I am not good at copying.
Save the spot-on rendition of Everybody by The Backstreet Boys that my son and I perform in the car, I don’t do impressions. Simon Says was not my game. I either could not remember what Simon said, or forgot to ask.
I rarely follow trends for any extended period. I am into essential oils these days, and some might say that’s a trend, but compared to Snapchat stories and rompers, oils are safe for me.
The inability to copy doesn’t make me a rebel or a trendsetter; I am neither. I have tried to follow; I simply lack the skill set.
When I was in high school, I decided to be a cheerleader. Despite my lean toward the theater and my mostly pensive attitude, cheerleaders seemed fun. They had bouncy hair and represented a Grease-type experience that was appealing. I could be peppy and positive, I thought.
The day of try-outs, I was so nervous that instead of mirroring every cheerleader I’d observed, I showed up as myself. I managed the moves, but they were nowhere near cheering. Instead, true to form, I was checking off a list of requirements— leg kick, hands straight, shake and hold.
I have always been good at rules.
The bubbly personality, the natural body confidence and ease, the joy of getting excited about a sporting event— not so much. I remember being exhausted that night and thinking maybe I could be a different kind of cheerleader, maybe it was okay that I rarely wore makeup and knew nothing about sports.
Let’s just say they didn’t call me back.
Later in life when I was pregnant, I read books and magazines about being a mom. There were all kinds of ads and suggestions for raising my babies “the right way.” I even wore a bow in my hair for a while.
Once my daughter was born, life got real super fast. My default kicked in, the bows were gone, and I became the only mom I knew how to be. In short, I breastfed for about a week, obsessed over my children wearing clean shoes on the first day of school, cried at just about everything, and raised my voice often in spite of it “crushing their little souls.”
Good, bad, worts and other yucky things, it turns out that me is all I know how to do.
Every person is unique. I know that.
But some women can wear red lipstick with confidence, or talk at length about the themes in The Illiad. I can bake a mean apple cake and describe a kiss at least two dozen different ways. I suppose those are skills, but sometimes the gloss of what I’m not seems worth getting out the tracing paper.
After years of fumbling, I make an effort to stick with what works for me, my genuine self.
Although last week I read an article about this gorgeous-rolled-up-distressed-jeans artist in Soho and for a fleeting moment I wondered if I too could pull off wearing cute heels and eyeliner every day.
Sigh… maybe there is an essential oil for acceptance.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Twin Bed.