Its time I got back on the wagon with my writing. Its been a bit and I have a short stack of drafts I will share with you in the next couple weeks, but I wanted to interrupt the regular flow and give what I consider to be a highly significant update.
Testing 1 2
The journey I've been taking for the last few years in being comfortable in my skin underwent a test this month. I'd like to say I passed with flying colors but I can only say I learned a lot. This Halloween I was invited by someone special to me to a party at his friends' home. I was thrilled! I would meet people who were important to him and have a cocktail or two in the meantime. Although the typical adult female costume generally required adding the word "sexy" to just about any normal profession (nurse, pirate, baker, ...) I had perfected a cute 80s look last year and was convinced I would be the most comfy at the party in my purple high-tops.... thrilled!
Its a themed murder mystery party. I was assigned a persona. Seriously?... I had just become comfortable playing myself. Now Olive Valderblat or whoever was stretching me. The thing I thought about Halloween was that you get to be a cooler, sexier, scarier version of yourself. Olive and I had nothing in common. She was a 60s school teacher. Nerdy, major math wiz and jealous of her moviestar sister (the hostess). And pretty upiddy about it from what I could tell from my character study on photocopied half-sheet.
Stressful. The 60s weren't my decade. I could fake 50s, 70s, 80s... but 60s schoolteacher was something even google had trouble conjuring up images of. Lucky for me this special guy was familiar with the area thrift stores and took me shopping. My heart hasn't beat that hard flipping through hangers since I was a size 18. How could I do this? How could I take this body that I had worked so hard to feel genuine and authentic in and dress it in hideousness? Hideousness that didn't fit, let alone flatter. I tried on a couple and held back tears.
I really need to master this. I need to separate the image in the mirror from who I am. Even after all that work bringing the two together.
I was so quiet. I took the "better" of the two dresses and quickly moved on. Man... I hope this guy is worth this... We matched it to a fabulous pair of red plastic and rhinestone cat-eye glasses and sprung from the store. Lets compare this briefly to what my date was searching for to wear as a moviestar shipwreck, think Gilligan heartthrob. Awesome.
A few busy days later I left my house for work at 5am with a backpack full of hideous hoping for the best. After work I hopped a train to the 'burbs where the ultimate crime would take place. As if it wasn't enough torture, I spent an hour and a half stewing on the wrong train. How I longed for my purple high-tops... A little time to relax on the couch, a quick shower and it was time to transform.
Deep breaths... not too much make-up, center part, exhale... bad dress, red glasses. I was hoping no one would notice my pumps were black instead of blue like the dress. Lots of hoping associated with this event.
We were on our way.. In the car, all my insecurities that I had worked to put behind me rushed forward. Old boyfriends abandoning me at parties, would the girls accept me without my cute clothes, could I be enough of me to play Olive, with everyone playing characters how could I read the signals to direct me?
I overflowed. Through the deep breaths came sobs and I spilled my beans to this new boy. I told him I would have been more comfortable being naked at this party than what I was in. I considered that serious progress from where I had been. But I had no idea how far I apparently had to go. Being comfortable no matter what I was in or looked like. Whew... Exhausted to think I still have work to do.
This wonderful boy slowed my heart beat a bit by assuring me of his interest and connection to me and how really great the glasses were on me.
We walked in the font door and a lense popped out. Come On! Let me catch a Break! But a blessing maybe, since the remaining lense fogged up it was through the empty frame that I could be introduced around the room by my heartthrob. I could be introduced to all the rockstar guys and girls in go-go boots. Yup. All the other girls got to be typical 60s playthings with one appearence by the always stylish Jackie-O .. and then there was me. In my mismatched shoes, drappy polyester and lenseless glasses. The hostess had my back by apologizing for my assignment, but said I really looked great. Thanks dear. It was too much.
I really wish I could say that I straightened my spine, pushed my shoulders back and worked it. Knowing full well that it wasn't a reflection of me and all that mattered was that I knew me and I had a great date who was looking forward to learning more despite my hounds-tooth disaster. It didn't happen that way though.
I broke out in hives from the synthetics, drank too much red wine, too fast and fled to the bathroom. Sometime I will tell you all about this boy, my date, the heartthrob who quickly noticed my absence and came to rescue me. The one that held me, talked to me and ultimately got me out with the promise of a cigarette which I coughed all the way through. But for today the story ends there. Before long the game was over and I was offered a pair of Hudson's and Lulu Lemon to ease my troubled soul. And of course plenty more red wine.
The moral is, I guess, that the journey may never be over or at least when you think you have it covered the universe will offer a twist to move you to the next phase. Regardless of the costume, I'm still inside. As hard as I have worked to match the inside to the out... its really the inside that matters and my body is just the vessel. Not that I will stop dressing up the outside when I can, but its tailored perfection can't carry the importance it had been heaving.
The journey continues....