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There’s an Indian summer right now in Vienna, well that’s not strictly true, as Indian summers only occur in Autumn not Spring*. Also on a side note, the term ‘Indian’ in this context actually has nothing to do with India but in fact, Native Americans. I think given that there is no spring term for this phenomenon, it is only fair I make one up. It shouldn’t be difficult because there only appears to be two ingredients required, they are; the word ‘summer’ and a ravaged, persecuted minority.
So Vienna is having a crazy Gurkha Summer right now and that poses a couple of issues. I’m British and therefore have an upper limit working temperature of about 18 degrees. As Vienna is coasting in the mid 20s right now, all the dials are red. The second issue was that due to the weather, I had to take my jumper* off.
A simple action no doubt, but one which would have been unimaginable to me about 10 years ago. This is due to my frame; my stature, which is so thin that my physical education teacher once commented after a successful high jump attempt that he was worried for me. He was worried because I disappeared behind the bar and he didn’t know where I went, only to be filled with relief a second later when I appeared on the mat.
So I was thin.
The envy of every girl but the laughing-stock of every guy. You see, the weight issues with men versus women are inverted. Women seem to be dominated with images of skinny girls and Men are dominated with images of stacked guys, and well, that wasn’t quite my frame. So for my teenage years I avoided showing my arms or my legs and wore baggy clothes. Which in hindsight must have been like a bit of tarpaulin flapping against scaffolding. I was so conscious of wearing t-shirts which didn’t hug my arms, and it would just end up looking like someone was taking a metal support out of a tent bag. I’d avoid it so much that I’d be wearing jumpers in sunflower weather. Sweating, but reassuring others around me that I was in fact feeling the ‘chill’, as my ice cream melted down my arm.
So that’s what I did, I hid.
Over the few years after that though I realised that confidence is a social construct and as such can be created out of thin air. You can’t fake confidence because fake confidence is confidence. It takes conscious effort to do that though, so if I’m tired the confidence can wane, which means I’m a weird mix of arrogant/confident and shy/insecure depending on the time of day.
Typically though I’ve become so used to feigning confidence that I often convince myself of this falsehood too. That in turns means I no longer care about what people think of my appearance, skinny arms or no skinny arms. So it is no longer the removal of the jumper that bothers me, but I will be glad to see the end of this Gurkha Summer, 19 degrees at 11pm is just too hot for a mammal.
*Indian Summer is when you get untimely weather, usually hot weather in a cooling season – Autumn.
*Unless you’re in the southern hemisphere.
*Jumper in the UK is what an American person would call a sweater.
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