old self, new self

i want my old self back. the optimistic me instead of the worst-case-scenario one i'm sometimes told i've become. i want back the energetic, ambitious, hopeful soul. instead i feel puffy, tired, lost, sometimes melancholy.

i want my old self back, including hair which used to grow thick enough to lie on strong shoulders. i'll take back that hard body, too, the one which my friend robert once said felt like a dolphin, the one with the flat belly which i'd proudly take to the nude beach to go body surfing, the one that could run an eight minute mile with little problem and swim one-hundred yards in less than a minute.

i want my old self back, the one who could sleep in past six or seven, who was untethered, who didn't have a sick kid dictating nearly everything. I want my old self back, at least parts of her, like the part who didn't worry much, who looked at each day as a new opportunity, who dreamt of what life had in store.

but last night and today, i see parts of my new fifty-six-year-old self that i like: the friends i've made, the ones i've kept, the things i've learned about love, politics, race, justice and equality. i get to walk in a magical garden of my making while smelling the fire that's been made for me in our wood stove. i get to write long and hard and daily sometimes. i get to listen to the police and pink floyd and FIP. i get to drink gigondas and côtes du rhône and nibble on goat cheese that is out of this world. i get to gobble huge pieces of a friend's homemade carrot cake with crystalized ginger in its cream cheese frosting alit with silver sparkling candles that resist being blown out. tomorrow i get to celebrate nine years of writing this blog, which has been fulfilling beyond words. i get to look out every single window of this old house and see gorgeous fractals of green and bronze and red nearly every month of the year. i get to hang with my son and husband hugging and smooching. i get to make eggs and toast for my babies. i get to gather with my favorite homies drinking bourbon and wine and eating michael's ridiculously delicious food and laughing until i cry. i get to miss the ones who live out west and south and east. i get to drown myself in art and music and nature when time affords me.

so, on second thought, i guess i don't want my old self back. this one, though not necessarily more traveled mile-wise, is more worldly thanks to calvin and maine and age and the wicked smart people who surround me. and as i listen to pink floyd's sultry us and them, it seems to sway the pines outside my window at twilight, and beat with the pitter patter of calvin's footsteps in the upstairs bedroom with michael.

and so i'll take this new self, this self who still wears ratty jeans and adidas stan smiths, who has beloved in-laws and siblings who love and think of me and calvin and who, despite the clusterfuck that is my life, nevertheless resembles the old self and is still excited and hopeful for the future, whatever it holds.

Photo by Michael Kolster


  1. I feel you. “Dictated by a sick kid” . Oh Christy this life is so sad. I wonder why I couldn’t have had a normal child. I feel so tired. My body is aging, my hair thinning, my strength diminishing. I wish I could have had a normal daughter to
    Have raised these past 16 years. I mourn that her childhood is over, yet she is in a toddler state forever. I missed a whole childhood, now I will never know a normal young adult either. I lost a career, marriage, self and I continue to follow a sick child around every moment. This is all
    That seems to have been in the cards for my life. Thank you for allowing me to voice what I have never voiced.

    1. dear andie,

      i feel you, and am so very sorry any of us have to live the lives we live. having said that, i can say that raising calvin has opened me up to so many people, insights and experiences i never would have been exposed to otherwise. loving a child who is so compromised is a unique experience and has humbled me and emboldened me in profound ways. i hope this for you.

      thank you for writing. it means the world.