(get)fit in(out)

i.

Time and again I tell myself I now know better; learned.

“What’s the worse that could happen?” My inside voice asked, convincing myself to go ahead with the plan. I sent a reply; yes“It’s Friday night,” I reminded myself, as if that justified everything. I conjured to mind memories of countless Friday night-outs half the globe away that took place over the last six years that I lived in first Philadelphia, then Palo Alto.

“What’s the worse that could happen?”

ii.

…then it’s two hours later, in a dingy, dimly-lit ladies lavatory in a bistro bar, as I leaned against the sink and faced myself in the mirror, trembling as I fixed my headscarf, that it finally hit me  – regret pooling down my throat – how foolish I am.

“I don’t care,” I’d claimed earlier when friends asked if I was okay being in a place like this. “I don’t care,” I repeated myself. “It might get uncomfortable for some people, they might get judgy or think I would get judgy because of what’s on my head – but personally for myself, I don’t care. I’m curious about our friend who’s singing tonight! I want to hear her sing.”

Tonight I remember why – what it means, both to myself and to the outside-looking-in world – I decided to wear the headscarf. Tonight I not only remembered, but finally understood with piercing depth, the life I have thus chosen to live by.

iii.

I hitched an early ride, thankfully, with a close friend who noticed and also echoed my discomfort.

“I always tell myself to go ahead, what’s the big deal,” I admitted to her with a small laugh as we drove away from Miri’s nightlife, “But I’d get there and realize – no. Everything’s wrong.  This just isn’t my kind of setting or vibe. This isn’t me.”

And I call myself learned; how utterly, totally foolish.

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