Being there and blushing

I get inside, out of the weather, after a brisk 20 minute walk. Introductions are made, the other person seems genuinely interested and asks me more about my project. I start to talk in slightly longer sentences, and it is then that I feel the blush of red rush across my face.

I never thought of myself as a blusher, but the past year I have been having this sensation that my face is turning red in a range of situations that I do not think of as being blush worthy. What is worse is I do not even know if I am actually turning red, or if I just feel like I am as I never seem to have people around that I know well enough to co-opt into reality checking.

Have I spent so much time thinking about my project that it now feels a bit too intimate sending those thoughts out into the world? Am I embarrassed that after all these months this is only as far as my thoughts have gone? Do I feel like any explanation I give is so partial that I feel self conscious over misrepresenting myself? Is it that I am so unfit that my lungs cannot deal with keeping me alive and talking at the same time? Of greatest interest to me is the question, can I stop myself from doing this?

I have been very aware of my body the past couple of weeks. My body gives people clues as to my age group and tells people that I am female. Both of these seem to open many doors and close some others. Dressing so I look less odd has pretty much been abandoned, although my wardrobe has certainly mellowed out in the past couple of years (along with fashion being more okay with patterns, skirts and tights). I have found that, if I think of it, I can stop my voice from going so high pitch that I am difficult to hear in crowds. The way my body moves does not mark me off as somebody who has to live with either a disorder that impacts on movement, nor does it mark me off as somebody suffering side effects from medications. This seems to immediately give me ‘worker’ status in some contexts. There is also the fact that ‘being there’ means I am getting to know which streets feel nice/ shady and windy/ noisy along with where smells bad and which streets you find yourself walking behind heavy perfume wearers.

Getting out there to do this project is clearly pretty key to what I am interested in finding out, but at the same time it does present challenges such as this surprising example of blushing. Perhaps nobody notices when I blush, or perhaps it will stop happening with time? Anyway, a little bit of embarrassment does not seem that significant in the scheme of things, and maybe it is good for me to remember that I do care about and feel tied up in this project.


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