Thursday, March 20, 2014

Here's to the Socially Awkward Among Us

A few years ago, I stumbled across the webcomic Girls With Slingshots, drawn and written by Danielle Corsetto...who incidentally lives over in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Danielle's work is funny and so gut-wrenchingly honest that sometimes it can smart a little. One of the things I totally dig about it is that her protagonist's mom is a librarian, as is one of the other characters, Clarice. She went so far as to confirm- somewhat because the librarian readership bugged her to death about it- that Clarice, who originally clerked in an X-rated shop, got her MLS a little at a time to become the librarian she'd always wanted to be. (Ed. note: GWS is sometimes mature in its content, ergo it may not be everyone's cup of tea.)

I love the characters, but Clarice resonates with me. She's a strong woman in many respects, but in others, particularly intimate emotional relationships, she's painfully awkward and confused. A while back, Danielle wrote in a love interest who started out as a 'creeper patron' in Clarice's library- and then Joshua turned out to be a shy but really decent guy. Clarice's reluctance to tell him how she felt, and moreover, the way Danielle characterized it in the strip, felt like someone had dropped a hod of bricks on my skull.

At least Joshua finally got the hint, and when Clarice finally let the cat out of the bag, he didn't freak out and reject her. I'm raising the point because I know all too well how it could've gone the other way- been there, done that, created this blog to try to work through it. I don't often embrace what I consider silly romanticism, but the two characters involved...well...it's close to home. It's what I wanted and what never happened for me. So, I cheer for my favorite fictional librarian and her new paramour, while at the same time it's deeply painful to read.

This arc is playing out while I'm at a crossroads in my life. I've made the decision to proceed with a more radical weight loss surgery, and it cuts to my very identity. Who will I be, when I'm not fat anymore? Will people still be my friends? Will I still be loved, when my role has changed? The loss of my mother is a powerful catalyst. Can I take control of my life? Can I have the life I want? I don't know.

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