So I work this sort of corporate job where I drive an hour to downtown and park in a dirt lot that’s at least a ten minute walk from my office. I don’t mind the walk, except when it’s raining, but the smell of the exhaust and the busy bustle of the cars is comforting. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I originate from a real city and it’s encoded in my DNA or something. I don’t know. I like being in a city. I can pretend I’m in New York or London or somewhere with tall buildings that you can see when you fly over. Somewhere that people go to leave behind their small towns to try their hand at their passion and make it big. And I’m not there. I’m in my fake city. But driving the hour commute to work isn’t terrible because I can listen to music and get a solid moment to think and dream and write, all while downing my travel mug filled with the coffee I made before I left. I really don’t mind the drive, don’t terribly mind the work—not yet—and the hours could always be worse. The thing that never changes though, the thought that I can’t get out of my mind everyday is the one I use to reinforce my faith in being a writer.
I am nothing like you people.
I’m not. I’m nothing like all the high-end business execs in their Men’s Warehouse suits and Anny Taylor dresses. I wear grayish-navy pants that are too long and too big with a blouse I got on the clearance rack and a sweater that has loose strings and holes near the arm pit. My hair is swept up in a lopsided bun and if I left myself enough time, I might have some concealer on. Maybe a brush of mascara. The inside of my shoes are breaking and they have stains from the last time I wore them outside in the grass. My nails are rarely painted, but mostly chewed and I’m pretty sure I have deodorant remnants on me.
I’m a ragdoll.
I’m the opposite of every high heel walking over the expensive marble that gives the younger generation something to aim for. And I trudge behind them thinking I am nothing like you.
It used to bother me, back when I thought I’d turn into the girl I’d seen portrayed in Disney movies and on television. One day I’d magically wake up and bam! I’d be Kafka’s metamorphosis of the butterfly instead of the weird insect I’ve been the entire time. But I never woke up to find wings. Just the same old limbs that were short and pale and awkward. And it took me a while to realize I was never going to get wings. I was never going to change and be like the others. I wasn’t Minnie Mouse. I was Goofy’s retarded niece. And there’s no poster girl for that.
It doesn’t bother me anymore. In fact, I embrace it. Maybe not the sweater holes or shoe stains, but every flaw on me proves I have no place being among the white-collared clean and polished people. That’s important to them and I totally give them credit. I would love to put myself together and look like an actual adult… but it’s not me. I’m not an adult. I’m a sixteen year old kid with twelve extra years of practice. And my hair will always be a lopsided bun and stains will inevitably find their way onto my clearance rack clothes. But that’s what Goofy’s retarded niece wears. So I’m set.
Honestly, I think if I looked like the rest, it wouldn’t be a constant reminder that I’m different. That one day I won’t be sitting in a cubicle or strutting around the office, but hopefully, giving book tours because I’ve actually made it. And how many artists do you see all shiny and new? Who gives a fuck about appearance when you have a masterpiece to create or even the theory of relativity to unleash? Don’t get me wrong—I bathe regularly and you read what I wrote about deodorant stains—I use it. I just don’t blend into the adult working class… and I think that’s a good thing.
I am nothing like you people.
I say it every day on my walk from my car to the elevator, following behind Banana Republic ads and Gap commercials. And me—I’m the ragdoll working to pay my bills.
You have no idea, I think, no idea who I am.
But you will someday.