I had a company holiday party to attend this weekend. A holiday party I not only had to attend but plan and execute, as well. This is the first party in my new job, and the boss said he wanted the dress “semi formal.” The guest list was nearly 300 people, including our board of directors.
A month ago I felt very daring and ordered the blue dress in the picture. That royal blue is my favorite color to wear, and I promise myself I’d eat whole 30 for a month and look great when it was time to put it on. But, as the date drew nearer, I began to get nervous. Excited, but nervous, not unlike sky diving. This could be great, but also … I could die.
I wondered if I should have gotten a larger size? “Can you bend and snap, in it?” asked my niece. I could. “Then it’s not too tight,” she said.
I could always wear my black loose fitting dress, I thought. I’d be more comfortable in that one.
After meeting all day with vendors and venue representatives, decorators, audio video people, photographers and chefs, ensuring everything was perfect, I finally went up to my hotel room to shower and dress. Many times I thought, I’d call my guy and ask him to bring the black loose fitting dress.
When I put it on and looked in the mirror, the scared little girl in me said “You look ridiculous, like you are playing dress up in your mother’s clothes.”
“My mother would never have worn this dress,” I shot back at her.
“Yes, because she had good sense,” she replied. “You don’t have the body for that dress.
“I weigh 127 pounds ,” I said. “There should be no reason I can’t wear this dress.”
“There’s not enough spanx in the world that will make that work.”
I took this selfie, prepared to send it to my sister and ask “Well?” But I decided not to. It was too late. It was either wear the dress, go naked, or not show up at all. The last two would probably have resulted in, if not the loss of my job altogether, at least the loss of some respect and credibility.
I’d like to say the night went perfectly, that I arrived to a chorus of “oohs and ahhs,” and I danced the night away, comfortably in my own skin. But that’s not how it happened. I did receive some compliments on the dress and my hair, which was nice. But there were only a few moments in the evening when I forgot to be self conscious. Most of the time, I was aware of every imperfection. I assumed the position of arms folded at my middle, my core pulled in as far as I could and still breathe. “I picked the wrong time to quit drinking I thought,” because a glass of wine might take the edge off.”
I shied away from cameras after seeing the first photo of myself. The camera adds ten pounds is true, plus the camera picks up bumps, bulges, flaps and creases. Why do we women do this to ourselves? There was a lady there who weighed twice what I do, wearing a stunning dress that fit like a wet suit, and I thought she looked gorgeous. Meanwhile, I doubted my right to be wearing this blue dress. Who did I think I was, anyway?
I would have felt such more more comfortable in my black loose fitting dress, but my focus this year has been on bravery. Getting out of my comfort zone is how I landed the new job, in the first place. Bravery doesn’t hide behind black material, bravery boldly steps out in blue regardless of how scary it is.
Bravery is never easy., otherwise they’d call it something else…. like mediocre or normal. Bravery and getting out of one’s comfort zone, when were are programmed to self protect and take the easy way, is a challenge. It is the comfort zone where black loose fitting dresses are made. The comfort zone is without light and all growth is stunted.
I was brave and stepped out my comfort zone. You know what? I was just like sky diving. It was exhilarating and scary, plus I didn’t die.