Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dumpy, Frumpy and Downright Lumpy

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“What is it about this place?” I said to my sister who was visiting too.

She shook her head. “I don’t know.”

“Do you feel as frumpy as I do?”

She nodded.

Just a few weeks previously I had been in New York City visiting her. I had even worn the same outfit I was wearing at the moment, except in New York I had dumbed it down a bit. I had added clunky jogging shoes, which I never do unless walking from here to kingdom come.

Also on that particular day I had added a top layer shorter than the under layer. It was colder than I had anticipated and my layering attempts were of a practical nature. Let’s just say that my “look” was interesting.

Not once while parading around the streets of Manhattan, whether in Madison Square, Midtown, SoHo, Chelsea or Greenwich Village did I feel frumpy or out of place or even worse…out of style. As a real test only the Universe can provide, I had proudly walked right past Clinton Kelly of “What Not to Wear” fame. Yes, the addition of the tennis shoes did give me pause as I strutted past him.

But not for one New York minute did I ever feel less than.

Sitting in the mecca of my youth, I felt dowdy, old-fashioned, outdated, oh yes and plain.

In my defense, these are feelings I typically don’t feel anymore. Normally, I don’t find myself sinking into the self-bashing place. As recently as a month ago, I believed I had made significant progress when it came to this self-love, self-acceptance issue. I still think there has been a shift. But obviously, there’s a little more transforming required to put these awful feelings to rest. Of course realizing I still had work to do was most irritating.

An hour later, I found myself in one of the boutiques purchasing new tops. Well, I could easily solve part of the problem.

The next day, members of my family all returned to the offending location. This time we were going to eat lunch. I felt much better. I had on the new top from the “right” store. Ahhhh. The frumps had disappeared. I still berated myself for weighing too much, but that’s a completely different story.

I hadn’t even noticed one of my cousins was wearing a tee-shirt—you know the kind of tee-shirt you wear to sleep in or wear to your child’s baseball game.

She complimented me on what I was wearing and then apologized for her outfit. “I can’t believe I forgot to pack something nice,” she said to me. “But thank goodness this is one of those places where it really doesn’t matter what you wear.”

My sister and I looked at each other. Okay, so we almost choked. Then we laughed.

My cousin. Well, she really meant it. She felt perfectly at home wearing a tee-shirt and jeans. And she also “looked” perfectly fine wearing her tee-shirt and jeans. We got it. Point made. High five the Universe that made it happen.

Turns out we were the fools. We were the ones that allowed our self-doubts and negative chatter to tell us we were somehow less than the “others” around us.

Allyn Evans

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

If it will add to your confidence, I will say it--right here and now and out loud.

"Clinton who?"

And I, the one who was a fashion publicist in New York. But that was long ago. (-:


L. Diane Wolfe said...

I can do the frumpy pretty easy - I have no fashion sense at all. While for professional appearances I do well, it's in other areas I kinda lag... and most of the time, like your sister, I don't really care!

And judging from your photo, I can't see any weight issues!

L. Diane Wolfe

Prill Boyle said...

I loved this post, Allyn. I can relate. P.S. Next time you come to NY, give me a call. xoxox

Anonymous said...

You saw Clinton! That would do anyone in.

Fun story - with a great point.

Beth said...

That last comment was me - pushed the button too fast. ;-)

Allyn Evans said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Prill...will do.

And yes, I saw Clinton. It is always so funny to me when I see TV personalities because I think I know them. And so my first reaction is to say hi to my friend. But of course, to them, I am not a friend. I think I've scared a few people before. :)

But I did have trouble shaking the surround mirror closet images after seeing him. Ha!