I found this box, under mounds of pornographic material, a box I’ve carried from home to home and never had the motivation to open and sort. The box is tattered, torn, it doesn’t stay together very well but it seems to make my moves with me just fine, it never crumbles, it just holds it’s little boxy form and I carry it into the next house. It’s the only box in my home with unknown contents, and in this last move, I tried to leave it at the house in Sherman Oaks, thinking “I haven’t looked in this box in years, certainly there can’t be anything in there I need.”
I opened the box and found Goodnight Moon and photo albums, found packages of pictures that had never made it into the actual album. I found quarters and dimes, spare change of all sorts and those perfumes I’d mentioned the day before. I found my small collection of Dunny’s, these little bunny shape figures that come in small rectangular boxes, and when you purchase the Dunny you never know which one you are getting, always my reason behind purchasing. Will I like this surprise? Will I be let down? $7 never seemed like that much to spend for a possibly awesome little figure, and these little guys used to sit on my dressers in San Diego, and before when I lived in Woodland Hills. Bleeze started buying them for me when I was 22, after I quit doing cocaine the first time, he knows how much I like surprises and a $7 surprise is a cheap way to make my day.
I found a packet of pictures. For some reason I have only looked at my progress in the past year, due to the recent sobriety thing I figured nothing had happened before April 6th, 2009, life had simply started after that “birthday”. This packet of pictures showed my life in San Diego, maybe 50 shots total, starting with my boys and me at the beach, smoking blunts, soft smiles and stoney eyes. Picture of the ocean, the sunshine, our shoes jetting out before the great Pacific. About halfway through the photos, locations change, and the pictures go from bright and sunny to florescent lit rooms, people with names I cannot recall, pictures of me where I get skinnier and skinnier and my smile goes from delicate and honest to forced and wild. There were two pictures where I was caught off guard, where the photographer didn’t give me enough time to create the face necessary for a great, wacky photo. The truth of my 21st year on earth screams out through these photos, eyes bloodshot and empty, waist sucked in, pictures from my days at 85lbs (I weigh 130lbs now and feel just fine about it…), and I couldn’t help but see the sad little girl I once was, remember that this journey started long before Rehab. Long before Dr. Drew and Duncan Roy, and long before my last drink.
A ton of emotions came up while looking at these pictures. Sadness. Pain. Gratitude for being where I am today, which is a happy and healthy place to be. But more than anything, it was unsettling, it made me uncomfortable to see those brief moments where truth slipped through unnoticed. I remember looking at the pictures right after they were developed, while I was still a cocaine cowgirl, and thinking “finally, a picture where I look thin.” I still had no idea how much weight I’d lost until a girlfriend forced me onto a scale, all I’ve ever wanted was to be 110 lbs and the scale read 85. I didn’t realize I had a problem until then and it took a few more months of insanity to hit a bottom.
I put the packet aside and opened an album. Praying there was something inside to lighten the mood, something to take me back further, to a time where it doesn’t hurt to remember, where the memories are welcomed and kind.
Sadie Hawkins my freshman year. Hawaiian themed, smiling with a face full of braces and freckles, lined up with other girls doing the cancan line kick with thick soled heels.
My little sister with her face upside down and our cat right side up in her lap, looking incredibly serious for a 5th grader.
Grandpa, Grandma, sis, bro and me standing in pajamas, I was 14 and had just started experimenting with dieting.
Colored notes from girlfriends urging me and wishing me luck on my driving test when I still spelled my name with a Y (I liked to change between i, y and ie to throw people off).
Funny poems from boys in my drama class.
Cheerleading camp at UC Santa Cruz.
My Senior Prom picture with the first boy I ever really loved, I had blond streaks and was happy, he wore a Zoot suit and a shit eating grin as we held hands and posed in front of the fake SF skyline.
At the bottom of the box, a framed picture I’ve carried with me since I moved into my first apartment on Reservoir Dr. in San Diego at 19. Cream colored with a small red square baring the Chinese symbol for “journey.” The frame had shattered into a million pieces, but the picture is still intact, a few scrapes here and there but for the most part in perfect condition. I cleaned off the glass, cut the mangled edges and placed it aside to be re-matted and then reframed. I’ll hang it in my new home, near the door to remind me of the day I opened my personal Pandora’s box, and hope it helps me stay focused.
“Only a fool mistakes memories for facts…”