Once upon a time–or, really, about twelve years, twenty pounds, and a box of hair dye ago–I worked at an ice cream shoppe.
I took a certain pride in my important, dessert-based work.
Candy combinations. Cream in the hopper. Icing perfectly dolloped.
I was good at it.
And even though it was “just a job”, it got me through college.
It was, in a lot of ways, my home.
I spent hours with those people. Laughing. Discussing life in all its uncertainty. And I will never see them again. It’s most unlikely, anyway. That, or we would simply fail to recognize each other.
And it’s funny: more than a decade later–two degrees, a teaching career, a marriage, dozens of plane rides, and a beautiful son later–I’m a stone’s throw from that same ice cream shoppe.
And when I hear certain albums (namely, Boxer by The National) I’m suddenly back in my Corsica, driving to work. Pulling my almost-black hair into a ponytail, and treating myself to a cold brownie slice as I set up business for the day. Feeling both the thrill and anxiety of my 20s, weaved together in a sort of oddly-comforting blanket.
Little did she know.
Yes, my friend.
For maybe the best is yet to be. *
. . .
SnapDragon is an educator, artist, and homemaker who enjoys life in the slow lane.
If I ever get out of here, I will do the following, in no particular order:
1. Happily take my lazy ass to the gym. I’ll walk for 30, elliptical for another 30, and inevitably be in a brighter mood for the rest of the day. Also, I might even shower there. I figure the place will never be as post-pandemically-clean again.
2. Fix my face up like Lucille Ball. I don’t think I’ve worn makeup for almost a year. Truth be told, I think I like buying it more than I like wearing it. But, after being stuck in the same cycle of sweatpants and loose tee shirts, with no place to go, I’m ready for a little glamour.
3. Gorge myself at Morimoto. If dining out were a sporting event, I’d be eligible for an Olympic medal by now. I miss it. And while I’ve only been there once, Morimoto in Philly is off. the. chain. So when business is booming again, we are going. And we’re having drinks, and appetizers, and all of the heavenly avocado-and-cream-cheese sushi rolls our little hearts desire.
4. Spend a weekend at Wildwood. Growing up, Wildwood, New Jersey was my family’s vacation spot. And oh, how I love it, Dear Reader! And right now I want nothing more than to pack up the car, grease myself up with SPF 26,000 and enjoy the salt water taffy. Crowds on the Boardwalk? No. Problem.
5. Wander aimlessly. I think what I miss most during this shut down is simply the ability to stroll. Like, among people. Like, going downtown to breeze through a book shop, or a quirky boutique, or farmers’ market. Even making polite conversation with passersby. Because, as George Costanza reminds us, we are living in a society.
So please, Powers That Be, let us out of our cages soon.**
. . .
SnapDragon is an artist, educator, and strong believer in the after-school snack.
Whether you’re new to Snippets of SnapDragon, or one of my faithful readers (I think I’m up to 8?) welcome back to another day in the Blogisphere.
Several years ago I wrote a piece about the many facets of my personality, or the handful of alter egos that make me me. I actually shared it with my high school students as a beginning-of-the-school-year exercise. I thought about digging it out of my files and uploading it today, but then thought, Nope. It’s always better to start fresh.
So here we are.
The painting you see above is the first “real” piece in my artistic catalog (as an adult, that is). It’s hung on our dining room wall, perfectly placed so that when I am curled up on the love seat in the adjacent living room, I can see it clearly.
At first I didn’t know what to think of it. Is it finished? Is it too cartoony? Too colorful? Too bizarre?
It doesn’t matter. Because it’s me.
All three pieces.
So travel with me as I define each woman you see. Consider it the unholy trinity of SnapDragon X.
Call me Charlotte. I’m the library-loving soul who wears colorful high-top sneakers and gets excited about fruit-flavored lipgloss. I decorate the walls with an array of magazine clippings, ranging from photographs of potted plants to headshots of famous people I do not know. I’m a teacher. I love routine. My classroom chalkboards are pristine and filled with color-coded journal prompts. My eyes are missing because I only come to life by interacting with others.
Call me Rita. I’m the whisky-drinking, foul-mouthed redhead who wants to keep the party pumping. I sing, I dance. I take a chance by telling the truth and encourage everyone present to do the same. We’re on the same side.There’s nothing to be afraid of. I tell myself that I’m allowed to be me, and people can take it or fucking leave it. Then when I’m alone I spiral into an abyss of self-doubt and delusion.
Call me Heather. I’m the empath of the group. No matter your story, I feel a connection to you because we are both human. I rejoice in your success. I cry for the loss of your father, though we never met. There is a cavern of emotion inside me, one that drains me and makes me want to hide in the bathtub for hours on end. I love me, I love you. I want us to forgive.
Here’s five of my favorite things that almost always make me feel better:
While Chopped would not be my first choice of shows when I’m feeling anxious, there are plenty of selections on Food Network to lift my spirits. There’s something about seeing a bright, clean kitchen being utilized by a professional chef that quells my anxiety. Following along with the process (even from the comfort of my couch) I feel happy when I watch these G-rated culinary adventures. Barefoot Contessawill always be my favorite. Ina Garten invites us into her gorgeous home (and herb garden!) while making something scrumptious, usually for her husband Jeffrey. It’s too cute.
4. Pick a Task, Any Task.
I do not like to feel lazy, especially on Sundays. But I’d be straight-up lying if I told you I clean the house from roof to basement every seven days. My chores are typically piecemealed throughout the week. But on Sundays, when I’m prone to overanalyzing everything in life, accomplishing a task can work wonders. A load of laundry, grocery shopping, or even getting rid of the clutter on the kitchen counter makes me feel like I’ve opened a window to let the sunshine in.
3.Get Out, Yo.
When I’m in a funk, sitting around only exacerbates my foul mood. Getting out can certainly be paired with the Pick-a-Task Strategy, but even if I drive to the local Dunkin’ Donuts for an afternoon coffee, the fresh air revives my soul. I try to remind myself that walking around the neighborhood is absolutely free and is available at any time. Mother Nature has a way of making things better.
2. Dive into StoryTime.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a novel, a sitcom, or blockbuster hit, the world of fiction is a vast and magical one. If I’m feeling like life’s biggest turd, it helps to watch or read about someone else’s fucked-up life. (I advocate for purely fictional characters; The Real Housewives and the like stress me out. But you do you.)
1. Remember that Tomorrow is Another Day.
Easier said than done, I know. Sometimes I feel like my anxiety or depression will never go away. But it always does. It always passes. I’m really, really trying to take my own advice here. Just like a buzz, moods wear off. I like to take a shower, nap, and pour myself a mug of tea (preferably one of the herbal varieties, like Relaxed Mind or Stress Relief. Sure, it could be placebo. But if you feel better, who cares?)
And so, those are just a few little perk-me-ups that I keep in my moody blues first-aid kit.
I truly hope this day finds you well, Dear Reader.