I’m always looking for feedback.
Feedback on how I’m doing as a person. Was that thing I just did good? Was it bad? Did you hate it? Do you love me? Do you still love me? How about now? What about now?…. Now?
When I don’t get feedback I. Freak. Out. My anxiety takes over and I make up feedback. “He didn’t check me out because I’m fat and ugly. I’m doing terrible at my new job. She thought I was awkward and high when really I’m just awkward and allergic to my eyeliner. My new classmates don’t like me because think I’m the dumbest and wish I would shut up.”
Totally dependent on feedback whether I have to make it up or not. I will. have.
order. feedback. (Harry Potter ϟ reference! Anyone?)
My sense of self depends on feedback. Can I blame school for this? Maybe.
I can think back on some home videos and see how in my pre-teens I started to become
real awkward unsure of myself. I started to become aware of my body and how it wasn’t like my friends. My hair was weird and did things my friends’ hair didn’t do. It was frizzy and I couldn’t brush or crimp it like my friends could. Yes I was devastated I couldn’t partake in 90’s crimping. I had to wear a swim cap in the pool (traumatizing) if I wanted to keep my hair straight. I was fatter than them, too. Fat little gluten and lactose belly.
To cope, I tried to be like my friends anyway. I tried to not be different. I wore the same crop tops (Lord forgive my sins), I shopped at the same stores, bought the same shoes and danced to the same music. I pretended hard that I was white. Everyone else was. It was the only thing around me that existed. There was no one like me. I was it and that was… confusing and really really hard.
I’ve always hated myself for my differences. Even now I’ll be feelin’ alright about myself and a white girl with the long blonde hair and itty bitty body will enter the space and in a second I implode. I’m worthless. I feel my hair puffing out to five times its size. I feel my eyes bulge out of my head, my double chin dropping to my chest and I’m taking up extra space with my fat body. I expand and at the same time, shrink into nothing. All because I can never be white, blonde or skinny. Something that feels mandatory to be wanted in this country. Let me take a pause and remind myself that I was the cats meow, the bees knees, the Kate Upton of Paris. Men “ooh la la”ed me, stared me down and asked me to dinner. I was only there three days and that was enough to decide, “I’m moving here.”
In Minnesota, its different. It seems different, anyways. I’m sure there are a few men ’round these parts who’d like some of this caramel skinned lady snack. Wow. What did I just call myself? If a man called me that I would be so offended. Whatever. I’m leaving it.
Everyone started dating in middle school. Not I, said the overweight mixed girl. Middle school was rough. Middle school in general is rough and I spent mine in a white, conservative farm town. Not great timing, mom and dad.
While I don’t remember ever being made fun of for being black I was not getting great feedback from my peers. I was not understood there. I wasn’t like anyone there, either. The girls I wanted to be like did not think I was cool. The boys didn’t acknowledge my existence unless it was to pull down my pants while I shot a basketball in gym. Yep that happened.
All this feedback made me pretend harder that I was something else. I shopped at Hollister and started cutting myself. I listened to Hawthorne Heights and Panic! At the Disco. I was not me. Obviously. I mean, that was the point.
By high school my feedback changed. I was talented, now and funny. That was a nice shift.
The thing about feedback is that… I was always the same person. I mean I pretended to be different people, but in the center of the bullshit I’ve always been me. The girl who watched The Sound of Music over and over and over again. Who listens to Disney music on her iPod (happened today.) The girl who would rather stay in, watch a movie and eat food than go out. The girl who hates being high (Yeah that’s right. I fucking hate being high.) The girl who was sad when all her friends started dating because I was still enjoying that good lyfe.
I said earlier ‘my sense of self depends on feedback’ but the truth is– feedback or none, good or bad, I know who I am. It hasn’t changed in all these years. I’m still me in all of my frizzy haired, dateless, weed hating glory.
Always have been. Always will be. Well hopefully not dateless… Hopefully.