Along with two dogs, trash bags full of clothes, garbage bins full of dry goods, and a derelict collection of towels, pillows, and bedding, my sister, who we’re in the process of moving from south Florida to Chicago, has brought something else to my house — the HBO hit series Girls, which is written by, directed by, and starring Lena Dunham. And I’ve been watching it.
Like, a lot.
One of the characters, Jessa, who is cool and carefree and spontaneity personified (plus she has a British accent and wears really great hats), makes a decision in one episode that could be perceived as unhealthy (and okay — if she’s struggling deep down with low self-esteem and detachment issues it probably is unhealthy), but after everything is said and done, she turns to her friend who witnessed the questionable act and says, quite unabashedly,
“That was me showing that I cannot be smoted. I am unsmotable.”
And even though I’m way too old to be watching Girls and my crazy twenties are well and gone and it’s probably high time I start thinking about retirement plans and getting the house ready to sell and my aging ovaries, this moment really got to me.
“Smote” is the past-tense of “smite,” which means “to defeat” or “to strike with a firm blow.” By adding “ed” to the end of an already past-tense verb, Dunham is using her clever writing skills to show us that the non-word “smoted” in this case, is more of a slang for being “dissed.” That, or Jessa is so cool that it doesn’t even matter that she’s grammatically deficient.
Ironically, the fact that her declaration affected me at all shows just how smotable I actually am.
But I don’t want to be. I want to be unsmotable. Like Jessa. With messy fishtail braids, an unwavering zest for life, and a 100% bounce-back rate when people try to smite.
Of course, I could change the way I behave right here and now — I could grow my hair long and flowy and stop shaving my armpits and follow all whims with reckless abandon, but the problem is that people would know. The people who know me would know that I’m not really as aloof and carefree as I’m suddenly pretending to be, and then they’d tell other people that I’m not really as aloof and carefree as I’m pretending to be, and the real problem here is that perception is reality. We often only feel the way others perceive us, which is why sometimes we get the totally normal urge to completely cut all ties and run away to a place where nobody knows who we are.
Sitting in the same bar every night where everybody knows my name? Sounds like a terrifyingly placid way to spend a life.
But I love the people I have in my life, and I don’t want to not know them anymore. And while I could certainly dramatically change my personality all quick and painless-like, it probably wouldn’t be real. So many of the changes I’m trying to make — staying positive, not gossiping, living in the moment, and trying not to resent the military for killing my dream yet again for moving overseas — are happening slowly. Stealth-like. It seems as though if people can witness my struggle to change, they’ll know it’s genuine. I’ll know it’s genuine.
So friends. Raise your hand if you would pay $100 for the opportunity to totally reinvent yourself. Just $100 for the one-time, no-questions-asked chance to completely change your personality.
How about $200?
Which still makes me smotable.
But I’m working to change that.
*I have SO much trip stuff to tell you about, but yesterday I was running on about 2 1/2 hours of sleep and the fact that my photos don’t seem to want to transfer from one computer to another this morning is a clear sign that today I should just share this post instead. But I promise — I’ve seen a prison and China Town and a castle and an ocean and hipsters galore, and I plan to share it all with you very soon. I just need like… eight more coffees.*