Friday, February 03, 2006

Lost & Found

It’s Friday night and I am at home. When John called this morning and asked me if I was free tomorrow night, I said no. Then he asked me if I was free tonight. Again I said no. Then he asked me out for Sunday and I said okay. I am free. I said no not out of anger or petulance or in some twisted attempt to gain control over him. Sometimes I just want to be alone. In some odd way it makes me feel more at peace than when I am with people. So tonight I am at home. I am not sure what I am going to do or why I need to be alone but it’s an expanse of time, a blank slate, for me to fill the way I please. For a few hours this evening I get to write my own story.

I am caught between many worlds. Sometimes I know which world I choose. At other times I don’t.

There is the work me. She wears Theory pants and J Crew turtlenecks and carries a smart purse. Her shoes are stylish but practical. Her hair and makeup are subtle, neutral. Over the years she has gone through bad bosses and unfair reviews and coworkers stealing her ideas and passing them off as her own. Sometimes she has cried locked up in a bathroom stall at work and then gone to a meeting and casually, dismissively, explained the red eyes as allergy. People rely on her to get things done and she usually does.

Then there is the daughter/sister/friend me. She wears jeans and t-shirts and big movie star sunglasses and small fake diamond earrings. She picks up prescriptions for sick friends and buys groceries when she’s visiting her parents. She loans her brother money for medical school. She raves over her aunt’s cooking, listens half-smilingly as her uncle tries to explain football to her for the umpteenth time, plays with her nieces and nephews and spends whole afternoons laughing.

Then there is the flirtatious, outgoing me. She likes going to parties and dances and nightclubs. She likes attention and dangly earrings and sparkly pink lipglosses, the kind that says kiss me. She knows how to push a man (although she has been in hibernation for a while. A long, long, long while.)

There is also the label-conscious me. The one who loves Marc Jacobs handbags and Jimmy Choo shoes and likes the cachet of pulling out a Chanel compact, even if it doesn’t match her color exactly, and swears by Chanel lipsticks even though she knows she can find the exact shade for 1/3 the cost in a drugstore brand.

And finally there is the volunteer me who goes as much to bury her own demons as to help others fight theirs.

But which one of the above is the real me? Sometimes I slip into one or the other like I am slipping in and out of clothes. Effortlessly, perfected through years of practice. At other times I resist. I don’t want to be this or that but practice kicks in there too and suddenly I am transformed.

Most people only know me as one or other. The only person who came closest to knowing the real me was my ex. But he wanted me to be something particular. I couldn’t. So I became something else. The relationship me. Strong and weak, indifferent and emotional, secure and insecure, stubborn and pliant. Abused and the abuser. Angel and the bitch. I said "I hate you" when I wanted to say "I love you and I am afraid" and "I still like you" when I really meant "You’re not who I thought you were."

Tonight I spent 7 minutes on the phone directing my food delivery lady when she got lost and then another 5 minutes chatting with her about my balcony. After she left I showered, put on a white t-shirt, a pair of pink boy shorts, a clay mask and ate biryani with my fingers, licking the sauce off my hand, lying on bed propped up on my elbows with a pillow under my chest while I flipped through the pages of the new issue of Vogue lusting after the many beautiful things and listened to the Train cd start to finish several times. In the middle of track 4 I got up and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and found myself starting to sway to the music, dancing alone. Later I cleaned and took the garbage out. I did not want to wake up tomorrow to an unclean house.

It's 10:29 pm and I am about to go to bed. I know the doubts will come back, the wondering will resume, the restlessness will find its way in again. C’est La Vie. That is life. But for now, just for tonight, I know who I am.


Blogger beefdrop said...

Yes! Feel it, know it!

2/07/2006 12:17 PM  

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