|So, if you don't care what people think of you- just don't wear underwear! Simple.|
(It's too bad that someone defecating on the floor was not the unlikely situation, but moving on.)
As we both laughed/gagged over this predicament, another girl sauntered in to the bathroom and gave me a cold and disgusted once over. I know this girl, I've seen her around. And, much to my total bewilderment, this girl hates me and I have no idea why. We have never spoken to one another. I don't even really know her name. YET, every time I bump in to her during social events, I do my awkward bob-and-wave and she looks at me like I am a mystery brownie lump on a bar bathroom floor.
It kills me.
I smiled hugely at her in my nervous and very attractive way, and then proceeded to wash my hands vigorously. Like I was trying to prove my impeccable sanitary skills? Show that I am too cool for the environment and waste water because "water was SO 2010?" I don't know what I was doing. Oh, wait, yes I do.
I was being weird.
When I recounted this story to a girlfriend a few days later, she stopped me as I was mid-exaggerated re-enactment of the mean girl's eye rolling. "Wait," she said, holding up her wine to stop me. "You said you don't know this girl?"
"I have NO idea who she IS!" I cried, throwing up my hands. "I only know that she has a bangin' body, owns a lot of pairs of white shoes, and HATES ME for some reason."
"Then why do you care, exactly?"
The thing was, I did care. I cared an awful lot about someone who I did not know and I had never actually seen smile or be human in any way. And I was complaining about it to a friend that I did care an obscene amount about. I had wasted good wine and cheez doodle eating time talking about this mean girl, and that is unacceptable. You do not waste that precious cheez doodle time.
I dropped the subject and moved on to more important and worldly topics (probably something celebrity or hair related. No judgements. I can't be brilliant all of the time,) but I couldn't shake how disappointed in myself I was for giving something so unhealthy in my life a large amount of attention. I really cared that this girl didn't like me. I cared that my waitress the night before was rude to me- so I tipped her an insane amount. I cared when people didn't like me, didn't want to hang out with me, and I AM AN ALMOST 30 YEAR OLD WOMAN WHO COULD BE CONSIDERED IN SOME CIRCLES TO BE SEMI-INTELLIGENT.
It was like I kept putting myself in the position of the fat kid in stained sweatpants, always getting picked last for the kickball team. I was so focused on that awful feeling that I ignored all of the good, healthy things around me.
And I cared enough about myself that I really didn't want to be like that anymore.
It reminded me of when I did theater and was constantly thrown into a mix of people who had permanent bitch-faces and a fun assortment of personality disorders. I was 13, in full makeup cowering behind the stage during the local production of "The Sound Of Music", and the handsome 16 year old actor who played the asshole Rolfe walked up to me and sat down.
I couldn't breathe. Mainly because he was 16 OMG and VERY CUTE OMG and also very gay. (didn't know that at the time.) He looked at me tremblingly adoring him and tremblingly wishing my cue wasn't coming up, and he laid a perfectly manicured hand on top of mine.
"Listen. I know you are going to be something someday. Definitely not an actress-" (Thanks, asshole Rolfe.) "But you'll be something. I feel it. And you should know something." He took a deep and dramatic breath and closed his eyes before snapping them open and looking imploringly into mine. "There are always going to be people prettier than you. Smarter than you. Richer than you. But don't let them determine your worth. Don't let them bring you down. And for GOD SAKE, take care of your skin."
I decided to take gay Rolfe's wise advice and put it into play 17 years later. Last night I washed my face very carefully, and called up a friend for an evening chat. We talked about plans for the future, reminisced about shenanigans from the past...and I never, ever, not even once brought up something that wasn't worth bringing up. I was content with the fact that the right people like me. The right people would cheer me on and call me to eat cheez doodles and wouldn't give me a bitch face in a random bathroom. And these people were the ones worth focusing on. Worth calling at 1am. Worth sharing with them my thoughts on Jennifer Aniston's new boy toy without judgement.
Life is too short to let yourself be brought down.
And life is definitely too short to not take care of your skin.