As previously mentioned, I have very little of what people would call 'style'. I'm very much a jeans and tee shirts person. The number of pairs of shoes I own is in the low single digits. I've had the same small bag of cosmetics for a decade, and when it comes to my hair I didn't own any styling products or tools other than a brush and a can of mousse for ages. Getting dressed up to go to a wedding feels like playing at dressup; fake, pretend and only temporary, a day event or something for a few hours where I can 'get my girl on', only to take it off again for months at a time once the event is over. In large part I avoid anything too 'girly' and feminine, having resigned myself long, long ago to being a tomboy, the plain friend, the geek.
Then some things happened; when I recieved my British Columbia ID card in the mail, the picture of the woman on it was me, but she wasn't a 'me' I recognized. This woman, and she was a woman, was pretty. I am not pretty. Never have been. I'm plain, a geek, overweight, but ok. But definitely not pretty. Sitting there looking at this little piece of plastic and it's black and white photo Ryan asked me what was wrong. So I showed him.
"I'm pretty." He seemed confused, looking at the photo card. He told me of course I'm pretty. He was bemused that I didn't know this. Oh. Well thanks. *blinkblink* And so began a couple of months of self reflection I haven't had the time or inclination to write about until now; like how much time and energy could I have saved myself if I'd been able to see this small truth sooner? What did it mean, now that I knew I was pretty? Should I DO something about it? Did I have too?
The other thing that happened was Feminism. This has been ongoing for a long time now, thankfully, and I realized during this period of self reflection that I've deeply internalized the message that the feminine is inferior to the masculine. It was better to be a tomboy than a girly girl, and it was best if I could just be One Of the Guys. It was OK if a friend of mine who was blonde and green eyed and thin and gorgeous got all the guys and there wasn't a dude at my school who would date me. It was OK that the one guy who did, dumped me for her. She was pretty. It was a super power and besides, thinking about boys when I could be worrying about Important Things like my grades or concert band was well, more important. If being feminine was undesirable then it made no sense to waste time or money doing anything to be feminine. For many years I mocked and scorned women who wore more than minimal makeup or dressed nicely all the time. How silly of them! What a waste of time and energy for these poor tools of the patriarchy! *I* knew better. *I* wasn't going to be like them. It was nice, being so self righteous and secure in my feminism.
Except that's not what feminism IS. Feminism allowed me to see how I was sabotaging myself and being unfair to others. Feminism allowed me to see the false dichotomy between masculine and feminine, and male and female, and define for *myself* what it means to be a woman, and more importantly, to be Me. I don't get to shit on other women, or men, for their choices; not for wanting to wear make up or high heels or work out or lose weight or be traditionally masculine or feminine. That's their road to walk and I have mine. I don't have to shit on myself for wanting to be more feminine, to accentuate the beauty I've recently discovered has been with me all along. To consciously make the decision because I Want Too, and not because it's expected of me, or because I feel I owe beauty or sexiness to anyone, even my husband, is a feminist decision.
To these ends, I owe an apology to my friends I've poked fun at over the years for the aforementioned slights. I'm very sorry. It was not my place to say or do anything that made you feel bad for the choices you made when it comes to how you present yourself to the world. This is not how a friend behaves and that behaviour is being erased from me as I move forward.
Also to these ends I've decided to start figuring out what my style is. To that end I've been collecting things I like and think would look good on me on a Pinterest board. If you have any suggestions for a small-fat/average sized, petite (I'm barely 5 foot 3) lady, send them my way! There's a bunch of things there already but I'm looking for more, especially for spring and summer.