Tuesday, September 23, 2014

No More Secrets

Thanks to my friend Melissa, I've recently fallen in love with a song called "Secrets" by Mary Lambert. I mean, I cannot stop listening to it. I guess it's been out for a while now but I had never heard it before she told me about it, which is cool because the timing is quite serendipitous for my life right now.

A couple weeks ago, I was out shopping with my good friend Sophie who always treats me to a pedicure and a trip to the mall for my birthday. While browsing in Hot Topic, I came across a pair of shoes that I'd seen there before but lacked the confidence to buy. Soph took one look at them and said "Those are so you. You have to buy them." There were two pairs left, one in my size so I slipped one on as gingerly as if I were Cinderella with a glass slipper. It fit! I held my foot up off the ground and wiggled it. "Do you really think I should buy these, even though I'm 36?" Her response was perfect, "I think you should buy them especially because you're 36. This is what I love about you." So I bought the shoes and haven't regretted it for a second!

Finding those shoes on that trip was perfect timing because only an hour earlier, while getting our toes done, I was telling Soph that I feel as if I've recently made a significant transformation into not caring so much as to what other people think about me.

When I hit my thirties, I became acutely aware of my "age inappropriateness" in that I was divorced, single and living alone in a relatively small town that I moved to just before I turned 30. I have a lot of tattoos and mostly male friends. Nothing there is anything to be ashamed of but when packed together and judged by others, it can feel otherwise.

I was raised that if you were leaving the house, you made sure your bra straps didn't show or your pants were "too tight" because those things were inappropriate and gave other people (meaning men) the impression that you were a certain type of girl. As I've aged and my body has changed, I've remained hyper aware of my appearance when I go out. It's not in a vain way, like do I look hot but that ever vague appropriateness.

Over the past few years, I had found myself looking at what I'm wearing when I leave the house (jeans with a DMB Tshirt and plaid Chucks) asking myself "Is this what a woman my age should be wearing?" It's stressful and exhausting because the truth is, this is what I want to wear. I love these Tshirts and sneakers. I'm comfortable physically and emotionally. But I look around when I'm out to eat or standing in line at a store and I see women who are more "put together" than me and I wonder what it means.

The chorus to "Secrets" includes a line that goes "I know I'm not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else, well I'm over it" and the first time I heard it, my heart sang because that's exactly how I've been feeling lately. When I looked at those incredible cat sneakers and I thought Are these meant for someone my age? my immediately next thought was Fuck it, I like 'em.

I love it when I'm out shopping with a friend and she holds something up and says "Hey, this is you!" It means she knows me well and that my personality reflects in how I dress. I think that's pretty awesome.

I've had a conversation about this with a couple of friends since posting a picture of my cat shoes on FaceBook (Most people who commented wanted to know where they could buy a similar pair for their daughter *sigh*). It's amazing to me how universal this topic is with women. Why do we care so much? Who are we dressing to impress when we go out, ourselves? Our partners? Strangers?

I've finally realized that it doesn't matter! I am who I am no matter what clothes I'm wearing. If my tattoos don't show, it doesn't mean they don't exist.

I know I'll never get to a place where I don't care what I look like at all. That's not what I'm striving for. I just want to be myself and not feel guilty about it. I'm over it.


  1. Yay, Mo!! I love your cat shoes. When you dress like "you", people love you because of it. Never sacrifice who you are. "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." (Anonymous) And, I certainly don't mind your cat shoes because I love you forever. Love, Soph

  2. Soph, PERFECT quote. That's actually by THE ONE and ONLY Dr. SEUSS! It's an AWESOME quote and absolutely true! I love that one. ;)

    Ramona, I love you. I love you. I love you. You have too much personality to wear boring clothes/shoes.
    I cannot tell you how many times I've walked into certain stores and thought, "this isn't a store where most 36yr old women would shop...but, then again, I'm not most 36yr old women."

    I recently shared an idea with Jeremy for a hair style that I would LOVE to get. He didn't cringe or nay-say, perse... He did say,"THAT would be the hair cut that DEFINITELY gets you a phone call for an interview." And we laughed because the hair cut would not be completely interview appropriate.
    He did say afterwards, "it's not really you..."
    So... maybe when the time comes, I'll find a different way to mix it up. ;)

    I blame my lack of "expression" (clothing, hair, shoes, makeup) on my close-minded family. NOT my mom & dad, because they actually encouraged things that I said "no way!" to. I put too much concern on what my aunts, cousins & grandparents thought because they sure did voice their opinions (LOUDLY!! & often) with the things I would do or say. So to avoid having to listen to anything they'd say, I complied to the "boring old..." racks of clothing.
    I took a walk one summer and was wearing shorts and a crop tank top. My grandmother, who lives down the street from my parents, made sure to tell my mom how I was dressed like a street-walker... I believe she used the phrase,"the cat was on the prowl this afternoon..."
    Of course when my mom saw me, she asked, "what were you wearing today?"...
    Me: "(with a confused expression) this...???...why?" ...
    Mom: "ugh!! THAT WOMAN!!"
    And so she shared with me what my own grandmother had stated. I was 14 at the time.
    So, I started dressing in big, baggy, sloppy clothing and the demise of my self-esteem took over and remained with me until 2012.

    I *JUST* wore short shorts for the first time ever this past summer.
    It truly is all about how YOU feel. If YOU are confident and comfortable, then no one will have an opinion that matters. (Unless it's a positive, and complimenting opinion -- those are ALWAYS welcome!!!) ;)

    I need to check out this song. She was just on "Live with Kelly & Michael" the other morning -- she's beautiful and her voice is killer!!

    Rock those cat shoes like only you truly can!!!
    Love ya doll!!

  3. I love the shoes, and am glad you're working on not caring what others think. :)

  4. Oh Ramona, this is amazing. Thank you so very much for this. Please keep writing and sharing the real you!!!