You people, you all get hugs

August 21, 2006

I have received so many thoughtful comments and emails of support in the wake of my recent slew of beauty insecurity posts that I really feel like I owe you all a big hug, or in some of your cases two or three. I am feeing well and truly loved. Between the comment love, Oprah’s true tales of personal triumph, and a weekly dose of Jesus, I think this cycle of clothing angst has been put to bed, with a few firm resolutions in place for the future. 1) I will not feel guilty if I find a cute shirt on sale and I buy it and someday when I have a real job again I will do such things regularly, preferably in the company of some of my stylish friends so they can save me from myself. 2) I am seriously going to take the yoga teacher’s challenge and see if I can go a whole day without one negative thought directed toward myself. You should too– I dare you.  3) Consequently, I am going to do my best to feel beautiful every single day, no matter what I am wearing or whether or not my eyelashes are curled– because it’s a fact that there will come a day in the future when I will regret not having taken the time to enjoy being 24.
I’m not sure where these odd attacks of fashion inadequacy come from, but I’m guessing I’m not the only one who gets them. (In fact, I now know that I am not, which  is both comforting and utterly frustrating– how can such beautiful and talented  and accomplished women be persuaded to doubt themselves so consistently? Is the pursuit of physical beauty an undeniable aspect of womanhood or just one more way the patriarchy keeps us down? Do we mind?) I think this particular bout was brought on by a perfect storm of sister visitation, closet ransacking, and too much free time to watch What Not to Wear, How Do I Look, and Project Runway. (Although I think Project Runway is ultimately a good thing–it awakens one’s natural appreciation of design and encourages a healthy fascination with the mystery of style.)

Another thing I’ve realized this time around is that, like body issues, clothing issues are a lot more than skin deep. Focusing on the clothes is a way of ignoring other things, things that were a part of growing up in my particular family in my particular time and place– what I did and didn’t learn from my mother’s example, what I thought was expected of me, who I thought I was– and not all of these are bad things. They are part of who I am. And in general, I like that just fine, so no need to throw the baby out with the extra large t-shirts. Once I’ve gotten past a little bit of the baggage, I find shopping trips are a lot easier. In any case, some things are not going to be solved by the sale rack–but some things are!

Finally, as many warm fuzzies as I have gotten from reading all these affirmations that I am a person of value even if certain family members are occasionally embarassed to be seen with me, I assure you that I will try to lay off the self-criticism in the near future.  Hopefully this will not cramp my blogging style or stats too much.

Hmmm, this got a little longer than I expected and The Libertine awaits. Tune in tomorrow for a full report on My First Day as an MFA Student!


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