Reflections Before Bedtime #53

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I just finished a spoonful of cocoa almond butter, and I am trying to think, but it feels like there is a broken record playing in my head.

This weekend was oddly but deliciously warm. I had the nice opportunity to spend some face time with good friends. With life’s routines and such, I feel we often don’t get to converse with people in the way we wish we could. A good conversation with undivided attention is a rare thing. Man is it rare!

I have been a bit nostalgic lately. I was remembering back in the day, when I would go on adventures with my church friends in Ohio. Our clique was composed of three teenage guys (ranging from 14-16) and me (age 11-12). I, the pastor’s daughter, was always climbing the inside of the steeple in the old church we rented and running up and down hills with these guys.

I was kind of a tomboy, looking back. I realize my hair was seldomly looking brushed, and there was always a rip in a stocking somewhere from a fence I had climbed over… But I was also girly. I would curl my hair (that would later look unbrushed or like a matted sprayed mess). My curled hair never stopped me from playing basketball. And then, there was the ridiculous Smackers glitter on my face and my belting out Hilary Duff songs (Metamorphosis album, anyone? I still know all the words).

I remembered that we had a Christmas concert or program at church one evening. The victorian church on Linden Street was decorated. Cops were called by a concerned church elder because of a domestic dispute in a house across the street, and me and my friends were helping set up the dessert table in the fellowship hall for the Christmas reception/party. I would arrange the treats and sneak one into my mouth when I felt justified and in need of compensation.

My friends were taken into a hallway where an older lady was dressing them up as the three wise men. They looked ridiculous and miserable in the photos. I had on my pretty Christmas dress, and I remember praying I could wash dishes after the reception with the one guy friend in my group I had a massive crush on.

Sometimes, we block some memories out, or for some reason they get categorized with bad periods in our lives. We forget that piece of who we were, until something brings us back by force.

For me, it was an Eminem song, “Lose Yourself.” I was at work listening to Pandora radio while typing out a motion, when this song came on (it is pretty random that this song popped up on the channel/station I was listening to). I froze. My whole body froze. I can’t even explain it. Suddenly, when my brain registered what the familiar sound was, I felt my eyes well up with tears. It was like everything came flooding back. Everything I tried so hard to forget; that me that felt like a different world, a different life, a different girl.

I was comforting a friend recently, and I was telling her how important it is to feel. Feeling makes us human, as I say. And in my own journey, I am realizing, more and more, that there are parts of our lives that we think are stored away in a drawer. The truth is the sweet and the sour– it’s all a part of us.

The song brought me to that Christmas evening at the church, to my friends and me finding an abandoned cabin while getting lost in the woods at camp meeting, the rolling green hills in central Ohio, Saturday nights at Pizza Hut, practicing my singing with my friend on the guitar, playing hide and seek in the dark church basement, playing basketball with no inhibitions, and my dad.

Eminem was a rising star back then. We liked his music despite knowing our parents would probably not approve. I wonder where these guys are and what they are doing with their lives. Whether they remember trying to do stunts copied from the “Jackass” movies, and whether they ever had an inkling of how much they meant to me. They were my best friends. Our parting was sudden and dramatic.

In my tiny office, it all came back, and I let myself feel. I lost myself in the music, for a minute. I was reminded of the girl who is still very much a part of the woman I have become. 

I am not even going to encourage you to seek out a distant memory or part of yourself. I am just warning you; brace yourself.

Something will find you and remind you to feel again something you haven’t felt in years. Something will find you and remind you of a piece of who you are. Something will find you and take you right back to the basketball court where you were standing years ago.

It’s okay. It’s okay to lose yourself for a minute because it might just be an extra step to a part of you being found.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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