Sidewalks on Memory Ln.
If you had told me last week that I would be thoroughly enjoying my longish stay in the suburb where I grew up, I would have told you that you didn’t know me very well.
But apparently I didn’t know me very well.
First of all, there are sidewalks! Thank God for sidewalks! After being stuck for 3 months (Ok, stuck pool-side. In a luxury apartment complex. But still stuck…) I find myself disposed to love any sidewalks. And the same sidewalks of my formative years proved to be as good as any.
I have been walking. For hours. For miles. Just walking.
It’s good for my mental health and morale. It feels good to move my body. The way I did in New York. Loving to move is one of the best gifts of getting my food under control and losing 150 lbs.
When I was fat, moving my body was exhausting and painful. Now I love it. It is exhilarating. It reminds me that I’m alive. And that I like it. No, that I love being alive. That I love my life.
I still don’t like “exercise”. You won’t find me at a gym, or running on a track. I will not be wearing spandex clothes and sweating for an allotted amount of time so that I can feel like I did what I’m “supposed to do.”
Plus “exercise” makes the bulimic girl in my head go a little crazy. 5 more minutes. 1 more hour. 10 more laps. You’ll be that much closer to losing another pound. Another 5. You can get back to 133. Maybe you could break 130! You could be the thinnest you’ve ever been!
Um…yeah. No. We don’t need her butting her nose in. And walking, just plain walking outside in the world, keeps the bulimic girl calm. Or at least reined in.
But there is another thing here in the place where I grew up. Something I hadn’t particularly expected. Or at least hadn’t expected to find the least bit enjoyable. Nostalgia.
I did not like myself growing up. And that made for a rather unhappy childhood.
And it has happened a few times this past week that I have passed a place that has brought up a painful memory. Or a shameful one. I’ve done some cringing. And experienced some discomfort.
But it has also been a good opportunity to remember that the fat girl who grew up here is me. That she walked here too. Not with confidence. Or much grace. But she walked these same sidewalks none the less. And that not all of it was bad. That there were people I liked who liked me. That there was fun and happiness.
Sure it was always colored by my own self-loathing. But not even that can make all of life terrible. Plus, that’s not what my life is like anymore.
That integrating of my past and my present is probably the hardest part of my life’s journey so far.
But it occurs to me that it is probably not an accident that I fell in love with a man from that past. Who owns a home in this same place I grew up. God is sneaky. And has a twisted sense of humor. But is apparently also infinitely wise.