Monday, February 19, 2007

the gymnast in me

It can be disconcerting to dig through archives from a past life. Surreal even, like when you fall upon some dark poems you wrote as a sad, misanthrope teenager (as for me, I used to quote Eleanor Rigby) or detailed sketches of vampires and emaciated creatures. Who was that girl? I look at her now and think to myself, she was trying way too hard.

Maybe I was. Or maybe I was just trying something out. Like when I did the happy hippy thing—incense, flowing skirts, and all—for a couple years in high school. Or the black leather thing during my college days in Paris. Some moments I’d just as soon forget.

But there are other glimpses of my past that afford real inspiration to the current Me. I think my best phase was one of my earliest during a time not at all documented but for in my memories and one single photo: it was the gymnast in me. Those were the days of Mary-Lou Retton. I cut my hair short just like hers and started taking gymnastics at the Y. My favorite outfit was a shiny purple leotard that I wore with red tights and a red and purple striped belt. The stretchy elastic kind that hooked together with two metal buckles. I wore it around the house with my pink Velcro sneakers. I wore it doing cart-wheels in the yard. I wore it everywhere.

Yes, sometimes digging through old photos and odds and ends can unearth some real gems. I can look at that shiny leotard picture and think, that girl had something. She’s had her pulse on the moment. She didn’t even have to try, she was ahead of her time. And you know what? You can’t see it in the picture, but I even had a rat’s tail. Those were so hot back then. And I wanted one real bad. I was 6 years old.

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