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Monday, October 23, 2006


Van Morrison

It’s a rainy Monday and my neighbor in the cube-farm is playing Van Morrison’s greatest hits.

There is no other album that shoots me back faster to a specific place in time.

I was a trusting, overly enthusiastic college student who felt safe and headstrong. I wore high-wasted jeans, and I thought I looked good. I thought white Grenache from a box was rather sophisticated. I had recently paid off an enormous debt to my sorority that caused me great heartache, but also gave me a world-class education in responsibility. I learned the huge satisfaction one feels when they have cleaned up self-induced mess while maintaining a sense of dignity.

I believed people were good, first and foremost. I erred on the side of trusting. I see flashes of a kitchen table, a stained-glass overhead light, and a deck of “Uno” playing cards. The smells are sweet, cedary, and slightly musty. The lighting is warm, and I am safe in this place. It's 10:30 at night, and it's snowing outside. The quiet, windless kind of snow that makes you want to put on your boots and an over-sized coat from the back of the closet that makes your nose itch, and trudge to the store for more cigarettes. The kind of snow you can HEAR hitting the ground softly.

The memory is bittersweet, and gets caught in the back of my throat. I worry that I like that version of me better than the one I see today. I was less angry. I gave more of myself to those around me.

I miss that me.

On the other hand, I too often judged myself based on what other people felt. I worried about how I was perceived. I jumped through hoops like a trick poodle. I had to be perfect, and to be perfect, I had to figure out what people wanted, and then give it to them.

Still, I fear I have grown to be an emotional miser. Suspect and stingy. Angry. I have seen a lot of behavior from people I have loved that has caused me enormous pain. Certainly, I have dished up similar meals and served them to members of my own inner circle.

How do I forgive, and reconcile that slightly annoying, optimistic, and younger version of me? The me I was before I understood the dark things in people. The conflicts between pure and good, and the demons we all battle within ourselves. I feel too wise to the ways of the world to go back. But sometimes I really want to.


Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Meghan, from what little I know of you, I do think you give of yourself to those you love. You're more careful now - as I think many of us are.

My young, naive self embarrasses me. I think it's admirable that you feel affection for yours.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous roo said...

Megan, the younger self you're describing sounds a lot like the woman I met not too long ago, who sang songs and took late-night trips for cigarettes...

4:49 PM  
Blogger DDM said...

This was beautifully written Meghan. I get where you're coming from. Younger me was a know it all. I don't miss her. Because of rather recent turmoil with my peeps (lol) I lost that perfect trust I had in my girlfriends. I'm less sure of myself. It's a trade off, I suppose.

10:52 PM  
Blogger h&b said...

What a strong, giving entry.

The only thing I miss about my younger self is the physical.
No real loss...

4:24 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

I think you've held on to just enough of the good in your younger self and grown into a beautiful older version.

9:14 AM  
Blogger HollowSquirrel said...

The shame of younger me prevented me from writing a blurb in my college alumni magazine that the editor asked me to write. I couldn't bear the thought of the people I always tried to impress (and fell so short) reading it, seeing my name and saying "oh I remember her."

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van Morrison send me back to the days as well...makes me stop and wonder if I knew then what I know now is this where I would still be?
"someone Like you" can keep me in total silence for hours. But as it has been said by the greatone, "Mother said there would be days like these..."
My best to you.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

This was such a refreshing thing for me to read - I've been thinking about writing about my former 'self'... the young me, the judgmental me... and have been reluctant. You did this so beautifully - it gives me courage.

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

This gave me a great idea for a NaBloPoMo post-thanks!

I agree with Roo. You are a terrific blend of that carefree young girl and the wiser woman.

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

I can relate to this post so very much. Although I know I've come a long way, sometimes I miss the old me...

And your post was so beautifully crafted that I could almost picture you sitting at that kitchen table.

But as others have said -- having met you in person, I definitely can see that younger girl is still a part of you.

5:37 PM  

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