The habit I'm about to describe will be familiar to anyone here who is also from Manhattan, or probably any other city where train travel is the norm.
I take the subway up to school every morning. To perfect my commute and cut down my travel time to the absolute quickest it can possibly be, I do little things, like walking to a specific point on the subway platform so that I get in the car (and exit through the door) that will get me closet to the stairs I have to take when I get off the train. I have various ways of remembering exactly how far to go, and one of the things I sometimes use as a gauge is the advertisements that are on the walls. These change every so often, so I usually have another distinguishing feature, but I get used to the ads.
In the station that I typically take my first train from, there was an Armani ad that marked the spot where I would stand every morning.
Only the right half of the advertisement was hanging in my subway station. I would stand in front of this advertisement every morning, and I would stare at it in between intermittently leaning off the platform peering down the tunnel as if doing so would make my train arrive any faster. Every single day, I'd stare at the ad and I'd wish to be the girl in the Armani ad.
I guess everyone will see something different when they look at the ad. I look at it, and I see a beautiful and confident girl who has this guy completely enthralled. Something about their body language makes it look to me like she's drawing him in. Someone else could look at the same ad and read it differently, but when I looked at it every morning, that was what I saw. And that was what I wanted to be. I would gaze longingly at the ad every morning, wanting more than anything to put myself in her place. I wanted to be the girl in the Armani ad.
It wasn't until recently that I knew what it was like to be that close to someone, and to have someone holding you like that. It wasn't until even later that I knew what it was like to be close to someone, to be held like that, and to feel completely confident and beautiful while it was happening. I am often very insecure. It takes me a long time to get comfortable around people and get myself to a point where I can let them in. It's just something I find difficult. But the morning after I finally found myself in someone's arms feeling confident and beautiful, I smiled up at the sky, strode cooly out the door, and down to my subway stop. Maybe it was the way I stood up a little straighter. Maybe it was the way my hips swayed a little more. Maybe it was the way I noticed people looking at me. But when I stopped midway down the platform in front of the Armani ad, I looked at the girl, and I grinned.
For a day, I was the girl in the Armani ad.
Like all good things, the confidence faded. The situation that inspired it wound down. I returned to normal and arrived at the subway stop the following week to find that the ad had been covered over with a new ad for a movie coming out. It was too ironic to me that I should only get one day before life hit another one of its rough patches and we all stumbled and fell. One day of being the girl in the Armani ad. And then she and I were both gone.