Turns out I don't wear the clothes from my closet very often. A quick run through today convinced me that my mom and I could indeed, with still three weeks to go before we move, pack my entire closet. That doesn't really say much for how I dress myself, does it? All those pants? In the box. The skirts? In the box. Dressy shirts? In the box. Dresses? In the box. Just leave me my jeans and my drawer full of t-shirts, mom. I'll be all set for weeks with just those.
This is quite a revelation to me. I mean, I knew I'd be quite a case for Stacy and Clinton if anyone would ever freaking take a hint and nominate me already for What Not To Wear (*cough* Husband *cough*). But I didn't realize I was quite as shoddy a dresser as I actually am. This is really the first time it's occurring to me that I have my own Mom Uniform. T-shirt and jeans. That's it. End of story. The fact that my mom and I could (okay, mostly my mom. I can admit it) could pack up every single thing in my closet if kind of depressing me.
It's not that I don't look in my closet--I do. Every day. And sometimes I even try on a skirt (with a t-shirt) or a cute shirt (with the jeans). But almost inevitably I end up looking in the mirror and finding something to be uncomfortable about with whatever article of clothing isn't the Mom Uniform approved one generally ends up in a heap on the floor and I go running back to the tshirt or the jeans that are missing. And then I'm back in my comfort zone.
Maybe I'm not different from many other moms. At least I've graduated from yoga pants and tshirts--although, now that I say that, I'm not sure why it merits an "at least" because yoga pants are pretty much the perfect article of clothing. I just won't wear them because the jeans hide my leg-chub better. And? I haven't done yoga in about 6 years, so wearing the pants is really sort of false advertising, right?
So fine. I am a mom hag. I have a Mom Uniform, I don't wear makeup nearly often enough. I have worn out two pairs of flip-flops this summer alone. And sometimes I look in the mirror and notice that I've got this weird little cowlick on the left side of my hair that only shows up when my hair is in dire need of a shampoo. In the city of beautiful people and women who have a 5-hour getting-ready-in-the-morning routine, I have become a complete and utter slob.
But, here's the thing. I DO own cute clothes. I DO own a lot of make up (please, I have a little tiny orgasm every time I walk by a Sephora, of COURSE I have lots of make up). I used to dress up every day. When I was a teacher, my students used to compliment my shoes ALL the time. I was "the teacher with the cool shoes" (among other things, I'm sure). Hell, I am of the generation of girls who caused the hole in the freaking ozone layer with all of our Aqua-Net hairspray. I had bangs of steel, dammit! Why am I not not wearing my cute clothes and my make up???!!!
Perhaps when we moved here, I figured there was no way I could keep up or compete with the extreme beauty of Los Angeles (which I have since mostly just ends up looking like a lot of really shocked, fat-lipped older ladies fighting the good fight). Maybe I let my appearance go (with the exception of my kicky 'do) so that I wouldn't look like I was trying to compete or keep up. If I faded into the background, no one would say, "Do you see that woman over there trying to look cool? Oh, that is so sad!" I suppose it's possible.
But, if there's one thing about moving I find fascinating, it's the ability to "redo" yourself in a way that introduces you to the new environment so that you're just a leeeeeetle bit different than who you were in the last place. Not like witness-protection plan different, but subtle changes that bring out the you you've always wanted to be a little bit more.
My first attempt at this was in 9th grade. I entered high school wanting to stand apart from who I was in junior high. Because, seriously. Doesnt' everybody? I didn't want to be just Sarah. There was, for the first time ever, another Sarah in my grade. Gah! The idea of being the second Sarah. No, thank you. So I decided on my first day of school that I was going to combine my first and middle name, thereby making me SarahBeth. I told everyone to call me that (I realize this is generally the behavior of a four year old who comes home and tells you her name is now Princess Imogene Prettypants, and you are only to call her that from now on, but whatever).
Needless to say, it didn't really stick. Teachers cocked their heads when I request to be called SarahBeth, looking down at the roster and back up at me. "But it just says Sarah". Ugh. Fine. So I tried with my old friends--if they'd do it, it would certainly catch on and then everyone would be calling me by my new, more unique name. But wouldn't you know it, they, too, looked at me like a second and third head were sprouting up from my shoulders and that was the end of that. No way were my new friends going to call me SarahBeth when my old friends AND teachers called me just plain Sarah. So that dream of a mini-reinvention pretty much never got off the ground.
But perhaps, just maybe, when I get up to our new house, as I unpack my clothes, and I'm hanging up my skirts and dresses and girly tops in the closet, I will try to picture myself wearing the cute stuff, the stuff that makes me feel pretty and not just ho-hum mom. And maybe I start pushing myself to wear something other than the uniform.