Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Art of Letting Myself Go

It’s official. The middle ages are here.

No, not those middle ages, MY middles ages. I’ve arrived and it ain’t pretty.

How did I come to this realization at the ripe young age of 47? (What you really want to ask is why it took me 10 years longer than it should to discover the obvious.) Easy. I’m letting myself go. Let me explain.

You know how young minds are easily influenced? Well, when I was a very young woman – probably early college years – I read an interview with Princess Grace of Monaco, a.k.a. Grace Kelly. In this interview, she mentioned in passing that she believes that women should always look their best when they go out because it shows respect for other people. If you look nice, then you’re telling the people with whom you come in contact, that you like yourself enough to look good for them and you.

I have no clue why, but that made an impression on me.

I was raised by parents that had a distinctly different philosophy. Unless you were going to a fancy restaurant or working in an office, then your apparel should be all about function. My dad lives in sweatshirts and my mom, who is, shall we say, “vertically challenged” has always had an affinity for jersey knit Capri pants. Both enjoy the comfort of white sweat socks, and that’s just fine.

I am not a formal dresser, but I’d say that, for most of my adult life, I took a fair amount of time to get ready for going out in public. I’d think about what I was wearing, put on makeup, do my hair and feel like I looked my best, even if it was jeans and a casual shirt.

Until recently.

It’s not like anything happened, but I realized that I’ve stopped caring a little bit. I’m willing to venture into a grocery store without makeup. We’ve got lots of snow here and my “rubber duck shoes” are rather practical. I often wear them with white sweat socks. It’s definitely a Glamour don’t.

Oh my God, I’m turning into my parents! Could it be that they too once took great care in their appearance, but worn down by the ravages of raising three ungrateful, snotty kids, found it so much easier to don workout wear?

The old me would use this epiphany as a starting point for a mini-makeover. The new me is cutting itself a bit of slack and choosing not to feel judged based on appearances. It’s the manifestion of fashion apathy.

Here’s where I draw the line – embarrassing my teenage daughter. Although I have relaxed my personal dress code, I won’t go out of my way to make her run away in shame or disavow our family ties due to my clothing choices. That would be cruel and unusual and our relationship already has its own challenges.

Instead, I choose to embarrass her in other ways such as talking to her friends and asking them lots of questions when I’m driving them around. Sometimes, gasp, I even participate in conversations and tell jokes! Jeez, I’m so annoying.


At 11:52 PM , Blogger kenju said...

I used to dress fairly well, and though I seldom wore makeup except lipstick and eyebrow pencil, I always had it on. No more! I wear jeans and t-shirts and casual shoes almost everywhere. Life's too short to be dressed up all the time....LOL

At 7:55 AM , Anonymous gautami tripathy said...

I am mostly in very comfortable attire including my foot wear. I like casual clothes. After wearing Saris for work, I think I need to relax.

Michele sent me her to read this post which struck a chord with me!

reading room

At 8:13 AM , Blogger Susan Helene Gottfried said...

My kids are younger, but I talk to them in the car, too. What can I say? I like to know what's going on with them and I like to hear their take on things.

As for turning yourself out, now that both kids are in grade school, I'm finding that I'm dressing more nicely again; my sweats phase is over. Mostly. I've been living in them the past week or so, but that ends tomorrow, probably until next weekend. We shall see...

Michele sent me today; have a great one!

At 11:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for visiting Karen - hope the snow is manageable where you are and take care on the roads.

I know, I used to go to work in the power 80s all done up in the suit with the big shoulders, full makeup, matching jewellery and hair immaculate. Now, i drag on whatever I find that doesn't need ironed, fling on some blusher and mascara and drag a brush through my hair.

Is it the fashion now to look a bit higgledy-piggledy or is it age? I say fashion, every time!

At 11:57 PM , Blogger Colin Wee said...

It's a different world to the one which was graced with the Princess of Monaco.

I was just complaining to my wife yesterday that getting new boardies wasn't my idea of revamping my wardrobe. While clothing trends are getting more casual, I think there is even a minimum standard that I want to hit.

Maybe you're being too hard on yourself? Comparing yourself to trends from a bygone idea must be difficult, no? Perhaps you need to look at what you want of yourself and then maintain it - balance out functionality for aesthetics.

Go ahead and talk with your daugter's friends. You shouldn't be ashamed of sharing your thoughts with them. They might one day realise how wonderful wisdom and self-confidence are.


At 8:35 AM , Blogger ~Easy said...

Better watch out. Stacy and CLinton may come a' callin'.


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