I stepped out of the dressing room, trying to quickly locate William so he could look and then I could dart back in and take this shirt off and try on the next item. I was only trying it on because he wanted me to. That and I absolutely loved it the minute I saw it hanging there. So, I figured “why not? I’m just trying it on for a couple of seconds.”
When I located him in the store and he saw me, his eyes just lit up and he said, “Baby, you look darlin’”.
Yes, he actually said that word “darlin’”. I know. I know.
Then I smiled lamely and said “ Well, but, you know….I mean, really…I can’t wear this…. I mean, for real now, this shirt doesn’t have any, you know… sleeves. It’s sleeveless. You know I can not show my upper arms in public. Oh but this top is soooo cute. I love it! (big sigh) Wish I could wear a shirt like this, but I can’t. So there. Moving on.” I head back into the dressing room.
He says “Yeah, well…we’re going to get it.”
Sharp intake of breath. “But, but, but….really….don’t you think….I mean, really…..now I do not want to be spending money on something I am never going to wear….really! Can‘t do it.”
“Well, we’re buying it. You can wear it. Or not. But you look really, really cute.”
As I stepped back into the dressing room, I was overwhelmed by an Oh. My. Gosh. Of the greatest magnitude. I was suddenly struck by the realization of all the many, many, many times in the past when I have allowed what I think other people MAY think stop me from doing something I really truly would like to do.
And I suddenly could see very clearly how many years I have wasted trying to please people I don’t even care about OR respect OR will ever see again for that matter. It made me sad. Very sad. And I might have just broken down and cried and eventually William might have had to get that nice saleslady to unlock the dressing room door so he could haul my butt out to the car and take my crying self home.
What happened instead of that very embarrassing scenario was this: I became very aware that I was, at that very exact moment, standing there in that dressing room, being given another chance. A chance to do some of those things I’ve never ever done before because “what would “they” think?”
I also was very convicted and ashamed of the fact that I have often put more importance on others opinions than on the opinion of the one human being I love and trust most on this whole entire earth --- the opinion of my husband.
I was overcome with embarassment because here I am griping about my out-of-shape upper arms and I’ve never once in all my years of fussing, looked at all the fantastic things my arms can do. I cook and clean and decorate, all things I love to do. I comfort and hug and hold babies, also things I totally enjoy. And I’m strong. I carry things and open jars and do hard work when necessary. My arms allow me to do all these things. They’re really pretty great.
I’m not even going to ask you if you do anything so silly as what I’ve just been describing. It just seems to be part of our human affliction as women that we listen to that voice that leads us to dissatisfaction with ourselves, the one that encourages us to compare ourselves to other women, the voice that would love to discourage us enough to convince us to just sit on the sidelines and watch our life go past.
What would happen if we just stopped listening to that voice? Just determine that you will not say or think another negative, derogatory thing about yourself. Then start taking captive every thought and head it off before it ever makes its way to your lips. Don’t say anything about yourself that God would not agree with. Wow! That pretty much takes care of all the yuck stuff !
I’m pretty sure we’d all be so much healthier -- physically, mentally and spiritually. And we would be such a positive role model to our own daughters, granddaughters and younger women who are looking to us to show them how to live well in this world.
Sooooo ----- I’m telling you all of this because something monumental is happening today. I am going out to lunch with some friends today. In a public restaurant. AND I’m wearing my cute new sleeveless top. It’s true! I’m going to go, visit with girlfriends, enjoy a meal, laugh a lot, maybe cry a little, catch up after the long, hot summer and then -- as we say goodbye, I’m going to give them a hug. With my 57 year old, not as tight as they used to be arms. And I’m going to have a spectacular day !
And I hope your day is spectacular as well.