I was exhausted . I knew there’d be dishes to finish and a book to read at home and a husband who may or may not be thrilled to see me. I couldn’t face making dinner so I opted for pizza. I was waiting to go left when this song came on the radio. At first I thought it was a commercial. The tune reminded me of a Christmas carol. When I pulled into my parking spot I waited to hear the song finish.
Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?
I was slightly annoyed that a song on the radio would undo me this way. The pizza joint parking lot is not the best place to have a meltdown.
Take your make up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you
When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see someone I liked. I didn’t see someone who the husband should like. I saw someone who had spent her entire life hiding. I wanted to be someone who looked in the mirror and liked herself. I wanted to quit seeing the me I knew and see the me I TRULY was.
Do I dare? I asked myself? Do I dare to believe that I’m as beautiful as he says I am? Do I dare to let down the guards? To be the woman I was made to be? Finally, out of exhaustion or madness, I relented. I WOULD believe that I was beautiful and loved. It’s not been easy. I feel so unprepared for being a woman. But a woman I am, and I want to embrace all that it means to be feminine.
The husband is a wise man. He tells me, “I’ll spend money on you. Just do it.” So, I quit arguing with him about the practicality of spending money on vanity.
I head to the department store. I am completely out of my element. After all, when I want a new outfit the first place I hit is Goodwill. I walk up to the lady. She is beautiful. Long straight blonde hair. Beautiful face. Gorgeous hands. “Can I help you?” I look at her. “Yes!” I’m worried that I sound almost too eager. But I’m desperate. “I have make-up but I hardly wear it. When I do my husband loves it. But I’m so uncomfortable. I have no idea how to put it on, what shade I need, what looks good. I desperately need help.” She smiles. She asks what look I want. Um…natural? I just want to look beautiful, like a grown woman. Not the beat-down, frumpy wallflower that I was raised to be. I want to wear make-up and not think “This makes me a prostitute.” I want to know how to properly brush and groom and look like a wise but beautiful 40-year-old woman.
She is a master. She shows me how to use a brush to apply the base. She gives me a way to line my eyes without using a pencil. She shows me precisely what works for my face. When I leave, my wallet is emptier, but my confidence has grown. When the husband gets home, he is happy. “You look beautiful” he says.
I have had a manicure for the last 5 years. My hands are short like my father’s. When I see my hands they make me ill. I choose fun colors. Colors to match my dress. An event. A holiday. Now when I see my hands I smile. I still have moments but the nail polish makes me look past what I cannot change.
I am bolder with my clothing choices. I choose, not what is “appropriate”, but what I look good in and I love. I’m still attracted to dark colors despite my daughter’s best attempts to brighten up my wardrobe. I listen to my husband and start shopping at other stores. I settle on Kohl’s because at least I have coupons and that makes me feel like I’m not wasting money. I find I am drawn to a few designers. I keep myself from limiting me to the 80% clearance rack. (Although I scour it thoroughly first). I allow myself to buy something trendy, because I really love it. I am happy to discover I also happen to look good in it.
I make decisions to change my hairstyle and cut the length. I am doing it in steps. Each visit I add more layers to my hair and learn new ways to style my hair. “You are sexy” my stylist tells me this last time. I smile. Because I look at myself. And say yes. Sexy and beautiful and completely loved. I’m beginning to love being a woman.
I make the last step. The one that makes me uncomfortable and giggly. I head to the store. The one with a secret. And I buy apparel meant only for the eyes of the one who I adore. I silence all those voices that tell me only bad girls wear this. I am no longer a girl…bad or not. I am a woman. A MARRIED woman. And I will wear what I want.
All these changes bring out me. The me that has stayed silent and hidden under pain all these years. The one who is confident. The one who is not afraid of what she loves and who she loves and where she is going. All these exterior changes make me blossom and grow. And I look in the mirror. Without all the external things that define me. I gasp.
I like me.
I like me. I like the way my eyes sparkle when I smile. I like the way my hair flips to the side. I like the curves that I’ve been blessed with. I even like the scars, the ones that show the birth of love. I like me. And its ok to like me!
Abba has been showing me, that it’s ok to be a woman. To be a woman who wears make-up, flirts with her husband and loves crazy things. As I embrace MY femininity I am growing more and more confident. In who I am. In my marriage. In Abba’s love.
Colbie is right. I don’t have to try so hard to be who I’m not. I can embrace who I am, who I want to be and be alright.