Let’s get one thing straight: sometimes I make mistakes. Oftentimes, actually, and this weekend was one of those times. If you missed Saturday’s post about why I didn’t want to go rock climbing with My 50th Date or Sunday’s post about what happened when I did, go back and read them because they’re important. It’s hard to pick out the turning points in your own life, especially when you’re right in the thick of it and tend to overdramatize everything in the first place, but I think I might have turned a corner this weekend.
While attempting to clean my room on Sunday morning, I came across the following photograph. This is me almost nine years ago, and even with all of the headshots I’ve had taken over the years, the images from last month’s photo shoot and all of the wacky outfits I’ve dreamed up for my former editor over at AOL, it’s this picture that I love the most.
It was taken by my first boyfriend at a youth hostel (Wombats, to be exact) in Vienna. We were both 17 at the time and I was halfway through my first solo trek through Europe. There’s nothing glamorous about it—I’m not even wearing a bra!—and I’ve got laundry hanging in the background, no makeup, no earrings, and definitely no stilettos.
I remember putting on a dress later that evening (and getting pissed at my boyfriend for not bothering to don a proper shirt for what was our last night in Europe together) so clearly I wasn’t completely embracing the “backpacker grunge” look at the time. But I was happy in this photograph. I was doing something adventurous and even though it scared the living daylights out of me half the time, I wasn’t trying to be somebody I’m not.
In reflecting over the events of the past few months, I’ve begun to wonder what the hell happened to me—to the girl in that photograph?
I like getting dressed up and drinking fancy cocktails and seeing just how far I can get with men like Date #4 and the rest of the Impressionists but if I’m to be totally honest with myself, I’ve never been totally honest with them. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like getting dressed up all the time, a part of me that would (God forbid!) prefer a picnic to a 5-star restaurant once in a while, a part of me that’s always just pretending to be a successful girl about town.
Sometimes I’d rather just curl up and watch re-runs of The Office and confess that I don’t always know what I’m doing in terms of my career—that making a living as a freelance writer and teaching artist is harder than I ever imagined it would be and I’m not sure if I want to go back to school or not.
When I think back to that time not so very long ago when I fished my grandmother’s pearls from my jewelry box in the hopes that they would make me look more Republican (and therefore more apt to belong at the Union League) I kind of want to punch myself in the face.
What the hell was I thinking?
Sure, the Union League is gorgeous and I was blown away by the opulence of that particular evening (which I why I let that “evening” last as long as it did) but the Union League is not a place I want to belong. I’m not saying I want to spend the rest of my life braless and sleeping in bunk beds at some Viennese youth hostel but there’s got to be some sort of happy medium— because the persona I’ve created for the purpose of this “experiment” is kind of a bitch, and her conduct is starting to get on my nerves.
This isn’t me.
At least, it’s not all of me.
And it’s high time I stopped pretending it was.
(Whoops– I was supposed to tell the story of what happened after My 50th Date invited me in, wasn’t I? Well, don’t worry: I will. First thing tomorrow. In the meantime, check out my new post over at Too Darn Hot.)