And that’s just the thing. I wasn’t sure who I was anymore. I didn’t intentionally try to lose myself in my marriage, but I did. I have a few distinct memories of my previously single self, however. Keex loved NYC. She loved to perform. She was spiritual, intuitive and a reader of self-help books by authors like Shakti Gawain and Caroline Myss. Keex loved to wake up in her Brooklyn studio apartment and purge her subconscious onto paper in her morning pages as recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. After nightly Off-Broadway performances, if she wasn’t hangin’ out with her artsy friends, she’d sip Chai tea at her 50‘s style kitchen table with red leather chairs and write poetry. Or, listen to her favorite artists Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, wishing she possessed their lyrical finesse. As social as she was, she also loved exploring her city alone and indulging her love of fashion and food. Her fashion taste veered toward strong architectural lines meets bohemian Brooklyn-ite. Her palate preferred organic, vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Keex’s spirit flourished with weekly visits to her Jungian psychotherapist/astrologist where she delved more into the blueprint of her psyche and found greater healing. Keex felt balanced, grounded and complete.
While living in LA and married to my EX, I rarely performed. The months we toured with Gloria Estefan, the summer we performed in an aerial show together, and when I worked as Scary Spice’s stand-in for the rehearsal process of the Spice Girl Reunion Tour; those were the moments I felt most alive. Those were the times I felt closest to my true self. Other than that, I had stopped going to therapy, reading self-help books, journaling, writing poetry and indulging in me-time. After all, hadn’t I earned my prize for such personal evolution and conscious living in the form of my EX?
Together we explored restaurants, although I was sadly disappointed with LA’s version of healthy food options. LA wears the facade of extreme health and vitality but it’s really over-saturated with chain restaurants and burger joints. Anything deemed as “healthy” was far inferior to anything in my New York experience. Other than my 3 favorite casual restaurants, Urth Cafe, Jumpin’ Java and Hugo’s Tacos, I fell victim to those chain food restaurants. PF Chang’s was a staple in our diet. And when they had the nerve to build an In-N-Out Burger next to our house (and potentially decrease our property value), I couldn’t resist the guilty pleasure of fast-food burgers. And I wonder how I gained 26 pounds? Yes, 26 pounds was added to my 5’3” (almost) frame despite the fact that I was a Pilates instructor, did cardio at the gym religiously and took Anusara yoga about 3 times/week. It was downstairs from Black Dog Yoga in Sherman Oaks that I discovered Weight Watchers. I dreaded the idea that I, a former dancer accustomed to a lean and muscular body, would have to reduce myself to weekly meetings, weigh-ins and a diet that attributed points to everything I ingested. I reluctantly joined and was surrounded by obese people who questioned my need for a food intervention. But just like them, I showed up each week hoping to drop more than just a couple of ounces and perhaps earn a gold sticker to emblazon my progress chart. I did it! I lost those damn 26 pounds that had reduced my self-esteem to a “0” and prevented me from even wanting to audition or perform or be seen in anything other than a Juicy sweatsuit which was cut well enough that you could still be fat and trendy at the same time. Trendy was important in LA.
I guess my EX was right when he explained that the woman he had originally fallen in love with had disappeared. No, he wasn’t talking about the weight. In fact, he loved my big, new, Juicy Couture-covered booty. What he was talking about was my spirit... my soul. His explanation left me incredulous and defensive. It was still ME next to him... the woman that loved him unconditionally like a loyal little puppy. In retrospect, however, I can admit that I let myself evolve into a hyped up, “deluxe” new model of Keex. Weight loss made me feel like I had re-gained my mojo. I added a few new bells & whistles to catch your attention in the form of increased self-confidence and a brand new wardrobe. But the substance, quality and reliability of the original Keex was gone. I looked all polished and waxed on the exterior, but forgot to detail the interior.
It baffles me how one’s authenticity; the stuff that makes you unique, appealing and lovable can all disappear when you fall in love. I wish life would give you warning signs once you begin to diverge too far off course from your true self. Maybe it did, but I was too blinded by love and a false sense of security to notice my free-fall toward divorce.