The whole "dress up and look nice" = self-respect thing is questionable to me, too. It's always been that way.
Last night I went to an outdoor party (where hubs & I hosted & made margaritas non-stop for 2 hours) wearing my fat pants & a tequila brand t-shirt. OH right - I threw on a pair of my fav chinese earrings, too. A thunderstorm blew in as guests started to arrive and it pretty much rained the whole time, then the mosquitos swarmed. I met and chatted with a candidate for Congress, while we were in line for the buffet. I didn't have a spare second to think about how I was dressed or to feel self-conscious. And I usually hang out & talk to the guys - not the women - anyway. The "end of year" party for this group was the last one we attended. It's held at the country club, a sitdown dinner... and yes, people dress. I was in a totally foul mood, not feeling well... and on top of that, dressing up is de rigeur... (dress code and all that which is why we're NOT members of the cc). I was pretty much evil on wheels at that party - and miserable too. I don't like feeling pressured to "impress others" and feel their attempts to impress me with their wealth, importance, ego or whatever is the "real" socially incorrect; politically incorrect interaction. Push me on that - and you'll be unpleasantly surprised! (just can't help myself).
I'm at the age where I'm trying to disown how my body looks - to me. I put on dresses that I absolutely love the style of... that I could easily have worn and felt great and looked good in, 20 years ago... and well, to say I'm disappointed in how I look is a wild understatement. I keep the dresses, promising myself... OK, floor exercises... pilates... I know what I need to do - it's not that hard, just get started................ everyday, I go through the same crap in my head. Same thing in the pool (when it's warm enough) - I wade in up to my waist, right at the drop off - and freeze - unable to take the next step and launch myself into swimming laps. Best I've done so far - is one isolated session. Seems the next day, there's some "important" other thing to do. I'm not an inactive person either. I run up & down stairs every day. Just letting the dog out... doing the basic life chores... takes a lot more steps in this house, and I'm still doing all the housework and yardwork (except mowing). I NEED specific exercise... and can't do it - get right there and stop, latching onto any and every possible distraction, unconsciously and "on purpose".
Before I went to 1st grade, I had a pretty lavender organza dress that Grandma made me. I had to beg for a pair of white patent shoes; this was my easter dress (don't know where we went; wasn't to church). A hat even. My mom used to read me the riot act, because after she'd gotten me dressed (I wasn't allowed to do this myself at 6?)... she'd shoo me away to go play... and then I'd be SHAMED... because I'd scuffed those precious white shoes, which if you just look at them they'll be scuffed. The direct message from mom was: you can't dress up and look "pretty" for even 10 minutes!! What's wrong with you?! Now look what you've done - it's all your fault - and you're a problem I don't feel like dealing with. This pattern was repeated over & over & over in hundreds of ways... the most recent version, as I got ready for my Dad's funeral. Even her attempts to try to say something "nice" come out... awful. Like she's never done this and doesn't have a clue how it's done.
Unconsciously and on purpose -- avoiding a repeat of the shame-session??
I've been stocking my closet with cotton jersey lounge pants, cami's, and long sleeve tshirts. My grown up Dr. Denton's... they feel absolutely wonderful! light and soft and comforting... like being home sick and allowed to stay in your pj's all day -- the ONLY situation where my mom "took care of me". I was sick so much as a kid, that we had an on-going process with the school, for my homework. I never had a report card with perfect attendance. I even wear these "fuzzy pants" around my circle of family and close friends - the people who like me for me and I like them back. When I'm having one of those "self-care" days... I'm most definitely wearing these clothes. They're also kinda exercise clothes too... hee-hee! (no it doesn't help... and it's friggin' rediculous... I don't even fool myself... ) and I FEEL like I look good in them; sloppy yes... but it's the feeling good that seems to be the important element.
There's a boutique I like. It's usually a "special treat" to me, to go in and look around. They have "different" things and their focus is on clothes for older women - they have nothing for the hip, trendy, size 0 20-somethings. Fashionable, classy stuff - and just plain FUN stuff. I take hubs with me, when I go shopping there: he sees things that are great for me that somehow I miss. And his eye is trained, coz his mom was a professional seamstress. It's always a plus, when I can tell he thinks I look "hot" in something. This is one of those places where a sales lady will "take you under her wing" and make suggestions on accessories, etc and run back out and get you a different size, while you're trying on. That's really nice, isn't it? But for me... it simply doesn't work; it's produces a feeling of PLEASE just leave me alone... don't tell me to try this or that spanx undergarment (I can't breathe in those things - feel bad physically = feel bad emotionally, too)... let me look; let me feel how it fits; let me get hubs' opinion (he's good; always says - "if you like it, buy it" - but even that backfires sometimes, when I buy things I only WISH I felt I looked good wearing... sigh....). One time, I loved the color of this lightweight rain coat. It was ruffly and had puffy sleeves and straps on the cuffs... big buttons... and when I tried it on, I laughed so hard I almost peed myself!!! I looked like a munchkin from Wizard of Oz... or an oompa-loompa... there was so much fabric, in the "swing" style of it, to accomodate my inch or so taller than average height... that I looked like a ruffled, walking tent!! She didn't know what to suggest for my body; it's all just trial and error - and I no longer know - and well, isn't that the point where one should just give up? Let it go and wear a flour sack? Say the hell with it? I don't care what I look like and if anyone doesn't like it - tough? That's too sad; I don't wanna do that.
So, is this another mind-body connection issue? I wonder.... something's still enough "out of whack" here for me that I recognize the "stuckness" factor again. I get kinda pissed, too... that I have so much shame associated with my body... because we ALL deserve to feel comfortable in our own skin. And maybe it's just the way I'm dressing that body... or trying to... I just want my old form back - that was just fine; I don't want to be someone I'm not; I just want "me" back... I know how to dress her, even if it doesn't meet the normal "fashion rules" (I made up my own, with some unusual juxtaposition... like ripped blue jeans and a pretty white dress shirt...).
I LIKE appearing as if I were a "prim and proper" chocolate truffle or petit four... until the first bite of jalapeno pepper & cherry jelly inside.
Haven't rambled in a while. Maybe I can kinda see what still hurts here...