It took me (still takes me?) a long time to believe I didn’t need to constantly be in performance mode for someone to enjoy spending time with me. It’s definitely a large component of my social anxiety, with internal monologues like, “Shitshitshit, I don’t have anything to say, god they must be wondering what’s wrong with me or how long this has to keep going on until they can leave. I’ve got to be letting them down, right?”
The Continuing Story of Smaug and His Mouse on a String
So I’m in the shower, the door’s not closed all the way to let steam escape. I think I hear the door open, no big deal, Smaug often pokes his head in to investigate the weird water thing I do on the regular. A while later I reach out to put the door to again to keep warmth in, and see that Smaug has deposited his mouse right in the middle of the bath mat.
Like most girls, my daughter hears, “That’s a pretty dress, did you pick it yourself?” or “What lovely hair you have,” or “You have the most amazing eyelashes,” or “I like the bows on your shoes,” or “You are so cute” almost every time somebody engages in conversation with her.
If family, friends, shop assistants, complete strangers, and even Santa only remark on how girls look, rather than what they think and do, how can we expect girls to believe that they have anything more to offer the world than their beauty?
This is important.
Unexpected outcome of working in a dress shop: I am becoming even more of a feminist, or maybe a more active feminist.
Little girl comes into the shop? I will talk with her about Legos.
Mother won’t stop talking about the dress she bought for her daughter and how her daughter needs to lose weight for it to look right, all in front of her daughter? I told the mom and the daughter that the daughter looks great.
Older lady says she’ll have to skip meals to fit into a dress she likes? “Nonsense.”
And I want to say a lot more than “nonsense,” but I don’t because she isn’t a friend, she’s a stranger and a customer who I don’t want to offend by going off on ridiculous beauty standards and body issues and all. But that happens almost on the daily, a woman coming in and saying she wants to lose weight or eat less. And I tell her “nonsense” and compliment her appearance in things she tries on but I want to shake her by the shoulders and tell her YOU ARE GREAT.