All The Pretty Girls

It’s hard to feel pretty when I feel like my mouth is the size of a cantaloupe, and I can only chew my dinner on the left side of my jaw. Today I had three cavities filled. I’ve never had a cavity in my life (damn those childhood sealants, which apparently become traps for bacteria as an adult).

I should really stop going to the doctor. This year is the year of medical expenses. Every time I go, even for what I think is going to be a yearly check-up, they find something wrong with me. A part of me wonders if this is some kind of conspiracy, but when my dentist showed me the actual images of my cavity-filled teeth, I knew he wasn’t lying.

The procedure wasn’t as bad as I thought. The numbing shots didn’t hurt, and there weren’t any bad smells, but when I left the office, I was oddly self-conscious of my numb face, and the fact that if the side of my face started to droop, I probably wouldn’t notice. So I spent the 20-minute walk home trying to keep my lips shut and avoid any kind of conversation with passersby.

But how is this different from any other day? I have a 10-minute commute to and from work every day. I’m lucky in that DC sense. And every time I make that trek, I am oddly self-conscious. Are my headphones too loud? Can anyone see my underwear line? Can anyone see my lacy bra peeking out beneath my sleeveless top? Is that bulge beneath my pencil skirt obvious? Are there sweat stains beneath my bra line?

Yet even amongst all these questions, I’m oddly confident. I make that walk like I own the sidewalk, and I never look back. I’m aware of my figure, and how good I look in my pencil skirt. But do I ever notice anyone checking me out? No. Do I ever see people look at me? Yep. And I automatically think there must be something wrong with my wardrobe or my headphones aren’t plugged into my phone and everyone can hear my music. Continue reading

Breaking Badly

Recently, in a lot of the shows I’ve been watching or books I’ve been reading, I come across men taking advantage of women, whether that be physically or emotionally, and even in supposed entertainment, it infuriates me. No matter how many times I see it and no matter how much we’ve “evolved,” I will never be de-sensitized to this treatment. It is not okay, and it will never be okay.

I admit in recent years I’ve focused more on my relationships with women. I attended a leadership conference almost 10 years ago (hard to believe), and the biggest threat to women in leadership positions then was other women. And instead of banding together, women competed against one another for that one spot.

I vowed to never do that, but yet here I am, involved in more than one organization with a white man at the top. And I am fighting women to climb higher. But my roommate recently told me of how one of her favorite stand-up comedians joked about how he didn’t understand why women kept dating when men were their number one threat. All men had to worry about was being rejected.

And I admit now that I’m back on the dating scene, I’m suspicious of even the more enthusiastic kind. Why are they so excited after a first date? What’s their real end game, I ask myself? This is silly, I know, but maybe smart? I am very overprotective of my single, independent state. I feel like I lost that in my last four-year relationship, and now I covet it more than money. Continue reading