Saturday, June 16, 2012
Last week Alton Brown said (from his own experience) that when you're heavy you have to sell a version of yourself because you're unacceptable when heavy and clumsy.
That rang a huge bell with me. I've been hiding behind various masks for so many years, I can barely remember what being authentic felt like.
I'm trying to remember the teenage girl who sewed beautiful clothes for herself. Who never met a cosmetic or skin product she didn't love. Who read Shakespeare and loved it. Along with medieval Japanese and contemporary Russian literature (in translation, of course). Who wasn't in the high school production of Brigadoon but still learned the Scottish sword dance right along with the actors. Who wore jewelry and read fashion magazines.
I learned early that I read Shakespeare because I'm a snob who wants everyone to think I'm brighter than I am (thanks, Sis). That I'm a vain peacock who's obsessed with looks and has no intellectual depth, a "brainless flapper." (Dad). That I'm frigid, a lesbian AND a whore, all at once (Dad again. Don't those things kind of cancel each other?). That all my ready Irish tongue will get me is beaten black and blue (both parents).
I learned that being Irish is shameful, a disgrace to be hidden. That women exist to be the property and slaves of their husbands and have no rights or thoughts of their own. That loving Hong Kong films or being able to recite whole chunks of Lord of the Rings just makes you weird or crazy. And that REAL women don't watch football, let alone scream like a banshee when their team does well. And that dreaming of a career in food TV at age nearly sixty is just plain nuts.
No wonder I'm this fat, frozen blob. I'm trying to bury all the unacceptable parts of me. I still don't have the fortitude to give people the finger and say, in the words of dozens of old Irish songs, "and if you don't like me, well, leave me alone."
I need to find her again.