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.
Wow. Amazing post. You looked just lovely. Simply lovely. And I’m not just saying that and I don’t think you are fishing for compliments. 😉
I don’t have anything as fab as the Emmys to go to this weekend, but I do have Hubs’ 20-year HS reunion. I dont even know most of the people who will be there, but you better believe I bought a new dress and a fancy undergarment that will make me look more Joan Holloway of Mad Men and less, well, me. But man, do I love this trend of 1960s curvy women. Totally works for me!!!
Congrats to your hubs, too!
I think this is great. And perfect for Just Be Enough. Many of us – who are wonderful people – feel these same inadequacies that you do. It’s natural to have these feelings – but it doesn’t make them easy to feel! You said things here that I THINK all the time – and as I said in a post in August – it’s ridiculous to feel this way – we are wonderful people!
But. I totally understand. Thank you for sharing these words. 🙂
I continue to be amazed at your blog. It’s raw, funny, open and most of all honest! Here’s to standing tall in the world of bloggers when there is so much unreadable self-serving crud out there. Keep it coming.
So many things to say about this lovely post.
Okay… that picture of you needs to be BIGGER! You look GORG and that dress is so beautiful.
You are such a gifted writer!
Congrats to your husband!!! That is so totally and completely AWESOME!
I can’t even imagine how you felt at the Emmy’s. I would have been so self-conscious!
However… the celebrities probably feel the same way too. B/c they know so many cameras and eyes will be on them.
You are hilarious!. This: “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” had me cracking up over here!!!
Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts because LOTS of us feel that way from time to time.
Heh. Does your husband give you advice on your blog? Mine makes lots of broad sweeping statements like “photos are always great!” and then he see what I put up and he’s like “Um, so you picked THAT photo?”
For the record, I like the photo you picked. And I like to believe that even though the actresses may have been stunning, they’re still a little insecure too. I mean, you and I don’t have to worry about people putting us on the What Not to Wear List, right?
You are not alone – I felt exactly the same, sister. And I’ve got 10 years (ok, 13 years) on you!
Great blog. Your husband is one lucky man.
thank you! 🙂 I always love seeing you & always appreciate the support!
Such a beautiful post!! I think so many of us feel the same way. Looking at that picture you look absolutely beautiful, though. I forgot you were going to the Emmy’s – did you have an amazing time???
Such an honest post. There’s part of me that is like OMG YOU WENT TO THE EMMYS??!! Because this central PA girl thinks that really freakin’ cool. But I also think that I would have felt the same way. Regardless of how great I thought I looked I would feel inadequade on the movie star with paid professionals applying their makeup curve.
For the record, I think you look fantastic! And I’m so glad you posted this.
Believe me, I know that it’s cool & bizarre & surreal! I was surprised that this is the post that came out of our trip–I was going to write something different and then this just sort of surfaced–as things will! Thank you, sincerely!
You are amazing! Again, I know I just “met” you (use that in a very loose way… if you call finding you on twitter meeting you… then yes, we met! ha!) but I get more excited to read your posts and tweets. Thank you for inspiring girls like me to keep our shoulders back and stand tall. And your picture is awesome! I mean, who can say they were on the red carpet?! I’m the girl who watches from TV and pretends I’m there. 🙂 Congrats to your husband and the wonderful writing team! 🙂
Thank you so much for all the support. I know we all have our moments of insecurity — while I don’t feel this way ALL the time, it is nice to be able to share that I do feel this way when I least want to! Love this community.
Beautiful post. Seriously. We all have felt like that among some group of people. I was a dancer and always felt like the fat kid in class. I wasn’t by any means, but you can’t help how you feel.
For what it’s worth – you looked gorgeous! I hope you look back and don’t think about the pretty people, but think about what an incredible experience it was to walk the red carpet!
Wendy, you are more than enough! Also, you look amazing in that photo!
You look fantastic. It was such a pleasure meeting you yesterday and now I’m so happy to have discovered such great blog to read.
Thats what you are.
fierce! love it. thank you friend.
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Love this one, Wendy! I know it’s an old one, but it’s exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you, my dear friend. What did I do before without you?
You look amazing! And really, you’ve NEVER once mentioned this Grammy thing. What is it?
thank you. you mean the emmy’s? you didn’t know me then or you would have heard me bring it up in every other sentence…