The saddest sentence popped into my head:
If Pinterest had existed when I was a girlfriend, I would’ve been so much better at it.
As soon as I heard it, I couldn’t not hear it.
Hours earlier, I had leaned over the kitchen sink and dumped cereal dust (crushed up frosted mini wheats, if you care) into my mouth. I had eaten peanut butter and jelly on saltines.
I had gone to the gym and slow-jogged a pathetic sixteen minutes and eighteen seconds before giving up. I had worn mid-shin socks with mesh shorts like some sort of preteen girl version of a lax bro and I was pretty much the least likely person to get asked on a date at that community clubhouse.
So the sadder and truer fact that came next was that I might’ve been better in some ways, sure, but mostly I would’ve been the kind of person I’d always been: coming home to wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt, cooking boring rigatoni and olive oil dinners, spending too much time reading books or blog posts or Twitter feeds.
I would not have been much different. A little better dressed, sure. A little more crafty, maybe. A little better at designing graphics or managing Facebook feeds or knowing what desserts I’d never make but love the idea of.
But I wouldn’t have been any different.
I don’t know if our whole generation, at least the single side, is wrapped up in feeling like we’ve got to at least look cool online, but I don’t really want to end up with friends or something mores who don’t know I sing sometimes. Or own only boy-sized sweatpants. Or rarely worry about matching my pajamas or hanging my coat in the closet or opening my mail the minute I visit the PO box.
And probably, it’s appropriate that the song stuck in my head is “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys. (Let’s just be honest: I haven’t heard that song in years, but somehow it’s lodged in my brain.)
The visible things, though, the pretty pinned pictures of skinny sour cream dip and gingham button downs with coral bubble necklaces and skinny black dress pants? Those are just things that might be nice. They’re not always real.
It takes half a second to want to collect your life visually so someone else can imagine how cool you must be, but it takes much more time for someone to figure out that you, you just want to have tomato soup and stand at the counter with your hood up and your hair pulled back. You don’t want to try so hard to be the cool girl.