It made me stop mid-conversation. This orange sparkly bit of wonder called to me. For once, I did not think about being practical. It was meant for me. I told my friend as much, but walked away from the dress and continued on my actual mission of finding votive candles and a stand. I had a particular holder in mind that I had seen online but it was nowhere to be found. Perhaps I could fill a bowl with water and float the candles? That did not feel right. I found something closer to what I had originally envisioned. I had ruled it out earlier thinking that I would never find something like it. Like Nelson Mandela taught us, "it always seems impossible until its done." When should we compromise our vision and when should we hold out for exactly what we want? Not only did I find the perfect stand, I bought the dress. There was only one in the store and it was my size. I am totally claiming karma. It's washed and ready to go!
Do you find it difficult to be nice to yourself? Normally I would have rationlized myself out of such a simple purchase. I would tell myself that I had plenty of clothes or I would have to justify it with an appropriate event. We put so many clauses and burdens on our joy. We deny who we are because we think we are frivolous or unworthy. I am not too much, I am just me. I play being an adult and forget my inner child. She likes bold, shiny, colorful objects. My inner child is also wounded because she was told that she was not the right kind of body for cute clothes. Right now my inner child has developed a potty mouth and is telling the world what it can do with its judgement. I am going to wear this dress and feel like a princess and you can't stop me! With great fun comes great responsibility. Just as I am not going to judge myself, I also have to remember to be compassionate to others and try to remember they are human beings doing their best.
We are conditioned to fit in and not stand out in order to avoid the pain of rejection. Emotional rejection can hurt as much as physical pain. Loss aversion is such a powerful force that we would rather avoid loss than risking gain. In trying to protect ourselves from pain, we also block pleasure so we don the mask. Many people wear many masks for different reasons. I wear my 'everything is okay' mask to avoid scrutiny and power through my day. Whether it is code-switching, dressing a certain way, or finding strategies to tone down who we are; we wear the mask. Like Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote:
"We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties."
Everything is an energy game. It takes as much energy to pretend to be something you are not as it does to deal with consequences of who you are. Where do you want to put that energy? Think about the last time you were comfortable in your skin. What was happening? How did it make you feel? Now compare that to when you shrink for other people. When does that happen? How does that make you feel? Do you prefer to be yourself or your persona? I can't answer for you. Some people feel braver as their persona and do extraordinary things. At what cost? I don't know. It is something you have to decide for yourself. I do not despise the masks I wear. I thank them for their service and perhaps am ready to retire a few. They no longer serve me. What about you? Will you be bold and vibrant and courageous enough to stand out? Or will you be something else. I do not want to give you a false choice. The choice is yours. Namaste.
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