from another life

I watched two episodes of "Dawson's Creek" tonight.

I'm not sure if it was nostalgia or something else, but I felt a need to revisit a show that shaped my life in ways I'm still trying to figure out. I pulled out every season and read the summary paragraphs. The desire to start with the seasons I prefer, when Joey and Pacey begin their relationship and everything that follows, was there, but I started with the beginning. Because even if I am not the biggest fan of the beginning, it is where everything started.

I have memories of watching the show at night when it first aired. Memories of watching re-runs of it while getting ready for the day. Memories of spending entire weekends in my college apartment, cleaning or doing homework, and watching seasons at a time of the show. Memories of Starbucks and "Dawson's Creek" episodes with one of my best friends. Memories of picking out clothes similar to the ones Joey Potter wore and hoping that maybe one day there would be something worthy of writing about in my own life.

And the music? It spoke to me in a way I hadn't experienced before. The lyrics took over the episodes at just the right time, and I had the childish dream that one day I would be the one to pen a series and select the perfect music for each scene.

There's a part of me still that has that dream. Though I have no clue what the show would be about.

It's not just the memories that "Dawson's Creek" evokes or how it wove its way into so many pivotal moments of my life. It's also the inspiration I found from the characters, the dialogue, and the music. It's the dreams it brought to almost reality.

I still find it now. It's harder to come by. Life gets in the way. My body doesn't do well staying up into all hours of the night. But there's still inspiration lurking; I just have to fight to grab hold of it and turn it into something tangible.

And I think that's what growing up is. It's not just a series of moments. It's more than celebrating birthdays, weddings, and babies. It's grabbing hold of the things you want and turning them into tangible items.

My story is not that of a television show. The list of characters isn't neat and tidy. There are no great loves that followed me through adolescence, puberty, and then eventually into life after college.  There is not a soundtrack of fifteen songs that I could select to play throughout those moments.

There are mistakes I would like to forget. There are loves that weren't really loves at all. There are broken friendships and severed relationships and a list of characters that I sometimes wish I still knew and other times am glad I do not know. And there's an iPod with more than 4,000 songs that speak to different areas of my life - past and present and maybe even future.

At one time, I wanted my life to be a television show. To have neat and tidy episodes. To keep only certain people close, and to live up to an expectation that I created - one that would please the viewers.

I can't say the desire has completely left. Because television shows have a definite end and beginning - in each episode, for every season, and ultimately for the entire show. Life has a definite beginning in birth and then an ending in death, but the seasons of life and days don't always end or begin so clearly.

Maybe that's why so much of this is difficult. The endings and beginnings rush together. Every step can be considered the first step.

I plan on rewatching all of "Dawson's Creek" over the next few weeks and months. And I plan on paying attention to the details - to remind myself of all the reasons the show made me laugh and cry and connect.

And I plan on taking several new first steps. Steps towards writing. Steps towards my future and what I want to be when I finally grow up. Steps towards losing a total of twenty pounds and then another eighty pounds.

My life is not a television show. There will likely be no clear or clean endings and beginnings, but I can still find bits and pieces of myself in the dialogue and in the music.
Joey: Dawson, I'm sorry I don't have the same dreams I had when I was 15 years old, and I'm sorry that I moved on faster than you did, but you know what? Maybe not everything that happens to you is my fault! And maybe just because I want more from my life than...
Dawson: More than what? More than us? You don't know, do you? You've never known. The entire time I've known you, all you've wanted to do is escape. From me, from Capeside. I mean, you say that I'm the dreamer. I'm the one who doesn't wanna live in the real world. Well, I'm doing it, Joey. Right now. I'm living in the real world. It's you who wants the fantasy.
Jen: No, no, hear me out, Dawson, please. Okay? Because this seems to be the day of truths, and I'm taking my turn. I lost my virginity when I was 12 to some older guy who got me drunk, I don't really remember his name but after the first pregnancy scare I went on the pill, and I used condoms most of the time, some of the times, I don't know, it's kind of blurry. I was really drinking a lot and having blackouts and stuff, um. I was sexualized way too young, and I don't wish that on anybody. I mean, sex at such a young age, more often than not, is a bad idea. I finally got caught having sex in my parents' bed. Daddy's little girl fornicating right before his very eyes. He still can't look me in the face but then again he shipped me 200 miles away so he wouldn't have to, but Dawson I'm not that girl anymore. I never really was, and I'm not that white-as-snow image you've got either, I'm somewhere in between and I'm just, I'm just trying to figure it out.
Joey: How would you know what I need?
Pacey: Yeah...you know you're probably right. How could I possibly know what it's like to let somebody go, right? How hard it is to let someone go. The pain of knowing that even though the two of you are right for each other, that doesn't necessarily mean that you're right for each other right now. What would I know about that, right? How could I possibly know that sometimes it just makes you want to scream, hit somebody, or sit out at the end of a dock and cry...
Joey: Of all the people to see me like this, it had to be you.
(title from "dizzy" by jimmy eat world)

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