You're Just Going to Shed it Anyway

Over coffee the other day my friend and I got to watch, for a few minutes, this woman who was clearly, loudly, definitively, excessively not at all ok with who she was. Not even a little bit. And we kind of got to talking about whether or not anyone is comfortable in their own skin. My friend confessed that he is really not, and when I said that I feel that I most certainly AM, he gave me that look that he gives me sometimes that means I should stop talking and think long and hard about what I am saying because he knows I am totally, utterly full of shit.

Damn that boy and his 'knowing me too well' bit.

I have been thinking about this for the past couple days. Are any of us comfortable with who we are, with what we are, within our own skin? I really do feel like I am, but I could sight five blatant examples of why I am most likely lying to myself.  So maybe I'm not. Or wasn't, at least.

I am, however, pretty self-assured. Is that the word? Yeah, I think it is. I am not a vain person by any means, but I know that I am not terrible on the eyes and I know that I am freaking hilarious when I want to be and I know that I am smart and just tall enough and have good taste and my hair is fabulous and I am pretty damn good in the sack. I don't need you to tell me that, I already know it. I think I worked all the way through my "doubting myself" phase by the time I hit thirty.

And that was my point to perceptive-smurf the other day. My poorly articulated point. Something shifts in you when you hit thirty. Internally. And not in that oh shit my bladder used to be a lot stronger sort of way, though that happens too. Don't believe me? Just you wait...

Something just clicks after thirty and you get things. You see them more clearly. I can't explain it better than that, but those of you in the 30+ club will agree with me, I know you will. My friend Sheryl says that the shift at 60 is even better than the one at thirty. This fact makes me very excited to hit 60, 'cause I am totally digging the mindset that has come along with my new decade of age. It's just, well, quieter. Calmer. Even when it crazy fucking madness because you spent your twenties acquiring some debt, a job, a litter of kids that all have to be at different places at the same time, a bunch of friends with various neurosis and a dog you can never find the time to walk, it is still all easier because after thirty you master the art of taking shit in stride. Diapers aren't as expensive at 30 as they were at 22; even though the price hasn't changed, your perspective has.

Now, in my teens and early twenties, yeah, not so friends with myself. I kind of hated myself to be honest. I hated the sound of my voice and the color of my hair and the way my eyes point up but nobody else's do and the fact that I am really, badly pigeon-toed and that my feet are really big and my thighs are huge and even my cuticles...I hated my cuticles. (Honestly, still do. Cuticles gross me the fuck out.) And so I dyed my hair and stopped eating for a few years. And then one day I discovered this fun little trick called "slicing your arms open with razor blades". Not so much in the I want to die way as the oooh this feels like something and I haven't actually felt something more than self-loathing in a while and isn't red a pretty color and I shouldn't be doing this but you can't stop me sort of way. Yeah, I was a fucked up teenager. And so I sliced my skin open for a while, got all the way down to 98 pounds and still managed to be the one, the only, hideously fat 98 pound girl on the planet. I was HUGE. I was, like, a size ZERO. You should have seen me naked. Oh, that's right, you couldn't have. Because I absolutely refused to let anyone see me wearing less than 3 layers of clothes. That makes one's sex life fun, let me tell you.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I know all about being uncomfortable within my own skin. I don't know how I came out of that place, but I did and it was pretty abrupt. I think it had a lot to do with the good boyfriend that I had, the one that thought I was gorgeous and funny and smart and didn't care if I weighed 98 or 150, he was totally into me. I was going to marry me in a big ass church with every single person he had ever met in his whole life there to witness it. He was great. He did more for my mental health in 3 years than 15 shrinks could have done in 10. I dumped him, of course. For Josh, none the less.

And Hannah helped. Hannah and I were in the computer lab in high school one day (guess who was the editor of the yearbook in high school? Guess who also only had one date her whole time in high school? Think those 2 facts aren't mutually exclusive?) and I pushed up my sleeve to glue something, which I never did normally, and Hannah saw a bunch of very red, very oozey, very scabby marks up my arm. I got a really good yelling at that day. Like, a MOM yelling. Like, an "I will kick your motherfucking ass to kingdom come if you do not stop this shit right fucking now" yelling. That helped a lot. I don't think I ever carved into myself after that day. I was kind of glad to get caught. She noticed, someone noticed. God knows my father didn't pay enough attention to me to notice.

Tough love, baby. Sometimes the shit works.

Speaking of Hannah, we have, well, traditions. Strange, odd little traditions. Traditions founded in high school computer labs. Traditions like renaming bodies of water with pomp and circumstance and coffee creamers, and the CLF which I won't start in on now but maybe, someday, far from now I will tell you about that one, and Something in the Name of Breakfast at 9:16. We did Something in the Name of Breakfast at 9:16 quite a lot a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. We haven't in many years but tomorrow, at 9:16 en punto, we are doing Something. Possibly Breakfast. I am super excited.

And as for today, I feel pretty comfortable. Maybe not 100% comfortable, but I'm on my way. I am really digging me lately. Especially my taste in music. I have great taste in music. Maybe I'll burn you a CD.