I first read the anthology When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple while living in Orange County, doing things I was raised not to do, but not really giving a shit since I felt that I had been listening to people tell me what to do long enough.
I came across the book at my favorite book store, Farenheit 451, which used to be on the coast in Laguna. There were funky seats and couches all over, a children's nook, a coffee counter, and a Baby Grand tucked behind the stacks near the window overlooking Coast Highway. Once I heard the most beautiful music coming from that piano and walked over to find a guy with piercings, tattoos, and a mohawk.
Never judge a book...
Back When I Am an Old Woman. I remember reading it for the first time thinking, "This is the kind of old lady I'm going to be!" But then I thought, "Well, I already wear purple, and I already act sort of like this lady wants to live." And I committed to be true to myself.
Then I fell into a bad crowd of people pleasers that talked about drapes and landscape issues and PTA bullshit and I thought, "Well... I guess I have to do this for a while." And I did. And it sucked as bad as I thought it might. Then I went to therapy to fix what was wrong with me only to find out that what was wrong with me was trying to not BE me.
So I fixed that.
But like any person who has struggled with any issue, I still have these moments when I relapse. I fall back into wanting to belong to a group of people that I think I should belong to but end up resenting most of them because they annoy the shit out of me. It's not them. It's me. Well, to be fair to myself, a lot of them ARE annoying, and if I told you what they talk about all fucking day you might agree. You might also wear purple.
At least on the inside.
Today I kept reading the same Monday updates and conversations that I always read. The same inspirational quotes. The same not-so-humble brags. The same Best-Husband-Ever bullshit, and I wanted to respond, but although the responses were funny and witty, they were also mean and/or snarky, so I kept them to myself.
And then the poem, "When I am an Old Woman" came to mind, but instead of wearing purple, I thought of a few other things I might do:
When I am an old woman, I will call bullshit on the people that say they would keep working even if they won the lottery. And I will tell them that their mom would much rather get flowers from them with all that money they are buying lottery tickets with, even if the first thing they always say they'll do (after paying bills) is to buy their mom a house. I will also slap the idiots that say "I'll pay off all my bills" if they won the lotto, because, DUMB ASS!!! Pay them off NOW and stop wasting your money on lottery tickets.
When I am an old woman, I will call up everyone that gave me sunshiny advice just to see how it's all working out for them. In fact, I won't even wait that long. I'll just check their Facebook status in a few years and then say, "Sorry you just got hit upside the head with the realities of life, but hey... you can always start a gratitude journal!"
When I am an old woman, I will sell a shit ton of "gratitude journals" to people that think they will positive-think away their poor choice in husbands and/or all the years that they should have let little Johnny figure shit out himself, but now he's sleeping on your couch and buying lottery tickets.
When I am an old woman, I will comment on every not-so-humble brag and say, "Dude... no matter what you just bought yourself and where you just partied all weekend, you don't fool us. We still see through this update and right to your hollow soul." Or maybe, "This sounds like a desperate cry for attention. Is everything okay?"
When I am an old woman, I will comment on every disgusting, gross, discolored picture of half eaten food. I will ask that person why they thought it was a good idea to ruin all of our appetites with what they pass as a "great shot" of their #foodporn. If real porn was equal to the supposed #foodporn that's all over the internet, nobody would ever have sex ever again.
And just as I thought to myself when I was standing in that bookstore on Coast Highway, purchasing my copy of When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple, I want to recommit to be true to myself. I wonder, why not start this mad behavior NOW????
Because I still struggle with fitting in.
Fuck me running...