Thursday, March 31, 2011

An Ode To New York

Dear New York,

This is probably the toughest email that I will ever write. Where to start? Firstly, I'm sorry i didn't get to say goodbye in person, I had hoped to see you this afternoon to say a quiet goodbye but in the end it was just too hard. So, I planned to just slip off without saying a word, but I'm here at the airport and I just can't leave without explaining. r.

So, it's not you, it's me. Cliche, huh?

I first met you when i was 12 (and I should have known you'd be trouble when i got my first period in Central Park) and it was love at first sight. When we met again I was 23. I saw you and was completely spellbound. I was barely a woman. I had no idea who I was and yet i knew enough to know that you were everything I had ever dreamed of. You literally consumed me and within days our nights were as long as our days together. I knew that I could wake up and feel wanted. There were even times that I felt completely needed by you. Seven incredible years you made me feel that way. Nobody compared to you, not even close. Not even London. Long, heady nights together, sleeping in till hunger forced us to brunch, then I'd nap and then we'd do it all over again. Crazy, incredible days. You were my everything. I know we had our ups and downs. You drove me nuts. You were a drug, irresistible. I was addicted. You were my 20s. You watched me grow up and you were a huge part of that, but when life threw me a curve ball a couple of years back everything changed. Everything changed, except for you. So, when i left you in 2009, I was terrified. It was without doubt the most difficult decision that I have ever made. I had become so co-dependent and i was terrified that i no longer knew who i was. I had suddenly been forced to change very quickly. I had other priorities and you didn't understand. You didn't even try. I withdrew and when you made no attempt to come and get me, i gave up.

And so i left.

I went west, not knowing what to expect. I just had to get you out of my head. I couldn't see how the new me would fit into you, into us. And so, I met Portland. Friends urged me to go and I found a new life. I didn't expect to feel something so soon but we became friends. Things were different. It was slower. I didn't feel rushed into anything. I could hear myself think for the first time in a long time about something other than working out, seeing you and auditioning. Portland healed me. I felt so understood and not constantly overshadowed. I felt like an individual - no longer one of many. Can you imagine what that feels like? Of course you can - when have you ever been in someone's shadow?

Of course I would still think of you and my heart would hurt. We both know that I wasn't your first and you were never exclusively mine, but it still stung when i saw you with friends of mine or in pictures or heard perfect strangers describe what they had done with you. (Sing, Sing, till 4am, really?)

I refused to be jealous because i knew that you had always been a free spirit, but i guess i was just another stupid, blinkered one of many, thinking that I could be the one. The one to conquer you. There were times, you know, when I just really thought we would make it. But there were many other nights when i would sob over feeling utterly inadequate around you, and I wanted to leave. And then you would show me what I was capable of. Thank you for that.

My time in Portland went quickly. We seemed a distant memory and I began to question if i had left too soon? What on earth had I done? Did i just walk out on the love of my life? So, I talked to Portland and i felt listened to. Really listened to. But i just couldn't get you out of my head. There was always you. Everywhere i turned i saw you. I had friends that told me they had seen you. The photos, the stories. It hurt. Seeing other people do what we did. I wanted to scream at them, that I heart New York and they didn't even know what they were talking about. I had earned you. Seven years of you must have meant something.

So i came back. I had to know. Had to know if you were the one. God, I wanted it to work. I wanted you to see me as all grown up and embrace me and show me that you missed me that you would change. That you would finally adapt and meet me half way. I was a fool. I knew as soon as I stepped off the C train that nothing had changed.

It took 6 months for me to be sure. Totally sure and yet, even now, i know you'll always be a part of me. I'm okay with that. I'm sure this time. You are my heart. It's always going to be hard to hear of you and see you with others, but I'm excited for the future. For us both. Portland is right for me and i know that this new friendship has all the makings of a beautiful, long love affair. It's, well, it's just different. But so right. It's right for me now.

I'm boarding now but just wanted you to know that I didn't give up on us, I just saw that we had grown apart. I heart you, NY. Always.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Caught Red Handed

Q: Is it ever ok to lie to your child?
A: Yes, when she walks in and sees you extracting a tampon.

And so it went something like this. There i was, just home from work, needing to pee so badly that my back teeth were floating. Ran in, kissed Olive, announced I just needed to wee and scuttled off. Anyway, I was literally hemorrhaging and i knew I had a limited amount of time to make the change. I was thankfully wearing tights but knew the sight was going to pretty grim upon wiggling them down. Down came the knickers, and then as though in slow motion, thumb met finger and went in for the kill. So, there I am, hovering over the toilet seat. And at this point, i suspect some people can picture the scene, others are scarred at the thought, but a few more perhaps find this unimaginable because they themselves adopt the sit down pose upon extraction. For me, just like opening my mouth when applying mascara, i stand there legs akimbo and pull. It's a stealth operation, because if you are not quick, a swing in the wrong direction can have you grabbing a flannel and mopping the floor. Dear lord, i am making myself sound like i'm some 16th century wench who empties her chamber pot from the window.

Fact: being a woman is not glamorous.

Anyway, so there i am doing a semi squat, knees bent, tights hinged mid thigh, bright yellow thong resting slightly higher. Pencil skirt hitched up to my waist and just as I am breathing a sigh of relief that i didn't go through onto my skirt, sodden tampon swinging in the wind... in walks Olive.

Now, I've had some doozies in my life. At about 23, I vomited in the middle of a subway platform and when viewed with disgust by fellow rush hour passengers, i looked up with yesterday's mascara in my brows and pretended that it was morning sickness. I think it was the clear liquid puke that stank of vodka that gave me away.

Regardless, that was then. This was now and here I was. Caught red handed.

She came, she saw, she whimpered.
"Momma" she said and began to cry.

I drop it in the loo at this point.

"Momma got owie" , she said. Insert terrified two year old face at this point.

"Oh no, it's just a red poop". I say. This is what you call, thinking on your feet.

"Red poo poo", she repeats, - even more startled look, tears, arms outstretched.

I sit on toilet seat.

And now, i think, "Oh crap, i can't say a red poop. We are about to start potty training, I can't have her think that is normal".

And so logic took me to a better place...honesty? Nope, not even close!

"Oh darling, it's okay, it's just a red crayon"

Relief in toddler's face.

"Crayon? I wanna color."

"Okay, we can color - how about go and get the colors and mummy will come in in a minute and we can color."

"Ok" Olive starts to leave. I am a genius.

Faster than a speeding bullet, I pluck a fresh tampon from the cupboard, rip the wrapper with my teeth...

And then, re-entry - for Olive...

Upon, seeing pink plastic applicator - "I wanna color, " she says.

"Ok - me too - let mummy just do this"

"Mummy color?"

"Yes, mummy just needs to put this color in and we can go in the other room"

"Mummy color?"

"Yep, go on, go in the other room, I'll be right in." I am starting to make a shooing action.

"I wanna color"

(about here i think: ohgodijustcamehomefromworkiamsotiredijustwanttopullonmypyjamas)

"OK - Mummy, has a color" Here, all logic disappears out the fan extractor and I actually hand the fresh tampon applicator to Olive. It's a Playtex pink, scented one, so somehow this seemed better.

(I know...okay, i know)

"Red poop?" she said.

"No, Olive. (and this is the real kicker). Mummy colors every once in a while and sometimes she keeps a color tucked away. Ok?"

"Ok" This she understands and produces a smile. I am a genius.

Smiling - "Ok, give mummy the color and you go out."

"I wanna color"


And then in a break with tradition, and because i just couldn't go any further with this whole Crayola episode, I took the crayon from her hand muttering something about safety and sat on the loo and in a first time move, I performed the seated one handed underhand insert and no doubt scarred my daughter for life. We walked out holding freshly washed hands and colored for all of 5 seconds before we went on to playing musical statues.

Next day at bath time? I'm just sitting on the lid of the toilet while she lies on her tummy, discreetly drinking the soap water hoping i won't see...but I do and when I say, "Olivia, No", she turns and upon seeing me on the loo, she asks if she can color?"

And that's the truth. Period.