I was sitting around the other day, talking with friends about fashion, and somehow it came up that I had two of my mother’s mink stoles in my front closet. They are at least 50 years old, and although she passed them on to me, I’ve never had the nerve to wear them. After all, no one wears stoles anymore. And, besides, I didn’t think it would look right to wear the things grocery shopping or bowling. We all had a good chuckle, then one friend asked what I was waiting for. How old would I have to be to not care what other’s thought of my wardrobe?
I have spent the last ten years of my life trying to accept who I am, and being happy with said acceptance. I have always been too critical of the way I look, and I’m finally at the point where I don’t cringe when I look in the mirror. Why I wasted so much of my youth thinking I was going to blossom into a sparkling rose or a diamond beauty I don’t know. I have learned that people love me for me. They accept me with my Rembrandt physique, unicorn obsession, and all.
But back to the mink stole. My friend got me thinking. I am finally feeling good about myself, who I am, and where I’m going. I will never be a runway model or Nobel Peace Prize winner, but who cares? I’m a lot more fun to be around. I don’t make a daily drama over which sweater to wear with what skirt, or how long my hems should be. I’ve waited all my life to have a sassy, witty side, and I’m finally having fun letting these sides out of the box. I’ve changed my eating habits, my clothes, the books I read and the glasses I wear. Why can’t I keep pushing the envelope and wear my mother’s prize possessions?
I might not go to places where mink stoles are the height of fashion, but I do get together with friends and family who love me and enjoy having a good time with me. We play games, we gossip, we laugh. We support each other through surgery and unemployment and cancer and the passing on of loved ones. We talk about each other’s health, libido and career, so why wouldn’t they support me if I wrapped a gorgeous mink around my shoulders?
It would open up space to share stories about our mothers and grandmothers, about the way they dressed or the great meals they cooked. We could talk about their lives, whether they went to school or worked on the farm. We could share the heartache of losing our mothers at a young age or watching them wither away from Alzheimer’s or how we still enjoy being with her. We could share how much we missed our moms and grandmothers, or how glad we are that they are finally out of our lives.
We are all rich in history. Everyone you meet has a past, perhaps even a past life. We spend so much time hiding behind facades that are acceptable to the population at large, and rarely take time to be just who we are. Now and then it is prudent to keep your idiosyncrasies to yourself…after all, it wouldn’t do to dress like a Renaissance Faire wench at work or bring a laptop to the movie theater. No one wants to hear you sing Bon Jovi in the bathroom, nor are they interested in your bedtime rituals.
But what about the classical music geek who is dying to get out from under the cloud of secrecy? What about the fact that you love tinkering with cars or that you look for the hidden meaning in Woody Allen movies? What about your collection of angels that can fill a small room or the songs you’ve written that you plunk out on a guitar?
Why are you hiding who you are?
If you are afraid of others making fun of you, get over it. People have made fun of us from the day we were born and will make fun of us long after we’re gone. There will always be some goofy looking baby or toothy grade schooler or chubby high schooler that will forever look back at you in the mirror. You will always be who you’ve always been. So why not have some fun with it?
There is a game night coming up next month at one of our friend’s houses. I think I will wrap one of the mink stoles around me and sashay into the world of daycare workers and college students and tool and die makers. I will bring the memories of my mother Rose along with me, inspired by the fur around my shoulders, and she’ll be right there, having fun with us, too.
I think I’ll bring along the other one just in case someone else wants to sashay, too.