Friday, February 10, 2012

Big Primping

So there was a time in my life when I suffered from severely low self-esteem. It started during my college years. For several yearsI couldn't go anywhere without literally checking out every other girl in the room and comparing myself to her. Having low self-esteem, I always came up short. I was fatter, not as pretty or fun, my clothes were not as fashionable and I was sure they were smarter and happier than me. Seriously - not a good place to be. I should mention that I had wonderful friends who constantly tried to build me up and help me with my issues and looking back, I appreciate that so much.

Now I look at old pictures and wonder what the eff I was thinking. I was hot (and smart and reasonably fashionable)! I could have done whatever (and probably whoever) I wanted. But at the time, I was not able to see that.

Somewhere around my mid-20s my self-image start to improve. My wonderfully supportive and loving husband deserves a lot of credit for this. Plus, I think just aging, perspective and learning more about yourself (ok - maybe a little Prozac too) helps a lot in these matters. By the time I hit 30 last year, I was good with who I am - positives and negatives - and no longer playing sick mind games with myself.

Perspective, wisdom and a little bit of this helps too.

Until last night. An touch of those feelings came back and it was not fun for a few minutes there.
I was helping at an event - a local launch for an upscale skincare line. It attracted some of Des Moines society-types and whoa - did I feel like my 23-year-old self again.

Life in Iowa is pretty relaxed. You can get as dolled-up for things as you want, but it's certainly not expected in about 99% of social situations here - at least in my circles. When preparing for working this event, I pulled my hair into my semi-standard low ponytail, put my normal make-up on (for the SECOND time in one day) and put on a black suit with a plain gray top.

Oops. Granted, I was "the help" at this event so I didn't need to look glam but I was not expecting the beauty pageant I walked into. The ladies attending were perfectly styled, coiffed and confident. They're triceps were buff and size four dresses beautifully tailored. They greeted each other knowingly - they belonged. (Side note: all the ladies were very gracious and sweet. Any bad feelings were from my head.)

OK - not quite. But close. Source
 I felt frumpy and dowdy and....sad. Couldn't I have spent 15 more minutes getting ready? I should really start working on my appearance more. Should I get my lips done? And so went the pity party for just a little while.

I snapped out of it pretty quickly and faced my feelings. Could I probably spend a little more time with my hair and make-up? If/when I feel the need - sure. Do I need to? No. Most of the time it's just not something I want put much effort into. Could I afford to lose a few pounds and tone up? Sure, but that's something I'm already working on. If I had been better prepared for the audience, I would have cuted up my outfit, so no real issue there. But there's some element these ladies have that I just don't. It's a little bit of sexiness, a little bit of glamour and probably a little money. It's something I can't pull off.

I'm pretty and sweet and goofy and klutzy. I know how to have a good time and can hold my own. It all works for me. I'll never be able to pull of that sexy little edge. I thought about all of this quite a bit last night and a little bit today. And, I'm OK with not being able to look like those ladies. I'm also OK with wanting to look like them a little bit more. I know I'm great as I am and I'm living myself a pretty fantastic life.

Maybe if I end up running in high society circles someday, I'll have to work a little more on my glamminess (?). But in the meantime - maybe I'll just give my hair and make-up five more minutes of effort and see where that gets me.


  1. Good post, ma'am. You're one pretty gal and by far one of my most stylish and classy friends! That completely high brow stuff just isn't needed when you're as naturally fabulous as you :)