F-ing Frags

Sometime these frags come as a comfort. Sometimes I think they’re f-ing with me. F-ing frags. I’d been feeling vulnerable when Tuesday dawned. I’ve been at my new job for a few months now. My coworkers are keen to know more about me. They want to know my politics, my religion, my social stances. I want to share myself but I don’t want to be judged or stereotyped. People treat you differently once they know these things about you, whether they mean to or not. Once I get a label attached to me things will change. I will inevitably receive the behaviors associated with the label. People will relate to my label rather than to me. There will be assumptions. I’m not sure people can help it anymore.

They want to know more about me. That’s all. It’s just garden variety interest; innocent enough. And yet I invent a crisis where there isn’t one. I choose to feel torn between revealing the intel which helps people categorize me or moderate what I reveal in hopes of staving off judgment and rejection. Back in my younger days I would just lie. I’m not going to lie but I am scarred with trust issues. No matter what I say I will worry that I said too much or didn’t express myself well or gave the wrong impression. I end up feeling vulnerable and exposed and subject to the barbs of gossip and disapproval even when those barbs are not present or threatening to present.

I get fed up with my bullshit when I realize I’m doing this. I give myself a stern lecture, say the hell with it, and come out from hiding. I’ll give honest answers, reveal who I am, what I like, what I believe, what I do. But even as I do so I silently brace for the gathering doom. All my old bugaboos tap dance in to steal the joy and peace of telling the truth. Now you’ve done it. They’re not going to want you here now. You scare them. You make them uncomfortable. Look what you did. We told you to keep your weirdo mouth shut. Dumbass.

Then the whiplash back the other way. The Fuck It Moment when I decide I don’t care. I get angry at imaginary adversaries. Let them judge. Let them assume. Let them stereotype and label me. Let them whisper and laugh and gossip. I won’t care. They can’t hurt me. Hostility rises. Defenses come up. Armor on. I become battle ready. Only nothing has really happened and this is just some elaborate emotional fantasy I go through to my own detriment. It’s a story I’ve made up for no good reason. So my frag came with perfect synchronicity on Tuesday:

Perspective restored. When I identified how I want to feel in my Relationships I chose the words like Honest, Connected, Engaged and, you guessed it, Authentic.

Today’s frag:

I ate beets with dinner. Cooked them myself. Very earthy root vegetable. On weekdays I like to prep everything that needs to be chopped in advance. When I roll in from work to cook dinner it saves me valuable evening time if all the chopping and peeling was done earlier in the day. I zipped home at lunch to grab a sandwich and chop my beets. No one told me I was supposed to wear gloves. Being a beet virgin I peeled and chopped and hacked without protection and then went back to work with bright purple hands. I’d stained my hands with authentic earthy beet blood. So yeah, everyone at work laughed at me just like I predicted.

— Mercy


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