Monday, September 27, 2010

Love Makes Us Beautiful

Geoff and I were invited to a wedding.
Which meant I subjected myself to a month of anxiety and self-loathing. I could have subjected myself to a month of intensive cross-training and food deprivation, but I manage to do things the hard way. I could have spent the month in meditative contemplation, visualizing love, commitment, and self-less devotion to greater causes, but that pretty much didn't happen either. I mostly went for the anxiety and self loathing. That is the truth. I am being real.

I had to shop for a dress, which means three-way mirrors, and fashion confusion. New dresses also call for new shoes, and under thingys, which takes us back to those three-way mirrors. It was all very traumatic.

But there was a sweet moment: I came home, successful in the hunt, and Maria asked to see the dress. She clasped her hands and sighed, and assured me, "Lovely. This is beautiful for a wedding..." and then the fashionista paused, "but what about shoes? You did get shoes, right?"

Where does this gene come from? This instinct? This knowledge? I have a basic, learned understanding of the girl-dress-up requisite list, but I trained for it. How does she so naturally understand these fundamentals? How? By the way, she approved the shoes.

Do women still wear stockings-pantyhose-hosiery where you're from? I don't see it much in So Cal. And honestly, I would have thrown a fit and ditched the whole evening, if I had to wear pantyhose in yesterday's heat. That is the truth. I am being real.

The shoes made me happy, in a retro, perky, way, and they inspired black eyeliner, which I practiced applying about four or twenty times that afternoon. I also put my hair up in twisted clumps, so I would get body, waves, an alluring coiffure. In the end, I got a kind of Bride Of Frankenstein-1984-frizz festival. I tried taming it, and I tried making a smart up-do, and then I even looked around for our buzz kit. I wore it up, then down, then up, then finally, down. It was all very traumatic.

I changed the earrings. I wore pearls that dangled from gold filigree leaves. I put on darker lipstick. I remembered not to rub my eyes, smudge the eyeliner. My home manicure was less than stellar. The color, Wet Sand looked like a glossier version of my own skin tone, which had the effect of making my fingers look like shiny tipped sausages, and then I dented and dinged them. I am woefully out of practice.

After ironing Geoff's blue, "iron-free" shirt, and accepting pizza hand hugs from Maria, we were off! And the month of anxiety and self-loathing was... was kind of pointless. I am what I am, right? Forty-three, with actual gray hair, and big arms, an aversion to gyms, malls, and style salons. Shy. Insecure. Kind of afraid to do all the things that might make me look "good." Kind of afraid to admit once and for all, that I want to feel and look good just as I am.

And at the wedding, where I knew only Geoff and John E., and not really anyone else... I forgot all about me, and was moved to tears, and meditative contemplation, visualizing love, commitment, and self-less devotion to greater causes, because it was a beautiful wedding for a lovely couple so clearly in love, that everyone was reflecting the glow of their happiness. That is the truth. I am being real.


Anonymous said...

I love this post! Thank you for being real! (And you look lovely!)

amy smith said...

oh natalie...
you are so, so beautiful
with or with out the shoes
the make-up
and up-dos.
and i am so, so blessed to call you friend.

Anna Banana said...

beautiful inside and out

Unknown said...

So glad I happened to check your blog today. Love it! You look beautiful and the shoes are fabulous. LOVE them! (I want to copy you again!) And Maria . . . such a fashionista! Loved her first day of school clothing. I have that picture on my phone now.

Love Gretchen

Miriam said...

Oh, we are so hard on ourselves! We would never be so hard on our friends, or our daughters. I am already doing the same thing to myself at the thought of a family reunion at Christmas - three months ahead of worrying what I will wear and whether I can lose 10 pounds by then...

I wish you could see yourself the way we see you: glowing with love for your family, shining friend to all living creatures, joyful maker of fun and laughter and celebration. You could be barefoot and bald and still be as wonderful.

Jennifer said...


Brandi C. said...

I agree, you looked lovely. Even the hair ;-)
At the end of the day, you soaked up what mattered. You know what stood out most for me? The fact that you allowed the "pizza hands" to hug you to begin with. That's the sign of a truly secure & beautiful woman: a mom, who has her priorities straight.

warren said...

I stopped wearing hoes years ago and my wife only wears them when it is cold out and she wants a little extra coverage...

Everyone needs a good wedding now and then...

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Warren... you know how to keep it real... real funny.

Brandi C....the pizza hands were scary, but the hug was too good to pass on.

Jennifer... you are beautiful. Love.

Miriam... thank you for your thoughtful wish. And I wish I could relieve everyone of the worry, the anxiety, so we can always move forward to the love and joy.

Gretchen... the boys call the store *iZoss iZress for Less*... something to do with their font. Anyway that's where I found those retro-perky shoes! And if a size 8.5 is comfy for you, you are welcome to grab them anytime!

Oh Banana... you are tops, inside and out.

Amy... the feelings are mutual.

Sylvia... more than anything I wanted to tell my truth. I am glad you found something in it.

So, you all made me blush, and feel less dorky, or at least like a less lonely dork. Reassurances and compliments feel good, of course, but my favorite affect... the part that makes me glad I share too much... is when people recognize what I am sharing. Thank you for joining the conversation. You make blogging more worthwhile.

judy in ky said...

Natalie, you speak for so many of us who experience the same doubts and struggles. You let us know we are not alone.

trisha too said...

First of all, you look so fantastic, I would NOT have said you were forty anything.

Second--why do we sometimes make ourselves weird like that??

(The shoes ARE fab, btw . . .)