By Madeline Reddington
I had a sudden realization the other day as I was looking through my car for my cell phone. That is, my car with the front bumper that is constantly popping out of place and a gas tank that rarely has more than $5 in it. In the midst of leaning over to search for my phone in the receipt-filled gap between my driver’s seat and door, I was overcome with the sort of tiredness that can only be fostered by the combination of college-senior hangover and warm weather–I flopped over on the driver’s seat for a short “rest,” temporarily giving up my search. I must be getting too old for this sh*t.
And that’s when I looked down and noticed my sad, polish-less toenails. It’s certainly not a big deal to have unpolished toenails, but at the moment this realization was just a cap to my messy-haired, smudgey-faced appearance–it was the last straw. I whispered aloud to myself, “Oh my god, I’m Liz Lemon!”
“I’m Liz Lemon!” I shouted despairingly to my empty parking lot. But of course, Liz Lemon may forget to paint her toenails and lose her phone in a pile of Burger King receipts, but in reality Liz Lemon is actually Tina Fey, who obviously has her sh*t together. So now I’m not even Liz Lemon; I’m just a plain old regular lemon.
Yes, one of those girls who somehow is unable to keep up appearances of effortless grace while acing my classes, socializing with friends and impressing the world with my perfectly-manicured nails. On the occasional day that I do put everything together right, it’s wonderful–but over half the time my life feels much more like “flying by the seat of your pants.”<– This phrase is one cliche I may never be able to let go of–it just describes situations so perfectly. Hold on to your butt!
Sometimes it’s tough not to feel like the lemon of the batch, especially when you’re in a bit of a rut–feeling like the food-on-your-face, paste-eating preschooler with crumpled papers flying out of your miniature backpack.
Take last Thursday night, for instance: the day started off great because I had picked my outfit for my date that night, impressed my bosses at work and even managed to arrive less than 20 minutes late for my first class. In short, I was flying high.
I’d already put on most of my outfit and done my hair, so all I’d need to do when I got home was put on some makeup and head out to meet my date. But that’s where I was mistaken–I arrived home 30 minutes before I was supposed to meet my date, and realized I had no food. After stealing a microwave pizza from a roommate–and texting an advance apology–I set off to do my makeup, which I then proceeded to spill on my bed.
The minutes are melting away as I head back to the microwave for the pizza, then to the bathroom for a toothbrush, then everything seems to be falling in line and…I drop the pizza on the floor. Face down, great. And now I’ve got mere minutes to salvage and eat my floor-pizza before putting on my makeup with pepperoni-greased hands and running out the door to meet my date and showing up an hour late–“lemoned” again.
Why didn’t my mother warn me? But no, she told me that I had “bedroom eyes” and would be a “maneater.” But then again, maybe I shouldn’t take all of her advice to heart–when I was growing up she had a habit of putting the crackers in the fridge and the salad in the pantry. She also purloined kitchen dishes on a regular basis for projects involving painting, shellacking, and staining and god-knows-what in our basement.
But when it comes to feeling like an ugly duckling, we have to remember–we’re all a little bit Liz Lemon inside–but some of us are just better at hiding it than others.
…and some of us just make an entire bowl of pasta and then spill it on our favorite jeans.