February has always been consistent for me- consistently horrible or great, and no in-betweens. The best changes in my life have come in February. Some of my biggest losses have also marked this frigid, unforgiving month. Thank you once again, Timehop.
I left my job at STNJ in February and hopped shipped to the company I’ve now been at for two years. I’d say that’s a pretty great record for a bordering millennial that dropped out of law school.
A year before that, I was unemployed, unpacking my Boston life, applying for jobs left and right, and still wondering if I did the right thing. I ran back to Disney, hoping they’d take me back. Too bad I was right outside the ideal age range, and my body type was more Jessica Rabbit than princess. I remember crying in my hotel room after the audition, feeling sorry for my pathetic self and wondering how things changed so drastically from a few years before. I couldn’t even cheer myself up by going to the parks since I was so fucking broke. I spent all my money on the plane ticket and the hotel room, and ate a candy bar for dinner.
A year before that, I was getting into law schools, thinking it was the answer to all my problems: my annoying and unrelenting need for approval and acknowledgement, my desire for a life beyond the doldrums of New Jersey-dom, and the dream career I always wanted to have.
Five years ago, my YiaYia passed on Valentine’s day. She was a breast cancer survivor struggling to beat a tumor that had taken over her brilliant brain. The previous August she had been having migraines. My father took her to the doctor, only to find that instead of extra strength excedrin, she needed surgery. The recovery was heartbreaking. My grandmother used to record everything she wore every day on an index card, to save herself from frequent repeats. “Black slacks, blue buttoned-down bloused, white cardigan, black loafers.” “Brown skirt, cream blouse, tan cardigan, brown heels.” It was a complete departure from her new daily wardrobe of, “white bathrobe, white slippers.” She couldn’t even write it herself. She used to get her hair done every Saturday at the same beauty parlor, perfecting her signature coiffeur. After the surgery, her shaved hear grew in spiky tufts, not at all reminiscent of the beautiful beehive of curls she used to have. My aunt bought her fanciful scarves to wear to hide the scars and tufts. It was the only unique thing she could wear, outside your standard hospital gown.
I’ll always remember it vividly. I was in AC for J&C’s birthdays. It was a great weekend, and we capped it off by chowing at Harrah’s buffet in the AM. My parents were in Disney, and I was surprised when they called me mid-breakfast to tell me they were coming home early- it was time. I started bawling into my pancakes. I called my ex, shattered (The year she died happened to be the first Valentine’s day that the ex and I weren’t “officially” together, capping off an already-abysmal month). My parents and brother were going to come home on Sunday, getting the late flight (the only one they could get). I went home, empty. The next day I visited her with my Aunt and Uncle, retelling stories of AC- who was there, what we wore, did we win anything? She loved AC, so deep down I hoped some part of her could hear me, and some part of her was laughing. When storytime was over, I grabbed her hand and said I’d be back Monday with Mom and Dad. Then I third-wheeled it for Valentine’s Day dinner with the Aunt and Uncle before my family finally got home. I was watching TV with my brother when my Aunt’s phone number flashed across the screen. She left my house just an hour ago, so I knew she’d only call for one reason, and my heart immediately sunk. That was it. I spent the rest of February in a haze, trying to swallow the first major death in my life at 21.
This February, I’ve had probably the worst week to date at work since I’ve been there, I injured my foot during a 12-mile training run, and I’ve been recovering from my annual winter sickness, despite my regular flu shots and vitamin C swilling. I’m also running a half marathon one week from today, and going to Disney three days from today if the weather will let us (my GOD, mother nature, please go attack the west coast for a bit and spare the Northeast). I ran a 5 mile training run yesterday and felt pretty great, and capped off V-day with a karaoke fest in the city. Maybe this will be the first February that’s not one note. It’s almost March, anyways. Things are looking up, because they have to.