For a while there, up til last week, I was planning on just coming for the conference. Sneaking in through some side entrance and even, as discussed with one kindred blogger who shall remain nameless (unless she wants to out herself in the comments once she reads this...), turning up in my usual blogging attire - hey, it's a blogging conference. I blog in house clothes. I'm more comfortable that way! It made sense to me at the time.
But when I had a flash forward to walking in, by myself, on Friday night... and then Saturday.... and then seeing everyone else do a costume change on Saturday night.... I realised my trackies and singlet weren't going to cut it, much less the bed socks.
So I loaded the LGBB in the car today and took her to a dress shop. If nothing else, I figured, she would be able to delight in seeing her mummy "dress up perdy" - I do scrub up alright, I had totally forgotten - even if I wasn't going to actually buy the cocktail frocks the hopeful shop attendant kept fetching me.
She totally got my shape wrong. I looked like a lollypop on a stick. Over and over again, she brought me things that cut in underneath my sizeable bust and kept my shoulders and decolletage bare. Thanks, lady! Just accentuate the .. erm... unpositive bits.
Lolly, as I figured, had an absolute ball. We had the change rooms to ourselves and she kept closing the curtains and announcing my grand entrance to the empty foyer with the scary mirrors all round. That kid needs a stage and a spotlight. Her mother needs an invisibility cloak. How did that happen?
Anyway, we left the shop of the pretty, expensive, way-over-budget very not-Mummy dresses and tottered our way a few shops down to a Melbourne designer outlet. A shop I have always walked past, no idea why, but am I ever so glad I went in there this day. Here comes a plug...
The women from Motto give the best happy-energy, honest confidence boost you could EVER hope to come across. I left there with a tear in my eye (no, not from the price, which was very reasonable for the three items I bought - I even snapped up a $130 dress for only $30!!! And in fact, all three combined were $30 less than the one, single-purpose dress I was being pushed to buy at the first shop) and was even given a hug goodbye. I do that sometimes to people. They wanna hug me. Maybe one time someone will offer to adopt me, take me home, love me, bring me meals and make sure I have my collar and registration tag on before letting me out to roam.
So, it seemed, I had needed to get an outfit after all. I promised myself only to "buy practical" and if I saw something that I couldn't justifiably use again, I should leave it and walk away. Truth is, I could have made do with what I have in my wardrobe at home already. But who wouldn't pass up an opportunity to go shopping in places one would not normally shop?
It wasn't until we were climbing in the car that I unexpectedly received the biggest confirmation I could have hoped for. I looked in the rear vision mirror and saw Lolly gazing at the back of my head as I was getting my seat belt on.
"What's up, Lollypop?" I asked her, not sure what she was thinking, her look was so earnest and focused she was almost frowning.
"I think you are very beautiful," she said. Just like that.
I cried then, quietly. And just like that, whatever I chose to wear to the conference, the dinner, the pre-conference drinks, the morning after.... All of it vanished into insignificance. The money I had just spent on the clothes, while not irrelevant now, was put into perspective. It doesn't necessarily mean I'll be coming wearing my knock-around house clothes. But it does mean I have been firmly reminded of what (and who) is underneath.
Just as I have always said to my daughter, when she watches me put on make-up on the rare occasions that I wear it,
"Make-up doesn't make you pretty.
It just colours in the beauty that is already there so that it stands out a little more."
I don't want her thinking that clothes and makeup are all she needs to feel good about herself. But it's good to bring in some balance too. I'd like to think that she sees the difference, or starts to, as she grows older.
|Touching noses since 2008|
All of us are beautiful to those who matter most to us (and to whom we matter). It's age-old and very worn, but it is oh so true. It reminds me of a Dr Seuss quote I used to have on my fridge - and should probably put back on my blog here because it's a great one:
"Be who you are and say what you feel
because those who mind don't matter
and those who matter don't mind."
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