it’s like when i was 15, lying in bed at night, listening to everybody hurts on repeat, wiping tears on my pillow. i shut my door and prayed nobody would knock. i thought my world had ended. whatever it was — a fight with mom, a broken heart, a bad grade, a lost earring — a crisis was a crisis, and it was the end of the world.
the next morning, i slipped on my uniform, ate my bowl of fruit loops and lugged myself to school. by lunchtime, i was throwing tart n’ tinys at katy, gawking at jeremy kocal and laughing so hard i nearly spit my rootbeer out my nose.
no, really. i’m fine.
i am wearing my loud skirt today. it’s loud, figuratively and literally: it is a deep, dark, scarlet red and the techno-chino rustles when i walk. it makes me feel tall and pretty.
on thanksgiving, everyone said i’d lost weight, which is impossible, because i’ve been eating bacon every week in some form or another and drinking dr. pepper with all my meals. i’m getting no exercise, because i spend all my time in a car, on a freeway, en route to work, home, work and home again. i did not argue with them; normally they are telling me how i’ve gained some fat on my bones and how i should really wear more make-up. this time, i’d made extra effort to remember eyeliner and mousse in my hair. i have to remind myself to be a girl.
this is what my mom tells me: i should be wearing my other glasses, the ones that bend out of shape when someone hugs me too hard; i should blow dry my hair to give it more body; i should dress less casually and more like a career woman; i should marry a man from the east coast because they are so much nicer there; i should stand up straight, with my shoulders back and stomach in, and walk, no, glide, across a room.
but when i wear heels, i feel like i’m going to trip.
my mom would scoff at my appearance, but anything she’d say to me today couldn’t knock me down. i am comfortable in my converse. i am fearless in this skirt. i am not hiding my face under a coat of foundation or mascara. i am every bit as much a girl i need to be.