I feel strangely pensive today, and I don’t much like feeling strangely pensive. It makes me feel sad about stupid things like the books I’ll never read or the songs I’ll never sing. It puts me into a frightening space in my head, and as I get older, the space becomes deeper and darker and even more scary.
Sometimes I admire those who think thoughts like this. I imagine it must be awesome to sit with them and talk with them and delve into the recesses of our own private minds. But I’ve met some of them, and it turns out they’re just like everyone else. They talk about politics and TV and dresses and cars and they never say stuff like this out loud – unless they’re drunk. I guess these turns of phrase only come out when you type. Pity. Incidentally, I met an old friend after almost ten years apart. She says I should learn to sugarcoat things more.
I like myself, for the most part, and in some ways, I suppose everyone does. I’ve been at my new job for three months now, and I still get dazed at how popular I seem to be. It’s strange to see people always smiling broadly at me and complimenting my work, when all I can do is nod absently and slip back into my headphones. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like my workmates just fine, and compliments please me just like everybody else. But I’m a hermit. People freak me out. Each time some stranger smiles at me, I want to stop them shake them, and ask them what’s so funny. So when I come into the office, sit at my desk, slip on the headphones, and ignore the office ritual of walking around and greeting everyone by name, it’s nothing personal. Asking, ‘Unauza salamu’ or ‘Tulilala nyumba moja?’ will rarely elicit more than a genuinely puzzled blank stare . Sorry, I’m broken, and I don’t want to be fixed.
Another broken piece of me resides a little deep inside. I’d still like to lose 15kg before my birthday, but I gave up on my diet because I’m really, really proud about my appetite. It’s huge. I eat all the time. So every time somebody sneered at my plate and asked if that’s all I was having, I mentally bashed them with said plate, then fled into the boardroom so no one would see me eating.
When I was fat, I made a lot of fat jokes. It made people think I was okay about my weight. Truth is … I knew they would make fun of me so I beat them to the punch. Today, I don’t have many ‘fat jokes’ but I have an awful lot of ‘I am such a guy’ jokes. My latest one is that I’m a gay dude with lady parts. It usually shocks people into silence long enough for me to change the subject, but sometimes I run and run and run with it, just to see them squirm. I suppose there’s some truth in it, because girls scare me, I have excess testosterone, I glare at curves, and I like pretty boys. Still, my largest male threat has been anything but girly, so I guess that throws the theory down the drain.
I always assume people see me as a guy. After all, when a guy meets a girl that I know, he almost always tweets, ‘I just met XYZ and she’s hot!’ Or ‘Who knew ABC was so pretty IRL?’ Now … I’ve met a lot of tweeps, and they never say that about me. I suppose it’s because they don’t know I’m a girl. Lots of readers assume I’m a man, and apparently, meeting me does little to change that. Still, it surprised me when a good friend pointed out that I shouldn’t be afraid of mugging since I have purple dreads and walk like a dude.
Someone else was strolling with me in town. We were coming home from work and he was – in his own words – trying to be the man between us. After a few minutes, he suggested he should ask me out on a date, just so he could teach me how to walk like a lady. I was jumping inside a flower pot at the time. It was 7.00 p.m., we were opposite Gillat, and no, you may not ask why I was jumping inside a flower pot. Also, it wasn’t a hint. I know this because we were discussing his girl at the time, planning her a special romantic surprise.
I didn’t think much about the statement, but like that episode in Scrubs where the janitor called JD stupid, I kept thinking, ‘It’ll hit you.’ And it did, because four days later, I was hunting down the one red dress that I own and trying it on before the mirror, my mind filled with thoughts of just what it would take to be a girl every day.
The thought re-introduced itself as I watched my little girl fix her hair. She’d tried instructing me on how to do a coconut, but I’ve been in dreads since before she was born, so I’m not sure how to hold a comb anymore. So what would it take to make me a girl? I’d have to get lots of dresses and pretty shoes. Or at least get girly tops for my girly shape and girly jeans. Right now, you can’t see much except my chest and the rear my mother gave me. I try to keep them hidden inside dirty jeans and king size sweatshirts.
I’d have to shave a lot. And often. Which reminds, I really should do something about my eyebrows. I tried to wield a razor today, and now it looks strange and unsymmetrical, so I’m afraid to bug the eyebrows. I could go to Beauty Options, but they keep coming at me with the thread. For some strange reason, the razor lady is always out when I pass by.
When we were kids, we had this lady from Limuru bring us milk every day. My mum would skim the cream off and put it in the veg, and I’ve been trying to re-do that for years! A few weeks ago, I saw the Milk lady, but I was in a mat and I was late. I saw her a few more times, but I never stopped, and I was debating getting late for work just once so I could talk to her. That’s when my maid got me a new milk lady. She’s a typical farmer with gumboots, muddy pants, tired clothes, and a headscarf, but she brings us milk and makes her money. Women like that never think that they’re not girly, so why do I? With a job, school fees, bills, one income, and two babies to feed, you’d think there’d be bigger worries on my mind. So why am I sitting here debating on how cold I’d feel if I had to be a girl every day?
I do wear dresses sometimes. In Dar, I always wore a skirt to work – except Fridays – and they always seemed surprised to see me in jeans. I get a lot of compliments when I girly up, but I think it’s more the shock than the reaction. If you see me in jeans 9 times a week, you’d think the dress is a pleasant change, right? It may not necessarily be about the dress. So when I read this post, rummaged in my wardrobe, and tried on my red dress, I didn’t see any transformation – except to realise that if I had to wear that dress outside, I’d have to change the way I walk. I’d also have to get some kind of corset … and lose a lot of weight. Hmm.
In other news, I’ve just been reminded that school opens this week and I need to stitch name tags. Also …
♫ Amazing ♫ Blue October ♫