Walking this morning,the Sunday that marks the week on which the first day of fall falls, it feels as though I am making my way to the bus stop, headed to high school where I can expect to hear classical music play every hour on the hour. The sky is dusky - a twilight of early morning slumber before daybreak. The breeze is cool but smells slightly of salt, as if the air just made its way off the Long Island Sound, especially for my borderline Queens village.
It feels that way, except for the fact that today is a Saturday, or rather, Sunday and the sidewalks are empty. Except that I mixed up Saturday with Sunday. In high school I dutifully documented my endless amount of tasks in a planner. Oh, and except for the fact that I am now in my mid-twenties, finished with both college and graduate school.
Not to mention that prior to leaving my house this morning, I whipped my freshly washed naturally curly hair into a high messy bun with a single, thin black band.
This was unheard of during my time at a high school where plush, velvet Juicy Couture bags lined lockers and custom-made BCBG gowns were tailored for prom at Tavern on the Green.
My hair would always be pin-straight, well past my shoulders in length, and a good deal thicker albeit more damaged. I would always have my hair pinned and bound just so and a thin black band never did suffice.
Even the crickets sound different as I am walking and typing this.
That’s another difference. I am writing whilst walking, my portable smartphone in hand. (And while I still have no patience to manicure my nails, I made sure to succinctly clip, file, buff, make smoother, and shine them before heading out this morning. Too much time had passed since I took off the chipping away high-end nail polish I had on for my cousin’s engagement two weeks ago.) Another difference - I still go on a walk for inspiration but I no longer have to rush back home and make a beeline to my desktop computer in order to document my curated stream of thoughts.
Today, before I left, I lathered and then exfoliated my face, toned my skin with aloe Vera, rose-infused witch hazel from an organic foods market before moisturizing with a heftily-priced facial skin cream that promises to work beneath the surface and prevent currently nonexistent sun exposure with a high SPF.
Today, I whipped out my ATM card to withdraw cash for my father’s birthday present, which is not so different from my usual gift-giving tendencies. Except that I now have money stashed away in a bank account as opposed to the porcelain, hand-painted piggy bank at the back of my closet.
Today I never boarded the city bus to take me to the largely Eastern European area where my school is located. I don’t even think I saw a bus pass. Today is Sunday after all.
I’m passing by a fruit stand that never existed before as I make my way back home. The watermelon season is officially over. I’m surprised to say that I’m slightly saddened by this fact. Yet I am even more saddened by the fact that I still place fruits on a nutritional hierarchy.
I now profess fruits as my dessert. I never did before.
I am now battling anorexia and working towards eating intuitively. I never did have this battle before. I never had to. I was a dancer, a Harrisite forced to run on the track and drop and give 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and crunches day in and day out.
I didn’t have to have a body running on empty now either I suppose. That was my wrongdoing.
I passed the Dunkin’ Donuts where I used to purchase a buttered and toasted bagel or a blueberry donut with a medium (not grande) coffee - light and sweet, meaning lots of milk and at least one teaspoon of sugar - before high school. I had abs and a stomach as flat as a surfing board regardless. Then again, I never ate lunch then, but at least I had hearty meals and snacks. Food was fuel for my active day ahead.
Now food is fuel, in much larger quantities, and is for my survival. It’s the only way I can be kept alive. It’s the only treatment I have. Now I’m headed home to a steaming bowl of oatmeal with banana, granola, and a dollop of cashew milk and generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is making mistakes and living through them whilst remedying them.
I am looking at the time frantically instead of truly enjoying my walk because I cannot be expending energy while trying to house as much caloric energy as possible.
I can tone later they all say- thirty pounds later.
Too much time has passed. I feel fine, but I fear the upcoming reprimands. I still have a couple of blocks to go before I reach home. I’m anxious and defiant, at peace but also in discomfort because of how full I am from yesterday.