Today, I drink iced coffees from Starbucks and I go to yoga. I lay by my pool on sunny, Sunday afternoons in the fall while I do my laundry, and I rarely miss Taco Tuesdays. I spend time with my family, especially my grandmother, who is terminal. And with every meeting I realize how much I am like her and that always puts a smile on my face. I’ve lost my appetite for a great many things, one of the most important being bullshit.
And I no longer have much of a desire to be in front of the camera. I don’t know, something about this life, this steady pace of contentment, moments of peace and acceptance that I immerse myself in completely, it just seems silly to stop in the middle of it all to put together a photo shoot. Not that you won’t catch an errant selfie or two on my Instagram these days, because you definitely will. It’s not like I totally forgot that I still like how I look.
These are the simple things, little things that no one would really notice but me. And as I take a reflective look back at how my life has evolved in the last five months, I realize that it’s more than just the little things that have changed – I have changed. My being, who I am, what I am, what I am to become, they are all vastly different notions than the sad ones that stared me down just a few short months ago.
And I was sad, blindingly so. While many of you took courage, strength, and support from Curvy in Kansas City, you must know that I took the same from you (if not more so). Curvy in Kansas City was my light, it was my pat on the back when I couldn’t seem to find one good thing about myself, it was the compliment that I needed when I felt terrible about the person I was becoming. It was the spark of what was left of my inner self, a light that was dimming from being surrounded by darkness, but that so wanted to shine like the rays of sun that reflect off the waves of the ocean.
Don’t get me wrong, now, I’m not sitting here in some metaphorical sea of bliss. It’s not like I just moved to the Sunshine State and suddenly all was bright and cheery in my wonky world. No, not at all. I still have moments of despair, moments of doubt and weakness. Because let’s be honest, there are still hard times to be had, the people of this world can still be cruel, and I WILL ultimately find myself broke down by some curve in the road that came out of nowhere.
In the last five months I have mourned the loss of a marriage, uprooted myself and moved across the country, and struggled to find a new way of life while missing so many amazing people who have meant the world to me, especially my mother. I have tried to come to terms with the strained relationship that I now have with my father, and the heartbreaking news that his mother, my grandmother, may not be with us for very much longer. And, if you can even believe it, I have even had my heart broken once again by a man.
I guess what I’m really trying to say here is that just because I left one problem behind and moved on, didn’t mean that I was never going to have to face serious problems ever again. This is life, the good and the bad, and that is, really, what has finally changed in me. I have realized and accepted that there is nothing that I can do when the storm comes but have faith that I can weather it and come out of it standing on my own two feet.
I remember the moment so vividly when this idea began to take hold of me. I was lying in my bed at Dad’s house, and I was crying, every inch of me wept with, “I can’t go on!”
I was wallowing in it, knee deep in my own sad, sorry, insignificant existence, and like we always seem to do when we cry like that, I sat up to look at myself in the mirror. Why? I’m sure there’s some interesting psychological explanation for this behavior…maybe my buddy, Steve, could tell me. But for me, I think it’s just because we need to be the witnesses to our own destruction. It’s human nature to want to see the pain of the world with our very own eyes, even if it’s our own singular pain on display.
As I looked at myself (and it was ugly, ya’ll, I’m not even going to lie to you), some glimmer of reason sparked in my eyes. That reason led me to ask myself something…how many times have you done this before? How many times have you sat there and cried because some man “destroyed your life”? Or because something so monumental happened that it would mean the end of the world as you knew it? How many moments in your existence on this planet have you told yourself, “My life is over”?
The answer to all these questions? A LOT.
But here’s where reason really started to get me. It told me, “You’re looking at yourself in the mirror right now, and you know what that means? It means you’re still here. All those times you thought your world was coming to an end, it wasn’t YOU coming to end, it was just a part of your life. You’re still here, surviving, thriving, loving, hoping, praying, dreaming – just like you’ve always done.”
And you know what? That little voice inside my head was right. I’ve suffered a great deal in my life and I have always, ALWAYS, come out clean on the other end; and better, stronger, and smarter, to boot. I HAVE SURVIVED. And it is with my faith in this most magnificent truth that I will continue to survive. And not just survive, really, but find the light of life in every single day I have on this earth.
Curvy in California marks a new journey, my journey of truth, faith, love, and hope. It is no longer just a place to honor the curves on my body. It is a place to admire and extol the curves in my road. I look forward to sharing all that I am, and all that I will become, with you. And if you remember only one thing, my loves, remember this, a life without curves is just a straight line.