September 08, 2015
Life Is Always A Mindfuck
I moved to New York in the Fall of 2000, convinced I was about to be an icon and watch out world, my fame was months away.
Instead I worked for a couple teen magazines then tried to write the book of the zeitgeist that never quite materialized. I can’t tell you how many nights in my twenties I spent eating raisins and sleeping pills surfing Myspace in sweatpants. I went to a fancy college and thought life would be a willowy ocean breeze filled with fame and skinniness, but in no time it all went to hell and left me wondering wtf, at what point had it all gone wrong? The one good thing that happened during all of this was that I fell in love with someone dreamy who asked me to marry him, and even though he was not rich or famous or tall, I said yes because he was a nice straightforward person with thick hair and a good heart who I trusted.
Plus, the party was over. Done. The years spent in search of the next new thing, miracles, magic. The cars, clubs, eighty dollar cab rides across town and back to find some guy— my twenties are a blur of bad hook-ups and fad diets and ripped t-shirts and snooze buttons and whiskey-cokes and cat fights. It was a dark dirty time; as I’m writing this I’m remembering standing in the street (my 27th birthday), screaming into my cellphone why why why to a boy in a band who said I was his soul mate then slept with my friend. The drama got darker and it stunned me day after day — I was, after all, an adult — but the screamy, boozy, floozy, disastrous, high-drama, out-of-control teenager that I once was never really went away… the tortured, chain-smoking 13-year-old tomboy with one boob and blue braces… the pink-haired 16-year-old stoner in a Ween t-shirt… wasted, 18, wandering on acid holding a puppy and plane ticket… 26, backstage runway drinking white russians with the white-haired head of the haute couture house who invented the phrase pret-a-porter… the single East Village catlady at 32, lonely, lost, crying on a yoga mat certain I would spend my life alone. It’s true what they say: half the battle is having the faith to stand still and pray, even when everything — the walls, the windows, every brick of the house you spent years building by hand — is cracking and crumbling and burning around you.
One day not too long ago, one of those perfect, sunny, perfectly-warm-kind-of-days I was walking down the street, wandering, really—it was one of those days when you stop to look up at the sky and realize you never stop to look up at the sky— I had nowhere to go and nothing on my mind and I was feeling (for some reason) very beautiful. Not beautiful-like-super-skinny-on-a-good-hair-day beautiful, beautiful in a way—how can I explain?—just plain beautiful. Truthful and real and calm. What is it the Skin Horse says to the Stuffed Rabbit in that kids book “The Velveteen Rabbit”? Something about how you only become Real once you’ve really been loved? “It doesn’t happen,” he says, “to people who break easily or have sharp edges, or have to be carefully kept.” Beauty, to me, for years, was the skinniest, bitchiest girl in the room with the highest ass and the best clothes, now I’m not so sure. True beauty, I think—pure and flawed and irregular and real—is not the bling-bling diamond from the department store, it’s the raw gem you dig from the dirt whose sparkle is brightest in the dark not the day.
Getting married was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I was proud, truthfully, that I’d done it, all of it, that I’d survived. The dating, the dark days, the Saturn return, proud that I was, well — alive and in love, really. After my fiance proposed I went to nearly every bridal salon in the city, hoping some young hip smart salesgirl with good style would get the vibe I was going for (low-key, chic); instead I encountered pink walls and chaise lounges and dresses-like-cupcakes-on-steroids —not to mention the “salesgirls” were all three hundred years old and three feet tall who hadn’t been kissed since 1963. Post-proposal and pre-marriage was a very strange stretch of time, too; in between all the wedding decisions (music, flowers, food), there were, of course, all the goodbyes. Goodbye to smoking cigarettes in bed and the sleeping til noon, goodbye-middle-of-the-night-google-sessions-devoted-to-the-boys-I’d-made-out-with, goodbye to my one-bedroom apartment and that lost blue-eyed beauty I always thought would one day run back. And then the hellos: hello wearing seat-belts and sunscreen and not using so much salt and Saturday nights spent on the couch reading Sunday’s paper with my husband and daughter in pajamas. Call it sad, or settling, the end of an era, but to tell you the truth—as I walked down the aisle I didn’t feel like I was walking toward the end of something. Not at all. It felt like a beginning. –Molly Guy