This morning I was running late for my rheumatologist appointment. So I had to make a decision almost no woman wants to make: hair or makeup?” Ultimately, I chose makeup since my face is breaking out like I rubbed my face with deep fried, chocolate covered Doritos. I rejoiced in it being cool enough outside that I could wear jeans. I chose a loose peasant top that would disguise my “I had two babies and it wrecked my body” belly and the “Lyrica made me gain 20 pounds” back fat. I had already done my check to make sure the sight of my feet/pedicure wouldn’t cause people’s faces to melt off like Toht’s. I was reasonably presentable.
For as long as I can remember, what I looked like and what people thought of me was important. My mom and I constantly fought over my clothes and appearance upon leaving the house. You can’t wear spandex; you’re too big for it. You really shouldn’t wear chokers; your neck’s too short. Your hair looks like broom straw/greasy mess.
On top of that, I live in the DC/Metro area. Appearance matters. Period. Which neighborhood do you live in? Where did you go to school? Where do you work? Where do you vacation? Which shade of beige is your minivan? (Note to self: Shades of Beige = AWESOME fanfic idea. Must get on that shit!) Oh my gosh, I loooove your Coach purse. Only $400? What a bargain! The cult of personality also lives here. Introverts need not apply.
You can imagine how all of this might make someone who already has anxiety issues not want to go places. I can’t go to the mall. What if people….notice me? All of these neuroses became supersized once I became a stay at home mom. All of a sudden, I was thrust into a solitary world where all my friends either worked or didn’t live close by. I needed some new comrades, ladies who understood my plight and could provide some much needed companionship for both my children and me. I needed some kindred spirits.
So I compartmentalized. I became what I felt like I needed to be in order to get along with people, to be accepted. I tried to stay positive at all times, (which is especially awesome while battling depression and the chronic fatigue of undiagnosed fibromyalgia.) I tried to engage in socially appropriate small talk, (which, as we all know, socially awkward introverts are extremely good at.) I tried not to say anything shocking or offensive, like fuck. (Conversation tip: mentioning how awful it is that they’re going to air commercials with images of aborted fetuses during the Super Bowl is an effective method for abruptly ending a conversation.) You should have heard the silence in my Christian aerobics class when I mentioned that I wasn’t sure that I believed in God. I’m pretty sure I saw some take a step back as their eyes widened at the admission, and I, once again, wrapped myself in the familiar Snuggie of social awkwardness. (Oooo, another great idea! Hot damn, I’m on fire today!)
The thing that I’m finally starting to realize is that compartmentalizing requires walls, and keeping those walls up is exhausting. I need to allow myself to be myself…fully. I need to revel in last night’s Elder Sign victory AND get the cutest blouse ever at Loft. I need to feel free to say that something can suck my left tit when it pisses me off AND own the fact that I like planning and throwing successful parties which allow me to tap into my creative side. I need to be okay with joining the PTA AND saying fuck more.
Maybe I shouldn’t say fuck AT the PTA meetings.