In my last post, I wrote that I wanted perspectives. I wanted to know how other people saw my life. Because it was theirs as well. And my sister told my mother I had written that.
And my mother, who I have never had the strength to question, wrote to me. She spent hours typing out her memory of the events, what she saw, what she felt. What happened outside my own head. And as importantly, what happened in hers.
The first time I read it, I read it fascinated by the story. The second time, it was about my mother's life. The third time, still reading on my iPad laying in bed on the Saturday morning she sent it, it was my story. And I began to cry.
The circumstances of my life have been in flux. My company was sold and the aftermath is unsettling. I have no direction, no idea what I'm supposed to do... I do not know if this will settle in a way I am able to... I don't know if I'm gonna get fucked over, frankly. Or if I'll get a chance to take this company who has no idea what I did and create something awesome that will give other journalists great opportunities. That's my fantasy upside. I'm betting on fucked over.
So of course, in times like these, you reevaluate your dreams, your goals and who you thought you'd be.
I emailed N**k my essay from 10 years ago. It began as two paragraphs in my Boston University graduate application essay. They asked me if they could "publish my application essay" but if I could "actually just elaborate on this bit..."
I wrote it and didn't ever re-read it. I wrote it and emailed it to them. It was edited for punctuation. It was published.
I wonder if I'd had the capacity (I wrote balls, but that's too hard on myself... my PTSD teen self who would freeze in terror if anyone ever asked why she had a scar...) if I could have written about it at the time, if I'd have gotten into Harvard. They love that shit.
I almost love Dartmouth more for taking me with my good grades, tennis playing, play-starring-in, mock-trial-lawyering, over-achieving self who wrote about what it meant to learn about art history and then stumble upon the Mona Lisa... To taste both independence and history and art in one event...
I could have exploited myself into Oxford, probably. But it never occurred to me at the time. Instead, I wanted to come up with something "creative" and clever. I wound up in the best place I could have possibly found. Dartmouth banks its success on its alumni remembering how they fell in love with life there, and it still holds true. They thought I was awesome. I portrayed myself as I wanted to be seen. We were both happy.
One thing that's probably more interesting to me than to other people -- I love being on the subway in the winter and wearing hats. Hats cover my scars, and so when people stare at me on the train when I'm wearing a hat, I have a totally different experience than when I'm not. When I wear a hat, I wonder what it is they find interesting. Am I pretty? Is my hair a mess beneath the hat? Am I drooling?
When I'm not wearing the hat and someone stares at me, I think they're staring at my scar, my crooked hairline and my sparse forelocks. I see their stares and sometimes I can tell. Those that look at my face then whose eyes travel up and linger... they are staring. Others, maybe they're not staring? Fuck it, most people are.
Everyone always tells me that after a few times, they "don't notice" anymore. Having seen it more times than any of you, having examined it every day, it's not really something you don't notice. Maybe you mean it doesn't define me? And maybe that's something I have made happen on purpose. Through years of distracting you with me.
I am an expert.
I love wearing hats on the subway. I get to disappear for real into the fray on the train. To really be an invisibile, normal New Yorker. Few of you can really, truly appreciate how glorious it is to really disappear into the crowd because usually you are the one face the security guard remembers...
It's fun to prentend, sometimes, that I'm not that interesting.