Very few people make it into adulthood unscathed by the jilts of our youth. For me, as a fat girl and an introvert, I found solace in books and writing and living in a world inside my head. Being that girl saved me during those awkward years where I hated myself and every side comment anyone would ever utter in my direction. Worst, though, than the comments, were those who just flat out ignored me. Those times where I’d enter a room and instantly become a wallflower – not out of choice, but because everyone knew I didn’t belong. I thought adulthood would be different. For one, I thought the cookie jar would be a bigger deal than it actually is. For another, I thought that as we grew older, we’d treat each other with more dignity and respect. Boy howdy was I wrong. Last night I walked into Pier 1 Imports with the implicit desire to spend a crapton of money on little blingy things I didn’t actually need, and after being completely (and intentionally) ignored for over 20 minutes, I walked out with a pocketful of money and once again feeling as if I truly didn’t belong.
Last Night A ‘Pretty Woman’ Experience At Pier 1 Imports Left Me Sad, Today I’m Just Angry
So here’s the thing: I’ve lived on my own, or with roommates most of my adult life thus far. It’s been cool and all, but I never saw a need to make my house into a home because why would I decorate for just me? So for the past 20-ish years I’ve lived on Freecycle couches, and Goodwill dishes, and ugly but functional everythings.
As a result I became pretty great at saving my money, but never really figured out how to take care of me.
This year, my niece moved in. Suddenly I started looking around my house through her eyes, through her friends’ eyes. While I never cared if my couch had a stain on it that looked a bit like New York, I suddenly didn’t want her living like that. Not that she’d comment or care. In fact, she loves that couch. She sleeps on it from time to time because she says it’s the most comfortable couch she’s ever been on. But I look at her, and at her friends, and I want better for them.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about spoiling the kid to the point that she feels like she doesn’t have to work for anything…I’m just talking about making this a place that when she walks in, she feels at home. For the first time in my adult life I actually find myself wanting to turn my house into a home.
Once every three months I receive a royalty check for my books. Usually I bank them, but when this one came in I decided to throw everything to the wind and blow the entire thing on prettying up the place. I found a table, and some cute chairs, got a pretty table cloth and then I had this overwhelming desire to buy all the pretty decorative things that I never knew I wanted.
That’s where Pier 1 came in. I’d spent the day searching their website for everything I wanted to make this house seasonally pretty, and I was determined to come home with all the things…and instead I walked out of the store feeling like it’d been a mistake to walk in in the first place.
Like I didn’t belong.
Like they saw me and knew I was out of my depth and that I had no business being there.
Suddenly I was that fat introverted kid all over again, and I wanted nothing more than to crawl back into my bed and forget about ever wanting to change.
But you know what? I did change. I AM changing. I might not ‘fit in’ in a store like that, but that doesn’t mean I don’t belong. It doesn’t mean I should live a shut-in life surrounded by ugly broken things.
This morning I ate my cereal out of a broken bowl. I washed the bowl and had to be careful around the edge so as not to cut my hand. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I don’t want HER to live like this ever.
Today, at some point, I’m going out again. I’m going to (at very least) find non-broken dishes and let that be where I start. I might not belong in Pier 1, but I still have a pocketful of money, and by golly – someone’s gonna want me to spend it.
So you know what, you two women who acted so indifferently toward me as I tried to shop at your store last night? You made a mistake. A big mistake. HUGE.