Who You Tryna Impress?

Who You Tryna Impress?

I wondered if the full length mirror I had been looking into was from a carnival fun house.  Were my boyfriend and I looking at two different people?  My outfit was casual at best, and seemed totally appropriate for a league basketball game he played in for fun.  I had on my favorite Pacsun attire, my hair was in its usual poofed state resembling Snooki, and my eyeshadow matched the exact shades of my outfit.

I was only 20 after all; it was not time to dress like an adult just yet.

This was not a new question; it was used weekly to make me feel self-conscious about my appearance.  I didn’t have a good answer, because by this point I had given up trying to explain how fashion and beauty products were used as self-expression, rather than to impress others I didn’t even know.

In his opinion I was too flashy, my shirt was always just a bit too low or short, and my sarcastic banter was too flirty.  I was obviously dressing like this to be noticed by other men, even old men who “eye raped” me everywhere I went he loved to say.

He thought being funny and speaking up in conversations with witty remarks was not a sign of intelligence, but attention seeking.  Having a lot of friends, and being serious about my education was looked down upon.

In the beginning he was sweet, bought me gifts, and took me on cute dates.  Things started to shift when we became more serious. One night I went to sleep a girlfriend, and woke up half a stepford wife.

The stepford wife part of me wanted so desperately to figure out how I could get in his good graces, make him love me more, make him want to actually marry me like we talked about.  I started to believe I was the person he saw.  I isolated myself, I drank more, and I no longer voiced my opinions.  I had been brainwashed to the point where I felt like without him and his approval, I was nothing.

The human girlfriend part had me sprinting to the drawing board to brainstorm ways to get the fuck out of this prison sentence.  I knew I was too weak to actually leave, and stay away for good.  I had to do something so unspeakable he would never want to see me again.

Although a big fan of TLC, I didn’t think I was cut out for a Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes moment.  However, I knew that cheating was a pain point for him and could be my ticket out.

We broke up and got back together dozens of times in a two and a half year span.  During that period, when I hung out with my friends I turned my phone off to be present.  Normally it would be buzzing out of control with messages from him asking 21 questions.  If I didn’t answer in an adequate amount of time, he assumed I was doing something wrong.

Near the end of our relationship his friends invited us to canoe on a river people frequented.  It was an excuse for Michigan kids to get half naked, wet, and hammered. He didn’t want to go, but he encouraged me to tag along alone.  This was my opportunity as a stepford wife to prove to him that I did belong in his life, and could behave.

A mixture of Burnette’s and my boyfriend’s friends talking shit about him, reawoke the human girlfriend.  I was having a really good time, and was finally free to be me since I wasn’t under his watchful eye.  Maybe I’m great just the way I am?

I made a blacked out choice to act on my previous escape plan, I had to cheat.  I wondered who would be the easiest target.  His best friend had been flirting with me all day; it would have to be him, but where?

We were on a river that runs along a bunch of houses and woods.  There is a lot of open space, and to go unseen out there didn’t seem likely.  In the distance, at a stop off was a row of porta potties that could contain us just enough.  Usually I was too prissy to even step foot into one of these boxes, even after roughing it at Warped Tour every summer.

It felt like now or never, this was my only choice.  I had to take back my life, I missed the real me.  I grabbed his best friend’s hand, and we entered the nightmare zone.

The cleanliness factor was non-existent.  Where do I put my hands?  Should we put toilet paper down?  Where are the toilet seat covers?  There wasn’t enough hand sanitizer to fix this mess.

Luckily we were already in bathing suits, so undressing wasn’t difficult.  As I held myself up by the toilet paper roll cover we attempted intercourse, unsuccessfully.

If I crouched down my head would be right next to the hole of doom, so oral was out of the question.  We were running out of options.  Making out, heavy petting, and hand stuff would have to do.  We were in and out before too many people noticed.

Who needs the Mile High Club, when you can brag about the Portable Jonathan club?

Shortly after we finished our canoe trip, we headed back to one of the girl’s houses.  I proceeded to throw up all over her kitchen, and she called my soon to be ex-boyfriend to pick me up.  After a long nap at his house, I lost all my nerve.  I had made a mistake, and could not tell him.

I acted as if nothing happened, and wondered if I had a shot of getting away with this.  I gave him an extra-long kiss before I headed back to my place, as I had a feeling it would be our last. I had accomplished what I set out to do, so why did I feel so awful?

My attempt to hide the incident failed, and his bestie spilled our indiscretions.  We talked once again, but he never forgave me as I planned.

Heartbroken would be putting it lightly, and I hated myself for a long time.  Should I have listened to the stepford wife part of me?  Was she the angel or the devil in this scenario?  It felt like this decision made me a bad person, and I wasn’t sure how to move forward with my life.

It was the best wrong decision I’ve ever made for myself.  I broke into tears telling my close friends stories that were once secrets.  They assured me this relationship experience had not been healthy, and no one should feel as worthless as I did with a partner.

It’s difficult to recognize that just because abuse isn’t sexual or physical, that it is still incredibly harmful.  I changed the person I was, for someone I loved.

My BFF since 6th grade sat me down with an old scrapbook, and reminded me of who that person was. Over time I was able to regain my confidence.  The woman I became knows better than to allow such behaviors, and to quote queen Britney is “Stronger than yesterday, and now it’s nothing but my way.”

Several months later I sit at my first girl’s night newly single, and I hear phantom vibrations.  I’m so used to my phone being flooded with endless texts, begging for attention.  It’s lying face down on the table, and as I turn it around I smile, with the realization that I have 0 messages.

I have no one to answer to, and the freedom to be myself without judgement.

I gaze at my girlfriends and appreciate them for loving me, even when I couldn’t love myself.  We continue our game of Never Have I Ever, and I shove a Hoe Hoe in my mouth wholeheartedly knowing that I am not one.

“Never have I ever slept with a guy named John” I say with a smirk, and now I never will.