Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hiding in plain sight

I am on the search for a formal dress for the Wiley College Founders' Day gala.  I hate shopping.  I'm sure if you have read any post on this blog you got that already.  I'm not exactly happy with my looks so buying clothes can feel torturous.  Add to the low self-esteem, the complete lack of fashion sense and any concept of what looks good on me and you can see that shopping with me is not fun.

I gotta get a dress.  I'm down to 3 weeks.  I gotta get a dress.  DH works Saturday-Wednesday.  I work M-F with a long-ass commute so we don't really have to go shopping together; hence now I'm getting down to the wire.  This would be an excellent time to have a gay best-friend who is honest and can put me into a dress that works with what I have.  Oh well, wish in one and shit in the other and see which gets full first.

Yesterday, after I narrowly avoided disaster with Gymgirl (I totally forgot she has piano lessons on Saturday), I decide to take the "free" hour I have while waiting for her and head to Ruby and Jane's dress shop here in beautiful downtown Lufkin.  It is prom season.  I totally forgot so the place was packed.  The shop girls are very nice and helpful and helped me pull 3 dresses into a dressing room.  2 duds but 1 that was pretty, within budget, fit, and even had pockets.  I was thinking winner but without DH, I wasn't ready to buy it.  I did send it a fashionista guy friend too just to get a couple of opinions and both vetoed the dress.  They both used more or less the same reason: the purple dress does nothing for your figure.

Figure! LOL!  Seriously, that was one of the selling features of the dress to me.  Higher waistline to help hide my mommy-tummy, flow-y shirt which I just like but also means hiding my ass, the neckline while a bit big also helped me not show too much or any cleavage.

DH is great with words.  He told me to stop hiding.  I need to stop being afraid to shine.  I am doing a great job at Wiley and I need to be good with shining.  Fuck me and my mental scars.  I know he's right.  I know that I could in theory wear a dress that fits my curves better.  In theory, I have decent curves.  So the hold up?

My last job put me at the front of the stage.  I had to be a public figure.  While at Wiley, I am public figure as the director of library services, I am not the face of the college.  I was the face of the private school.  My kids had to be perfect.  My marriage had to be perfect.  My stance for Mass had to be perfect.  All eyes on me.  I hated it.  I managed but I hated it.  Add to that the judgement from the families in relation to my weight and figure.  The principal before me wore jeans everyday; male White privilege if there is any.  As a young-ish Mexican professional I was being held to a higher standard for my looks and clothes.  On top of that, I was getting paid well enough to buy new clothes, let alone stylish brand name anything.  I worked with I had and just swallowed the tears brought on by the constant criticism of my body.  I expected to hear that I was a horrible principal but to be called fat and ugly and whatever because someone didn't like a decision I made.  It hurt.  It scared me.  It scares me to be put out front.  I have so little to work with both resource-wise and self-esteem wise that it doesn't take much to send me into hiding in the dark corner of my mind where the shame germlins attack me to the bone.

Neither DH nor fashionista were trying to be mean and send me into hiding.  They are both right.  I need to pick something that lets me shine but how to get shiny when I am in hiding?  How do I find the clothes or in this case fancy dress when each and every atom of my being just aches with the memory of criticism? How did I go from celebrating an 8 mile run, strong and centered in my body, to looking a plastic surgery before and after and contemplating going on a diet?  Oh yes I remember, I decided to try on a dress.

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