what did you keep? — the daily taryn

This post was originally written for subscribers of the daily taryn, a daily email newsletter/writing project . Now's the perfect time to join, so I'll hold while you do so. Love u.

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A few weeks ago, I briefly mentioned a really sad Uber I was in. I mean, the car wasn’t sad. The driver was. Honestly, she wasn’t even sad, but her stories and her memories and what we talked about made me really, really sad. Even though it was a while ago, I want to tell you a bit about it as I’ve thought of it every day since.

But before I get into it, I need to do a very embarrassing thing. Some of you have been asking if you could send money to say thanks for The Daily Taryn, which, gosh. That really is the most kind. If you are one of those people or are not but still want to send some dollars over for the last month’s work, you are true angles. I don’t deserve or expect it, but if I can buy a drink on you after this ends, I will surely cry a little happy tear. I’ll leave the info for how to do that at the end of this post.

When a ride is more than a ride

Okay, back to it.

It might shock you to know that I loathe chit chat or mingling of most kinds. Chatting with uber drivers is generally not my thing but this night, I think it was serendipity. A happy accident. Little magic that I was matched with this girl.

I was ubering home after a drink with some friends and got a very sweet driver. She was kinda quiet, but you could really she really wanted to talk. She was kind and funny and reserved until given the floor — when homegirl had the stage, she said it all.

I’m not sure how we got there, but we were talking about growing up. She told me how bullied she was. How she was always, always picked last. She remembered everything — her bullies names (yes, multiple). The exact sentences they said. The people standing around her when it happened. The way no one ever helped.

I saw a picture of a kid on her lockscreen and asked if it was hers. She excitedly shared about him — her son — and her incredible husband that she created him with. She was so, so happy. All smiles to be talking about this with me.

Then. She says this: “After all those years, I never thought I’d marry a man like him. I never saw it in the cards for myself. A skinny, attractive man. I never thought I’d be worthy of it, or that a man like him would look at someone like me and think I’m beautiful.”

I will never forget it. She was not fit, but she was certainly not fat. The fact that she felt this way about herself, it crushed me. And it crushed me more because it made sense. She remembered every little mean thing people said to her for probably 40 years. She wasn’t confident because she couldn’t be confident — the world didn’t make room for her to grow.

And yet, she was happy. She talked through these memories like they were exactly that — memories. Things that happened in the past and brought here to who she is today. She was so positive and kind. An amazing listener. So friendly. Asked incredible questions. She was a wife and a mother and a bread winner and a person I hope to see again. She came out on top.

What did you keep?

She overcame it all, but she kept a lot of things. She kept a lot of hurt. She kept memories, and you could tell they still stung like a fresh wound.

What did I keep?

Since that ride, I’ve continually asked myself that questions. What did I keep?

What memories or insecurities or vivid dreams or one-liners or handwritten notes or backhanded compliments did I keep for all these years?

I have a terrible memory, but I know some of the things for sure. Now, so does my therapist. I’ve literally had sessions where I’ve asked if I could just talk through memories — the few that I have — to try to make sense of why those stayed and others didn’t.

I wonder what I kept that I don’t even remember. The comments or actions or secrets seeped right through my memory into some back alley of my brain. Present Taryn doesn’t know how they’re affecting me, but they are. I wonder what those things are. I’ll keep looking. I’m excited to find out.

If you haven’t thought about what you kept, you should. It’s important to know. It’s important to know what you kept so you can know what you need to let go.

Alright, back to you angels who want to compensate me, for whatever reason. Thank you. It means the world. If you want to buy me a coffee or drink or dinner or ROUNDTRIP FLIGHT TO EUROPE — you can send some love on venmo or paypal. Venmo is @taryn-arnold and paypal is here. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Hi. I can't believe you read this — it actually means the world to me. Now that you're on a roll of making me happy, I'd like to give you 2 options to keep the fun going. 1) If you'd share this with someone or a feed of someones, or 2) you joined my newsletter. If that's not your thing, I'll love you regardless, but I'll do some middle school love letter journaling about you if you do either. Head here to join my list of gorgeous subscribers.