Part One of this series is here.
My mother got engaged and married before I finished my freshman year. We were moving to Miami that summer, a world away from my home state of Louisiana.
Before we moved, my stepfather (“Pops” hereafter) got me a pair of beautiful black heels for my 15th birthday.
He got me a name plate necklace and bracelet too, because I saw his and thought it was so pretty.
But those heels? Oh, oh, my. High heeled, open toed, and the heels had these swirly embellishments on them. Now, Pops was well aware that I didn’t do dressy clothes often outside of church, but he figured that was where I’d wear them.
Wore them to school with a pair of hip huggers I’d gotten for Christmas that year. The jeans had swirly black embellishments to go with the design on the shoe, and I had a nice black top to put with it.
Walking into the gym that morning, I heard a couple of whispers. I realized folks didn’t quite know what to say to me. I’d gone from demi-feminine to ultra-feminine in one day, and now I fit in. Kinda. Or maybe it was that I not only looked more like everyone else, but that I was even capable of pulling it off. It wasn’t a complete switch. I incorporated it into my “tomboy glam” repertoire: some days sweats, some days heels, and every day, at least to me, I felt I looked great. Until…
I started getting the backhanded compliments: “Wow, your outfit is so cute! You really aren’t a boy!” The ultimate one? “You can really dress. If you lost some weight, you would be perfect!” And although it hurt me, I didn’t drop the new look.
Yet all I could think was: really!? I don’t win here, do I? Of course I didn’t. But I was still too young to get that it wasn’t a matter of impressing everyone else, it was a matter of embracing myself as I was. Of course, I dieted and wanted to be pretty (cause you can’t be fat and pretty, don’tcha know), but I never really got that there is so much more to beauty than the outside. Your outfit is only a part of you, and it isn’t even the important part.
It took me changing states to change my perspective…
To Be Continued.