It's always funny to me how dates stick out in my mind. I know they do with everyone, but for me it's an area of fixation. I can remember exactly where I was, what I was wearing, who I was with, who I was dating, if I was dating, what color hair I had, et cetera on many of the most random days of the year. Call it a good memory. Call it being nostalgic. Call it being "Rain Man" for all I care. That's who I am. I'm the girl who remembers dates on the calendar.
November 6, 2006. A day that has plagued me for the past five years. A day that I rarely, if ever, discuss. But starting today I'm going to remember it as the day that I met Joy.
It's the first day I lived alone. It was my first day as a single adult. I was terrified. I was panicky. I ate a whole pizza and later threw most of it up. It was the most hopeless and confused I'd ever felt. It was my rock-bottom.
With the TV off, Indy at my side, and a nearly empty pizza box next to me, I thought about the events that had led me to that moment. It was as if I were replaying a movie in my mind - one that I knew all the parts and scenes, all the costumes and lighting, all the emotions and dialogue. I knew it by heart, but there was no way that it was real. It must be a movie, right? As I sat there feeling the real feelings of pain and confusion and frustration and irritation and so much more, I realized I was playing my own life and the choices I'd made, the choices I'd allowed to be made for me, and the reality that got me to November 6, 2006.
And I met Joy. I didn't know her. I didn't like her. I didn't want to be introduced. I certainly didn't want the stranger in the mirror to try and infiltrate life as I knew it. At that point in time, "change" was a naughty word. I much preferred my comforts, my salary, my closed heart, my closed brain, my stoic attitude, my solitude, my privacy, my control over something that wasn't mine to control.
Five years have gone by. Each year on November 6th, I've shut everything down. It's almost like I've clung to that day to relive something bad that happened to me. I've allowed myself to be the victim in a movie where I should be the heroine.
No more. Starting today - Sunday, November 6, 2011 - I will celebrate the fact that I FINALLY met me. Yeah... it took me five years to learn me (and I'm still learning more every day). For five years I've found things to be sad about. And that's just dumb.
I have the most incredible friends. I live in the most amazing city. I am blessed with a ridiculously supportive and loving family. I have a job I'm proud of. I finally have red hair. I'm the owner of the most hysterical and well-behaved dog. I'm independent and girly at the same time (I totally moved 3 big pieces of furniture today while wearing a dress), and I actually like that about me.
Does that mean that I've declared every day to be awesome from here out? Well, of course not. I didn't fall off the truck yesterday. It just means that November 6th is no longer a day of sadness. In fact, as hard as it is to admit it sometimes, I'm happy for that day. It's the day I took control of my own life. For the first time. I said "no more" to inauthenticity and not knowing, or wanting to know, myself. I ripped off the band-aid and exposed a wound that took a long time to heal. Now the scar is a semi-hidden piece of my character, yet part of what makes me the November 6, 2011 version.
Ya know, the authentic one. The one with the nosering, the limited tattoos, the sometimes-weird clothing combos, and the insomnia. The wanna-be runner. The laidback one who should sometimes demand more from people but doesn't know how. But also the one who carries her dog home in a pink blanket in an October snowstorm but fights against treating the dog like a human. The one who cries at "50/50" because the main character has an awesome best friend. The one who is insanely proud of her own friends including but certainly not limited to the two running in the NYC Marathon, the two who moved in together this month, the one building houses in Nepal for the needy, the one who's caring for a friend who lost a parent, the one whose life is a perfect balance of gorgeous wife/mom/friend/runner, and the one who took out-of-towners to a Brooklyn Burlesque tonight.
That one. And she's awesome. In fact, she might be the most awesome girl you'll ever meet (at least that's what she tells the boys...)