Hiding

 

I am pathetic. I mess something up every single day. Meanwhile, basic human tasks are somehow accomplished by everyone around me. Like socialization, holding a job, or preparing a meal. People are capable of driving a car without sweating and screaming. They can work all those endless computer programs without getting frustrated to the point of crying into their keyboards. People even manage to go on dates and not act like a frightened twelve year old. Why do I not achieve these same levels of competence? Why do I suck?

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These are the questions that run through my head every time I fail.

I blame my parents of course. In my case I blame them because they are so much cooler than me. Kids always rebel against their parents, and apparently I rebelled by being the nerd they’ll never understand. They were both attractive, charming and popular people at my age. My mother had already met her future husband and graced billboards as part of a national hair campaign. I have always been very single, and my hair is a frizzy ball of non-descript color origins. My father was the life of the party, the best looking man in any room and had the world wrapped around his finger. I have never been to a real party, no one notices me, and if I listen closely I think I can actually hear the world laughing at me.

Even my grandmother was cool. She was a small town runaway who came to the big city, partied with handsome Air Force pilots, and nicknamed herself Mike. She was a tough-as-nails, no nonsense Irish bad girl. I let the guy at Blacks mock me when I couldn’t figure out how to work the computer. I just paid him and left feeling embarrassed. My grandmother would have cut him to shreds with a few choice words and a red lipped sneer. Then she would have danced all night feeling like a million bucks.

I never had a chance. There’s nowhere to go but down compared to other people, and especially compared to my own family members.

So I resigned myself to a quiet life alone.

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Does everyone else have a life? I wonder. Do they go out every weekend, have exciting relationships and say witty things? I’ll never know. I’m what my mother calls a Hider. I stay in my house, watch television all evening and only go outside to buy popcorn and scratch tickets.

I prefer to look at it as aging before my time. I have always been the Old Lady while my mom went on dates and my dad went to poker parties. I would stay at home reading 80’s Harlequins and watching The Price is Right. I even had a chiropractor and an orthopedic back support cushion. I had a floral flannel nightgown, a porcelain teapot and a backscratcher shaped like a cat. Even my grandmother was never as much of a “grandmother” as I was by age sixteen.

photo-1417024321782-1375735f8987I like to think I’m alive in the wrong time. But that’s probably what everyone who stays alone on Friday nights watching sappy movies probably thinks. If only I was born back in the ‘good 

ol’ days,’ we dream, I’d be at a ball wearing a tiara, being appreciated by intellectual yet ruggedly handsome renaissance royalty. Or something like that. All I know is the world I live in frightens me. I don’t have anything ‘together.’ It seems like everything I do is pointless. Like anything I might do will never ever be as great as those who have come before me.

I don’t know if my parents or my grandmother ever felt afraid. Maybe that’s what pushed them to fight for the great lives they had. Maybe they lacked pessimism. Or had good hair. All I hope is to find the place in time where I can be my own kind of great.

I guess I have to get off the couch and go fight for it.

 

By Ashley Foy

featuring artwork from Wellington Sanipe

 

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