I feel guilty that…


The second assignment in week two of Creative Writing was to write a story based on a prompt from The Artist’s Way. The prompt is below in bold.

I feel guilty that I am not more put together. Professional. I can’t say I feel this all the time but sometimes. Ok – weekly. Usually at work. 

I can’t have long nails. They bother me. I can’t do Cher things like work with my hands, type, hold a tennis racquet. How do you do anything with nails? Fish change out of your pocket, position a fitted sheet, serve a tennis ball, apply makeup? 

Makeup. 

That’s another thing I don’t like. Can’t do well. I envy my best friend’s 18 year old daughter. She could be Kevin Aucoin or whoever does makeup really well these days. 

I’m that old. 

Makeup makes me feel like a poser, an amateur. I hate the feel of it on my face, and I’m worried it will soil the collar of a favorite shirt when I take it off. 

It’s just makeup though. It washes, right?

Hair. I do love my hair, but I rarely “do” it. It’s more of a functional thing. Which is why I like it long. There are many options for not doing long hair.

Pants. I really only like jeans and yoga pants. Dress pants? Khakis? Ugh. The horror. I feel bloated and unattractive all day long in them. I found one pair of J Crew cropped pants that I love. Think Audrey Helpburn. No pockets. Black. Fitted, and cropped to above the ankle. I bought them in every color. I took a pair apart hoping to make more in other colors. 

Plaid. Argyle. The list is endless. They’re perfect. I just need more options.

Sweatshirts. Let me tell you. I have a mountain of them. If I could wear them every day for a month. I wouldn’t run out. If I had a job where they were appropriate attire, I’d feel most at home. 

T-shirts. OMG. They’re folded on shelves with a folding board. They’re organized by color and theme. They’re ironed. I’m that person. I have enough for an entire year without duplicates.

Sneakers. I can’t stop buying them. New Balance. Reebok. Nike. Puma. Adidas. Piles of Adidas shoes. A Vintage Campus pair I found in a thrift shop and mountains of Barricades and Adizero Feathers that have retired from tennis and line my basement stairs waiting for their next life as house project shoes or mowing the lawn footwear.

None of this strikes me as feminine though, and sometimes that needles me. Am I a professional person with these traits? Do I belong in a corporation if I dress like this? I look around. I see manicured nails. Slacks. Heels. 

The thought of my feet in heels makes me scream in agony. I need my feet. Why would I torture them? Besides, I tore a calf playing tennis, and now a knot forms in my right calf when I wear anything a few inches in height, reminding me of the injury. “Don’t test me, bitch! You need me for life!”

Yes. I do.