A Woman of Many Shoes

When you see the bus from this distance, it's usually too late.

This morning, I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of dawn (okay, it was 7:00), put on the first three articles of clothing I could find, and headed off to my last final of the semester.

I fought a traffic jam at the intersection of Hwy 183 and I-35. I arrived on campus at 8:40, searched frantically for a parking spot in Dobie, ran down to Jester to purchase a breakfast taco, then turned and ran back from whence I came (while eating said breakfast taco) to make it JUST IN TIME to my 9:00 World Literature Examination.

This is the my life as a student. Breakfast tacos and barely made deadlines. All nighters on papers that I don’t want to write, and not enough time to work on the things I really want to do. Projects. Obsessing over grades. Waiting for busses. And waiting and waiting and waiting… Running to catch busses that I know I’m too far away to reach, and cursing loudly as I bend over, out of breath, and resign myself to walking uphill from the Social Work building where I park to The Six Pack where I have class. Sprinting up stairs because the elevator is too slow. Running into people in the strangest places. Time spent doing homework while eating pizza because I ended up scheduling a three hour break between classes. Club meetings. Walking down Guadalupe while watching people who are watching me, and wondering where they’re trying to go.

It’s a frenzied, frantic, crazy existence on campus.

And make no mistake, I love it. Even when I’m complaining about those damned busses, I love every minute of being a student. I love the pressure and the excitement… and the normalcy of it all. I fit there, like a puzzle piece locking snugly into place.

Still…

When I left campus today, after the three hour Epic World Literature Exam From Hell (I am not exaggerating. Three hours. Fourteen pages of essay answers.) I drove to The House of Chaos where, for the next four hours, I found myself saying things like this:

Cake is acceptable, but banana rubbing will not be tolerated.

“I will NOT let your rub banana all over yourself!”

“We don’t eat dinosaurs. The nutritional value of dinosaurs is overrated.”

“Yes, that’s right! The cochlea does look like a snail.”

“No, Earth and Jupiter are definitely not the same size.”

…And various other things that I’m sure would at least get me checked by the campus police for potential drug use if I started spouting them off while at school.

I followed up by having an actual argument with a soon-to-be (really?!?) four-year-old. He hid. And I use the term “hid” loosely. More of, he crawled under a bed, threw stuff out, and yelled at me very loudly to find him. At which point, I laughed and said that I could already see him. And then he got very upset and told me that I wasn’t following the rules. Then he told me to look for him. And I told him that I could already see him. And he told me to stop doing that. And I said okay. And then he told me to look for him.

Come to think of it, we might go on the road with that routine.

When I’m at the House of Chaos, student Bobbi magically morphs into Auntie Bobs. (At least most of the time. There is the occasional chaotic biology studying binge.) And Auntie Bobs does things like build train tracks on the floor, dance around while singing loudly in Russian, and engage in tickle fights.

I’m fairly certain that tickle fights in college are dangerous and often result in new people. And really, Auntie Bobs is enough for the time being. Mommy Bobs is something else entirely.

As Auntie Bobs, I feel compelled to point out fire engines, and translate words into different languages in an overly-excited, super-high-pitched voice. I catch myself saying “WOW!” and “That’s really cool!” way more often than anyone who isn’t taking a special trip on on a combination of speed, ecstasy, and acid ever should.

And I love this too. I might complain and threaten to hang the little monkeys by their toes if they don’t stop trying to kill each other, but really? There’s nothing better than drool-covered hands blowing me kisses.

This complete 180 I pulled in personalities today got me thinking about the different people I become in different situations. It’s kind of like Barbie. Despite establishing that she must be at least a little moronic, there’s one thing that she had right. Barbie could be ANYTHING.

Literally.

All she had to do was change clothes and she became something else. Doctor Bobbi. Veterinarian Barbie. Teacher Barbie. Mermaid Barbie. If nothing else, Barbie was a woman of many hats. Or maybe, A Woman of Many Shoes. Even if they were mostly pink.

I wonder if she, like me, sometimes has trouble reconciling her multiple personalities? Student Bobbi and Auntie Bobs aren’t so bad. Radically different, yes – Monkey Boy and Munch don’t give a flying fig about the linguistic history of the Russian word for “half,” and my friends on campus find it extremely frightening that I have large chunks of Dr. Seuss memorized by heart. Not to mention the Chuggington Theme Song. *shudder* That one scares me a little too. But all in all, switching between those two people isn’t so hard. Some of the other… erm… shoes I find myself filling are a little harder to work in. For example: Professional Bobbi and Martha Stewart Bobbi. And when I say professional, I don’t mean Hooker. And when I say Martha Stewart, I don’t mean Convict. That would be another blog post ENTIRELY.

Homemade pies... sans the ankle monitor.

Running a statewide conference.

My adorable Identifies-As-An-Anarchist-Feminist-Punk-Friend Molly tells me that I set the women’s movement back years. Why, you might ask? Because I once expressed a desire to have dinner on the table for my husband when he got home from work.

Because I own an apron. Because I bake pies from scratch. Because I have mastered the intricacies of pork roast. Because I fold shirts better than anyone in the country. I have an iron, and I know how to use it.

Because really, there’s a part of me that’s very… well… domestic. And I don’t mind it one little bit. Guilty confession? Sometimes I put on a shirt-waist dress and an apron, and clean my house while dinner is in the oven, all while listening to Rosemary Clooney.

It’s costuming at its finest. Barbie all over again.

Suffice to say that it confuses everyone, then, when they catch me decked out in full business. That person? The one in the suit? Nothing setting the women’s movement back there.

And I have to say, of all the costumes I wear, that one feels the best on me. After a year or so in the working world before I started college, I got accustomed to dressing like a grown up. And now, when attending meetings for OCD TEXAS and attempting to make a name for myself as the twenty-year-old unlicensed Vice President on a board of the directors that is made up otherwise entirely of treatment professionals, I find that it does me well to slip back into that professional attire. With a suit comes respect. In fact: Guilty Confession Number 2 – Sometimes I wear suits to class before meetings that I would technically have time to get home and change for. I do it partially because it feels good – but partially because I like for people to see that there is an adult hiding inside of that Student Bobbi persona. Someone who, last week, had a conference call with Washington DC. Someone for whom “budget meeting” doesn’t mean asking mom and dad for a loan.

And sometimes, I just don’t know how to take all of these people and shove them together into one cohesive person. It reminds me of when I was five and wanted nothing more than to be a Ballerina/Princess/Builder.

Tell me, Barbie, how would that work? Just switch out of my tutu into my work belt and go on? How does that ballerina relate to all of her builder friends? What does the builder in her do when she finds herself surrounded by other ballerinas, who wouldn’t know a nut from a bolt?

The truth is, I love all of the roles I play. Heading into my 21st birthday, I couldn’t ask for a better way to become an adult, because I get a little bit of everything. But sometimes, doing so much makes it hard to completely fit in anywhere. Because underneath that business suit will always be a woman who also likes to bake, who points out fire engines, and who curses at the bus because it drove off without her and she has a paper due in fifteen minutes.

Tell me, Barbie… when you’re being a mermaid, do you still feel the urge to administer veterinary care to sick fish? How do you wear all your shoes?

I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t change a thing. But really, I just want to know.

*Bobs

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2 Comments to “A Woman of Many Shoes”

  1. I just have to say I enjoy all your blogs. Your funny and a very good writer.

    • Thank you Marina! I really appreciate that you take the time to read and comment. I love blogging, and I’m really enjoying having the time to do it again now that classes are finished for the semester.

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