Going Home Again

Yesterday I drove east down West Esplanade in Metairie, watching the egrets stand on their spindly legs: small, yet still so regal. Ducks splashing in the murky-watered canal, some even hanging out right next to the road. Memories came back to me in a flood, the nostalgia washing over me in tumbling waves.

I passed the old, run down Torah Academy with blue siding which is now vacant--my old "marker." Seeing that place every morning on the way to school made my stomach knot up. Because I knew Hell was just around the corner.

I took our girls there yesterday--to my old elementary/high school, Ecole Classique in Metairie. Parking in the white shell lot felt the same; too many pot holes, too uneven. Those bumps were supposed to discourage us highschoolers from driving too fast or doing donuts. The girls and I crossed through the gate holding hands and went inside. It was dark and eerily quiet. If there were any demons lurking, I didn't feel them.

I asked the girls to climb up onto the bleachers, the very same ones I sat on during pep rallies in the early 90s. I'd stomp my feet, clap my hands and shout, hoping our class would win the Spirit Stick. And at the same time always wishing I was one of those girls in the fun blue, white and yellow uniforms making the crowd go crazy.

So many memories spring up for me here. Maybe it's good, maybe it's bad, or maybe it's just that I'll never let go of some things. I don't really know. And that is okay.

On my way to meet Elaine of The Miss-Elaineous Life, "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John came on the radio and jolted me. Eons ago, someone told me that song reminded him of me, though I'm not sure why. But I love the lyrics and since they're stuck in my head, they'll be stuck in yous now, too:

Do you have lots of vivid memories? What happens when you go to places that hold so much meaning for you? Someone recently told me people should just concentrate on moving forward and forget about the past. But can you? Can I?


The Evolution of Erin: 10 Things I Learned This Weekend

1. Sharing laughter, tears & Cosmos with my bloggy besties Lee & Tracie over the weekend was the best medicine in the world. I love you girls!

me, Lee, & Tracie on the rooftop of some bar we don't remember the name of


2. Sometimes a complete stranger you've just met can manage to size you up in a matter of seconds.

3. I talk about letting go and apologizing, but these are issues I'm still wrestling with. I am too much in my own head. My brain is always on overdrive. I ruminate on the past and have a hard time freeing myself from the web.

4. My heart is big; maybe too big. Is that possible? I see the best in everyone. I trust, but at the same time, I'm not sure I should. I'm guarded. Does that make any kind of sense? No, I didn't think so either.

5. It is difficult to reconcile my memories of the distant past with what actually happened. Are those recesses of my brain biased? Do I make things up or tweak them so they're more palatable?

6. Despite the struggles, I'm growing by leaps and bounds, saying what's on my mind. So while I struggle with letting go of some things, I am simultaneously evolving, shifting  and making room for The New Erin. The Evolution of Erin, as it were.

7. I've written before about my love for New Orleans (the city of my birth) and the fleur de lis. Fleur de lis literally means "lily flower" & you can learn more about it here. I've wanted a fleur de lis tattoo for a LONG time, so this past weekend was the perfect opportunity. I even managed to incorporate my original tattoo I got when I was in college with my friend Heather (we got matching flowers to prove we were fun, daring and not lame). Sorry, Dad. Don't hate me.

BEFORE: my original tattoo I got in college circa 1997, on my right hip.

 8. I'm doing something new in early 2011, but I'm not going to call it a New Year's Resolution. Anne Lamott's Bird By Bird is an amazing read for writers. I'm going to put it into action, starting with my morning pages. I will set my alarm every morning (not sure of the exact time yet, but thinking 5:30-5:45 ish) so that I can write in the quiet early morning darkness.

"The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is
that good writing is about telling the truth." --Anne Lamott

9. There is nothing better than returning home after a weekend away and being greeted by hugs and sweet kisses from my husband and daughters. I missed them, but it was still a treat to get away.

10. Changes are a comin' for me & The Mother Load. Slowly but surely, I'm learning how to fly. My friend Megan Matthieson's post today inspires me soooo much and speaks to what I've been feeling. Go read it now: I Am a Bird.

AFTER: fleur de lis tattoo incorporating my original tattoo (thanks to lee & tracie for the idea)

close up: NO, IT IS NOT RED. the red is only irritation. The red will eventually be grey shading.

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