I spent a lot of time in high school feeling silly. Like the one people were making fun of, the one who stuttered or said the wrong thing or who had the fact that they were sad or embarrassed or afraid written right across the center of their face. I hated that what I was thinking and feeling was so obvious all the time. And part of it was paranoia, I’m sure, but part of it was true: I was the one who people – even my friends – teased. A lot of the time, I was the one the joke was about. Maybe because it was simple to figure out what would make me blush, or cry. Or maybe because I was, as I feared, silly.
Maybe I was just easy to tease. I still am, I think.
Every so often, I decided I’d make a change. The next day, when I showed up at school, I’d be reserved. Cool, unflappable. The kind of person who people needed to wonder about, who never, ever said the wrong thing and turned red and got laughed at. This determination usually lasted approximately a minute; I never was that great of an actress.
You know, in some ways I think what I do now – write every single day about what’s going on in my head – is a direct response to all those years I spent trying to cover up. And what it’s taught me – all this writing-every-day – is that trying to be anything other than exactly what you are is just too exhausting.
Or it was for me, anyway.
My plan, when I found out I was pregnant, was to start dressing in gorgeously cut sheath dresses. To wear things like pearls, and blow-dry my hair every day, and maybe even give kitten heels a go.
I don’t know why this was my plan, exactly; I think it had something to do with Kate Middleton. Except I forgot that if there is one person on the planet whom I do not dress even a tiny bit like, it is Kate Middleton. She is so lovely and elegant, and did pregnancy attire so perfectly…and…
I can’t do it.
It’s just not my thing.
My plan reminded me of those ideas I used to have in high school about how I could make a decision to change it all, just show up in a costume and somehow become some other person through sheer force of will. But I forgot something big that these past few years have taught me. It’s true, you know: wherever you go (and whatever you put on)…there you are.
Silly? So be it. No point in pretending.