against hope that it wasn't going to be different in the morning...that I would wake up without friends.
My high school days were filled with trying to be the best...running for offices, senior class secretary, student government, varsity club, honor society, German club (yes, German club), math team, three Varsity sports, homecoming queen (yes, but only just nominated). Where was I in all that college application shit?
My college days were filled with eating 10 grams of fat or less a day, running, lifting weights, playing field hockey, competing with my teammates for the position. Yes, we were a team, competing against each other. Who could have the lowest body fat, run the fastest, score the most points, have the most assists, stick to the diet the most hard core,have the most awards? I left college at my lowest. Defeated.
I'd hate to admit that I needed Paul Bunyan to fall in love with myself, but I think I kinda did. He showed me that finishing a pint of Ben and Jerry's in one sitting is so much more fun than poking at a Fat Free, Sugar Free half gallon of what? Ice? I hate to admit that I needed the last eight years of my life as a mother to fall in love with myself, but I think I kinda did. My children have shown me that poop and vomit and sleepless nights really help you look inside yourself and taste the darkness. I hate to admit that I needed the wombats to fall in love with myself, but I think I kinda did. I didn't believe my bush was worth all the attention it gets now, but sometimes when someone tells you you're beautiful, you have to believe it.
All kidding aside, my love story starts with some holes in a place I used to call home. The holes were measured and evaluated 5 years ago. They were studied and diagnosed as holes. I've been patching them up as best I can, but in the process of defining the holes, I've slowly begun to accept myself. I am no longer not skinny enough, not smart enough, not good enough, not fast enough, not productive enough. I love my mediocrity. My self love began when I stopped trying to be better than I was. I keep a dirty house. I drink too much. I eat like a second grader. My garden is full of weeds. I never made it to the Olympics. BUT I am married to the nicest, most confident, kindest, most useful (and sexy) man I have ever met. I have children who are friends with each other and I have people who come up to me (random, like the other day) to tell me how much they enjoy them. I have friends who love and respect me for who I am even though I have a hairy bush, I don't know how to dress myself, and I sometimes have big zits on my left cheek.
My love story is in development. But I can tell you it's the beginning of the sweetest love story I've ever read.
Please tell Rachel your love story. And if you're so inclined, will you tell me?