The Ancestry of New York

In ALL by Stephanie Klein1 Comment

As a way of not eating my feelings, I sometimes look to non-food distractions or hobbies to occupy my evenings. I’d like to say that I climb into bed and sketch something, but I don’t. I did for a short time, and I want to get back to it, but “back to it” will take a commitment. Pinterest lasted for a while, but then I realized that browsing the site just made me feel dissatisfied with my life. I was constantly on the move for more. More hairstyle ideas, more makeup looks, outfit ideas, dinner ideas. And it all just felt very filler. Very, let me build up on an empty life. Window shopping via the web didn’t leave my life feeling like life was in full bloom. Instead I felt weathered and withered. It’s all just stuff.

So, I took a break. And now it’s not that I’m broken. It’s just that I’m without angst. Or maybe I’ve just bedded down with angst, lived with it for so long that I don’t even recognize it. Here’s what I do know: I stopped writing because I write about my life. And my life lately has been all work. Since I don’t write about work, I’ve felt like there’s nothing to write.

That’s an excuse. I just unhooked the habit of writing, so it all fell down. I stopped, so I stopped. There is of course plenty to write, like how I used ancestry.com to find 3rd cousins, and how we met at a restaurant in Manhattan to share photos. How I told the hostess I was meeting family, only I wouldn’t know them if I saw them. It’s like internet dating, only kinda incesty, except not. I met with a group of 4 strangers with whom I share DNA. I started my fascination with ancestry.com just as a puzzle to solve, as a distraction from nighttime snacking, and it lead me to a restaurant where I lunched with relatives I’d never known, or knew existed.

Why the fascination with people I haven’t grown up knowing? Because I feel like it’s a connection to my past, to the lives of my grandparents. And I derive a certain pleasure, shocking relatives when I send them photos of themselves as babies, in the background of a photo I’ve discovered. But soon our family will grow, ancestry.com or not.

Exciting news: my sister just got engaged! I’m guessing I’ll be back to Pinterest now, what with ring settings, dresses, and wedding planning to come. I’m so happy for her. When I spoke to her man and he told me how in love with her he is, I sobbed. In the most beautiful ugly way.

Comments

  1. It is good to ‘see’ you again. I think we all live in the trivial universe, and work. I don’t know a single soul who is absolutely fascinating all of the time, and we (I) miss you.

    I was asked the other day something interesting about myself. I couldn’t come up with one thing that didn’t have to do with my job, my children or my family. I could write that politics make me want to puke. I hate winter. I love my job. Blah, blah, blah. But still – my opinion is it’s better to hear the blahs of your life rather than silence.

    Just a thought.

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