One morning last week, I was skipping through life, feeling quite enlightened, good from the inside out...you know the feeling. I dropped Jack off at school, hopped in the pool for a quick half-mile, came home to clean up the house a bit (we had a showing that day) and threw on the outfit I am wearing in this less than stunning photo.
I couldn't do a body shot with this camera but if I could have, you would see that I have on old sweat pants (navy blue) that I got out of my daughter's discard pile in her bedroom closet. I cropped them to just below the knee length. The T-shirt has the Birdy-Bird Logo drawn by my six year-old on it, though it is hard to see in the picture. I put on this ensemble to wear to my private lesson reformer workout, which I mistakenly thought was scheduled at 10 AM. I wasn't worried about my outfit or how I looked. After all, why would an enlightened, self-possessed woman such as myself trouble herself with such trivial things? Your BloomingtonGirl knows that it is what it inside that counts, right? (Except for pore size, which matters VERY much). Plus, who was going to see me besides my wonderfully accepting instructor?
Well! My appointment was not at ten, but at eleven AM. So, when I arrived, another woman was there ready for her 10 AM appointment to begin. When I saw the other woman, an immediate change came over your BloomingtonGirl. Loyal Readers, your BloomingtonGirl is nothing if she isn't honest, so I must admit what happened, though it doesn't reflect well on my evolution as an enlightened being.
In a split second, all of my inner peace and esteem evaporated upon seeing the woman who did indeed have the ten AM appointment. She is probably my age or even older and was wearing a form-fitting black cami/yoga-pant combo on her perfect little body. Her hair was perfectly in place around her perfectly made up face. AND, to make things worse, I couldn't just slink out because I have been to a dinner party with this woman and I had to re-introduce myself to be polite. I felt so FRUMPY!!!!!
The drive home would have been easier and much more pleasant if I could have comforted myself with memories from that dinner party of how unintelligent and dull the perfect looking woman was. But, alas, she was anything but those things. She was smart and vivacious and really likable.
The experience of feeling "less than" in this particular way brings to mind how I used to think about looks when I was growing up. I was convinced that a girl could be either pretty or smart but she could never be both. I was a smart girl rather than a pretty girl. (This is not a plea for compliments...let's face it, loyal readers, I had not one invitation to my prom. After years of intensive therapy, I am now able to speak about the heart ache of that night without choking up... but I digress.) In my little world, the really pretty girls weren't all that smart. (Or so it seemed to my sour-grape-y eyes, anyway.)
You can imagine my shock at finding out that one could be both a knockout and a brain. I discovered this in spades at college and was never quite the same after that. Perhaps that is the underlying anxiety supporting my obsession with skin care and pore size.
But, for me, the serious take-home thought in this experience was how fleeting my feelings about myself (and anything else, really) can be. No matter how grounded I feel, it can take something as small as what I am wearing when I encounter a better dressed/groomed/looking person, to completely throw me.
I can work all the live-long day on my looks, but it seems to me that overcoming the fragility of self-image, no matter what I look like, am dressed like or feel like at a given moment is the thing worth really working on.
As I have heard many times, beauty is an inside job. I believe it...inside, anyway.