I’m almost 99% sure this title to came to me in an Instagram gif, and I feel no shame in admitting that. When I thought about what I wanted to post this week, it felt almost too obvious.
Confidence. Having some, or maybe lack there of.
As many of you followed along, last week I was in California and enjoyed my time going from Coronado up to Los Angeles. I spent a couple whirlwind days in LA and it was definitely an experience, to say the least. I would say that #FoodCrawl5779 was a success. On my final day there though, my best friend sent me to a store to get some proper LA fashion shopping done. I don’t think she was okay with the idea of me being surrounded by tznius clothing options and only bringing home some toffee from the candy shop on Pico.
I love fashion, I love shopping, however; I do not love the process of it, at all. I never have and I ‘m not completely sure I ever will. It spans way farther back delves into a much deeper conversation than I’m wanting to really unpack in this post. But, be that as it may; I had a shopping experience in LA that may have very well changed how I feel about shopping and how I see myself.
When I walked into Karen Michelle LA I had really gone in in part because I was told to, and in part because I needed to kill some time before I left for the airport. Even on the phone my best friend was preparing me and telling me to ask for help, let them pick out some clothes for me, try them on and send her pictures. She is very aware that I don’t like mirrors, so that was really the only logical way to avoid looking at one while shopping alone.
Oh, and side note, I don’t really look in full length mirrors– ever. I haven’t since I was twelve and I avoid them at all costs. Mirrors, windows, non-selfie photos. Yeah, kid of a funny thing for someone who preaches a whole lot about self love and self confidence.
I walked around the store a bit aimlessly at first, there were a lot of beautiful things and I didn’t even know where to start. I was intimated and sure I was just going to leave empty handed like I do with a lot places I stop in to. One of the women working there asked me what I was looking for, I had no clue, and really without even a second word we were bouncing all over the store. She was grabbing this dress and that skirt, to go with this top, and that belt. It felt like one of those makeover scenes you see in a movie.
It came time to try on the clothing, much to my anxiety’s dismay. When I slipped on the first dress, a beautiful burgundy dress made of some of the softest fabric I’ve ever felt, there was almost a calming affect in putting it on.
Finally, it was the moment of truth.
I stepped out, preparing myself to position my body in a way where it looked like I could see myself in the mirror when I really couldn’t (because I’ve become way too much of a pro at that), but before I could even do that, I saw myself.
And for the first time, in a very long time, I smiled in the mirror.
The sales woman helping me came back and gushed at how beautiful she thought it was, adding a belt to the ensemble to tie it all together. She then proceeded to take me back onto the floor so I could go meet Karen Michelle, the designer herself. I’m not saying I had a huge confidence and ego boost in all of this… but I totally did.
I walked back to the mirror and just stared. I allowed myself to feel beautiful and accept every part of what I saw. I believe the exact words I used were, “I am totally feeling myself!” And I think for the first time, in a very very long time, I may have seen myself in the way that others see me.
I bought three dresses that day, I wore one out of the store (and am currently wearing it as I write this) and came home and bought two more, which I am praying will show up like…now, because when I wear them I feel like I’m floating. I feel my confidence go up, and I feel beautiful.
The sizing was intimidating honestly, as their line runs rather small. I saw a size on the tag that I’ve never seen before, but I honestly wasn’t phased by it. I looked pretty, I felt pretty, I didn’t need a size tag taking and derailing the progress I’d made; and it didn’t.
I’m not sitting here saying I’m a changed woman who is all the sudden going to be checking herself out in mirrors. I’m not that person, and I don’t know if I’ll ever have that type of relationship with my appearance, especially as it’s been ever evolving since I fell ill.
But, for the first time, I was able to look past being sick and not knowing my body and finally see the person I always wanted to be; confident and shining.
I owe so much to that day last week, to this quaint unsuspecting modest fashion store, and I owe so much to my best friend for giving me that shove I needed to be able to finally see the bas melech (daughter of G-d) that was staring back at me.