Me and the girlfriends were way overdue for a girls night out, which usually consists of going to dinner for a few hours and venting, laughing, sharing, and reminding each other that we are so lucky to have each other...and why we need to do that more often. When Emiko suggested a vintage lingerie show that some friends of hers were modeling in, I was excited to say 'yes' to something different and potentially a ton of fun. Heck, we can do dinner any time, but doing something new is right in line with the new direction of my life lately.
After a quick but perfectly lovely dinner (crepes Florentine and a glass of wine - yumm!), we settled into our seats in the back room of this neat romantic store. The room was filled with antiques and vintage lingerie and accessories, assorted couches and chairs, with pretty lamps and a warm atmosphere. A few minutes later, the shop owner and host for the evening came out and stood on the square pedestal spotlighted in the middle of the room and promised a special show. What followed were eight women of all shapes and ages (from their twenties to mid-sixties), coming out one at a time to some great music and dancing short vignettes. Some were funny and playful, while others were more sensual and burlesque. The vintage lingerie was so pretty and feminine and the women looked like they were really enjoying themselves. And the best part, they aren't professional models, but simply friends of the store owner.
What struck me most of all was how amazing it was to watch these women with huge admiration and respect (and a little envy). There is something so beautiful to see them glide right out in full revealing view of total strangers and celebrate their bodies in their entire feminine splendor. The ironic thing is that while I’m watching them, I’m not judging their imperfections but rather feel in awe at their confidence. But, at the same time, I’m thinking that I’d never be able to do that not only because I would be too self conscious, my boobs would be too small, my giggly butt would be too giggly, no rhythm, etc. The funny thing is that during the show I saw small boobs, medium boobs, full thighs, tiny butts, young skin, older skin, but these women were all beautiful to me no matter what they looked like. And, the confident ones were the most stunning of all, regardless of what shape they were.
Why do I judge myself no negatively like that and put such a high standard on how I see my body? What does it matter if I put on silky lingerie and dance in front of strangers and one woman in the corner thinks my arms are too big? Really, who cares? Most likely they would think the same thing that I did about the models at the show. Yet, I allow myself to use my small boobs and dorky glasses as an excuse to hold myself back from having the confidence to do things like that.
After the show, I asked some of the glowing models how it felt to do the show, and they all said it was pretty nerve-wracking but they loved doing it. I doubt they will go home and think to themselves that it was horrible and they would never do it again. Rather, they will probably feel proud and sexy and more willing to do other “scary” things in the future.
Maybe inhibitions lower with age, or childbirth, or a result of doing more scary things that makes you step out of the safe comfort zone. Or perhaps it’s a combination of things. Or maybe some people just have “it” and don’t think twice about that sort of stuff. There is no easy answer for that question. So, in the meantime, I think I’ll work on choosing to see myself in a better light, because after all, it is a choice. Life is so much about self-perception, and I'm realizing more and more that how I chose to see myself is how others will see me. I think it's time to step out of the shadows and start living more in the spotlight.
"Oh, I must stop these doubts, all these worries.
If I don't I just know I'll turn back.
I must dream of the things I am seeking.
I am seeking the courage I lack.
The courage to serve them with reliance.
Face my mistakes without defiance.
Show them I'm worthy.
And while I show them I'll show me.
So, let them bring on all their problems.
I'll do better than my best.
I have confidence they'll put me to the test.
But I'll make them see I have confidence in me."
- Maria from The Sound of Music