(This is Pete and me at our bridal shower in June. I wore a little French-flavored striped dress and bright red patent leather Guess heels. This is a typical outfit I used wear when I wanted to dress up, back before I started feeling melancholy about my job and my self-image.)
Yesterday, a coworker made a comment to me about what I was wearing that made me stop and think a second. She told me that, because I brought an extra pair of high heels with me to work in case I needed a back up, I was vain (see previous post). This put me in a bit of a melancholy mood. I wasn't depressed, but it got me thinking about what she said.
Lately—well, okay, for the last year, really—I have been in a self-esteem funk. I had stopped dressing creatively, nicely, or dressing up at all. I was slouching into work wearing beat-up old jeans, flip flops, and the same six shirts I have been wearing non-stop for seemingly ever. I didn't care what my hair looked like, didn't care about make up, didn't care about exercising and eating right and looking good in general. A lot of this had to do with my Hooveritis (undiagnosed nerve disorder/injury; name coined by a friend) and feeling sick and tired all the time, but a lot more had to do with work. It was difficult for me to drag myself in to a place where I would feel bad about my career, finances, and myself all day, every day, 8 hours plus a day (8+ hours was back when we still got OT). I lost interest in myself along the way, I got lazy, and I got depressed.
Sure, life at home was (and still is) great; I was getting married and going on a fabulous honeymoon; I had/have friends and family around me who care about me and support me (most of them do, anyhow). So why let work and the Hooveritis drag me down and affect the creative person in me, who loved to dress uniquely as a way to express herself and have fun? I'm not sure. I think after a while it just got to me, and getting up in the morning and throwing on whatever was comfortable that day was a heck of a lot easier than putting any effort into how I looked. And to be honest, it almost felt good to show up to work dressed rather drably, sort of as a silent "F*ck you!" to those who I despise there, and to my illness too. But in the end, I just hurt myself.
So lately, I decided to start dressing up again. Not necessarily in dresses and heels all the time, but in a unique and colorful way, just like I had been doing. And I was starting to feel good about myself and starting to have fun with it all, too. I can't tell you how many times people asked me, "Is that new?" and I would reply, "No, just haven't worn it in a while." A sad reflection on how I had become somewhat boring in my routine, but it was good to hear people comment on my upgraded look. And then, just when I was feeling happy and excited about getting up in the morning and looking nice, I had someone tell me that I'm committing one of the seven deadly sins by having two pairs of high heels at work. What?
Georgia receives a lot of flack for her wardrobe too, and she always brushes these insensitive remarks off, which is an excellent way of dealing with such a thing. It's amazing that people even think to open their mouths and say such things, or maybe that's just it, they don't think. But they certainly don't mind sharing their opinions and their criticisms. And if you know Georgia, you know that she is one of the most colorful and fashionable people I know. Probably THE most stylish person I've ever met in my life. And she's always kind and funny to those around her, yet this is how she is treated. So for someone like me who has a bit more of the dark side running through her, you can imagine what my chances are like with such people.
So when does it cross over from feeling good about yourself and being confident to being vain and feeling self-important? Should I revert to my former ways and not give a damn again? Should I always second guess myself and worry that I'll offend someone with how I act or dress or what I say? Hell no. I'll take my cues from Georgia and approach such moments with lightheartedness, laughter, and the knowledge that I'm not some diva, but just a girl who wants to look nice and feel good about herself. The rest of the world can do what it pleases. But just like mom used to tell us, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.