Most cocktail parties and social gatherings make me sweaty, and this one is no exception. I’ve accumulated an army of black shirts and black dresses as a way of coping with my uncooperative glands, because no special deodorant or deep breathing technique is ever a match for my nerves. As I scan the room of strangers, I twiddle the edge of my black tank top for support.
I dive in. I walk the room. Who do I know? What am I saying? Why am I saying THAT? And on and on, my internal editor grows loud and proud and I look at the clock and I feel small.
I’m good at smiling. I laugh at every joke. I eat spinach turnovers. I have another glass of wine. I wish I had a best friend with me, some partner in crime. It’s not until I see her across the room that my head gets quiet, or maybe it’s just my lastima turning up and drowning out the rest.
She is talking about something very important to her. She is trying to be understood. I can tell all of this (as I lurk over the hummus plate) because as she speaks her eyebrows lift and her forehead scrunches. It’s not animation, it’s vulnerability. It’s the truth on her face. She wants to be liked, yes, but more so she wants to be heard.
She is being real here amongst the pretenders. And she is wearing white! She is open, and for the first time all night I drop the ME ME ME song and I open up, too. Just like that, we connect. I watch her face dance and I listen, and I don’t sweat a drop.
p.s. Lastima is the new black. (thanks, Jared!)