Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Deep thoughts and memories

Took the kids to the waterpark this morning. Four adults and twelve kids. Yes twelve. The nice thing was, every kid had at least one kid his or her age. The "Buddy System" was in full effect, and I always knew where my kids were. It wasn't as chaotic as it sounds. Well, maybe a little bit.

Being in public in a swimsuit got me thinking deeper thoughts than usual. How nineteen years ago I was in Paris on a free plane ticket and lodging - as a model. There with my dad and sister. Walking all over the city and knowing the Metro like the back of my hand. Going on endless go-sees, wondering if I'd be right for that job. I was right for a few, but mostly not. Told I was to heavy for runway, but 'Ok' for print - and if I could get down from 155 to 145*, that would help alot. I think that after about three weeks in the city, I did get down in weight, but by then they had me pegged as a print girl. I was fine with that.

We did find time to do a little sightseeing, and I'll never forget how on Bastille Day, they turned off the lights on the Eiffel Tower for the fireworks.

We trudged through the city, and after two months, my dad had exhausted all of his vacation, sick leave and I think a couple weeks of unpaid time. They wanted me there for two more weeks, so Dad flew home and after 12 hours, drove Mom to the airport.

She was there for the fun stuff - by then my sister and I could navigate the city and could understand enough French to get by. I can say I've seen the Mona Lisa three times, been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre-Coeur, and the Catacombes to name a few. We had an apartment on the Champs Elysees and could see the Arc de Triomphe every morning by looking left out the front door.

I had a few jobs to finish up, and they couldn't send me on anymore go-sees because I'd be gone - back at school. It briefly came up that I could stay there, but my parents shot that down pretty quick. Besides, I wanted to be home in time to go to camp before school started.

The next summer I went to New York, but my heart wasn't really in it. To maintain an unrealistic weight, and be told over and over "you're not what we're looking for" just wasn't for me. Besides, by then I was involved with more school activities (Cross Country starts midsummer) and didn't like being away from my friends. I came home and started a more 'normal' summer job - pollenating and detasseling corn.

That experience forever changed at how I view myself and everyone around me. To look at me now, you'd never know it. I just look like any other suburban mom. There's a little too much weight around my middle, and I'm starting to find more and more laugh lines. I've come to terms with the fact that I'll never have a taut stomach or perky breasts again. The older I get, the more I'm ok with it. I look back at pictures and don't believe it's me. I know it is though, because I have the pictures...

*Note: I was 5' 10" at the time and 13 years old. I'm now 6' and you figure out how old.


Mitzi Green said...

if i could be tall, i think i'd forever give up the hope of being thin. o, to not stand on a stool to get the freakin' maccaroni out of the cabinet...

i don't think any of us ever sees ourselves the way the rest of the world sees us.

Tree said...

I think you would be told something different today, G - that your look was exactly what they wanted. But, gad, 13 yo and to be told to lose 10 lb. That's rough.

You chose the saner route.

Dan said...

Just look back and consider it something that made you who you are today, regardless of how rough some parts might have been.