So I've been re-reading Slouching Toward Bethlehem, and it's funny, because the way she figures herself in her writing is the way I've actually always wanted my life to look. There is a section of her L.A. essay that has her going to the grocery store with her baby daughter, in a bikini on a hot day, and an older woman says "What a thing to wear to Ralph's." I can only imagine that her brain, like mine, works constantly to romanticize the everyday self. Why else the anecdote about the bikini? In the essay it's meant, I think, to convey the weirdness of L.A.'s interpersonal climate, but what she really wants you to see is HER, in the bikini, with the grocery cart. And I sympathize with this so so much.
I think it must have to do with how ambivalent I feel about my actual, physical self. When Lauren and I go to yoga and the teacher says that we are "alienated from our bodies" as New Yorkers in winter, I have to admit that this is how I feel all the time. There are girls, personified for me by those eighties-movie adolescent tomboys with shorts and baseball caps, who do without all the self-presentation. And it's hilarious to me that what I've actually achieved, at twenty-three, is something similar to the thing I've romanticized for quite possibly ever. Not that I feel solid to myself--to feel that way I think I will have to start playing volleyball or something.