There are moments in life, which I think of as switches. Where something happens to cause a dramatic change in the appearance of someone, not talking plastic surgery, but sometimes, its seeing the chique-got-it-all-together gal suddenly seem to drop it all and become a frumpy mum, or seeing the ugly duckling with little to no confidence suddenly realise she’s actually a beautifully graceful swan and she stops hiding in the shadows and almost apologising for her existence and allows her true beauty to shine through – the switch has been flicked.
Sadly it’s often the divorcee who deems herself worthless and in the face of chaos, disorder and heartbreaks lets herself go and at the opposite end, there is the other divorcee who allows herself to shine, somehow finding confidence in the freedom from the restraints and restrictions her husband may have placed on her, often subconsciously unaware of it and allows her true self to emerge, much like a butterfly breaking free of its cocoon. Other times, its watching a women let herself go because she’s gained some weight and loses confidence in herself or, another finding her confidence and outer diva by losing some weight.
Looking back, I see those switches having gone on and off in my life, from becoming a mom, having huge financial burdens, an insecure husband, being a stay at home, divorce, weight gain, insecurity and uncertainty … all attributing to me going through a stage where I was in survival mode and not feeling super confident in myself. Not having much money to spend on clothing and having gained close to 20kgs after the divorce and my thyroid becoming under active, I just went into survival mode. Putting a decent meal on the table was hard enough, not to mention rebuilding a home and finding a job after being out of the workforce and country for 5 years. I lived in three pairs of trousers and would only buy tops to interchange. Slowly trying to rebuild a wardrobe.
I was so insecure and kept thinking, when I lose weight, when I have I steady job, but it took a little longer that. But the switch came, eventually, in fact there were two switches that went off. The first was my daughter convincing me I looked good in and was not too old to buy a grey skirt, white shirt and black waistcoat which was a ‘height of fashion’ outfit in 2006. Such a simple sounding outfit, but I’d lost so much confidence that I thought it was too young for me. When I look at that outfit now, I wonder what I was thinking and am quite amazed at how truly insecure I’d felt. The second switch was when she again convinced me to buy a dress that I never would have considered if I’d been on my own shopping. When I wore that dress to work, the office was buzzing. My colleagues made such a fuss of me and I was quite taken aback, but that brought the realisation that i truly had been hiding. Slowly, the butterfly effect began to happen.
But the biggest switch was the point where I decided to accept the weight gain and to make peace about it and to stop beating myself up for it. I no longer weigh 60kgs, accepted. It’s a great place to be, a state of acceptance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe it gives me the right to not look after my weight, or to allow it to get out of control, I work at maintaining my weight, but don’t want to become obsessed about losing weight.
Being a people watcher, I can almost tell you what is going on with another woman simply by the clothing she wears. You can often tell when it’s simply a case of a tight budget, someone whose confidence is lacking and even those who simply don’t care – that’s the hardest for me to understand, but you can see it. Those who have little funds, yet care enough to make the best of what they have.
For me, its a joyful occassion when you finally see the butterfly fly and in each downtrodden and dowdy women it’s a beautiful and amazing butterfly waiting to be accepted so that it can stretch its wings and fly.
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