There is a beautiful woman I work with that has encouraged me to push past my comfort zones. She is blonde and petite and if you ever want to know where the good in humanity has gone, spend a few moments with her and she will fill your cup. She always wears pretty dresses and killer heels. One day she challenged me to wear a dress. I did. I decided to keep going. I’ve decided there are great rewards in pushing past my comfort zone.
Dresses aren’t really my thing. Not now, but they are slowly making a come back. It’s not really in my comfort zone. There’s a back story and I have time if you do.
I used wear dresses and short skirts all of the time. I once wore a short skirt when I worked at the VA Hospital and my supervisor noticed I kept trying to pull it down. In her classic no-nonsense way, she pointed out that I knew how short it was when I put it on, and she was right. I knew how short my skirts were. I knew how high my heels were. I knew how low cut my tops were or how high I had to reach to expose the skin on my stomach. I knew what looks would encourage a guy and what would intimidate and excite him. I may have really enjoyed working with veterans for personal ulterior motives. I used every ounce of who I was for the attention I craved. I was like a puppy waiting on her back for a belly rub.
On my birthday right before Valentine’s weekend I wore my Home Depot dress to work. It’s a white dress that hugs my curves and lets you know I have boobs. I wear it at Home Depot when I’m feeling low and it lifts me up by the time I leave. I had a rough birthday this year so I wore it to work and it delivered for me all day. A special gift was a look I received. It was fleeting, but in that moment I felt like I was dessert on a cheat day and I wanted to be tasted.
Being a wife and mother changed a lot of that. I became aware of what I looked like and it was suddenly covered in shame. A mother’s breasts were for food. My legs were only for my husband’s enjoyment. Only he should imagine my legs wrapped around him. I covered up my body as it grew from a size 14 to 18 in the first few months we were together. At my heaviest I was in a 20. Right now I’m in a 14W. 7 kids later and I’m happy to take the W. I changed my appearance because of the weight gain, but also because of the guilt feeling that I should only be eye candy to my husband. This shame goes beyond him. I had a problem with high heels before I met him. With the men I dated before my husband, there was only one that liked how tall I was. At 5 feet, 6 inches the guys I dated felt I was perfect in flats, but too tall in heels. My boyfriends ranged from 5’8″ to 6’4″ and after the 7th grade I stopped caring about how tall someone else was. Today I wore 5 1/2 inch heels. I realized how tall I am only matters when I’m about to kiss someone and these lips aren’t kissing anyone right now. Besides, a guy that could dip a girl into a kiss without making her feel like she might be dropped has super powers and should really use that power for good. How crazy that something like my height would make me acceptable or not, and it had nothing to do with how short the guys I dated were. Their height didn’t matter to me, but mine did to them. My sister loves me and loves shoes. It was a pair she had given me. I have 14 pairs of heels from her and I’ve now worn two out in public. I plan to work them all in at some point. At that height, they aren’t really heels anymore. They’re hooker shoes. I looked at myself in the mirror and I loved how my butt and legs looked. Never mind the lessons from Naomi Wolf and Betty Friedan. I didn’t care that it put my posterior in a ready position. I approved of it and that was healing. Tomorrow is casual Friday and there will be no heels. I didn’t fall, but my toes didn’t like me much by the end of the day. They’re better now. I had a moment where my super busy crush opened a door for me and remarked at how much taller I looked today. He didn’t follow it with a comment about it being too tall or say anything negative, but he did notice. In my mind I might have thought that I was still at the perfect height to kiss him but in reality I just said it was the shoes. And there goes that puppy with the belly rubs again. If you’re picturing a puppy piddling all over the place, dial it back a bit. Not that much, but close.
I went to a 1920’s theme wedding about 5 years ago. I bought a tube of Ruby Woo lipstick from Mac. It is really red. It’s matte. I wore it for the wedding but then never put it on again because I felt like it made me look slutty. I now wear it almost daily. There’s something about it that makes me want to pucker up in the mirror. I was told more than once by more than one man that lipstick made me unkissable, because they didn’t agree with wearing my shade of color. It should be enough that my wanting a kiss would be worth the sacrifice. Again, I’m not kissing anyone, so it doesn’t really matter.
Dresses are making a normal rotation in my wardrobe. I’m still most comfortable in jeans, bare feet and t-shirts, but I’m liking the feel of a skirt and the look of my posture in heels. I can’t slouch or I risk tottering into a face plant. I like my bare feet on the ground, but I don’t want my face there. I’ll always enjoy being in nature and just enjoying the sounds. I like waking up to the sounds of water falling and flowing, birds chirping and the rhythms of peaceful slumber next to me. It’s just nice to know that the girl who used to hit the clubs in Hollywood every weekend is still around. I may have even considered hitting a bar and seeing what happens for long enough to remember I’m not a drinker. I went to my holiday party at work and had several Shirley Temples with a lime wedge to look like a grown up, but I was sober. I still had an amazing night. It’s nice to know that I’ve grown enough to not fall into easy patterns of behavior because I know I deserve better and I have no need to lower my standards for that puppy dog feeling. Besides, I get normal doses from my crush. He just has no clue. I hope. I can be pretty transparent.