no one makes me feel like a natural woman
Kelly stood up at the little girl’s birthday party,
Inside the bunk house where the service group is staying for a month this summer.
He grabbed baby Helena from her Momma.
But effectively cut me off from my exits.
I had to mentally calm myself down, like I have to do on a plane.
He wasn’t trapping me. I could get out.
I wasn’t stuck.
I have to tell myself the same thing in my physical space as well as my headspace.
Sometimes I like being around people I can’t read.
Get a read on a mean, like understand.
We’re on the same level.
But, when my brain is tired, it’s less work to be around less smart people.
I don’t do well on my own.
I mean living alone.
Because I am now.
My roommate has fled for her summer teaching holiday back to her home.
I’m having to have a new experience each day.
I’m planning them.
So I don’t fall into the bad kind of depression.
The kind where I can’t leave my bed.
And no one will be there to judge me for it.
There’s a woman here in town,
She’s a lot like me.
I dislike her.
But, because of the similarities between us, between who we are,
I feel like I’m disliking myself, by disliking her.
It makes me want to change.
Be less of a know-it-all,
She’s the sort of girl I avoided in college.
But, here, because everything’s so small, I can’t tell her how I really feel.
It comes back when I’m uncomfortable.
I can’t stop smiling. There’s nothing to be smiley about.
It’s a default.
I want it to go away.
This person who smiles.
I spent an hour of my lunch seated in the beige chair
Reading a book I’d read before,
Hunched over my small phone screen
While eating my lunch of dried apricots and peanuts.
But from that spot in the library,
No one can see me, I’m not watched.
So I can sit like a man.
I warned her before I was going to do it.
Throw my phone across the room.
I had talked to my father.
It was one of the times he wasn’t listening, but hum-hawing along.
That same day, he drunkenly told me he loved me.
And I was upset that I wasn’t worth it sober.
I went into shut-down mode.
She asked what was wrong.
I smiled and made small-talk.
I think she finally realized just how much, exactly, I hide.
So, part of growing up,
Is learning more about yourself, and growing habits.
I used to think I had no habits, I was the best in the world to live with.
But that’s not true anymore.
I’ve learned more about myself, and how I work.
So now, I take all that with me to each new person I share a sink next to.
I’m mad at myself I couldn’t see it as a good thing that we both like to draw, and paint, and speak bad Spanish.
I didn’t see it as a bonding thing, but competition.
Because we’re similar, I had to be better.
I held her baby.
I wanted a baby.
I didn’t understand this.
So I called my mom, hoping to have her tell me it was okay not to want kids, but crave something of my own.
Instead she told me all about how my stepbrother has decided everyone is dead to him, and how her conference went well.