Dude Looks Like a Brady

"Duuuuudes..."

“Duuudes…”

“Who’s that lady??” My friend asked, pointing at someone in one of my photo albums.

I peered over at the lady in question.

“That’s me.” I kindly informed her.

That’s a lie. I mean, it was me, but I wasn’t kind about it. I screeched at her like a really angry chimpanzee. No, I didn’t throw my own poop at her. You guys are disgusting.

If there is one thing I know for sure: I am no lady (see screeching and talking about my own poop).

At the time of the photo, my hair was growing back in and it had decided to grow in curly. Really curly. Like the Brady-Bunch-in-Hawaii curly.

I was the envy of all the older women who volunteered at my place of work, which was troubling, yet flattering at the same time. I even let some of them pet my head. And just like the Brady boys, I had to convince them that it was completely natural and not a perm.

Girl. Chick. Woman. Lady.

I reserve the right to call myself anything I like at any time. I detest pigeon-holing-descriptives, even though we need to use them sometimes. Don’t you hate being labeled? You are so much more complex than way-too-many-purses-girl or turkey-sandwich-no-mayo-guy.

If I were to get lost in a crowd, my friends would frantically describe me as: “…really short! Her hair is short, too, and wavy. DO NOT ask her if it’s a perm. She looks like an old girl – does that help? Asian, glasses, sarcastic…if she looks at you suspiciously, that’s her!!” Or perhaps they wouldn’t look for me at all. I’m very suspicious of my friends.

In any case, I don’t think it matters to me how I’m addressed as a female (except the obvious ones). It’s the context and spirit behind it that matters. I’ve accepted: “Duuuude!!!” I’ll even allow “Foxy Lady”. But, please, it has to come from the heart. Nothing is worse than a meaningless and sludgy, “Hey there, Foxy Lady…” from the wrong person. I can’t seem to stop saying Foxy Lady. You know those words that sound stranger the more you repeat them? This is the opposite of that. But it’s starting to get creepy, so I’ll stop.

In some ways, I think how we define ourselves is much worse than what others think of us. We can be hell on ourselves. It makes me crazy when I realize I’ve called myself a failure even before I begin something. While I was drafting this post, I was using words like unfeminine, boyish, and former band geek. That’s my perception of myself and I can be those things, but it doesn’t define who I am. You, like myself, are uncontainable. We stay the same, yet we are constantly changing. We are everything inside. It’s a trick, this life, to keep true to yourself yet still be open, forever expanding in all directions.

Today, I go out into the world as an athlete, a seeker, and friend. At some point I might be a Brady, Foxy Lady, and an inconsolable baby. At the end of the night, who knows?

That’s another trick: Can you imagine what life would be like if we didn’t keep trying to write the endings first?

Sistah From Anothah Mistah

Have you ever run into your doppelganger?

When I saw mine, I said out loud, “Is that me?”

I’m sure everyone has experienced someone telling them that they look like someone they know or some actor/actress. And in most cases, you feel like you don’t look like your supposed twin at all. You might even feel a little insulted.

But when I saw mine, I did a double-take. There I was, in Zumba class with some friends, and I saw myself on the other side of the room next to the small stage where the instructor dances.

“I think that’s me!” I said excitedly, nudging one of my friends.

She was Asian, wore rectangular glasses, and had my face. How much more me can you get? Her hair was much shorter than mine, but it looked exactly like mine after it had grown back a few inches.

Biggest difference?

Sistah can dance.

I don’t think my body can move in those directions all at the same time. Or any time. And her personality was much bigger than mine. Turns out that she was one of the assistants, because at one point she got up on stage with the instructor. My friend’s daughter covered her mouth in surprise when she saw her. “She looks just like you, but more gangsta!”

Well said, my little friend, well said.

That was a few weeks ago and I haven’t been back to that particular class. Not because I can’t face my more gangsta twin; the class is crowded and I don’t like it when a lot of bodies and booties are shaking all up in my grill. Do I seem more gangsta now?

I’ll go back though. If anything, I want to go up to sistah and say something like, “MeYou? YouMe? Huh? Wha-?” or something equally as intelligent.

Hopefully, she won’t be insulted.

I’m Leaving You – Part 2

Good night, sweet desk.

Good night, sweet desk.

Last night, I cleaned my work desk for the very last time.  Some might argue that it’s the first time I’ve ever cleaned my desk.  Details, details.

If you’ve read I’m Leaving You – Part 1, then you know my plan of leaving my job with hardly any plan at all.  I would say I’m still in denial, but you know what…I don’t think I am.  I was lucky enough to leave on my own terms and I had the opportunity to say all my farewells and thank yous to all the fantastic people I’ve met and worked with.

Months ago, when I first made the concrete decision to leave, I burst into tears.  I was overcome with the realization of how much my identity was tied to my workplace, and I wondered how I was going to do without some of the best co-workers and friends I’ve ever known.  As the weeks flew by, I began to feel more at home with my decision.  Having that time allowed me to appreciate the people around me all the more, knowing that I was incredibly lucky to be in the presence of such…greatness.  I did my best to tell them, although I cloaked some of it in what I call my sense of humor.  If I had the money (and a business plan), I would steal some of them away and create an empire by investing in their brain power and creativity.  We would be unstoppable.

I’ll be having a farewell dinner with some of my girlfriends in a few days.  This is where I’m truly in denial, because I refuse to think about it.  In fact, I’ll stop right now.  Can’t go on.