A Valuable Lesson in Being Yourself

runninginfieldAll the blood has begun to drain from my head, across my chest, through my arms, down my legs, and into my feet, where the energy that I imagine I am made of disappears through the cracks in the floor of this dark room. And so I stand, an empty tin can of a girl, lightheaded and speechless. I don’t know what I expected the answer to be when I asked the boy who never asked me to brunch what it was about me that wasn’t enough. You don’t normally ask loaded questions like this. But when you’re drunk and feeling the sting of rejection like a fresh, red welt, this is precisely the question you ask.

“I go for the party girls,” he says, as free in his response as I am in my inquiry. “The broken ones I can fix. Everyone else I eventually get bored by. You just… you just seem so stable.”

This is the part where I feel all color drain from me. Because I am not the party girl, never have been the party girl, and just because the boy standing across from me that I have come to like very much can’t scrape me off the floor of a bar at night, I am not enough. I am not messed enough for this person to possibly fall in love with. In four seconds, I feel as though the last decade of my life has been all for naught. All the career striving, the bill paying, the frantic pursuit to make something of my life… all of this is simply the wasted efforts of a boring, normal girl.



For days I will wake up with a pit in my stomach replaying his words in my head like an echo. I begin to take them to heart, seeing myself in the way he apparently saw me, until I realize that his warped perception, stable (ha!) or otherwise, was single-handedly shaped by myself. I was trying to be something I thought he wanted, and in stepping on the eggshells he littered his life with, I became agreeable, normal, utterly dull.

Looking back at it, just a week later, I see what I had done wrong. The dresses I wore even though it was 10 degrees outside, curling my hair even though I prefer it wild and raggedy, not being as loud or boisterous or funny as I am with my friends, those people who I don’t need to perform for because I am not being judged. None of that was me. And so I can’t fault him for not liking that person, because frankly, I didn’t like her that much, either.

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