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Hiding in Plain Sight originally appeared on Girl Body Pride on November 12, 2012.
It’s a funny thing when trying to describe how the mind of a writer works to someone that doesn’t get it. Their brain isn’t wired the same way. Words are not trapped in their minds screaming for air until time is made to sit down and write them out because speaking them simply won’t do.
I try to explain this, but I’m speaking the words that I am currently tripping over and wish instead that I could just ask for a thirty minute break in which we retreat to our corners, but mine has to be the corner where I can charge my laptop while I write out what I can’t say.
Then maybe it will make sense.
I wrote the words that follow on Jenny Lawson’s blog (in the comment section, people, so don’t get all !!!) and no one noticed. I love Jenny. I’ve met her twice in person, she pet my kinky curls once in a ladies bathroom (and I’m not even going to clarify that one because I saw you raise an eyebrow in question and instantly feel better because this kind of humor is why I made it through another day). And once, Buttercup and I drove two hours to her book signing so I could stand behind a bookshelf to hear her read in the throng of fans and got a picture and a hug and went home beaming because she had actually remembered me from the aforementioned bathroom incident.
I love Jenny because she is who she is and she has somehow made a haven for herself amongst those who know and love her and those who love her and only know her through her words. She is one of my greatest inspirations for her ability to speak so frankly about her mental illness and somehow making us all feel like we’re true life friends and she gets us and more importantly, so do those that love her.
I read her book and know from listening to her speak at Changing Hands in Phoenix that everyone in her family read the manuscript before it was published.
They understand. They validate. They love. And it’s all such a foreign concept to me that I purposely saved the words that follow for the comment section on a blog so popular that blog comment #370-something would easily go unnoticed. It’s not that my family doesn’t listen. I just choose to keep most of the crazy bottled up inside of my head, so it’s kindofmaybe my fault, too.
Jenny wrote about the Katie Couric show and Brene Brown and Daring Greatly and the red dress.
Jenny was offering three to the first people to convince her they deserved a red dress of their own. I wrote, not for the red dress, but for the fact that I needed to let the words escape the jumble inside of my head and hiding in public was the only thing I could think to do.
We’re coming up on two months now. And because I need two more to process the mess inside of my head right now, I’m giving you a past-tense version of my present day self. Writer or not, if you came looking for Girl Body Pride, I know you understand.
I’m sure that by now all three of your traveling red dresses have been claimed by wonderful readers who truly need them and the magic they seem to bring with them. Even so, I’d like to share some truths here because it somehow seems safer here — buried within the hundreds of comments and readers and love and support — than up naked in front of my own audience. It’s not that easy to hide in broad daylight.
So I’ll fool myself here, pretend that it’s dark and no one will see what I was going to write in a blog post and save for months down the road so that I could wave away the concern with a laugh and a smirk meant to convey that I am so beyond that. I don’t need anyone cheering me on. I need to do it for my own fucking self because it’s my eyes that tell me what I see when I look into a mirror. And it’s my thoughts that continue the dialogue long after I’ve given up on sleep.
I’ve fallen. Slipped. I’ll pick myself back up again. I always do. But for some reason right now, I’m a fucking mess. (Daughter started kindergarten? The move from the hell-hole-rental we live in to the very nice one a few miles down the road? Finally proving the three pregnancy tests I’ve peed on since July right and then not knowing if I was relieved that I don’t need to worry myself with becoming responsible for more than one life or even more depressed with the proof that my body doesn’t make babies like a good Mexican girl should? Or maybe it’s all of the above plus the launch of Girl Body Pride and the inside of my head on display for everyone to see? Because I wasn’t freaking before “coming out” to my sister-in-law and high school friends as an eating-disordered, depressed sometimes, anxious all the time, severely ADHD, and OCD writer/blogger with a website they can read and then try to call me and talk about the words on the screen I normally only share with strangers.)
I’m guessing it’s all of it. I’m just looking for a buffer before reminding my readers that I am indeed a colossal hot mess and don’t just play one on T.V. because my daughter and I just arrived home after her violin lesson with Dairy Queen (2 chilli cheese dogs and a large cheese quake shake, thank you very much) for me hidden in a bag so she wouldn’t see while I carried her kid’s cup of ice cream into the house and declared it her surprise for being so good this week.
I’ve thought about throwing it up. I’ve thought about my kid being a genius and knowing Mama is totally not supposed to be eating the dairy/egg/sugar-filled shit she totally pretended not to notice because I’m allergic to most of it and sensitive to the rest. And I alternate between thinking I need the words “train wreck” tattooed on my forehead and high-fiving myself for the progress I’ve made since the last time I dived into the deep end of Crazy.
Because this is progress, people. Two hot dogs and a shake is not the binge it used to be. The head game is the same, but let’s remember that there were months upon months where I spent everything I made on food being eaten for the sole purpose of flushing down the toilet.
This is progress.
It’s also truth. Because I want to/need to/have to fix myself long enough to realize how far I’ve come so I can refocus all of my energy on not breaking my daughter. Because I need to share the train wreck that is today so we can all appreciate the unbroken promises of tomorrow. Because otherwise they might think I’m full of shit when I tell them that yes, we all are fine just the way we are and that yes, it gets better because I don’t really get how they feel.
When I do.
So far, I’ve had Leslie Marinelli tell the world about the mean girls inside of her head and why she is trying to evict them (hint: her daughter’s an inspiration), H.C. Palmquist redefine the truths put in place by her abusive ex-husband and find herself in the process, Julia Roberts tell the world she doesn’t give a damn what you all think about her new nose ring, and the teenaged-wonder behind the Losergurl blog (who I want to be when I grow up) all share themselves with Girl Body Pride readers with the intention of showing the world that it is entirely possible to glue the pieces back together and try again for those that we love and maybe remind ourselves of how strong we actually are in the process– which maybe makes the next nose dive less painful and less of a time suck — because we know what we are capable of.
Please, if you decide that a red dress is in my future for sharing and spreading a bit of magic, let me hide in the comments here until the time comes to copy and paste this whole mess into a blog post and slap it up on Girl Body Pride beneath photographs of myself drawing strength from the frivolous and fantastic dress I’ll be wearing while holding hands and dancing with my little girl in the red dress I’ll buy for her to love herself in before sending it on its way, as well. Because I’ll just need that one moment to remind myself.
Just that one moment.
And that moment will multiply and grow every time I see a new face smiling while dancing for the camera in a magical red dress.
And this is when I take a deep breath, close my eyes, say a silent prayer, and hit publish.
Obviously, I didn’t get a red dress. Obviously, that’s not really what I was looking for and I think Jenny knew that.
I just needed a place to share my words that wasn’t my own. Now, I’m hitting publish again.
This is my house. This is my space. These are my words. This is who I am.
I am my own red dress. My own silver ribbon.
I am my own safe place.I’m not saying these words because I believe them. I’m saying them because I need to over and over until I do.Tomorrow, maybe, will be different.