Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Mumsy's the word

Mumsy. adjective. Giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable

I've always been a bit of a dork.  I've never had much time for make-up and usually only wear it when required - whether it's work or blemishes or late-night dark circles.  I have never been able to style my hair past the ponytail or tussled-dry looks so I steer clear of hairstyles that require appliances, and the greys are starting to take over.  We don't have much money (especially now that we're expecting our second baby and will be dropping to one income soon) so I don't buy clothes for myself.  New injections to my wardrobe come via two means - hand-me-downs from my beautiful sisters, and things my mum buys me out of pity (bless her!), which are usually smaller versions of the clothes she buys herself. These aren't usually clothes I would buy myself but I really do appreciate them.  And while I could buy myself quality pieces as the budget allows, I find myself overwhelmed and lost, so by default go back to the same dorky options from the same cheap shops.

Last year I went to a friend's hen's party and there was nothing, a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y nothing, in my wardrobe that was suitable to wear out to a bar or nightclub.  Not even a top to pair with basic jeans!  Not even with accessorising!  And earlier this year, my husband and I were able to get away for the night to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary at a very swanky hotel and I had nothing suitable to wear to waltz through the doors of said swanky hotel and sit stylishly in their marble and polished timber foyer.  I put on the dress I chose, looked in the mirror and asked my husband, "Does this look too mumsy?"  He shrugged, meaning "Yes, I agree with you that it is but I can't really say anything about it."  He's a smart man.  I looked like a haggered mum from the suburbs wearing a dress she got from a $2 clothes swap.  Because I was.

Mumsy. adjective. Giving an impression of dull domesticity; dowdy or unfashionable

While I've always been a bit of a dork, I seem to have gotten worse in the last six or seven years, since I've been with my wonderful husband.  Now, my current 'mumsy' appearance has nothing to do with him (he doesn't have anything to do with what's in my wardrobe!), but I think the reason behind the change in my appearance just happened to coincide with the time he entered my life. 

Let me explain.

I've written previously about how before I was a Christian, I slept around because a) I didn't know any better and b) I just wanted someone to love me so badly and thought that's how I'd find it. After all, sex = love, surely!  (http://beingjenkerr.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/dear-20-year-old-me.html) So after almost 10 years worth of letting myself be treated like a play thing and of dressing to attract the opposite sex (albeit in a relatively modest fashion compared to what you see these days), I found God.  Then I found real love with my now husband.  And then I unconsciously started to go out the other side - waaaaay out the other side.  I chose and accepted clothes of a style too old for me, that were ill-fitting, ultra conservative, boring.  And floral.  Lots of floral.

I realised this morning that all of this was a reaction to - in retaliation of - those 10 years of dressing for attention.  I was dressing to hide. To repel attention.  To blend into the background (of a couch from the 1960s?)  Almost like women who've been abused who put on weight as a way of protecting themselves and making themselves feel invisible.  I started dressing in a way that wouldn't draw any male attention at all.

But now I catch sight of myself and wonder where the hec I've gone! "Where's the Jen I feel on the inside, and why doesn't she show on the outside?"  Now more time has passed and I'm stronger and in a better and genuinely loving place, I want to find the new me.  We still don't have the money for shopping sprees and wardrobe make-overs, but I could at least clean out my cupboard of the worst offenders.  I could start looking through magazines at the dentist or hairdresser (actually go to an actual hairdresser) and get ideas of what style could suit me.  I could start paying attention to women around me who are my age to get ideas.  I could go into shops and try lots of things on to find out what does suit me.  And I could start loving myself more and realising that I am worth a $100 dress or pair of shoes every now and then - hec, anything from a shop that doesn't have shopping trolley bays at the entrance!

I am beautiful.  I am worthy.  I am forgiven.  I am safe.  I am loved.  It's okay.