Sometimes I forget what I look like. Not my literal appearance... it's hard to ignore 32Fs under my top, or the long blonde hair I would never have had in my real life... but the way people expect me to act because of how I look.
In my regular life I looked, well, pretty much exactly how I felt. I was short, a bit out of shape, with an unimpressive figure and short dark hair and a permanent scowl. In fact, it wasn't that unusual for people to think I was a lesbian... not that I cared what people thought (but I was, and am, pretty much just a boring straight gal.) Now with legs up to here and more breasts than I know what to do with, people look at me like, well, I've looked this way my entire life.
Simply put, I look approachable, and I'm really not.
Ever since we got here, I have been doing Tasha's job, waitressing at some dive bar. I showed up on "my" first day to find the girls all wearing cutoff shorts and low cut black tops and I felt a sting in my gut, like I had no business standing next to these women, dressing that way, showing off my "goods." But a glance in the mirror reminded me that I have those same assets, if not more. I was embarrassed about a body I no longer had. If I wanted to flaunt it, I could.
I didn't really want to, though - I still wanted to just wear cardigans and slacks and curl up with a book and a cup of tea. But my income since arriving in PA has pretty well depended on bending over, smiling, walking away slowly with a swivel in my hips. I've gotten the hang of acting the part of a bombshell, but when I'm by myself I'm still really a shy, clumsy, bookish girl.
I guess I haven't gotten that good at being Tasha though... I can tell that I'm the lowest tip-earner on the waitstaff, regulars bolt right for other girls' sections if they can. I think it's because I caught onto which ones were leches who wanted to bug me, offer to take me on trips and investigate whether they had a shot at taking me away from my "boyfriend." I developed a nasty habit of dawdling with their drinks, not checking up, not giving more than a cursory nod when they asked how I was doing. And before long they stopped.
I guess I'm not in the drink-serving business, I'm in the people pleasing business. Having a body like this gets you a lot of attention, but you have to know how to deal with it, stifle your own discomfort, and play the game. People feel entitled to my time, like if they pay me a compliment they deserve to be treated well. It makes me long for the days when it wasn't an issue, when I didn't have to worry about concealing myself because I was ready-made invisible. I still occasionally got harassment -- including the ever popular request from strangers on the street that I smile as if it was any of their business -- but it was the exception rather than the rule. Now, it feels like anytime I leave the house I'm under the microscope.
The weird thing is, self-consciousness hasn't gone away. I fret more than ever about how my clothes fit, whether I'm slouching, how my hair and makeup looks (as in, I almost never used to wear it beyond some light mascara) and my weight... I had basically decided not to care about a lot of this at all, and my life was fine, and then I was given this body and basically told "don't ruin it." Gah!
(If I can further twist this superficial little body obsession kick of mine, no matter what light I see it in, I'm convinced my old face was prettier... but that's just my opinion and I don't think the men seem to mind this face too much...)
Here's how insecure I am... I didn't want to talk about this. It's taken so much goading to open up about my life. Even though these are real problems for me (not only is it killing my self-esteem, it's actively hurting my bank account to make less tips) and I go to bed some nights crying, I felt too embarrassed to bring this to you, the only demographic in the world who might understand what I'm saying, because it seems so whiny. Oh, the poor girl gains a body that others would kill for overnight. My closest friend in the world right now is a grown man in a teenage girl's body, so anytime I even think I have problems, I think about Tyler, and what he's gone through.
And that just makes me feel worse, because holy crap, that guy can deal.
All things considered, he doesn't take as many opportunities to freak out as I think he could. Yes, he vents, he moans, but at the end of the day, the guy is taking this whole situation on the chin. We went out for lunch yesterday, and he was telling me about his experiences at school, going on and on as if it was the most normal thing, barely even "breaking character," as far as I could tell... like the Tyler I met in Maine and the "Lauren" I teased for prancing around in a Beauty Pageant weren't two separate people at all, or an act... like he's found a way to crack open Lauren's life and absorb it into his own, instead of fighting with it, like I have.
Look, this is all from the outside, I don't know the depths of his inner turmoil. Maybe he hides it well. I don't want to go so far as to insinuate he's enjoying any of this. Just that when he can run down embarrassing conversations between his classmates while gleefully chowing down on a fast food burger, punctuating every story with this haughty teenage hair flick that is part affectation and part parody... I envy the guy. At least he seems together.
So I go home and I sigh... "poor me." I have the company of Wade, who is starting to sense that something is bothering "his girl." And he's a nice enough guy, almost smart and artistic enough for me, but still very immature, contentious about the stupidest, most trivial stuff. I can't connect with him, not only because he doesn't understand, but the degree to which he does understand he is just desperate to write off my problems and tell me things are fine. Or imply that there are simple solutions, when there aren't.
"You don't like your job? Just quit."
Yeah right. It's not my job to quit... although, I may not have a choice soon. I'm already getting less shifts, down to Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only. I need a hobby, or a second job, or some friends with my own interests.
I don't know... when I got dragged into this mess, I made it known to Tyler that I was not looking for a relationship, and yet here I am going through the motions of one, living each day in the scenario I was actively avoiding. I feel like Wade can sense I'm not giving my all.
Besides, if I take that attitude and quit, where does it end? Breakup with Wade, new apartment, haircut, breast reduction? Don't think I haven't considered it. I don't really feel sexier a lot of the time, just sore, objectified, and annoyed at the way my boobs fall into my armpits when I lie down. I want to be me again in the worst way and I feel so ungrateful. It feels like all this beauty is wasted on me, and I'm a jerk for complaining about a body that is supposedly "ideal," and in any case closer to what I started with than Tyler did.
I never asked to be a frigging Barbie doll.