dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I just wanted some dinner. The craving for hot chicken had been bubbling over for a while. Hearing of the grand opening of a new place that day with it on the menu made my choice rather obvious, and I slogged along in the humid air to alas arrive a bit sweaty.

The course of the day had seen me run into a friend from college when I was steps away from getting lunch with my spouse, a friend from high school while bicycling to dinner, and another friend while eating. But I also managed to pick up someone else. The contractor who'd done the renovations where I was started hovering at my end of the bar. I spent much of my meal reading a book in my lap, but as I looked through my swept bangs, he always seemed to be staring, with some intermittent one-sided flirting. So I was relieved when he wasn't present as I picked up to leave. Instead, he was outside, and stepped up his game as I was loading and unlocking the bicycle.

I slunk quietly away into the night and hoped no one was behind me, sad that what had otherwise been a great dinner would now be sullied by this. Almost home, I paused for a picture of the city and ended up being diverted by a friend for a drink with her. Already weak, when the next bizarre flirting came, I just sat there, jaw mostly agape. Then there were unwarranted assumptions about my person and my history.

When I finally got home, the shower I took was for more than just washing away the smoke of my last stop. I wanted it to wash away the feelings I had. It's nice to feel desirable, but the unshakable idea in my head just then was different. I couldn't but think I was being exoticized due to assumptions about my body. The worst bit, though, was that those assumptions were true.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I biked home after dinner with a friend, quietly. Not silently. There were three lanes of traffic beside me, and three more above me. An overhead sign informed traffic that the tunnel was four minutes away. I laughed. Not for me, I thought, as I watched the bike go by over my head on the sidewalk of the bridge. On the way to dinner, I crossed that bridge, as I had when meeting her and another friend for a bike ride a few nights earlier.

That night, the other friend and I boarded the trolley to head south out of town. She had her bicycle with her. I'd locked mine up, expecting a crowded trolley. I was not disappointed. The seats were mostly full, and though a younger man offered me his seat, I decided to stand beside my friend, heels and all.

After the long steady climb through the tunnel out of the city, we made our first stop. A man who was disembarking took the opportunity to comment on my outfit, and really, me. After he left, my friend expressed her incredulity. Social commentary, I explained. Not the first, and it won't be the last. Another lady standing next to us shared her disapproval what had happened. It hadn't fazed me. To an observer, I might come across as a strong person. And in that moment, it came naturally to me. But with the memories of therapy days before in my head, where I shared the unmet need for other forms of external validation, I knew it wasn't that simple. Still, despite recognizing the problem before, I was finally taking a hard look at the problem and trying to figure out what dealing required.

Step 74: sometimes the most incisive actions aren't the ones causing the deepest problems. The only way you can get out from under the problems is to face them.

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dariaphoebe

May 2017

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