"Is this anti-feminist of me?" I wonder out loud into the steam as I shave the fine, tiny hairs in my armpit. "Maybe," it whispers back, "I don't know."
Showering is very therapeutic for me. Being around or in any body of water usually is. This time gives my thoughts free reign, wondering about anything that the structure of my day doesn't normally allot time for. I think - or don't - dumping my stream of consciousness down the drain with my conditioner, rinsing myself of impurities.
I’ve killed my third plant in two months. They were all those little succulents too, the ones that are supposed to be next to impossible to **** up. A plant that has grown and adapted and learned to thrive in harsh environments, can sustain life for months without any water or even sunlight, through sandstorms and deep permeating frosts and being trampled on by...a camel? An armadillo? I’m actually not really sure where succulents are naturally indigenous from. I bought mine on the cheap from Trader Joe’s. Maybe California? Anyway, it can flourish all completely on its own - and I killed it. This is my relationship with plants. I so desperately want to feel like I am the kind of person who is attuned to life and have a natural synchronicity to all things living. I like to tell my friends that I am Snow White and that the elements and the animals all bend to my touch and my will. The idea is to purposely come across as boastful but I know that when I repeat this terrible joke over and over, the person I’m truly trying to convince of that is myself. Hovering, I keep a watchful eye over what I have put so much investment in and tweak and pinch and poke until I am positive every aspect of their care and growth has been properly attended to. And then they die. I pour too much care into my wards and leave them drowning, but only with the best of intentions. Nature vs. nurture vs. me.
This is my relationship with people. I can become overbearing. I know I can. So, I make sure that I’m not. I’ve got that deep-seeded nurturing aspect that is laced within my responsible, eldest female caretaker upbringing, which translates to me being overly affectionate but also being headstrong and yell-
y. I just want the best for you, I say as I smother my loved ones. I sigh and exfoliate my feet.
After draining all of my thoughts, I emerge from the shower into this wall of humidity. I feel sterile and perfect. This whole scene feels like some sort of cinematic metaphor for rebirth, but really I'm just trying to look presentable for work. I grab my fat purple towel and pat dry my face. While I'm blinded, I shuffle to position myself in front of the mirror. Naked, I throw my towel to the side to reveal myself. I play this game every time I bathe, and every time I hope to unveil a new person. I look at myself in the fogged mirror. Still me, just wetter. Shinier. Pinker.
"You know, 'pinker' isn't a real word," my friend who I read this to tells me. "You should replace it with 'more pink.'"
"You know," I start, "language isn't even, like, a real thing. It's just a set of ancient rules and guidelines based in other dead 'languages' to give ourselves boundaries of comfort and live in predictability and reason. I'm shaping language to my vernacular to best portray my thoughts and ideas to you. You know what I'm trying to say, anyway. After all, language is just another construct. It keeps communication within a nice, neat little package, therefore it keeps creativity and free thought in a nice, neat little package. I'm, like, redefining definitions. I'm making words my own. Like Dr. Seuss! I'm like ******* Dr. Seuss. Zoopity Zoo and Binkity *****! That means 'Step outside of your temple of familiarity, you ******* sheep person.'"
I was never one to take constructive criticism very well.
My friend goes home. I go to take a shower.