do you ever get that feeling…

…that you have spinach in your teeth and everyone knows it but no one’s telling you? I’ve been getting that feeling all my life, but the spinach is just a metaphor. I often get the feeling that people know something about me I don’t know about myself. It’s in the way they smile when I say something like “I don’t think I’m smart enough for that” or “I don’t think I’m qualified for that.” It’s in the way I make them laugh without knowing I said something funny.

Lately that feeling has been following me around. The strange thing is, I only get this feeling with people who really see me. Those people who don’t see past the exterior stuff don’t look at me that way. To them, I’m just a “big fish in a small pond.” I’ve never thought of myself as a big fish, though – I’m not much of a predator. And I’m not really into making myself feel bigger. I know what I am, for the most part. Who I am is still a major question and I don’t really want to find the answer. But, I know I’m small enough to fly under the radar. At least I hope that’s still true.

And every time I start thinking these things, I begin thinking about how conceited they sound.

A few things have made me think about this lately. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. I said “I don’t think I’m quite smart enough for that,” and someone grinned. I know this sounds like a small thing, but it’s in the way he grinned. I’m sitting in his office in a way I haven’t in several years now and he grinned. He used to grin at me like that when I was being ballsy and saying things that in retrospect seem particularly embarrassing, but weren’t to me then because I had no clue. Perhaps that’s why he’s laughing.

2. I had coffee with my godmother the other day. A few weeks ago we were chatting on facebook and she repeated something she said to me at my college graduation: “You had so many obstacles standing in your way.” I don’t know what those were or what they might have been. I’ve never really seen obstacles, and that’s the strange part. I can objectify my life and see that there were, indeed, things that others would call obstacles. But I didn’t notice them then. I had a direct path in mind for my life and I took some detours along the way, but I’m mostly on track.

3. Then she did this thing that so many others have done. I don’t know who donated the sperm that made half of me. That’s been my story since I came screaming into this world head first. I’ve thought about it off and on. I’ve heard varying, divergent stories from several people along the way. But it suddenly hit me as I was talking to her and the topic came up: She knows. And she looked uncomfortable when I mentioned the name that’s been stuck in my head for several years now. It’s him. Mom told him. Mom knew for sure. She’s been lying to me all of my life – or at least what I can remember of it. And that uncomfortable look my godmother had is the same one my mom has sometimes. I think people worry that I’m not well adjusted or that I’m looking for a “father.” I’ve had plenty of father figures – some evil, some godly, actually. I’m not looking for my “father.” I’m looking for a sperm donor with a medical history that I can file away somewhere. I want factual information and I would prefer to never speak to the man. Problem is, Mom has no idea I had coffee with aunt b. And now I have this idea that he’s real and out there and has a medical history in his head – I’m sure a gene for alcohol addiction.  I’m sure he also has an aversion to showering. Here, I’m judging solely from mom’s history. See why it’s better if I don’t know who he is? Yeah. Me, too. However, there’s this serious issue I have with the idea that one day I will bear a child. Quite frankly, I want to know now if there are genetic issues I need to worry about – reasons I shouldn’t physically bear a child. I’m fine with adoption if that’s the case, I just need to know.

So there are all those things.

But, coffee with aunt b gave me something bigger to think about: I’m where I am not just because I’m headstrong and determined. I’m here (and I’m still alive) because when I was born there were people around who cared enough to support me. Aunt b took my mom in when she brought me home from the hospital. She kept me on the weekends so mom could party. Had she not been keeping me, chances are I would have been mom’s date for the evening. Aunt b gave me my first bath.

And I wonder sometimes if I’m actually okay with being independent because I’m securely attached to my mom or because I’m securely attached to other people. I hadn’t seen aunt b for any extended length of time since i was under 3 years old. Yet, I have vivid memories of her as a part of my life. I should have forgotten these things in 25 years. But, she’s been an important part of who I am. I don’t know if she knows that.

And tonight I’m supposed to tell my story to a group of queer youth and somehow inspiring. Problem is, I don’t know what about me is inspiring. I don’t see the things that stand in my way. I don’t see any hurdles so I’m not sure how I cleared them. Maybe seeing isn’t believing. Maybe believing is seeing. Maybe, just maybe, because I had no clue they were there, they actually moved themselves out of my way. Or maybe, like I’ve been thinking lately, the universe really is looking out for me. Maybe the universe is conspiring in my favor these days. I guess it’s easy to notice when the world is conspiring against us. Noticing when it’s working in our favor is a bit harder.

So, until I get the urge to write again.


One Response to “do you ever get that feeling…”
  1. Allison says:

    I think it is exactly what you find to be ordinary, or just doing what you had to survive, that might be inspiring to the youth. They’re a good bunch of kids, but most (if not all) of them have had a rough time of it in one way or another. You had a rough time of it (whether you knew it at the time or not), and you’re a successful, confident queer woman. That’s all they need to see – someone who made it. I know you’ll do great tonight – wish I were going to be there to hear you speak. 🙂

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