I want to tell you something about me: I’m an obsessive person. Like I will over-think things, spend a disproportionate amount of time imagining all possible outcomes of a situation, and create elaborate narratives that position myself or others as terrible human beings based on almost no evidence because it feels safer to anticipate assholery than to be ambushed by it, right?
It’s kind of part and parcel of growing up in a dysfunctional family (where I had to navigate the minefield of emotional volatility that was my childhood home) paired with living in a society that disregards my humanity all the time because I’m a fat woman. I’m what is called “hyper-vigilant.” It’s not really the same as paranoia but manifests in pretty similar ways. It is for sure stressful and makes interactions unnecessarily strained at times.
Just the other day, for example, I was venting to BFF Kori (a nightly ritual) about how I just wish that I could go to the closest, easiest and most delicious coffee shop down the street from me without worrying about the entire ordeal for literally up to 75 minutes.
Is the angry anarchist dude gonna be there or the nice one with the sad blue eyes?
Should I shower or not shower? I always feel cuter after I’ve showered and I need those extra cute points to get me through what could be a cataclysmic cappuccino meltdown of the highest order.
Should I just walk the extra 17 minutes to the other coffee shop that is filled with bright-eyed, chubby, cute queers? That’s an extra 34 minutes roundtrip, though. I could write, like, so many emails during that time. Am I just gonna give that 34 minutes away to patriarchy?
Bec Sparrow talks about her relationship with food. Post continues after audio.
Am I going to tip even if the employee at the register talks to the person in front of me for seven minutes while I stare hungrily and passive aggressively at the miniature apple pies on the pie plate?
What if they run out of cream and then I have to potentially interact with the angry anarchist twice in one day? I don’t know if I can handle that. Can I handle that? Aren’t feminists supposed to know how to handle angry anarchist dudes?
Should I wear something that exposes cleavage because the customer service is NOTABLY better if my tits are out?
Should I leave my sunglasses on while I’m inside the shop as a protective mechanism?
Do they hate me? Of course, they do!
Are they reading this article right now and laughing so hard that flecks of expensive toast are catapulting from their mouths in unison onto the window of the café that they will then have to wipe off with their tiny pretentious beanies?
Kori is very good at grounding me. “You know, you can just go to the coffee shop you want to go to and use it as an opportunity to practice not worrying about what people are thinking about you. I will go with you tomorrow, and we will practice.”