It's hard feeling like someone likes the past version of you better than the current one.
|Lately, I’ve felt like a metaphorical sausage stuffed into leather pants. The rule is that you can only wear leather pants if you have legs like a racehorse i.e., you’re Kendall Jenner. I don’t make the rules, I just follow them. In any case, I don’t mean literally. It’s just the perfect analogy for how I feel. I’m slowly tearing at the seams, ready to burst with one ill-timed squat. Every morning I stuff my metaphorical sausage legs into my very shiny leather pants, and as I struggle to tug the fabric over my figuratively jiggling muffin top, I hope no one notices.
When we met in college, I had legs like a racehorse. Metaphorically, of course. My tight pants made sense, and you liked them. Wearing those tacky pants became a part of me, became a chunk of my personality. The squeak of my rubbing thighs preceded my entrance into every room, and the waistband didn’t yet leave angry bites into my hips. On a sunny day, you could spot my shining legs gleaming from a mile away, and in winter I’d usually be found sweating by a fireplace.
Here’s a spoiler alert for every human under 25: you keep learning after college. Ideally, during your senior walk, they’d flick a switch at the base of your neck and preserve your brain as is. Even if your opinions about music are bad and you didn’t learn enough about economics, it’s too late. You are done learning, the end. But the brain is a hungry sponge that is incapable of not absorbing information, whether you mean to let it or not. And just like if you soak a sponge in red wine, learning will change you. For better or worse, depending on how you like red wine.
After college, I began to pay attention to politics, read my first feminist book, and took up running. With each new tidbit, my sausage legs grew plump. At the first dinner party where I voiced my opinion on the midterms, I felt a seam pucker on my left thigh. The day I understood a reference to Bernie Madoff caused me to pop a button, and when I argued for gay marriage at my church my pants nearly burst on the spot.
Every morning when I dress, I’m faced with a metaphorical choice. Do I choose the sundress, yellow and airy, or do I stuff myself into the horrible leather pants? I always choose the pants. Although they are close to cutting off my circulation, they are safe. You only know me in these pants. As my personality and interests get resliced, the pants remain constant. It’s literally the tape holding me together, and if I throw them into the donation bag you wouldn’t recognize me.
You’d rather keep me as is, a preserved relic of yesterday, with all my old opinions and ideas. You’d be perfectly happy if I listened to the same terrible music and read the same mindless books. I’d still be the little girl playing house and trusting every word that comes sliding out of your mouth. Easier to manage, complacent.
But I don’t even like leather. I’ve been a vegetarian for over a year, I have hard opinions on the president, and I scare you. And leather pants look dumb on everyone but Kendall Jenner. I’m not ready to take them off, but this morning I lingered on the sundress a little longer. Metaphorically, of course.