Tuesday Update: Image Isn’t Everything.

I just got back from a nice, long weekend away, where I did something shocking, for me.

Or rather, I didn’t do.

I didn’t pack a travel capsule. I didn’t pack my best. I didn’t try on a bunch of outfits before packing, to make sure everything was coordinated. I left my jewelry and 99% of my makeup at home. I didn’t pack any of my cute shoes. I didn’t give a single thought to having three pieces (or more) in each outfit. No scarves, blazers, belts, or statement necklaces.

No, I packed for comfort and ease. The way I used to dress. I’ve gotten so caught up in trying to look put together that I’ve forgotten that it really doesn’t matter. I don’t think anyone out there is critiquing my appearance. The paparazzi is not photographing me. I’m surrounded by my husband and kids most of the time, and they couldn’t care less about how I look unless I’m sick and they are worried. Yes, I’m dressing my best and wearing makeup for Yours Truly. That’s it.

I want to dial it back a bit because this past weekend was so relaxed for me. I’m tired of all this effort I’m putting in for my own benefit. Sure, I feel better when I look better, but I also tend to go overboard and obsess about my appearance. If I’m a bit lackluster, I’m able to focus on everything else that’s going on around me — my family, the perfect fall weather, a trip to the park — instead of the full-length mirror. This was the mini-revelation I had last week when I took my kids to their swim lessons. I usually dress nicely, look out of place, and spend the whole time avoiding splashes and getting annoyed that I’m walking in puddles of water. Last week, it finally occurred to me to wear gym clothes to the lessons, and I looked like everyone else there. I was comfortable. I was able to completely focus on my kids and watch their lessons without worrying if the highly-chlorinated water was going to bleach out my new beaded tank top.

I had another epiphany today. All these outfits that I want to build, all the things that I think I need to add to my closet… they are a lazy way out. It takes effort for me to look good at my size given the limited clothing options, so I online-window-shop endlessly. I shop for items to recreate a look, thinking I will look the same way if I only I had the right pieces. Not so! Not by a long shot. I will never look like the models in the photos, nor do I want to (I like my thighs to touch, actually). What I really, truly need to do is get in shape, for health reasons. I’ve had several health issues come up that would disappear if I started exercising and eating better. That is hard to do, but shopping is easy. They always say that you should be comfortable with your body as you are, and I am. But I am too comfortable. If I like what I see in the mirror, I won’t have much motivation to change. This is another reason to dial it back. To health! Health, comfort, and stopping to smell the roses.