Every so often I take something literally. Sometimes I miss the joke because I believe the ridiculous premise. (I will believe really ridiculous premises.) When I thought about what made me “stand taller” this week, I reflexively squared my shoulders. Something people are always telling me to do.
This weekend we were at the Emmy’s in Los Angeles. My husband was nominated on a writing team. I don’t talk about that a lot. (I TOTALLY talk about that all the time!) But it’s true and I am so proud of him.
I had so much anxiety building up to the event that I almost didn’t want to go. Give me a break, I said almost. I bought a beautiful dress. (I bought, like, five beautiful dresses. Three can’t be returned. That’s another story.) I bought shoes. Many shoes. Several clutches. Jewelry. Makeup. Expensive toothpaste. Yet, I still had a tight uneasy feeling about going. You see, I hate being in a crowd. Of beautiful people. Of beautiful, well dressed, celebrity people. I was completely out of my element, out of my comfort zone and out of my mind with nerves. I hate that.
I’d like to get something out in the open. As much as I like compliments (a lot), I am not asking for any here. Objectively, I know I looked good. Enough. Good enough to not stand out as the girl with the ugly dress. In other words, not bad.
This is about the feelings on the inside: how I think, feel, imagine, fear and project I look and what everyone must be thinking of me. It is far more important and very fragile. It is what doesn’t change with Chanel powder and SPANX.
You know how people always say actresses are airbrushed in the those magazine cover photos and they don’t really look that perfect in person? Yeah. Um, they look that perfect. I’m sorry. I imagine hours of hair and makeup professionals working on you helps. But every actress I saw looked skinny and gorgeous. Yeah, I was pissed too.
In every sense, I wanted to stand taller. I sensed myself wanting to disappear into myself. So I pushed my shoulders back and forced my confidence up. I demanded of myself that I be in the moment and be visible. I stood so far up that I felt dizzy. I posed on the red carpet. For my husband. (I posed for a picture taken by my husband.) Still, I was on the red carpet. I felt exposed, vulnerable and silly. Again, this is about the inside. The photos tell a story. I am glammed up and out on the town. My dress fits and the color is lovely. My make up, expensive and adequately applied. Someone (with poor eyesight, the sun in her eyes, and perhaps a daytime drinking problem) may have thought I was a celebrity on the red carpet. I felt like an awkward intruder on Planet Perfect.
I want this to be a story from an honest place. It is about a 40-year-old woman who remembers hiding her face during choral concerts in grade school. And who doesn’t feel so different today. On most days, I need a lot of reassurance. It’s not such a pretty story. (I just asked my husband if it were “okay” to include a photo here.) Yet, for me the truth is more important and more graceful than any measure of beautiful pretending I could achieve.
Sometimes, sharing my deepest truths helps me to stand taller. While I may not be certain that I am enough on every occasion–at a black tie affair, at preschool pick up, or at the grocery store–I know that the truth will be always enough. It is what I have.
Today, I am linking up with just.BE.enough. I am so impressed with them.