The door opened. The mass of human flesh sighed and shrank back.
I squeezed in with my platter of food held in front of me.
- chunks of watermelon
- heaps of salad fixings
- a slice of beef brisket
- two peanut butter cookies
Even though I faced the closed doors of the elevator, I knew.
All eyes were on me. Well, on my food that is.
No one spoke.
No one moved.
“The ride of shame,” I thought, “That’s what I’m on. The chubby girl carries the goodies home.”
I waited for the usual spread of heat in my cheeks, the sting of tears in my eyes.
I always figured that I was not like most people.
It was like a nebulous flaw that rendered me just slightly less valuable than anyone else.
So I stayed constantly on guard.
- Never daring to be myself.
- Putting all my energy in anticipating what would please or impress other people.
- Expounding on theology.
- Venting about social issues.
- Ranting about whatever caught my fancy.
It took a few months but I edged out all the voices in my head that said “you better do this and you better do that.”
I started to write what I really thought.
Sure, I got a bit of feedback trying to shush my point a view or gently urging me to reframe my approach to certain subjects.
But, I found that saying what you really think is actually invigorating. Confidence building. Life changing.
As the elevator descended, I found the ride far from shameful.
I grinned. Almost laughed out loud.
When the doors slid open, I held up my platter and walked to away.