I wanted to convince myself.
In a modest, below the knee black sweater dress that exploited every curve on my frame. In mascara and one of my richer lip glosses. A new pair of heels seated in the passenger seat. I wanted to trick myself into being the girl who smiles back at me in old photos. The social butterfly. The shameless flirt. The bold lil’ mama strutting to the bar for a Jameson on the rocks without hesitation. The girl who gets the guy and knows just what to do with him once he’s in her clutches.
Surrendering to this new girl–the one who spends weekends in a bedroom ravenously consuming A Song of Ice and Fire podcasts and advanced astrology videos–conceded a failure. My grand experiment of wholeness unto myself–started with a defiant, fiery freedom chant–ending in a defeated thud of Friday nights in sweatpants with a 9:00 PM bed time.
If you were gonna be this boring, you shoulda just settled down.
My night at the museum happy hour should’ve put a dent in that narrative. I would be in a room with music and drinks and my week-old fresh-ish haircut and a dazzling smile, remembering who the fuck I was.
That’s what I told myself. Until I pulled up and saw the “Sold out” sign.
I wish it was just an outdoor sign instead of a bones-deep feeling that a self I diligently designed and fiercely guarded flew the coup; subjecting me to the smirk of an asshole inner critic demanding an explanation for who the fuck I thought I was to not want what everybody else wants in the first place. This? It accuses. This is what you railed against societal expectations for? All that noise to end up a boring bitch with a colorless existence?
I want to say that voice is wrong.
Except I don’t have a rebuttal.