The Game

It was a lazy day during my Christmas break.  I had spent the morning reading, sipping coffee and correcting papers.  Well after noon, I rose from the couch to shower.  By the time I wrapped myself in a towel to dry and found my gaze in the mirror, I was overcome with this overwhelming fatigue of being a woman.  There was not a cell in my body that wanted to dry my long hair, put on make up, or expend any amount of energy finding jewelry and clothes that match and flatter.  The exhaustion and disgust at the daily game to fit an unattainable ideal that limits and boxes was great enough to bring tears.  I looked at my spouse, who has no attachment to said game, and grew resentful and jealous. Then, as quickly as the exhaustion came on, I was at peace.  I walked mindfully to my closet and put on a comfortable outfit that did not match or flatter.  I put lotion on my dry face, and then promptly walked out of the bathroom.  I did not play the game.  And guess what?  I was not struck down, ridiculed or arrested by any fashion police.  Nothing happened, except that time usually spent prepping to impress God knows who was spent in a meaningful way.  After spending hours with my siblings and nephew laughing over dinner, my spouse and I curled up on the couch and watched a film about immigration and gang violence in Central America.  At one point, I rose to use the bathroom, and Dan offered easily, “You are beautiful.”  I caught my reflection in the same mirror I found dread in post-shower, and it stopped me.  Unpainted, unprimped, I stared back and thought, “I am beautiful.”  My lips turned up in a slight smile as I disqualified myself from a stupid, time consuming, soul sucking striving I had been engaging in for two decades. Game over.  It felt good.