In light of the recent attacks in Paris, I’ve been moved to revisit a post I had written over a year ago and never published. I sat on it intentionally, knowing that when I wrote it I was still upset and affected by the experience and as such, was not being as kind as I wanted to be.
When such hate is out in the world, whether on an international level such as Paris, or on a personal level such as my story I’m sharing today, it makes me sad. Why do we have to waste so much of our time tearing down other people? Why do we insist on hurting, physically and/or emotionally? I stand with Paris, with Baghdad, with everyone in the world that is hurting and I ask that while we help in international crises, we also start acting with kindness to those around us on a daily basis.
Why I’m not a fashion blogger and probably never will be
My husband and I randomly chose this restaurant in Traverse City because the previous restaurants we had chosen had had wait times and we were just too hungry for that. It was well past 2pm so we would have thought we had arrived after the lunch crowds but after all, this was downtown Traverse City on a Saturday afternoon.
Walking in to the restaurant, there only a handful of other customers and we were seated right next to them. Early to mid thirties, dressed casual chic with expensive purses draped over chairs and iPhones all around, these four girls were just starting another round of white wine.
As I browsed the menu and snacked on an appetizer, I paid no more mind to these women until their rather loud conversation took a more personal turn. I had heard bits and pieces of complaints about being stay at home moms having to force their husbands to give them any money, but it was when their conversation turned to clothes that my ears perked involuntarily. The leader of the conversation began complaining loudly that she had to fight her husband to give her money for clothes, and that he then balked at the price of the items she would come home with, which judging by the expensive purses and look of their clothes, I wasn’t surprised when she name dropped a few stores that would be out of a lot of people’s clothing budgets.
I almost sympathized with these women until they had to turn a complaint into a means of tearing other women down, myself included. You see, this woman rationalized her expensive purchases by telling her husband that he could either have a wife that took care of herself and was actually presentable to society that he would be proud to show off, or he could have “one of those frumpy wives who wears hooded sweatshirts and leaves the house without makeup.” Cue gasps of horror at her table and agreements that to go out in public with no makeup and a hooded sweatshirt would be hideous and unforgivable.
Do I even have to tell you what I was wearing as I sat mere feet from their table?
Did I mention it was 40 degrees, windy, and rainy that day, and only being gone for a weekend, my wardrobe was all warm cozy clothes I was comfortable wearing all day?
Those women proceeded to spend the rest of their (and my) lunch continuing their tirade against frumpy wives and husbands who won’t give them money. I felt awful and ate my meal in silence, except for responses when my husband looked me in the eye and told me he loved me AND my hooded sweatshirt. I also may have made a snarky joke about how frugal I was because I had even gotten my sweatshirt for free, but for the most part, their conversation had dulled my mood.
Was I upset about wearing a hooded sweatshirt? Not a chance. I love that sweatshirt. It’s cozy and comfortable and also happens to double as a good advertisement for Grand Rapids. I was self-conscious because I had always known people are judged by their appearance, and I am guilty of judging as well, but I was now getting a taste for how judgmental people can truly be.
I am not, nor have I ever been, the most fashionable person. I like clothes, I like looking at pictures of outfits on Pinterest and pretending they will magically appear in my closet. I will confess though, that most of my clothing comes from Target, Old Navy, and some Kohl’s. I buy it on sale at least, or on sale with a coupon, and I don’t buy that often because honestly, I don’t have a lot of money and I have always had more priorities than fashion.
I will note, however, that should I become ridiculously wealthy someday, my wardrobe will get decidedly much nicer, so don’t think I’m somehow against fashion. I’m mostly against the prices. Even if that day comes when I have a wardrobe full of options, you better believe there will still be days when I will leave my house in my comfy sweatshirt and not bother to put makeup on before I go.
For the most part, you won’t see me enough on this blog to wonder what I’m wearing. The biggest exception would probably be weight loss pictures and those will most likely be taken in workout clothes. Before you even ask, I usually get my workout clothes on sale from Target. When I started this blog, my main goal was to have an outlet for my thoughts, a journal of my weight loss struggles and successes, and a way to showcase my awesome city. None of that requires a lot of photographs of me. I do want to be relatable so there will be pictures of me, but as I said it will most likely be in the weight loss posts. At least for now.
I do not foresee you ever being curious as to who I’m wearing but if you ever are, I will gladly let you know. An original thought I had had for the blog was to devote a section to my attempts at becoming more fashionable but I shot that down pretty quickly. There are so many wonderful, talented, fashion bloggers out there, and I would never come close. I am completely okay with that, though, because that isn’t me. Sure I want nice clothes, and maybe I’ll get them someday, but it has never been a priority for me. Taking better care of myself, losing weight, overcoming anxiety, and traveling. Those are the things that take up most of my thoughts and will therefore find their home on this blog.
So if you ever see me out in the world, wearing my hooded sweatshirt and not a hint of makeup, know that I am comfortable and happy in my choices. Since I am guilty of judging others as well, this is as much for me as it is for everyone else. I wish that we could all start building each other up with our words and actions instead of constantly tearing one another down.
That last paragraph is the reason I decided to tie this story in today and finally publish it. I am just as guilty as anyone of saying, thinking, and doing things that tear people down instead of building them up. It’s not okay, though, and especially in times of tragedy, I’m reminded that to truly overcome, to get through these hard times, we need kindness. We need love. We need compassion. Whether you opened your home to strangers in Paris or you held the door open for the person behind you at the bank and wished them a good day, every act of kindness counts.