The beauty and the mess


In general, I am not a forgetful person. I remember important dates, items on my grocery list, and words both tender and toxic. It’s a rare occurrence for me to miss an appointment due to negligence. I can hear a song one time, and be able to sing back the chorus word-for-word. I don’t need a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. No, when it comes to the important things, I do not easily forget.

Which makes it very odd that I left my keys IN MY FRONT DOORKNOB overnight. I slept soundly, thinking that I was safely locked inside my apartment, when I truly could have been murdered, had my house ransacked, and my car stolen. I suppose they would have been justified, though, because have you seen my hot ride?

Nightmarish scenarios aside, there’s another realm in which I can be forgetful. When it comes to the past, I tend to be a revisionist. I look back at certain times in my life with great nostalgia, under the illusion that everything was perfect when it wasn’t. I forget the hard times – I forget the reality. I convince myself that my life in Seattle was flawless, when in all actuality, I know that I struggled with the same things that I struggle with now: insecurity, loneliness, lack of purpose, lack of discipline. Instead, I remember the friendships. I remember feeling needed. I remember feeling seen. I remember the cozy weather. I remember medical insurance. I remember the water and the mountains and the drive-up coffee stands. And as shallow as it is, I remember my hair being long.

Ah, yes, times were good.

It’s easy to forget the bad, in the same way that it’s easy to forget that your ex-boyfriend wore sweatpants with elastic around the ankles.

I want to remember my past for what it was – being both grateful for the gifts, and mindful of the pain. But more than that, I want to accept the present – with everything that it brings, good and bad, ugly and awesome. I want to be here now. I want to live.

Which will probably require never forgetting my keys in the door again.



  1. giving up slowly on October 17, 2008 at 10:19 AM

    Annie: That is one awesome car!I’ve had my first car since 2003 and I’m hoping to either drive her ’til she dies or pass her on to my sister. But I’m extremely jealous about how “bad-ass” your car is! But I guess that’s what I get for living in Canada :)

    One of my roommates two years back, Jeramie, not only left his keys in the front door, but left the door to the house WIDE OPEN. I was surprised we didn’t find any critters in the morning!

  2. Christina on October 17, 2008 at 2:24 PM

    I have done the keys-in-the-door-all-night thing way more than I care to admit. Thank heavens you’ve made friends of the ex-cons.

  3. jnt. on October 17, 2008 at 4:45 PM

    sweatpants with elastic ankles?!?!?!? SEXY.

  4. Anonymous on October 17, 2008 at 7:19 PM

    I, for one, did not get the memo that elastic ankle sweat pants were not cool. I feel like such an idiot!

  5. Lyla on October 17, 2008 at 9:04 PM

    Also, in Seattle, you struggled with your car being stolen… repeatedly. That was you, right? lol

  6. MB on October 18, 2008 at 9:09 AM

    They don’t have drive-up coffee stands in Nashville?! I drove by 9 of them on the way to the coffee shop I’m sitting at now, which is only about a mile from my place! There is something comforting knowing I can get an Americano with light cream every 100 yards.

  7. Greta on October 19, 2008 at 10:45 PM

    By the bye, I’ve checked your blog probably 15 times this weekend. I know you’re hanging out with Sarah and her friend. I know that you usually don’t blog on weekends.

    But I just can’t help myself. Phone date tomorrow? I mean, Monday?

  8. Greta on October 19, 2008 at 10:47 PM

    New word verification code: heobgga.

    Hoe bagga.


    AND: Susan Parsons: I love you. Elastic ankled sweatpants and all.

  9. Michelle Ferguson on October 20, 2008 at 12:42 AM

    Annie, I found your blog through Emily Aichele’s and your latest post resonated with me quite a bit. I moved with my new husband to Cambodia a few months ago from Seattle and I am prone to the exact same sort of misplaced nostalgia. Not altogether, but in the more difficult parts of transition. Thanks for your reflections :)

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