Young me idealized her future self. In these ideations, I was refined, disciplined, accomplished, sophisticated, thin, and had it all together. By twenty-five, I assumed I’d be engaged or married (which seemed like an appropriate age for such a commitment as a ten year old).
Cut to being actually twenty five, and holy Moses is it something else: balance is a myth, idk what I should get a graduate degree in, getting ghosted by jobless men, I’m not straight or gay enough (I feel like there’s an uncool bisexual post brewing), American politics are tragic, I’m still mooching off my mom’s Netflix account, I have student loans, the last season of How I Met Your Mother depleted my ability to trust, and Jennifer Garner has not found a man who deserves her. The only upside is that I can down a whole pint of Halo Top for breakfast and nobody will give a flying fig newton because I’m an adult! So what’s a girl to do? Well, I get up to shenanigans, obviously! I am one messy broad, and I embrace every complicated cell vibrating inside me. After years of perfectionism and abiding by the societal norms that nice girls do, I found myself exhausted. There was no reward for living within the walls of a glass box. I did it to protect myself. I did it as a response to abuse and pain and rejection. I defined myself by my ability to exceed standards, to maintain control, my adjacency to perfection. The glass box has broken. It’s splayed across the floor in a thousand shards. Like an egg hatching, I’m engaging with this messy world. We are one with this world, and because we are of this world, human beings are inherently messy creatures.
So, Reader, you might be asking yourself, “How is Marisa a messy broad?” Don’t worry! I came to this post ready to roast myself.
- The Direct Message is the mating call the millennials, and the tomfoolery (really, that should be called Chad foolery because have you ever met a Chad you could take seriously?) is always afoot in the DMs. Flattery is nice. I am here for the thirst, as you all know. However, sometimes, people are out of line. Sometimes, the attention isn’t appreciated. Don’t worry, Sis, please feel free to use actual responses I’ve used with real live humans.
- DM: You’re beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Me: I know. I’m single, not blind.
- DM: You’re magnificent. Me: I know. I’m clinically depressed, not stupid.
- “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my unresolved traumas” — completely unprompted
- DM: I can’t believe I didn’t talk to you in high school. Me: Did it ever occur to you that I wasn’t interested in talking to you?
- Thirst trapping, or to post flattering photos of myself for attention. I do this. I admit to doing this. I want attention sometimes. I might look like a deflated football someday, but right now, I’m popping more than all the fireworks on the 4th of July. Best believe I’ll put myself on full display.
- Text- not social media per se, but text game is also important these days. Now is an important time to mention that I have no game– not basketball, not football, not dating, not curling, but if someone texts me a “hey” who is pursuing me, I gently remind this person that for future reference, I will not be responding to messages like this. “Hey” is the drive-thru of texts. You better bring me a side of fries with that mess.
Spilling ALL my tea- If you’ve frequented this site, you know that I withhold nothing. I don’t think this strategy is healthy. There are times I cringe as I type. “There are parts of yourself you can save for you,” friends assure me. I do not know how. Boundaries have just arrived for me. I still struggle with where to set them. Trust in myself is an unsteady thing. Yet the words, they are bubbles from a cauldron that cannot contain them. Depression, Anxiety, assault, eating disorders, flawed families, Queerness (or to exist in the romantic/ sexual space that is somewhere between gay and straight), dating, and so many other topics– I only heard them as whispers, as if there were shame in their existence. I’m not ashamed of going to therapy. I’m not ashamed to take medication. I’m not embarrassed that I’m attracted to men and women. With many of these things, I realized that I, personally, never felt shame but had been shamed. Good girls don’t say these things. We are nice and uncomplicated. The problem is, I’m not. I’m the human equivalent of that knot of various wires and chargers beneath the TV set. Nothing about me is simple or nice. Everything about me is human. Everything about me aches to shout its existence. I’m done muffling it, and I know this choice subjects me to criticism. I know this makes me vulnerable. That is precisely why I spill all my tea. This is how I share myself with you, how I shatter the glass and reach you with my calloused, shaky hands.
My Body- My body type is not thin. My body is thiccc as a biscuit, and I’m not sorry about it. Over the past year, I’ve slid up 20lbs, down 20lbs, and back up. This is me saying I’m not sorry. I do not recognize my own ambition without weightloss being a primary goal. Recently, it occurred to me that I didn’t owe anybody my body, my weight, some diet version of myself. These are all narratives of obedience. I calculate how much of my daily energy I exhaust on counting calories, on food choices, on the space of my body in proportion to the world around it, and I’m bewildered at how much life I’ve wasted in this pursuit. That real estate in my brain could be filled with art, with jokes, with dope memes or poetry, but it is all scales and nutritional guides. There are better metrics. There are things that hold more weight in this life than the size of my body.
People remark on my confidence. I think it is that woman are conditioned to loathe themselves to perfection, and people are agog that a thick, pale woman struts around like she is Beyonce. Joke’s on us! Perfection is a myth, and we’re out here loathing ourselves and not eating cake. That means there’s more cake for the boys, and they are already benefitting from the pay gap so they shouldn’t get my slice of cake too! I will gladly take the title of crazy for this. I pride myself on the delusional confidence of a daytime talk show host because why shouldn’t I be so bold?! If beauty is subjective, why can’t I be the authority? Moreover, four years ago, I realized that pretty was this hollow thing I only chase to find myself emptier. Pretty is currency. Pretty is not power. Pretty is not my mattering. But yes, I am the Beyonce of the Midwest.
My Un-Coolness– Don’t even @ me, The Golden Girls is the greatest show to grace television. Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” is the greatest banger my ears have ever heard. I’m the worst teammate on a beer pong team. I don’t know all the slang in rap songs, and I have zero chill. Yeah, I’m self-conscious about it sometimes. I absolutely party shame myself on Sunday mornings if I got too drunk on Saturday night. Control is something I struggle to release, and knowing I willingly surrendered it to Tito’s is humbling. But I’m not here to be cool. My work as a human being is not to fit in. Inherently, the lack of fitting in arrives with discomfort because humans are just animals with highly developed brains. We are seeking safety with one another and there is safety in conformity. I don’t wanna be safe. I am choosing bold. I am choosing humility. I am choosing me.
The mess matters. The mess is not something to hide. I feel this a compulsion to sweep my unkemptness away, but I don’t want to be my own secret anymore. This murkiness exists for a reason and a use. Life is a discovery. The agony and joy of our twenties is in revealing ourselves– sometimes for the first time. I am twenty-five years old, and I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I reject the idea I’m supposed to know. But I know I’m done wasting my life performing someone else’s idea of who I should be, how I should love myself, what matters. In the stories of my idols’ haphazard youths, I find solace and relief. There’s a reason that the Bible does not feature Jesus from ten to thirty– because even the son of God had some messy years! This is the becoming. With so little to lose and opportunities sprawled before me, I revel in the mess. I, Marisa McGrath, am one messy broad.