When Bella sits back, pauses, sets her wine glass aside and says “Annie, here’s the thing . . .” you know she’s going to cut through the questions, wonderings and worries of the evening. She’ll sum it all up, cut through the clutter and hit the nail on the head.
Recently we were talking about dating. She’s blissfully married, but remembers her dating years fondly. A few years ago, I was hesitant to wade into the dating pool . . . her advice was to jump right in.
“Annie, here’s the thing. . . . dating is like shopping. Seriously. You gotta try ’em all on! Otherwise you’ll just never know . . . You’ll just never know.”
Dating. I didn’t really know how to even start . . .. And honestly, I wanted to simply meet the right guy, right off the bat (that sounds absurd, even to me, as I write it). I didn’t want to go through endless bad dates, “ghosting” (for heaven’s sake), waiting for a text, awkward moments and clumsy attempts at . . .well, anything.
Steven Colbert tells a great story about meeting his wife. And knowing in an instant that he’d marry her. I wanted that.
I wanted to know in an instant. Be swept off my feet. Fall in love and live happily ever after. Damn those fairy tales anyway.
Bella’s insight turned all of that upside down. It was a reality check. Honestly, she changed my mind about dating. It went from nightmare to adventure. It gave me permission to try new things.
A new approach.
A new way to think about who I was and what I wanted.
Think about it for a minute. We’ve all been in a dressing room . . .we grab a few things that are tried and true. The things that are familiar, comfortable . . .predictable. Shopping can be a chore. We don’t want to take the time, or try something new. Shopping means we have to look hard at ourselves in the mirror. Our flaws, our strengths . . . We have to know what we want and why. It’s often a chore we put off . .. . .
But what if we let ourselves enjoy the process? What if we decided to take the time to explore? Would we try something new . . .?
Did you ever see something in a store window or online and wonder . . .”could I pull that off?” “Am I tall enough? Young enough, thin enough . . .?”
“Would that make me look sexy . ..or kind of trampy?” (it’s a fine line. . . .)
“That’s a departure for me, I’ve never thought about that before. Maybe . . .”
“Where would I ever wear that . . .?”
You need to answer a few of those questions. About yourself, and about the dress.
When you shop, you’re simply taking it for a spin. A test drive. You’re not buying it. No commitment. Go ahead . . . pick something (slightly) outrageous.
It’s fun to explore the possibilities. And exploring can be good for you. Find a new (life)style, new perspective, a new you. Or the true you . . .
Try the dress that you know will work. We all have a “go-to.”
But then, try the dress that makes you feel a bit taller and sexy and wonder about the evening that would merit such a dress. Do you have those evenings in your life? Do you want them? When would you ever wear it, you wonder, a bit wistfuly. . .
Try the dress that you take off as quickly as you put it on . . .sometimes you need to confirm the “Hell no” feeling in your gut.
Try the dress that you’ll wear once, and will get rid of the next day.
Try the dress that you’ll wear to your high school reunion. The one that makes you look younger and cooler than you really are. But it’s what you need to feel for a brief moment.
Try the dress that you would wear if you knew you weren’t going to run into anyone you know . . .
Try them all. And bring a few home.
One or two will hang in the back of your closet and you’ll smile when you remember the time you wore it. You’ll keep a few hoping to wear them again, only to find that somethings only come around once. You wonder if you’ll ever be that thin again or feel that young again. A few you’ll look at and ask “what was I thinking??”
After some trial and error, you will discover the one that is your favorite. The one that brings out the best in you. The one you’ll always reach for. It’s the one you grab when you want to feel your best. The one that truly is perfect for you.
And in the process you will come to know what you really want and what the right fit really is. And that might be different than what you initially imagined.
When it fits, you’ll know. .. . .
But you have to take the time to shop. To explore. To find the best fit. And to discover yourself in the process. You can’t rush through it. You have to give it time and let it unfold.
You just may surprise yourself.
Who knew . . .?