Hey my Cabbage Patch Squids,
I think I may be having an identity crisis, but mainly just at my gym.
Every time I walk in and buzz my little card at the scanner, I get greeted with “HEY! You haven’t been around lately!” by one of the staff members. What? No! I was here yesterday and you said the same thing to me then. Maybe they’ve mistaken me for someone else? I smile and lie “I know, right?!” and I head over to the boxing area.
“Hello! How are you?!” asks a lovely woman I’ve maybe smiled at once or twice when she looked in my general direction. Is she talking to me? She’s staring at me. Maybe she remembers me from the last thirty sessions we’ve had together? I haven’t answered her yet. Oh God. “Um, hi! Good! How are you?” Maybe she does remember me and she’s being friendly. There are a lot of new people here today.
“How’s your shop doing?” she asks as she wraps up her hands. I don’t have a shop, do I? Did I tell her I had a shop? Have we spoken before? Is there a woman who looks exactly like me and coincidentally comes into boxing every time I’m not there and talks about her shop? I wonder what kind of shop it is. Does she sell doughnuts or scarves? Thankfully the instructor started shouting drills at us so I couldn’t answer, and I made sure to ignore and avoid all eye contact for the next 45 minutes of class.
As the instructor was calling out drills, I saw him do a double take of me out of my peripheral. Oh Lord, unwanted conversation in three…two…
“Hey! How are you doing? You’ve been out lately.” Guh. No I haven’t. Who are you people? Who am I? What’s happening here?
I just kept smiling and answering his questions of my whereabouts. “Oh, you know, just busy.” Nope, I’ve been here the past three days. Right there, on that treadmill and over there on the yoga mat and right here, right now for my example tomorrow when you don’t realize who I am. This does bring attention to all the times he called all the other girls names out in class and then stared at me and said “and you.”
It began to dawn on me that maybe I’m just another face in the crowd, easily mistaken for anybody and everybody else. “I just saw your sister!” I don’t have a sister. “How was the swim meet?” I don’t own a bathing suit. I’m beginning to see myself as a body with one of those fencing masks on. Nothing distinguishable, nothing unique.
But I am, I am! I yell in my mirror as I outline my lips with black lip liner and toss glitter into the air. I’m different! Look, a big nose! And look, a lazy eye! How are these things not jumping out at you? I mean, my nose is practically touching your face, sniffing all those little invisible hairs.
I think my quarter-life crisis has been rearing it’s over/underqualified, resume-hating, attention-wanting head.