Friday, December 14, 2007

Shoeless and Wiser

Something made me want to go through my keepsake box. In it, I found everything from old photos to gift cards people gave me but never used. I saw Claire and Seth’s wedding photos, pictures from my trip to the Philippines (life-changing, as you can imagine), and a newsletter I created called “Tacky City” about New Jersey clubbers who have no clue. The tagline reads, “Just when you thought the Jersey shore couldn’t get any tasteless, these clubbers have proved you wrong.”

I still have that passport picture of my grandfather. He signed it. It’s one of my most precious possessions. Attached to it was the eulogy I read at his funeral. I talked about his quirks and how wonderful I thought he was. I remember reading this in front of family and friends. I couldn’t even finish. I think I cried the third or fourth paragraph in when I said, “He stopped smoking to save money to send his kids to college. Everything that he did, he did for his family.” I quoted a passage from a love letter he wrote to my grandmother and ended my speech with, “Let his passion live on in all of us.” With all of this, I’m including the last speech I had to make as the maid of honor at my sister’s wedding about how she had a hand in teaching me the meaning of love.

It’s been such a long time since I opened this box –- so long that I had forgotten what was in this special collection of memories of mine. I don’t just put anything in it either. Everything inside is special. These are the things that I never want to let go of. Everything is a part of me and I’m proud of it.

At the bottom of the box, I discovered a card. On the front is a black and white photo -– a print –- of a woman wearing a fabulous hat. She’s got three big dogs. She’s quite glamorous. I look at it for a second and wonder, why would I save this? I had no recollection what it was and who had given it to me. I opened it and there it was: Something I had buried because I was so ashamed of it at one point. Heaven forbid, I was once unsure of myself and sad. I guess for so long, I refused to believe that anything had bothered me that much … that someone was able to hurt me even the slightest bit.

I won’t go into detail about what that was all about. Suffice it to say, it was a hard time in my life. Something I never thought I’d even have to go through, in fact. But I did and I got through it. I never thought I would recover from that kind of heartache. But here I am, sitting in my own apartment, that I pay for with my own pay check, that I have filled with furniture that I bought –- even some that I had put together myself. I have the job that I’ve always wanted and I’ve since met the most amazing man in the world. And he makes me happy –- not just the silly kind of happy, but the kind of happy that reminds you over and over again that you’re important.

And now as I read this card -- a card that I had given to myself about three years ago or so -- I’m filled with gratitude. I did it. I moved on.

In the card, I wrote:
Life is right now. It doesn’t wait for you to get back on your feet.