“I never let what happened stay in the past.”
I was better than I usually am on Valentine’s Day this year – I remained cheery and optimistic until the next day. I woke up, logged onto Facebook, and was immediately inundated with nauseatingly adorable gifts and status updates. Without the students to exaggerate the negativity and thereby make it unattractive and absurd, a bitter taste filled my mouth and I instantly felt blue. I am sure the Radiohead song playing softly in the background did not help.
On top of that, I did not lose a single pound for the second week in a row. I only have myself to blame because I have not been counting my calories like I should. I can try and blame it on my menstrual cycle or stress (teacher evaluation workshops, the backdrop for the play falling over), but the truth is that I have been weak. I am disappointed in myself. I am ashamed.
Saturday morning, I watched a good-sized portion of the movie “Mannequin” while eating breakfast. When I was younger (and only slightly more impressionable than I am now), I was absolutely obsessed with the movie. Reasons for my obsession seem obvious – such as Andrew McCarthy at his most vulnerable, quirkiest, and most appealing – but upon deeper reflection, it is so much more than that. There is something dangerously intoxicating about what one creates loving its creator in a singular, unique, and romantic kind of way; like creative types can cure their own loneliness and save themselves. That aspect of the “fairy tale” is reassuring but at the same time, it is worrisome because does it not suggest that those same quirky, odd, different, creative people cannot find romance organically? Unless there is some kind of divine intervention or fantastical happenings, are weirdoes never to find love? Maybe that’s why the first blog I created to promote my writing was titled “Letters to Eliot” and was comprised of nothing more than pathetic and embarrassing love letters to a fictional character of my own creation. Is that really so different from falling in love with a mannequin? At least the mannequin was tangible and at least it came to life and at least it loved its creator back and at least they lived happily ever after.
Regardless of the deeper meta-fictional meanings of “Mannequin,” (or if they even exist) I am once again infatuated with Andrew McCarthy. I keep playing the scene where we met over and over again – the way I made him turn to me and smile, the way I made him laugh, his inexhaustible charm, and the strength of his embrace when he hooked me around my waist and pulled my close. It was like it was scripted, which is why I am so disappointed in its lack of an ending. That same Saturday night, Hallmark Channel aired a new romantic comedy which was unbearably corny, but it starred Andrew McCarthy as a brooding cowboy and naturally, I was enthralled.
I also watched a 45-minute documentary about Elvis Presley called, “Elvis: Summer of ’56.” It was all about this girl named June Juanico and her relationship with Elvis. It was surreal to hear her describe how he pulled her aside after a show and kissed the back of her neck, of how he called and wrote, and how she felt comfortable enough with Elvis to adjust his belt. It is incredible to think anyone could have genuine, intimate moments with the King of Rock and Roll. June understood that sentiment; she called it quits after Elvis was rumored to be involved with Natalie Wood (and who could blame her? There’s no competing with Natalie Wood!) And believe it or not, it seems that even Elvis understood the sentiment because when speaking of the insane amount of screaming, crying girls, he said, “They don’t love me, they love the idea of me.” I am going to include that in my second novel or die trying.
Sunday was a great day. It was Dad’s 52nd birthday, so I am especially glad that it was beautiful and bright, albeit windy and cold. We all went to Mass together. Mikey faked (I think) a stomach ache and did not join us for the Olive Garden. I had many glasses of wine, too much pasta, and I laughed heartily. Most importantly, Dad enjoyed himself. On the way home, he tried to freeze Sam and I out by rolling all the windows down and locking them in place because Sam and I had been good-naturedly tormenting Mom (flicking her ears and whatnot). I tried to distract Dad by giving him a Wet Willy in his right ear so Sam could sneakily slide her arm between the left side of Dad’s seat and the door and unlock the windows. My efforts failed, but Sam managed to reach the controls for Dad’s seat, so she moved him up and forward, shoving the steering wheel into his chest and the tops of his thighs. He looked silly and absurd and wildly uncomfortable. We all laughed until we couldn’t see straight.
Upon arriving home, we descended upon the furniture in the living room. Dad lounged across the love seat, Mom claimed the chair and I was solo, sitting upon the sofa, until Sam came and lay down, stretching her legs over me. We were all comfortable, we were all watching “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and we were all together. It was a beautiful day.
Paul Newman’s blue eyes and Elizabeth Taylor’s violet eyes were just as glorious as the sky I observed while walking and jogging that night. The wind made me feel young and restless and wild, like it kicked up all the old, dry negativity within me and swirled it so that when it settled once again, it was something more like optimism and vitality. The quickened pace of the blood in my veins and of the air in my lungs, with the moon nearly directly over my head so that I had to awkwardly crane my neck to see it, with the tiny, twinkling stars, and with the darkening, layered shades of blue of the evening sky, made me feel incredibly grateful to be alive. That night, I fell in love with life, and with love, and with possibility.
I want to fall in love this summer.
I have been highly critical of the band Fall Out Boy in the past, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t have some fantastic lines.
“I thought I loved you, but it’s just how you looked in the light.”
“I could write it better than you’ve ever felt it.”
Sixth way to blast my blubber: write a list of reasons why I want to lose weight:
– I want to be as beautiful on the outside as I am on the inside.
– I want to be appealing to beautiful men.
– I want to be noticed by beautiful men when I go out.
– I want to feel sexy.
– I want to look sexy.
– I want to be healthy.
– I want to have more energy.
– I want to live longer.
– I want to finally lose the weight and prove myself wrong.
– I want to better myself and improve.
– I want how I envision myself to be reality.
– I don’t want to feel ugly around my beautiful friends.
– I want to feel better about myself and feel confident.
– I want to be the full package; funny, smart and pretty.
– I want to change my life.