(don’t worry, the irony of posting a blog with this title is not lost on me.)
i am not good at secrets.
though my mother asserts that i was an incredibly private child, somewhere along the line i lost all discretion and became the boisterous, snarky far-from-ladylike creature i am now.
i think the ‘loud’ started somewhere in middle school, when my doughy pudge and commitment to corduroy were no longer overlooked by my peers, and attentions shifted to the pretty girls who weren’t burdened with layers of baby fat and to the kids whose parents would let them spend large periods of time unsupervised. i fit neither of these categories, but i really didn’t want to be invisible forever. so i picked a few things about which i could say many things, and i said every last one of those things REALLY LOUDLY and i made a few friends with those same few interests.
i still can’t decide if i chose incredibly well…or awfully unfortunately… because i picked things like lord of the rings, ender’s game, and les miserables to incessantly chatter (or sing) about at high volumes, thereby further alienating most of the pretty people and ALL of the oft unchaperoned. but in my little tiny community, i found the few kind gems who made those painful pubescent years at school something so much less terrible than they could have been. escaping to other worlds, debating and analyzing story arcs with the bright, inquiring minds of fellow nerds gave me a confidence that allowed me to, however obnoxiously, speak up and stand up for my thoughts.
those skills i learned served me well as i grew, and also got me into a lot of trouble. (surprise.) but the loud….the loud was still obnoxious, and though i had confidence in my intelligence, public high school was not necessarily the kind of environment in which i could brazenly capitalize on debate-ability. at least not nearly as loudly. that, i believe, is where the snark set in. when i started to live under the delusion that i was some poor victim of great social injustice at the hand of my more popular peers and the teachers and administrators who were all CLEARLY IDIOTS (because 14 year old hannah was so much smarter than all the college educated adults), that’s when i developed a thick layer of critical snark to carry on my person at all times. undermining authority figures and social gods with constant, grating argumentative snark was my response to feelings of insecurity and that general ‘lostness’ that i think most kids experience in those years.
and as i grew older and slightly more confident in myself, the quiet snark got louder and suddenly i was both LOUD AND SNARKY, causing all manner of chaos in all manner of environments. laughing inappropriately loudly and disregarding all humans who wouldn’t engage in witty banter, i elevated myself to a position where i could feel comfortable.
so here i am at 25, staring down wifery, and realizing that this liquid, morphing personality that i’ve worked on my entire life, slaved away at… all of this persona that i inhabit comes basically from feeling like i wasn’t pretty enough to deserve anyone’s attention. how sickening to realize that sometime so pathetic and trivial has shaped so very much of who i am. and what’s even MORE frustrating and disgusting is that these aspects of my personality are now the very facets of my self that i detest, wishing instead that i could be that portrait of femininity and veiled mystery that i’m supposed to be!
im not that beautiful and ethereal enigma, i’m a clumsy doofus who will tell complete strangers the most intimate details of my life on a whim. i’m a classic oversharer who desperately wants to be known. there’s nothing left to learn about me. i tell all my stories. multiple times. then i post them online. i’m an open book. unless, of course, you want me to make pleasant conversation with acquaintances… then i clam up, flash a panicky smile and make really pained, indecipherable sounds. poise, charm, and pleasant surface socialization are not a part of my skill set. but i CAN blow free floating spit bubbles off my tongue… so i have that going for me.
femininity is confusing. i feel caught between multiple different versions of a self that i never really wanted to be. i never thought being a docile, agreeable woman was much my style, but the fact that i became my ornery, spunky self as a result of feeling rejected by certain gender expectations and my own social misconceptions shows me that what i have perceived to be a hearty, confident stand against the grain of gender roles is really just a complex born from the very constructs i think i’m defying. what a joke.