Nothing Awful Lasted Long

Today, I am halfway to twenty-eight. People ask you hard questions when you're halfway to twenty-eight. Unfair, mean-spirited questions like What do you do? and What are you working on? and Why haven't you paid us in three months? Questions that leave me with hands that don't know where to hide and feet that can't find flat on the floor.

I think often of the woman on the cover of Organic Style. I see her in the supermarket check out line: her Mona Lisa smile, her slim feet, her creaseless yoga pants. She's sitting in a manicured field and she's meditating on the wheat germ smoothie she's drinking for dinner. She is calm, she is Zen, she is infinite. There are no dirty dishes in this woman's sink.

This woman is my bodhisattva. She is my New Year's resolution, my shining light in the dark. She is my personal Jesus. I live my life in hot pursuit of skin that glows with a gleam only Photoshop can provide. I buy salmon at the market and eat cookies for dinner. I plan to go to yoga and spend the cash on coffee instead. I buy hempseed shampoo and eucalyptus face wash and they sit in a drawer for tens of years until I'm poor enough to dig them out.

And for what?

The truth is that I'm trying to disappear. White-washed and glowing, cross-legged in a field; I tip-toe, I side-step, I back-track. I move every which way but onward ho. Studies have shown that 93% of my life's problems stem from Giving a Fuck What People Think.

And today, walking home in my Target flats from a job I never meant to take, I think of this bodhisattva on a hill with her wheat germ smoothie and her sun-sleek ponytail and I think: Who the fuck is she? Who is this woman with a spotless sink and a spotless mind? Because she is not any twenty-seven and a half I have ever known.

Twenty-seven and a half has three dollars in her checking account.

Twenty-seven and a half is eating chocolate chips straight from the bag.

Twenty-seven and a half is blinking like a loris when someone asks her What do you do? and What are you working on? and Why haven't you paid?

Twenty-seven and a half is moving forward and upward and onward ho. She is teaching her feet to find flat on the floor.

[photo courtesy 油姬]