I don't think of myself as being strong. I live in a nearly constant state of fear that the people around me are going to discover just how breakable I am, and be utterly sickened.
I guy I like is holding my hand for the first time. "It's so soft, and feels...breakable." It's always a surprise to people, my softness, my animal alive-ness -- because I do a lot to hide it. I don't pull my hand away from his, because I like him, and because his hand feels nice. But my heart is racing with the worry that I will be discovered for who I am, and that I will be wrecked by him and broken. You know, people problems.
My mom is one of those women who can power through anything -- a cold, breast cancer, death of a loved one, she's all "’TIS BUT A FLESH WOUND." It's not that she's a stiff-upper lip sort, not at all. I've seen her cry often enough. But she perseveres. She keeps going. You never seem to see the wind fall from her sails. I did not inherit that gene. Or I did, and it's so horribly mutated that I have to change the channel every time this one particular dog food commercial comes on because I don't want to lose my mind with weeping.
It's not just that I'm sentimental, though I am. It's that I bruise easily, I cry when I skin my knees, I wince when I am high-fived too hard. I try to keep all of this on the down-low so that people think I am the Wolverine of slightly-overweight, plain, quippy girl-writers.
This almost never works, at least not from where I'm sitting. True story, I once bought a pair of massive platforms (they were red and beige and I loved them so). They were slightly too big, but I wore them anyway because of their awesomeness. This lasted until I tripped over them and fell down the subway steps, busting up my bare legs something fierce and shattering my iPhone.
As people passed me, heedless as minnows or cats, I bawled like a child -- not because it hurt, but because it hurt AND everybody had seen it AND I'd shattered my own iPhone AND I had messed up the shoes AND because I couldn't stop feeling sorry for myself. When I told friends this story later, they laughed, and rightly so. That's because although I view myself to be the fragile and breakable thing, they all think of me this fusion between a stick-up-her-ass minor aristocrat, Joe Pesci, and The Hulk. This is crazy to me, so I tried to break it all down and see how I'm managing to put off the vibe I put off.
1. The Shoes, Man
Every time I don't have shoes on around someone for the first time, they point out how short I am. This is because most of the time I parade around in big, tall shoes so as to drive fear into the hearts of my enemies. The strangest compliment I receive most regularly, "Wow, I can't believe you are so short!" BELIEVE IT AND ALSO FEAR ME. ROAR, ETC.
2. Talk First, Think Later
I am so much better about this now that I like, talk to a shrink, and take pills, and am no longer laying on my floor listening to "Little Earthquakes" on repeat and wondering if I'll ever have sexual urges again -- BUT, used to be time was I opened my big fat mouth without actually processing what was going to come rioting out of it. This was usually fun for others when I was in social settings that made me uncomfortable, but it seldom worked out well when I was feeling hurt or scared or upset. Now, instead of doing this, I take the even more ominous approach.
Person Who Has Angered Me: Are you...what are you thinking about?
Me:....How not...to say...a lot of things...I can't take back.
3. You Have an Actual List of Enemies
Do non-ragey people have lists of enemies? Because I do. I have five. Don't worry y'all, I know each person listed, it doesn't include celebrities, just mean girls, a friend who cut me off brutally, jerk boys and a teacher or two who shamed me. Okay there are eight names. Ten. Tops.
4. You Think You're Sensitive, The World Disagrees
I say, "Ugh, I'm so sensitive."
They say, *Nothing, just laughs*
You write about this in your journal. Maybe add their name to enemies list. Maybe.
5. Your Taste In Movies Is...Specific
I love movies. But I love movies that go BOOM SMASH POW CRASH ZAP STAB SCREAM more. True Lies, I'm looking at you!
Do you see yourself differently than others seem to? Do you also like True Lies?