It’s been a while since I’ve written any ungirly posts. Partly it’s because I’ve hit a nice groove that isn’t at all entertaining. I straighten my hair and sport uncomfortable shoes at least once a week. I made apple and pecan stuffing for my family’s Thanksgiving celebrations. And I’ve also learned brilliant things from sermons and prayer about how to relate to God as Father when I so struggle to understand my relationship with my earthly dad.
When I first strapped on a pair of heels and started this journey toward feminine enlightenment, it was easy to write my life as a tragic comedy. I wanted to succeed at the things I was trying out, but I expected myself to fail, and figured it was better to laugh than to cry about it. Truth be told, I hated the feeling of ruining my shortcakes and having to throw them away.
Yeah – it was funny. But it also wasn’t.
I think my greatest challenge may actually be to take myself seriously. For such a long time, I’ve thought of myself as an athlete… so if you think about a football player taking a ballet class, you’ll have a decent understanding of my self-image in “girl world.” That’s why I’ve been laughing. I’ve been Marla Hooch for too long to think of myself as anything beautiful. One of the things I’m finding out now, though, is that there are gorgeous feminine things about me that have always been there. It’s not so funny if I’m really Anastasia… just wearing a cheap, unflattering outfit and in desperate need of some instruction.
I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t excited about Thanksgiving. Roommate Amy was out of the state, Roommate Alix was house sitting and bonding with her family, and I was alone for the first time in the better part of a year.
When Thursday arrived, I got up and cooked the stuffing – made out of real wheat bread, which made me feel all official. After cleaning up the kitchen, I went on a short run, keenly aware that it might make me late to the festivities. Sweaty, but happy, I rushed into the house with every intent of quickly showering and heading to my parent’s with wet hair and no make-up on. Luckily, I checked my phone right away and found that my mom had left a message saying that Thanksgiving would start an hour later than planned. I decided to use the extra time to become pretty.
My family is a t-shirt and jeans sort of group, so I wasn’t sure that dressing up was the best idea. I really wanted to, but I didn’t want to have to explain why. I spent a long time picking out just the right outfit, which ended up being skinny jeans and a black shirt thingy that a more proper girl would have a name for. I tried on several pairs of shoes with my outfit before settling on flats. I really wanted to wear my salsa heels, but figured they’d get raised eyebrows and squinty looks.
I checked myself in the mirror and smiled. Not bad 🙂
I decided to take a few pictures to capture a nice moment, which you probably know was a big thing for me since I’ve been pretty clear about how much I hate having my picture taken.
Here’s what I ended up with (Don’t look at the weird angle my feet make. I don’t know why I was standing like that):
I know that for most families this kind of a getup isn’t anything special, and it’s actually not really special for me for most of my life, but with my family it seemed like a big step.
So I grabbed the beast and we went on over and celebrated Thanksgiving. After dinner, I was feeling pretty excellent. I’d talked more with my dad in the past few hours than in several months prior. I’d spent time with my niece and nephews, and my tummy was exactly as full as I wanted it to be. Usually I put myself into a food coma, but this time I didn’t care about the food all that much. I ate a little more than I wanted to so as to try the different things everyone made, but it was barely more than how much I eat at normal meals.
My sister and I hadn’t talked much, so I found her in the dining room and sat down close-by.
“Oh no,” she said, as I joined the grown-up room. I had been watching Lady and the Tramp with the kids just a moment before. “You aren’t wearing skinny jeans, are you?”
“Yeah. I like wearing them with boots or tall shoes because they make my body seem longer and more elegant.”
She scrunched up her nose at my carefully-selected outfit.
“It’d be nice if you didn’t insult me,” I said.
An awkward pause followed.
“I just don’t understand that style. I don’t know why everyone likes it and wears those kinds of pants.”
I think she was trying to explain why she didn’t like the style in the hopes that it would seem less like a personal insult. It still felt a lot like one, though.
“I mean… they aren’t really flattering to anyone,” she continued.
I stopped listening as best I could, but “Blah. Blah. Blah,” she hated my pants some more.
“You don’t have to like the style but it’d be nice if you’d stop insulting me,” I repeated.
She looked at me with hurt feelings but didn’t say anything else about it. It seemed a little unfair for her to be hurt after she’d insulted me, but I was pleased with how gently and calmly I’d defended the hour I’d spent getting dressed up and picking out just the right outfit. That time was representative of something important – my decision to let my family see a little piece of who Katie has become (and still is becoming).