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FUN A DAY 2019 #18: Caitlin

She’d once said that ‘being conventionally hot’ was one of the few things she had ‘going’ for her, and even though she hadn’t really meant it, I’d found it mildly aggravating and more than a little more...

She’d once said that ‘being conventionally hot’ was one of the few things she had ‘going’ for her, and even though she hadn’t really meant it, I’d found it mildly aggravating and more than a little upsetting, though I couldn’t really explain why. Not that she was wrong about being conventionally hot; she had disproportionately large breasts for her slight frame, and very long legs and arms for her height. She had round light blue eyes and thin light pink lips that would shrivel up with disdain when she was forced to speak to or even about a man, or that would twist up into a smirk if you managed to entertain her. Her dark brown shoulder-length hair was always flat-ironed straight, and her full, long bangs were always carefully styled to cover her forehead and barely-there eyebrows. She was photogenic, and highly skilled at taking self-portraits; she’d managed, once, to somehow take an incredibly flattering full-body selfie in which was wearing nothing but a beige body suit, that was just a few shades darker than her skin. Even she had been shocked at how well that photo had turned out, and at the response it had gotten when she posted it to the internet. If hadn’t known before then that she qualified as hot, she would have from the comments on the photo.
//
This was a thing that had sort of just happened, though, and rather unexpectedly. She had not been popular as a high schooler or during her one year of college, for reasons “too varied and numerous to list,” and she still wasn’t quite sure at what point during her twenties she’d suddenly become attractive. She hadn’t meant to become sexy, exactly, she’d just tried to be cute, to be pretty, to follow an aesthetic and wear things that didn’t make her scowl into her full length mirror. Inspired by Japanese and Korean trends, she wore little makeup, and she dressed in crop tops and skater skirts, paired with sweaters, sweatshirts, and thermal tights when it got cold out. She used a backpack (in addition to her wallet, keys, and phone, the backpack carried, unironically, her two stuffed comfort animals, her water bottle, and also her ‘water bottle’ that actually held a clear liquor), and the effect was something like, ‘Attack of the Fifty Foot Schoolgirl.’ There was nothing sleazy or hypersexualized about it, it wasn’t kinderwh*re or Lolita or some other hideous male fantasy, but it was meant to be deceptive, something we didn’t talk about until one of our mutual friends posted a Sianne Ngai quote to the internet. I’d already read the interview where Ngai talked about ‘cute’ as the fetishization of powerlessness, and this quote was about how things that are cute can easily degrade into something disgusting, and how cute can be sinister. Caitlin had acknowledged that this was oddly relevant to her sense of style. There was an aggression under her floral skirts and soft sweaters, a rage that motivated her conventionally feminine but purposefully immature dress. I’d once jokingly said, “…manic pixie nightmare?” to her. She’d cackled and said, “…yes, that would be it,” before taking a swig from her “water bottle.”
//
That’s how talking with her was. She was funny, and could be mean. She could be self-deprecating, but in this fascinating way that was never really at her expense, it was always self-aware, it implicated the larger systems that had shaped her experience. She bitterly aimed her vitriol at one deserving target after another (medical abuse, racists, patriarchy, predators, certain mainstream religions, men, etc.), and always in a way that made you laugh bitterly with her. It felt like it should have demoralized you, but it was satisfying, instead. She was sharp, and conversations with her moved quickly, and organically, and sometimes it felt like it was hard to keep up with her, but it really wasn’t. It was just that afterward, even though you’d enjoyed your time with her, you sometimes felt a little drained, as if you’d actually run across all the ground your discussion had covered.
//
She’d been accused, on more than on occasion, of being ‘manipulative,’ and her attempts to contextualize and understand her own behavior as symptomatic of borderline personality disorder, or a similar or related disorder, had not won her much in the way of understanding of support. If anything, it had raised peoples’ suspicions even further. I’ve wondered if people thought she must be dishonest because they couldn’t understand how she could be so militantly angry, so conventionally hot, and so, well, mentally ill and literally depressed over it. People seemed to get her wrath, her deadpan despair, her very particular performance of femininity; they didn’t seem to know how to take her far more rare expressions of genuine sadness, desperate loneliness, and exhaustion. I myself had admittedly been confused by these displays, not because they felt fake, but because they felt overwhelming, they felt different than when most people talked about their feelings. It sometimes felt as if she herself didn’t know how to explain how she felt, despite how observant she was of her and other peoples’ behavior, and frustrated, was driven to over-communicate her feelings. But while I didn’t entirely understand why she did or said certain things, when she was upset, I was never confused by her. She, as a human being, as a woman, made sense to me, even when she seemed to not quite make sense to herself.
//
IMAGE SOURCE: https://aminoapps.com/c/animation-art/page/item/bape-ril/0b7j_XqfZIjMrJ8Xb8LBKwn8DmwkPnPwrj ...less

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livelyandcolorful
8 tracks
  • 32min
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  • 4 months ago