The other night I decided to time travel. I had just watched the first episode of Outlander, and all she did was touch a rock, how hard could it be?
I had been feeling frumpy. I had fallen into a routine of sweatpants, tank top, and no bra. It was easy, and comfortable, and I was busy keeping a baby occupied and fed, and this felt like the easiest uniform for it.
Then Christmas passed and New Years, and there were days when leaving the house to see people meant a new uniform, clean hair, jeans. It was never fancy, but my breasts weren’t showing off their obviously different sizes – thanks milk production, and my hair was tidy, and my clothes didn’t come with an elastic waistband.
Then the holidays passed and my husband returned to work, and I returned to my at home uniform. And wow did I look like a frump. I looked in the mirror and I saw that my face had found a roundness, my breasts were hanging unbalanced like two different sized sacks, and my belly bulged both above and below the elastic waistband. My hair needed washing, and something more imaginative than a pony tail – although when you have an 8 month old who likes to grab and pull – pony tail is better than loose.
Yet, my husband saw something different. He would always call me his beautiful wife – I felt a fraud, but also grateful that he could see something beautiful where I saw a mess.
The next morning I vowed to be different. And that is when I decided a trip back in time was in order. Not a time we had ever visited, nor one for feminist reasons I truly wish to go back to. However, there was one aspect I wished to experiment with. The stereotypical ’50s housewife, with her dress, apron, dinner on the table and drink ready for her husband. I thought about how I had felt the day before, frumpy, not beautiful, and how my husband had seen something different. The only thing I could change was how I felt about myself and so I set out to do something.
For the night I ditched the sweats and tank top, I took a shower, braided my hair, put on a bra and a dress. I had to be realistic in my process. We still have a baby, and he still breastfeeds, so I chose a sexy black dress that allowed me to pull a boob out, I was quick about my makeup, opting only for lip gloss, mascara and a touch of blush.
I made a healthy meal, and instead of an alcoholic drink which would be lost on my husband who barely drinks, I poured sparkling water into wine glasses and set one on the entrance table so I could grab it as I heard the lock turn. I was ready, I put on comfy but super cute heels, supper was placed on the table, drink at the door, baby playing on the floor, his dinner ready to go, and the jukebox station playing on the tv.
Finally I heard the buttons being pushed on the keyless entry to the house, I got up, grabbed the wine glass full of sparkling water and all of a sudden a ridiculous grin crept across my face. I couldn’t stop, I was almost laughing. I felt so excited to show him what I had done, and also a little ridiculous. Of course I couldn’t greet my husband before the dog, and so it took a moment for him to look up and see me. And something about his reaction brought tears to my eyes. Not sad tears, happy tears. Because here is the thing. My husband loves me in my sweats and he loves me in a sexy black dress with a Minnie Mouse apron over top. This thing I did, while it was partially to show him I appreciate him and we can have fun on a Friday night after work. I did this thing for me. Sometimes in order to feel good on the inside we need to feel and look good on the outside. And sometimes we need to remind ourselves what those who love us see.
This doesn’t mean I’ve packed away the sweats and traded the tank tops for dresses and heels. It just means that once in a while, when I’m feeling less than beautiful, it is important that I see for myself that I am. It didn’t take a big resolution, or makeover of my body. It took a shower and a makeover of my mind.