When I was eight I befriended the weirdest girl in the neighborhood. You know, the type that all the other girls ignore and whisper about in their bedrooms while they rip their Barbie’s heads off and stuff them down their tops pretending they magically sprout a set of boobs overnight. Having boobs is all the rage according to my young nieces (and all the men in my life, for that matter) … didn’t you know?
I met Shelby one summer in Massachusetts when she was selling lemonade in front of her house. I was pretty shy as a kid but I approached her for a very specific reason – she was wearing a furry purple bunny costume. I knew right away I had to know this girl. Shelby was stunning with red curly hair and green eyes that were reminiscent of the sea glass I liked to collect from the shores of Cape Cod. Over the two years we were friends, I think I only saw her face a couple of times. She loved her bunny costume, and when people asked her about it, her response was always ‘because I’m a bunny… why wouldn’t I dress like one?’ She didn’t care about the incredulous stares from adults in the stores, or the ridicule she got from the little shitheads in school. Shelby was strange. Shelby was different. Shelby was a bunny. Shelby was fucking Shelby. She taught me such a crucial lesson at a young age – to be proud of the things that made me weird and to never hide them. To embrace the different. I think about her often.
(Imagine my horror when I saw Donnie Darko years later.)
Where are the Shelbys of the world now? Why isn’t it okay for someone to be different? Why is it so hard to celebrate people who don’t live the same way we do? Damn, we don’t even have to celebrate them… but we could at least be kind enough to keep our shitty opinions to ourselves. I don’t care if you have pink hair, a face tattoo, you accidentally got pregnant at 15, or you’re attracted to someone of the same gender. It has zero effect on my life. Are you a good person? That’s really the only thing that people should care about. Apparently all of America needs to have a meeting with an eight-year-old in a bunny costume. Where the hell is Shelby when you need her? Will the real Slim Shelby please stand up? We need you to save mankind.
I haven’t been around here for awhile. I hope everyone’s holiday season has kicked off in a positive/happy direction. I know some people are having a shitty month (especially because of the election) but I hope everything else is good with y’all. Next week we will all be able to stuff our feelings down with food. Bring on the holiday cheesecakes!