While out shopping with a friend at a local thrift store, I stumbled upon a dress. Now, this is not a story of me falling in love with it at first sight or realizing it’s the one thing my life has been missing. This is a story of hidden potential.
‘What on earth are you wearing today?!’ I froze by the door of the classroom I just entered, attempting to make myself smaller and less in the spotlight as I was running late for my Russian literature class. For an eighth grader growing up in Ukraine I was tall and too curvy for a twelve year old, as puberty graced me much earlier than my female counterparts.
“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”
― Kobayashi Issa
It was quiet, save for a hint of tiny raindrops brushing down onto the delicate cherry blossom petals as they fell to the earth. At seven am in the Quad of the University of Washington there was no one but photographers around. I counted four of us total. Who else would get up at an ungodly hour only to record the short life of these blossoms on a digital sensor in our cameras?
Today is a rather dreary day in Seattle – dark skies, an almost constant downpour of chilly droplets from the sky and the ever-present color gray. I suppose this is how Seattle got its reputation. But days like today don’t tempt me into depressing gloom. Days like today are my most productive days.
As a woman I am expected to maintain a perfect exterior. Free of imperfections, my skin must be glowing and radiant, my eyebrows perfectly tweezed, my eyelashes curled up, thick and black, to make my eyes stand out. I am to have frizz-free hair that does exactly what it is supposed to, as if willed to by magic. My nails are to be clean, trimmed and manicured. They will look nice with my small and delicate hands, which I am, of course, to have.
I was raised by a single mother, and my household was home to several more women from the immediate and extended family. There were no men. Every one of us, in our own way, were the bring-home-the-bacon gals. My definition of a woman was formed based on my hardworking mother: a strong, proud and self-sustaining woman ready to conquer the world.
Last night I had a vivid dream. I was standing in the middle of a beautiful building, circular in shape, with many large windows letting in a great amount of natural light. There seemed to be no top in sight, the cylinder that was this building never seemed to end. I quickly glanced at how to get to the top, I knew I absolutely must reach it. Something important and amazing waited for me there.
We all have days when we feel bad for ourselves. Whether your day starts off on the wrong note or the gloom creeps in towards lunch time, in these moments everything seems off. Someone stepped on your foot on the bus, you spilled your drink on your shirt and on top of it all, your hair is a complete mess. We have all had days like that, where every waking hour brings about more darkness.
Everybody needs a vacation. Even if for a few days, it is so important to be able to get away, recharge your batteries and rejuvenate. As my quick getaway from Seattle I chose to visit a dear friend in San Francisco whom I haven’t seen in about a year.
Today my husband and I are celebrating our two year wedding anniversary. As a present to ourselves we planned a mini getaway to Cannon Beach, Oregon for the weekend. The weather promised to be absolutely lovely, the drive only 4 hours from Seattle, and the location – one of the most romantic spots close by.