It's a shield; it's a carapace; it's a jaunty hat; it's make up; it's the most ridiculous trousers. It's the force field that keeps you sane.
Mine is called A Cheery Demeanour.
Smile and wave, smile and wave.
Fake it till you make it.
Sometimes my Cheery Demeanour is thick, like armour. An armour made of no material known to man because it is easy to carry, lightweight and fits me perfectly. No rubbing, no blisters.
Other times it is so thin as to be translucent. You might catch a glimpse of the mess within, if the sun catches it at the right angle. It wears thin from overuse, like the knees on a 9 year old's jeans. Eventually, a hole will appear and it will need a patch.
The patch I use is a playlist called "Chin Up, Lass". In its first iteration, it was a C90 cassette, featuring Petula Clark, Leo Sayer and other masters of cheese.
Currently, it is an iTunes playlist with the works of Hall and Oates, Elton John, Dolly Parton... oh just any song that I hear that makes me feel like smiling.
When you sew a patch on, you worry that the trousers will look worse: you will look like a piteous orphan from a Victorian melodrama. This is never the case. In fact, the patch gives you back the gift of your favourite trousers in all their stretchy, comfy glory; if you choose the fabric carefully, you can actually improve the original garment. Who doesn't want their trousers to look more jolly? Nobody, right?
So it is with Chin Up, Lass.
If you choose the tunes correctly, suddenly you will become the kind of person who dances around the kitchen. Or who sings loudly at the top of her voice in the car. Everyone wants to be one of those, right?
And lo and behold, my Cheery Demeanour is back. Hello! Over the years, it's become more and more about the patches and less about the original trousers. Which is amazing, because I love patchwork better than almost anything, fabric-wise. And the smile and wave don't feel so fake now.
Do feel free to share songs that you think I'd like on my Chin Up, Lass playlist! (Don't worry, Mmm-bop is already on there)