I used to be able to play make believe. I put on little shows in my parents’ backyard. I pretended to be a princess (however, she always ended up dying, which may or may not have been a happy ending). I discovered makeup and developed my own style. I got cool and sexy.
I was still playing make believe. Chameleon-like, I was able to pretend to be what I thought others wanted me to be. It went along with layering my eyes with six pair of false eyelashes and wearing 6 inch platforms and earrings so heavy that they tore my earlobes.
I did this to impress others and to be valued for my looks, smarmy, sexy attitude and all over style. Often I slept in my makeup so that I wouldn’t have to put it on all over again the next day. Once I left it on too long and developed a sty that closed my left eye and had to be lanced.
I’ve been hiding behind what I think I should be and how I think I should look for most of my life. We didn’t have the kind of money available to dress me the way I wanted or give me a decent haircut, so I was always the toothy kid with curls cut wrong. I ate my one container of yogurt at lunch sitting in the high school hallway in an effort to lose weight, but then my mother would prepare a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with potato chips as a pre-dinner snack.
Now I’m too thin. I can see my ribs, front and back, and my hip bones jut out, leering. If I were a model, this would be good news. But I no longer believe that old adage that a woman can never be too thin or too rich. Part of me wants to believe that I could never be too rich, but even when I’ve had more discretionary income, I’ve never felt like it was enough.
Which comes down, folks, basically to feeling as if I haven’t been good enough. Period, end of sentence. And I ain’t getting any younger, either, which seems unfair: finally I no longer have to fight fat, but age isn’t going away. I won’t be like the client who came to me years ago and confessed that her real birth year was ten years older than she’d claimed.
I can’t cobble all of the pieces of myself together any longer and call them perfect-especially if I measure the whole against an impossible ideal (thank you Hollywood and botox). So I’ll wait, ponder, sip at each moment like fine wine.
We’re all patchwork quilts, pieces of art, and not all of the pieces initially seem to have flow or symmetry. But each piece, each hurt, each delight, each tear shed, angry word spoken, is part of the whole pattern. If we wrap this living quilt around ourselves, then we are who we are. A true original.
And maybe that’s just the way it’s meant to be.