Where’s that girl?

standard February 23, 2012 8 responses

I didn’t expect to find her in the garage. Really I didn’t expect to find anything other than a bunch of boxes, some dead cockroaches, and a ton of outgrown baby paraphernalia.

But she was there, hiding in some boxes carefully stored at the top of a shelf. The girl I once was.

She was there in the college papers annotated with illegible teacher comments. She was there in the notes carefully taken in countless seminars and classes. She was there in the letters, oh the many letters, sent by her friends when she first left the country to do an overseas summer internship.

I spent all day Monday in the garage being assailed by memory after memory, photo after photo, keepsake after keepsake. Some of the stuff went into the trash (like my middle school biology binder, stark reminder that I once was an attentive student who took exemplary notes). Some of the stuff was carefully boxed up again to be preserved for posterity’s sake. Some of the stuff was put into a donation pile so someone else can get some use out of it.

Yesterday I ran into her again. A slightly older her. A slightly different her. This time she was lurking in the kid’s closet, hidden amongst all my size 6 professional clothes. The stuff I wore before I had kids.

I packed skirts, blouses, pants, capris, and vests into huge donation bags and the tears finally came.

I’m not that girl who was in the garage any more. She had big dreams of being a busy ad agency account executive. I’m not that girl who was in that closet. She had career hopes and aspirations liberally coated with baby lust.

I’m not even the girl who bought all that baby paraphernalia and carefully stored it away for her elusive third child.

All those girls feel so foreign. So different. I don’t see myself in them any more.

At the same time, I don’t really know who I am today.

Am I the girl who wants to be a best selling author? Am I the woman who wants to run a successful digital media agency? Am I a stay at home mom who just wants to focus on her family? Am I a mix of all of that and then some? 

In one of the boxes I unearthed this weekend I found a binder of short stories. Some were in French, some in English. They were neither good or bad. They were nuggets of potential. More importantly they were proof that that girl I found in the garage was a writer. That maybe she wasn’t so alien to who I am today.

I’m not a young Parisian professional any more. I’m not even a young Californian professional. My hopes and dreams have had to shift and change as my life has ebbed and flowed. And while I’m not sure where I’m headed next, it’s good to remember that the woman I will be 10 years down the road probably won’t recognize herself in who I am today, but there will probably be some common thread that ties us together.

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8 responses

  • I so understand this! I feel like my life is a series of movies strung together. Honestly, my physical presence in the scenes is sometimes the only similarity. But I think it’s all of these lives combined that make us who we are. You aren’t that girl anymore, but she gave of herself so that you could be you.

  • I’m kind of wondering if we’re the same person. Our paths have been quite parallel it seems and I’m at a point where I’m figuring out who I am again too. Wherever you land, I know it will be a wonderful place, because while many things around you have changed, I can tell you’re still the kind, honest, insightful person you were when I met you.

  • This is what life ia all about. We aren’t who we were 6 months ago, a year ago, 10 years ago, or even 20. I had a similar realization recently about who I am, what’s important to me, and what I where I want to go. I get overwhelmed sometimes thinking about all it will take to get from point A to point B but scarier still is the knowledge that life may take me in a completely different direction. I think most women can relate to what you’ve shared.

  • Ok – I’m bawling. I’ve been there while doing a purge as well. The tears over putting baby and toddler clothes into donation bags – while wishing I was putting them in storage for a 2nd child I long for. The old clothes from when I was working in a skate shop and playing drums in a all girl rock band being put in the donation bag to make room for a grown-up professional wardrobe. But your words about your 10 year older self in the last paragraph gives me hope and allows me to accept these changes with a greater ease. Thank you, Jessica 🙂

  • Oh Jessica— tears. falling. need tissues. Seriously, what a reflection. Bits and pieces–the best of the best, that is what I choose to believe about who we are in each moment. xoxo

  • Love this! I can really relate. I often feel like I’ve lived several lifetimes within this one.

  • I relate to this post in so many ways. I look back and see myself through the years…and only recognize bits + pieces of her now.

    Ah, how time (and motherhood) changes us.

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

  • I don’t know you like some of the others who commented here do, but I have to tell you that because of your ability to write such thought-provoking posts, you manage to create a kind of intimacy with your readers that makes me feel like I’m chatting with a friend. Keep on writing, girl. I can’t wait to see what you’ll tackle next §:)

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