Or maybe just, awww, the heck with my life. If you want to know what it's like to be me, read on.
After the dentist—six month cleaning, performed with an ice pick—I went to Barnes & Noble, looking for books about pirates in the bargain section. Got jittery going in—hadn't been there in a while so was unfamiliar with the layout, felt like all eyes were on me, felt like I was being judged by whatever item I was looking at. Tried looking at Super Mario chess sets (really???) to show how geeky I am (honestly, I love Super Mario, but I couldn't care less), and tried not looking at books about how one knows if one's cat is planning to kill oneself. Can't go into SFF section without feeling like an impostor, even though it's 95% of what I read. Forty-something year old woman, dressed decent, clean, mature(ish). Like I must be a spy. Or if they don't think I'm a spy, then they think I'm some sort of immature, childish person. Emotionally, mentally undeveloped. Because I'm in the SFF section.
Can't win no matter where I'm looking (except online!). New Age section = I'm sort of loopy hippy. Graphic novels = again with the "How old are you?" Humor = well, you get the picture. So I can't find books in the bargain section, and I'm about to leave, while feeling like they're watching me because I don't have anything and maybe I stole something, and what do I see in the first row of bargain books? Two books on pirates. Right there when I walked in. What an idiot. Disappointed at the lack of color pictures taking up whole pages, but it's fine. Got those and a BBT bookmark, Sheldon saying, "That's my spot!" Which is hilarious for a bookmark. Cashier tries to sell me their rewards program and a stuffed bunny and I have to mumble, "No, thanks," while looking down at the counter.
Next go to Ulta, because I saw they carry IT brand cosmetics online. Couldn't find them in store. Walked around the premium cosmetics sections jittery. Asked if I need help and I did, but what do I say? "No, just looking." Felt like all eyes were on me, like I'm being judged—I can't afford the cosmetics, or I shouldn't buy them because I'm so ugly, or I'm not that ugly but I obviously can't apply make-up. That sort of thing.
Wandered into cheaper, drugstore cosmetics, where I felt more comfortable. Saw they had a sale. After a while, got into the whole thing, loved shopping for stuff. Got two items. Would have bought a third but I didn't know if it was on sale and was afraid to ask. So take the two items up, they ask if I have an Ulta member card and I do but I haven't used it in so long, I'm afraid if I pull it out they'll say, That's an ooooooold card! And they'll know I haven't shopped there in forever. Which would make me somehow a bad person. So I say no, I don't have a card, and they ring me up and without the card I don't get the sale price, and instead of saying something then like, "Oh, I just remembered I do have a card!", I pay the full price on my two cosmetics and leave, defeated.
Defeated sometimes sums up my existence.
Rejected stories, defeated by mundane, impersonal interactions in stores, and I blew up the stick of butter in the microwave when I attempted to melt it half an hour ago.
On the flip side: two pieces will be appearing in March (thank you, dear editors!), and while perusing the pirate books when I got home, got inspiration I needed for my book. Which is at 20,000 words. Which crushed me when I first added it up, thinking I was at, like, 40 or 50,000. But still. I somewhat have a book.
Online and in person, I try to portray a nice, friendly, confident person. Helpful. Kind. But the truth is that I am a seething nest of nauseous snakes, wound in a slithery ball of insecurity. If you are too, then high five, friend. *clink* That's our beers tapping each other in salute.