I’m sitting behind a strong, solid wood table in a puffy, comfortable, professional-looking black office chair. My legs are crossed under the table, with my flowing purple skirt draped over them. The skirt cinches at my natural waist, where my white cotton tank top is stretched tight across my ribs. A denim button up jackets my shoulders that are covered by the natural waves of my long hair. My bangs frame my made up face. I used the good cover up this morning, so my skin looks clear. My lashes have been lengthened by mascara, reaching out and then curling back towards my lids. Before I left to go to class my roommate said, “Holy shit, you look gorgeous”. That was the cincher. That’s why I’m just spent a paragraph fetishizing myself. I thought I looked pretty good as I was getting dressed this morning, but that external confirmation was all I needed.
I’m sitting in a seminar class. Everyone around me is talking – as we come into the room and are waiting for class to start, as we go through class discussing minstrelsy, as we leave the class and move on with our lives – everyone is talking. Except me. I sit in silence waiting for class to start, add few meaningless comments during the bulk of the class, and then leave in the same silence that I came in. I don’t know why I’m not talking. I normally won’t shut up in this class, but today I can’t think of anything to say. Instead I pull at my clothes, I examine the silky fabric of my skirt, I adjust and readjust my button up, unbuttoning and rebuttoning the bottom button.
When I feel pretty I feel like I’m not allowed to have a personality. I don’t talk as much – I don’t joke with people – I don’t make sarcastic comments. I get intimidated when someone tells me I’m pretty. I retreat into myself, afraid that I’ll ruin the illusion by revealing how truly weird I am. Aesthetics are fragile, yet valuable. I don’t want to let go of the fantasy, so I just sit there expressionless, hoping that someone is looking at me.
But they’re not, of course. Despite everything we’ve been told through television and radio and art, pretty girls who do nothing, who let their external traits define them, are boring. They are not muses, they are not enticing, they are not going to live a fairytale. If you continue to do nothing you will eventually become nothing. Beauty is fragile, and it fades, no matter how perfect that beauty may be. Silence is static, but it cannot diffuse what is naturally dynamic. It’s fruitless to try to keep things the way they are. It’s artificial. Life is constantly in motion. The world turns, the tides go in and out. The more we fight against the current the more violently it drags us along.
However, just because we moving, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have control. If you accept that change is happening you can have a hand in it. All you have to do is speak.