Faye Rapoport DesPres

Starting Off the New Year Right

Good morning! A year ago, on the first day of 2011, Boston was buried in three feet of snow. Today, at the start of 2012, all that covers our backyard is an early morning frost. A little while ago, I slipped on the back deck when I went out to feed the white feral cat who lives in a doghouse in our yard. After several years of disappearing and returning, she still won’t let us get near her. But when she settles into the yard for a few weeks or months, she appreciates an early morning breakfast.

The beginning of the year always feels strange to me; the passage of time seems so real, so permanent at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Whether the previous year was difficult or filled with happy memories, I always regret its passing. It takes me a while to feel out the new and move forward.

This year, I’m moving forward with a new publication on New Year’s Day. My essay “No One Watches the Old Lady Dance” is featured in Issue V, Volume III of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. The essay was chosen as the “teaser” creative nonfiction piece to be published on January 1 (today) in advance of the full new issue, which will be online on January 15. Connotation Press has really wonderful editors and features many creative, accomplished writers, so I feel honored to be published in this journal.

It’s funny; sometimes, as a writer, I get so excited about the fact that an essay has been published that I forget to really think about the content of the piece, and the fact that it’s actually out there for the public to read. In this case, “No One Watches the Old Lady Dance,” is an essay that I started drafting some time ago, when I was living on my own in Boulder, Colorado. The essay is a little different than most of my other work. It tends toward the lyric, drifting in and out of memories and moments. It’s not the easiest piece to have out in public view because it tackles something difficult — the body issues I struggled with for many years, and the interplay of those issues with the course of my life. When I worry about opening up such a personal aspect of my life to the reading public, I remind myself of two things: first, sharing something like this invites readers to explore something they might not understand or experience, and second (and perhaps more important), writing about this might help someone else who struggles with similar issues and feels alone.

So many women of all ages, but especially young women, battle body image issues. This piece is dedicated to them.

As Pink sings and says so well:

You’re so mean (You’re so mean)
When you talk (When you talk) about yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices (Change the voices) in your head (In the head)
Make them like you instead
So complicated, look how we all make it!
Filled with so much hatred… such a tired game
It’s enough! I’ve done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, I’ve seen you do the same.

Oh, pretty pretty please
Don’t you ever ever feel
Like you’re less than, less than perfect
Pretty pretty please
If you ever ever feel like you’re nothing you are perfect to me

(Copied from MetroLyrics.com)

Right on, Pink.