Yesterday my favorite manager got fired, which is unfortunate for so many reasons. It’s been bugging me for months that he got treated like shit by the owners, which made no sense because he was a great manager. Plus, he always bought us Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, made sure I wasn’t walking to my car alone at night, and was cool as hell. He always managed on Tuesday nights, so tonight I was somewhat in mourning. On top of mourning that loss, I never had more than three tables at once all night. Not the best for my sad little pocketbook—another reason for my Funk. Yeah, it’s a Funk with a capital F.
Aside from that, it’s just been one of those days. I had to drag myself out of bed. Then this afternoon my anxiety had reached its peak. I called my Aunt Deborah. I called my friend Rachel and burst into tears. While I waited for her to come over, I went on a cleaning spree. I know I’m anxious when I start going on a cleaning spree. Not just picking up, or your average weekly cleaning. A frantic, cleaning out the closet and rearranging all of my t-shirts kind of cleaning spree. I find it soothing. Don’t know why, it just clears my head a little bit.
Basically, it was a day for Fiona. She speaks my language. Miss Fiona Apple has been getting me through, well, life since I first heard Tidal. I can’t believe I was only 12 when she came out with that album. By the time I was 16, trying to just survive the pain of high school and looking at my mom with an oxygen cord in her nose, that record was like my oxygen tank. The last three months of my sophomore year of high school, I listened to “Never is a Promise” every day on the way to school just to give myself the courage to walk in the doors of the high school. That was the worst part of each day of those three months. I knew the moment I’d have to walk by those damn benches across the hall from the cafeteria, that’s where the senior girls would be sitting, waiting to taunt me with: “Slut.” “Whore.” “Bitch.”
Every day, I followed my mom’s advice, and stared straight ahead, not blinking, as they taunted me with those hateful words. I held back the tears and let Fiona’s lyrics run through my head as I pretended not to hear them:
You'll never touch these things that I hold
The skin of my emotions lies beneath my own
You'll never feel the heat of this soul
My fever burns me deeper than I've ever shown to you
You'll say you understand
You'll never understand
I'll say I'll never wake up knowing how or why
I don't know what to believe in
You don't know who I am
You'll say I need appeasing when I start to cry
But never is a promise and I'll never need a lie
I started thinking about those times today when I was listening to Tidal. During that time, I felt like nothing would ever be okay again, like my life was crumbing around those words that rang in my ears every day (sure, I was a hormonal teenager, but it still fucking hurt). But you know what? I made it out okay. I made it out stronger—and I never let a woman get away with calling another woman a slut, that’s for damn sure.
So tonight, as I’m listening to Fiona, I remind myself of these things. I think about what my mom said to me when I was that hurting teenager, and I think about what she says to me when she speaks to me in my dreams:
“It’ll be okay.”
I know it will. But until then—God bless Fiona Apple.