I want to know who I am. Not just who I think I am or tell myself I am, but who I really am and who God made me to be. To help me explore that concept, I bought a journal and asked people I love and trust to use this journal to tell me how they see me. It is my hope that their words will sink into my heart and eat away at the lies that I have allowed to live and breathe there for years.
I let my immediate family write first. Amongst A's descriptive words of me was the term "dress-wearer." Its truth made me smile. I love dresses. And skirts. I have for years. I can remember wearing dresses in high school, when all of my friends favored jeans. Don't get me wrong, I wore jeans, I just wanted some dresses to mix things up.
Over the years, I've weeded the pants from my wardrobe until a few years ago I gave them all away at a clothing swap. I just don't like wearing pants. I'm short and curvy, not long and lean. Dresses and skirts are more flattering and more comfortable. Dresses have the added bonus of being an easy choice in the mornings - there's no choosing a blouse or belt to match my pants - just pick a pair of boots and throw on a dress - decision making over.
I started this post with the idea in my mind that it would be a lighthearted one that encourages you to smile a bit at my idiosyncratic ways of wearing dresses or skirts year round - no matter the heat, cold, rain or snow. But that just wasn't working. I was stalled and couldn't see a way forward, so I saved and waited. Today I realized why - I was missing the bigger truth that lies behind the description "dress-wearer." And there is a bigger truth there than my desire to minimize morning decisions.
The truth is that I have fought my way to my current sense of style. I've cycled through years of wearing what my mother wanted me to wear, wearing what my friends were wearing, what made me fit in and what I needed to for my job. It was only in my mid-thirties that I began to really think about what I wanted to wear and what felt best on my body. Some clothes make me feel constricted or exposed, so why would I want to wear them? Others make me feel like I am pretending to be someone I'm not. But the right outfit feels like slipping into a second skin. The right outfit can make me feel feminine, confident and ready.
I think the key was that I started to not only ask myself what I wanted to wear, but to actually listen to my heart. I've received push back or comments from people along the way. A friend once complained that I always seemed more dressed up than she did. When she said it, I felt ashamed that I would make someone else feel they were under-dressed. But looking back, I think my motivations were and are pure. I do tend to be on the dressier side, but not because I'm competing with others. I just want to feel good in what I wear.
In the interest of honesty, I want to admit that the right outfit can also make me feel armored for my day. I hate to go to certain parts of town if I'm not dressed the right way. In places where I feel like I stand out for not being enough (pretty enough, thin enough, wealthy enough), I want the armor of the right dress and boots because it makes me feel like the glances that come my way will skim over me rather than penetrate and wound.
None of my daughters are currently drawn to dresses. Even on Sundays, they opt for a pair of jeans without holes rather than a dress for church. When she was between 5 and 8, B wore dresses quite often. She's always been a strong and active child, so it made me smile to see her climb a tree or walk a creek in a dress. It also encouraged me to see her wear what appealed to her with little regard to what others were wearing. There has always been so much to learn from my children.
|A, B and K each picked their favorite mom dress|
I don't know how my wardrobe will evolve in years to come, but I hope it will evolve. Because I hope I'll change and grow and be willing to let those changes show on the outside as well as in my heart and soul.