I’m doing this wrong, I think. I repeatedly put on my eyeliner and smudge some of it off, depending on what I think I’m doing wrong each time. Too thick. Too thin. Too dark. Too light. I look over at my roommate, also putting on her makeup. Her hair is slicked back into the most perfect bun ever, and she’s wearing red lipstick like a pro. When I wear red lipstick, I look like I just made out with a plate of spaghetti or drank a bunch of Kool-Aid. Even though my roommate is super sweet, I feel like she’s watching me and judging. She knows that I have no idea how to put on makeup. She has to know.
I walk to the cafeteria. My friend’s mom once told me that it was weird that my arms didn’t swing when I walked. Whenever I remember that, I try to make them swing more, but I feel like I overdo it. I see a big group of people approaching. Instead of stepping aside or just continuing to walk, letting them naturally make way for me, I take a deep breath and blitz through the center of the group, dodging people as necessary. I get a few weird looks. I definitely did that wrong.
In the cafeteria, I think about the writing club meeting I’m missing as I eat my grilled cheese. I stopped going because I was doing it all wrong. I was misunderstanding the prompts or ignoring them altogether or just writing down words that sounded cool together and that was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
The next day, I won’t speak in class because I read a Baudelaire poem as being super sexual, and the teacher didn’t read it that way. I was therefore wrong. When I get back to my dorm, I will try to begin a paper for my lit class, but I probably read Plath’s poems wrong, because I can’t read Baudelaire right. So I stare at my screen and panic so much that I have to take a walk around campus while listening to music to calm myself down. On the walk, I think about how I’m doing college all wrong. I don’t have plans for the weekend or for fall break or for anything, really. I’m supposed to be getting wasted all the time! Instead, I’m just doing random shit—going to shows, going to the downtown library to read in the courtyard, getting french fries late at night and driving nowhere in particular. I’m still in the city I grew up in, and that is a clear sign that I am doing this all wrong.
My life is all wrong. Everything I do is wrong and OH MY GOD GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD, KATHERINE. ♦