I woke up grumpy. And early. As the morning progressed, everything showed signs of displeasing me. My to do lists were too tedious. All my friends were busy, off living decadent lives, filled with pancakes, hash brown casserole, and errands. I felt lonely.
Facing the Day
Irritated, I bounded out of bed, to my dresser where my makeup collection lay spread before me, a delicious feast of saturated paint, sparkle, and untapped expression.
I wanted my eyes to spit fire at the world, to match my temper, so I rimmed my eye sockets in a layer of burnt amber eyeshadow, blending, smoking the orange pigment out towards shapely brows that I determine are sharp enough to make ribbons of my mirrored reflection or at least intimidate all potential haters.
I dare the world to mess with me when my face is this beat, my temper this hot.
With a flick of plum purple pencil eyeliner, a sweep of nude Maybelline lipstick, a brush of warm blush, and I am temporarily satisfied. I glare at my reflection, feeling powerful for some reason. I dare the world to mess with me when my face is this beat, my temper this hot.
When I felt that my makeup was adequately ferocious, yet understated, I decided to be basic. I listened to Shake it Off on repeat all the way from my house to Starbucks. As I pulled out of the drive-thru with my venti iced caramel macchiato, with nowhere to go but home, where I could only manage to stew in my unpleasant feelings, I wondered what I could do to shake off my bad mood. How could I feel the most free?
In answer to my own question, I turned on Lana del Rey near-full-blast and I cruised south on 41, hitting every green light.
I drove on, breathing deeply, singing loudly. I reflected that no woman has ever been as free as I felt right then. I thought about pioneer women, like Laura Ingalls Wilder, girls in puritanical Massachusetts Bay Colony, ordinary women living in mid-century America, even. What struggles they must have endured. I picture Loretta Lynn, singing Coal Miner’s Daughter, proud of her humble roots but leaving them behind to be who she was, to pursue music, turning hardship into art.
Gratitude is the Antithesis of Annoyance (if you can manage it)
I get annoyed at a life where I have a smart phone, Amazon Music, and access to penicillin. If I lived in literally any other time, I would not have so many options for my career and lifestyle. What if I had ended up with a husband I didn't like, that I couldn’t leave, or possibly with kids I didn't want, or worse?
I can make my own way in this world. I can own property. I can cut off all of my hair or wear it as long as my ankles. I can pursue an education, an occupation that interests me and provides for all of that glorious eyeliner.
I can put on a short dress and sandals and go out in the world without the protection of a man. I can even carry a gun on my hip and let everyone know that I am not playing around today. Or any day.
Whenever possible, I do myself a favor and limit the number of fools I must suffer.
I handed over $30 and I filled my gas tank with fuel. I went to a store where I bought something that is both shiny and functional. The salesman kindly showed me his wares. The cashier smiled at me and thanked me for my business. She thanked me for doing a thing that I was doing anyways, that brought me joy and utility.
That night, I sat across the table from my friend and two new somebodies. I didn't like them. They were rude. I felt zero need to impress them. They don't pay my rent. They don't get me by. I remained polite, but not passive. I guess nobody told them that you can’t shade me when it’s already nighttime and I rolled up in the spot knowing that you can see my shine. It may not always be necessary to tell someone where to get off, but of all days to try me, this was not the one.
I left as soon as the server could reasonably accommodate me. We all have to take a lot of crap, at the hands of the state, at life’s cruel whim, but whenever possible, I do myself a favor and limit the number of fools I must suffer. These are the perks of adulthood and some amount of freedom.
Not Great but Actually Not that Bad
This was not a good day. I was salty from sun up to sundown. I tried to take solace in what I could, and I hopefully managed to not pass my misery onto company. But I know that, even when everything is irrationally irritating and people seem to invite my resentment, in another time, I could be dying of the plague or blistering my hands, washing clothes in a river with harsh lye soap. This is better.
There’s never a good day to be angry at the world, but there’s bound to be days like this, and at least I have good music, makeup, mobility, and the freedom to leave a table and say, I am not the one. Not today. And I’m done.