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Posts Tagged ‘Karyn Polewaczyk’

They

Their laughter, muffled by the shield of a knotted plywood wall, escapes in sporadic bursts, a Bonnie & Clyde pairing of convoluted emotion. I, too, long for a way out of this fabricated hell, sitting atop a plastic-covered sofa in a strange living room as I trace the outline of my hand again and again. My father brings me here sometimes, on Tuesday afternoons after the zoo; or, if I’m lucky, after an all-important visit to his office, where I greedily grab as many pencils as I can hold while his secretary fusses over my darling dresses.

“She’s bright,” his secretary usually says, winking at my father while I hungrily flip through the pages of a Little Golden Book. It’s here I first learn that many women like to wink at my father — my father, striking and tall with graying temples despite an otherwise youthful appearance, who can best be described as handsome. My father, who smiles with pride and winks back. It’s at home, though, where I learn that this suggestive interchange is reserved only for them, the women who aren’t my mother. Her dance card instead is filled with loud, tempestuous arguments. Arguments where glasses and promises shatter to gleaming hardwood floors. Arguments where red-faced tears are swept quietly under Persian rugs, expensive artifacts of a marriage bound blindly together by a good salary and stoic tradition.
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She

She blows a thin stream of smoke above my head, its grey trail narrowly missing the crown of my ponytail. Her slight, thin forearm anchors down, her fist cupped into a half moon while a lit Parliament dangles nimbly between her fingers.

“Little girls in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” she says as I slink back into my chair. It’s 1989, and we’re sitting in our kitchen, stagnant, with the occasional hum escaping from our lacquered refrigerator. My right foot finds the sweet spot under the kitchen table: a small grove in one oak leg, a softness defying the solid wood. I elevate my shin and stretch my toe into the dent. I think that if I stay like this for a while, time will freeze, and this moment will pass unscathed.

She eyes me with a look of cool contempt. We share the same green eyes and delicate jaw lines — jaws that clench often in times of defiance. When I grow older, I’ll find that we also share the same furrowed brow and smooth, veined hands.
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What drives eating disorders? Misconceptions abound, even in psychiatric and primary care practices. “It’s the media,” one child psychologist will declare. A pictogram laden with ripe images of welter-weight runway models illustrates that the average teenage girl simply has aspirations to be rail-thin and worldly.

“No,” a pediatrician will retort, “it’s bad eating habits. It’s straying from the food pyramid.” Suddenly, the FDA-inspired food pyramid will magically appear. Heads will nod: Yes, a lack of six to 12 servings of complex carbohydrates would certainly inspire a 13-year-old pre-pubescent child to binge on waffles, doughnuts and a host of other starchy, lightly-digestible and sugary foods. Foods easily purged later in the locker room bathroom before soccer practice. (more…)

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I lit a candle at the beginning of that fateful phone call, determining the charred wick would be the end of a unfiltered cigarette, had I been a smoker. A stranger to nicotine, it somehow was all that made sense in the afternoon blur. We reasoned our demise back and forth — like faceless pieces across our checkered relationship — and decided it was over. The phone pressed against my head like a gun: When your heart is broken there’s no real difference, anyway. The candle, a venerable stump, grew dimmer with each passing minute; the wick was on its way out.
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One of the challenges I face as a runner is the ability to pace myself. If I start too quickly — full-on sprints; bones slamming to the cement below; rapid, rushed breathing — I expend my energy within minutes and am done for after a quarter mile. Good for sidewalk sales and the occasional joust to the subway; not so good for maintaining cardiovascular equilibrium. If I start too slowly — my warm up walk becomes a 5-mile lethargic “maybe I’ll try again tomorrow” pace — I’ll never get there, either. My struggle to find a solid middle ground, literally and figuratively, after months of rehabilitation, has narrowed down after I realized that part of my problem stems from the iPod dangling from my right arm.
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While browsing through the New York Times over my morning coffee and antibiotics, I zeroed in on the Style section (it’s why I live for Thursdays), and came across this.

While I don’t always agree with the somewhat biased articles I discover in this nook of my favorite cranny (Consider that an ode to Thomas’ English Muffins, which I’m craving right now. With real butter and a smear of raspberry jam. Moving on.), this particular article left me disappointed. When will our generation get it? Fashion does not equal an astronomical price tag. Style does not equal fly-by-night trends. And class doesn’t equal suppressing your individuality.
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