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  • A Thousand Iterations

    I am 29 years 6 months and 22 days old.
    Yet despite my youth and what I can only hope to be the late morning of my lifetime – I have been a thousand different people.
    And certainly, not all of them have been easy to love.
    Or really even tolerate.

    There is me as an innocent child collecting crabs on the shore.
    Then a pre-teen, taking the wheel of my Father’s car on the way home from school because he was too intoxicated to safely drive. Sitting on his chest in protest waiting for my Mom to get home from work after he told me in the most loving tone that he was about to commit suicide in our basement because life hurt too much.

    Going to Weight Watchers before I got my period, because my body was already wrong.
    Going to fat camp, but feeling devastated when I realized fat camp didn’t fix my body.
    There is me standing in front of the mirror naked staring at my stretch marks and budding breasts and hating everything I saw.

    The adolescent whose Father died on a cold winter day.
    A day I refused to hug him when asked, out of anger and teen angst.
    There is also the version of me that grew to carry that choice with me as my deepest regret to this day.
    The teen who got more angsty after his passing, angry at the universe, who snuck out and dated men over a decade older than me because surely no boy my age could understand me.

    I think of the determined college student I became. Starry eyed and falling in love. The bride on her bachelorette party who got a little (okay, a lot) too drunk at a winery. The passionate young adult starting her career. The young twenty something helping her bestfriend move. Me who I would consider a good friend and wife.

    Then there is a psychotic version of me, stripping down into a hospital gown for a psych ward stay while male staff sexually harassed me, and a counselor named Heidi taking me to the “sensory room” to calm down.
    Me stuck there for weeks that felt like an eternity as I questioned my reality.
    Me whose trauma filled mind and heart became so engrossed in misery that the goodness previously described seemed to dissipate.
    There is the me that didn’t believe in divorce.
    Me who now does.

    Stealing morphine left over from my family member’s time on hospice to numb myself and play Russian roulette with my life, just to see what would happen and if the lights would turn off.
    Now there is me who is grateful for faulty light switches.

    There is late twenty me who decided to burn the whole house down, metaphorically, to build an entirely new one.
    This version of me is strong, resilient, and liberated.
    Me who decided to travel where I wanted and when I wanted.
    Who fucked a stranger in the ocean and jumped out of an airplane.
    Who fucked another person I had just met and got pregnant by surprise, but fell in love with.

    Next there is me when I took the form of a Mother.
    Watching in awe as my body changed; both in ways I found joyful and in other ways I found (and still do find) hard to accept.
    Me who rocked my newborn to sleep while I tried not to fall asleep myself.
    The version of me who watches Lion King while I watch my now toddler soak in life.
    Me whose heart could explode with love for a little boy I didn’t know I needed.
    This is my favorite iteration of myself thus far.

    The same me sobbed when I thought my Mom had cancer.
    And then when she didn’t – stared at her selfies and glowing effervescent smile in Iceland to see the Northern Lights (because cancer scares light a fire to check some things off of your bucket list).
    The me who still grieves her in advance, because I’m all too familiar with the hole that losing a parent leaves.

    There is current me who is both empowered and still ashamed to detail all of these iterations of “me”.
    I am a living scrapbook.
    Some pages are beautiful, and others are hard to look at.
    It is striking and messy simultaneously.
    When I ponder, “Do I love myself?”, a film plays in my head displaying scenes of the people I have been.
    There have been times I found it impossible to “love” the current version of myself, but as I sit here in this moment – I do.
    Not only that, but I can find love for the past versions of myself now, as well, for her determination to grow.

    Dominique Deslauriers

    Voting is open!

    Voting ends May 16, 2024 12:00am

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    • I LOVE how freely you told this story. You have lived a thousand lives and took me on a journey through each one. I love how your lives build on top of each other and you acknowledge that these are all important parts of you. I also lost my dad and will always replay what I could have done “better” or should have done but I had to realize that…read more

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    • “Some pages are beautiful, and others are hard to look at.
      It is striking and messy simultaneously.”

      That is such a thoughtful and creative line. I am so sorry for some of the super tough hardships you have been through. But wow, you have come a long way. You have so many reasons to be proud. Keep being you and loving you. <3 Lauren

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