this word makes me feel sad.
for some reason, i have in my head this picture of me, when i was fairly small, maybe it was the first day of school or preschool or easter, but i’m posing in front of our white picket fence (yes really – ha!), hands at my sides, wearing a short-sleeved white dress with a pleated skirt and a green sash, hair in matching green yarn ribbons, all of it moving slightly with the breeze. i’m squinting and smiling into the camera, i really was cute, like so so cute in this picture, and all looks completely normal. just a sweet little kid in her front yard, white knee-high socks nearly even, hair shimmering in the sun.
but look closer, and i’ve got my one foot tilted outwards, not quite standing square, and just that one detail entirely belies the illusion of fineness. it’s like a subtle shrug or something, a tiny little giveaway about how it really was, how unsure i felt, and it makes me feel so fucking sad. because i’m totally looking fine and normal and okay…but that little foot, supinating…it’s what i still do now, decades later, when i’m nervous or worried or fidgeting.
so i feel it all differently, thinking about that picture today. i wasn’t okay, then, but no one knew, no one noticed. i was on my own.