"You look very pretty today", said the cashier at the craft store. I turned around to see who she was talking to. She laughed as though I was being coy. "Wow, I'm serious. You just have that pulled together look that I can never seem to manage myself." It was my turn to laugh, but I didn't. I thanked her sincerely for her compliment and left the store, walking a little bit taller than I had been when I'd walked in and grabbed a buggy - not because I had so much to buy, but because I needed something to lean on just to keep myself upright.
Before you ask, no, I hadn't stopped at Sonic on the way to the store and fortified a limeade from a little hip flask, but the thought had crossed my mind.
I was just having a hard time holding my molecules together.
I left the house on a quest. I had decided that the only way I was going to keep my molecules from flying away all willy nilly until I disappeared was with a new lipstick. Hey, don't judge until your molecules are making noise about leaving you. Sometimes a new lipstick has magical properties. Not always - it's not a sure thing - but it's a pretty good bet.
So I went - distraught - to the makeup counter. "I need a new lipstick."
"Hmmmm", said the woman with the drawn on eyebrows, "Do you have a cleansing regimen?"
"Yes. I don't need that - I just need a new lipstick."
"Well, if I know what kind of moisturizer you use, I can give you a better recommendation." She was leading me towards a rack of lotions and potions that did not even remotely resemble lipstick.
"I really just want..."
"As you age, a good skincare regimen is so important."
"Ok. Thank you for your time." I said, backing towards the door.
"No, no!" she said, following me, "I can help you pick out a new lipstick."
"Changed my mind. Thanks, though."
I got in my car and she looked crestfallen. She'd tried to upsell, like a good little sales girl, and had, instead, lost a sale that was almost certain.
The thing is, I'd left the house feeling ugly and worthless. I wanted a little pick-me-up in the form of a new and provocatively named color with which to stain my lips. I really wasn't asking for the world. I left her counter questioning the one aspect of my physical self that I don't actually have many complaints about. I have freak hair, I'm fat, and I'm kind of lop-sided. But my skin is not bad. (It's a proven fact. Fat don't crack.)
Thank goodness I decided to stop in the craft store before dragging my sorry ass home.
Thank goodness that someone told me I looked pulled together just as I was certain I was falling apart.
I don't know how I'll be able to pay this one forward, but I'm certainly going to try.