sometimes it's best to leave the photo albums alone

Do you ever pretend like you're in a movie?

Please say it isn't just me.

You know, you sit in the passenger seat of someone's car and dreamily gaze out the window at passing scenery while some melodramatic song plays in the background that perfectly echoes your life situation? And you can just see it on the big screen playing in movie theaters across America?

Well, sometimes I pretend my life is playing on big screens across America.

I put the baby to bed and straightened up the living room. James was working late and I had an hour to kill. Normally this is no problem as I bask in isolation the way one basks in a bubble bath, but I was feeling oddly emotional and needed someone around. It's been a bad week and I've been feeling sick and Gracie's scary reaction from the night before had turned me inside out with panic. The doctor checked her out and all was well, but it was taking me time to fully calm down. I was still antsy with nervous energy from the whole ordeal. I paced the living room and put a She & Him record on (because I'm hip). I walked past the bookshelves for the umpteenth time before I finally sat myself down on the floor and pulled out the photo album I've been wanting to look at again but have been avoiding as I'm never quite in the mood to be emotionally slaughtered. It's full of pictures of my birth through high school that my grandma had collected and then sent me last year, and nothing gets me going like memories.

I flipped through the photo album while raging nostalgia intersected with my emotions from the past 24 hours, and I turned into a blubbering mess while looking at pictures of playing in the backyard of our California house--so many snippets of life of which I have just slivers of memories. Then there were the plaid pants I wore while standing in front of the tree in my grandparent's house at 4 years old, playing the piano in junior high, playing drums in high school. And of course, while this is going down and I'm battling some serious emotions, Sentimental Heart starts playing and I think, hey! This song is very fitting. It's totally like a movie right now. Or am I on the Truman Show and everyone's watching this and judging the fact that I keep standing up to change the record back to my favorite song every time it ends? I can't help it! It has the most perfect piano intro and a melody that hits just the right spot in my soul.

Sometimes I get a little carried away with my imagination (only child problems, though I use the word "problem" loosely).

And then I found a picture from the end of 10th grade...exactly 10 years ago. My hair was long and I weighed just slightly more than a feather. I lived among the cornfields and drove a little red Volkswagen. I thought I would be going to college in California, and I had a crush on every boy I saw. I remember getting that picture taken at school. If you would've told me that in 10 years I would be sitting on the floor crying my eyes out while my baby sleeps and I miss snuggling her and Zooey Deschanel croons me into a bundle of emotions and the nails I painted purple look like I spilled grape jelly on them.....well, I would probably believe you.

If you would've told me I ended up going to college in coastal North Carolina, married a boy who spoke with a twang (yippee!), I moved back to Ohio, had almost zero of the same friends, and was no longer driving a Volkswagen, well, I would've had a conniption fit over everything but marrying a guy with an accent. All I really wanted in a future husband was an accent.

I kid. But not really.

Anyway, I eventually started looking at pictures of my pregnancy and texting them to James with captions like "CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT WAS GRACIE? WAS THAT REALLY HER IN THERE?" I switched from the record player to youtube once James got home, and after listening to I Thought I Saw Your Face Today (the most perfect song ever written), the video changed to a clip of Zooey on Jimmy Kimmel talking about her pregnancy. And then I started crying because I thought I missed being pregnant until I remembered no, Michelle, you do not miss being pregnant. But do I? No. I don't! But tell my emotions that!

And then Zooey gets to that part in the song where she whistles, and something about it socks me in the soul and I want to dance around the living room and cry simultaneously. And Zooey's hair looks perfect which makes me want to cry again. And then I listen to her sing that song again and hit replay over and over and pretend America is watching me do this and shaking their heads the way we all did when Michael Scott played the same 30 second song clip over and over after Carol broke up with him.

Long story short: looking at photo albums when you're emotional is like going to the grocery store when you're hungry. Before you know it, you're eating cookies on the floor and have no idea how you got there.


  1. Isn't it crazy that high school (and even college) was so long ago? Even longer for me since I'M ANCIENT. Sometimes I wake up and think I'm sleeping in my old room at my parents' house, and I'm half convinced I need to roll out of bed to make it to class on time.

    I'm nostalgic over pictures I took three weeks ago-- I can't even imagine how I would feel flipping through an old photo album.

    Pass the cookies, please...

  2. You are my long lost twin, I swear. LAST NIGHT I made the mistake of looking through some old photos and I got all nostalgic and sad and emotional. I kid you not. LAST NIGHT, Michelle! And then I made Jared join in and was telling him even though life is great, this is so not what I dreamed it would be. I'm not doing I thought I'd be, living where I thought I'd be... etc. I miss old friends, I'm surprised by new friends. Why is life like that? Just doing it's own thing and not giving us any fair-warning?! I could write a novel, but I'll stop so I don't completely blow up this post ;) Lesson learned, photo albums are dangerous.

  3. GOODBYE MY LOVA...GOODBYE MY FRIEND. Benihana Christmas is probably my favorite episode of all time-- and that in and of itself makes me nostalgic for college (because that's when I started watching it) and my old dorm and living with my roommate and all the time we spent watching that show together. NOW I'M EMOTIONAL.

    I have banned myself from looking at pictures of Zooey altogether because every time I do, it is only a matter of time before I start hacking at my own hair and bringing my bangs back. She is my weakness. I have to have someone hide all of the scissors in my house before watching New Girl every week.


  4. Zooey is perfection. End of story, so good choice there. Erin ^^ was sending me pictures of us from years ago and made me a nostalgic MESS! I can't handle it. Like you said, if I could tell 15 year old Kayla what life would be like in her early 20's, I would've never believed her! Sure my life is wonderful, but we can never guess what's around the bend!!!! I loved this post, Michelle!

  5. I'm lucky that the closest thing I have to a photo album at my house is my insta. I have to avoid the STACKS of them when I go to my mom's though. And the cookies.


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