Lately I’ve been having all kinds of epiphanies up in here. Not “meaning of life” stuff, but staggeringly obvious insights that mostly annoy me with their tardy blatant-ness. Some are unimportant, of the “Hey, it is a soul-deadening waste of time to keep up with the Kardashians!” variety, but others are more substantive.
Ever . . . → Read More: If I Had a Ribbon Bow (aka Why I Need a 37th Little Black Dress)
You hear a lot about self-esteem, and apparently you’re supposed to have it. A lot if possible. I have always found this tricky.
Of course, I’m old enough that when I was little, no one ever talked about self-esteem. On the other hand, not being too big for your britches, not acting conceited, those messages were heard loud and clear. (I think in elementary school, at least among us girls, “being conceited” was the worst thing of which you could be accused.) At home I got the distinct impression I needn’t think too highly of myself, and tamp down whatever exhilaration any little girl grade success might bring on. When I was put in a gifted program I knew not to discuss it much at home so my brother’s feelings wouldn’t get hurt. I could have easily risen above all this accept for the fact that the accomplishment that meant most to me was being loved, being liked – or at the very least not not-liked. And so began my diligent immersion into self-effacement.
Continue reading Self-Esteem is Tricky
When I was a girl I loved to get those little booklets they sold by the cash register at the supermarket. I’d read and re-read all the “1,000 Baby Names” books. Even now, decades later, I know dozens of useful facts like Ellen means light, Thurston (as in Howell) means Thor’s stone, and that Sally is a diminutive of Sarah which in turn means princess. I never tired of naming my dozens of unborn future children; Clementine, Eudora (well-born), Tristan (Old Welsh for sad) and Tallulah (Native American for fabulous throaty bisexual) were serious contenders. Now of course the joke’s on me since I don’t even have one child to tar with one of my many monikers.
But my all-time favorite 39 cent booklet was the wee “What Real-Life French Women Wear”. (That may not have been the actual name but that was the theme.) Being in third grade and all I couldn’t implement the advice right away, but one thing has stuck with me all these years. Stuck with me, but sadly eluded me.
It said the typical French woman had only about 5 things in her closet. The point was that French women are smart and sophisticated enough to just buy a few really good things and wear them every day in various permutations. I pictured a pristine closet with a few paltry hangers bearing only a black pencil skirt, a crisp white shirt, a good-quality black turtleneck, an LBD of course, one pair of always well-pressed pants, and one of those stripe-y sailor-y shirts Jean-Paul Gaultier is always wearing. The lesson was quality over quantity, and that sorting out some sort of uniform was the easiest, quickest and best way to dress. Continue reading I’m So Pathetically Not French