The light glittered and danced off the pastel colors held out for me to admire. I’m not sure which was more brilliant, the smile on the woman’s face or the item she held out before me.
I had no intention of purchasing the item, after all, what would I do with a swimmable mermaid tail? We had no idea what the shop held when we first stepped across the threshold. We had decided to explore another part of town, one we had never visited before.
Before the mermaid experience, we had been to a store that sold hammocks and another one full of cotton, hand-woven traditional backpacks. Naturally, we had not thought we would encounter anything other than another store offering traditional goods. Mermaid tails are not traditional goods, and certainly not these fine works of art.
Beloved decided we should buy a tail, one for me to wear even if it was just for the pool. I couldn’t see myself using it for anything, but the saleswoman assured me that it would help me swim and provide a new dimension to exercise.
So Beloved purchased the tail, waited for it to be wrapped up in miles of paper while I admired other works of art. And that is how I got my mermaid’s tail.
Confidence is a powerful feeling. It washing over you and into your very being. Confidence changes your posture, your voice, and your style. Confidence can be an amazing thing.
Confidence is knowing you are competent, capable, or appreciative of what you can do. Confidence is bold, it is certain, and it is positive.
When you are confident, nothing can shake you. Not even when people question the blues the and purples you’ve decided to wear together. They may think it is a bit much, but you don’t care. You know it suits you and you can pull it off. You don’t worry about what people say.
The other thing with confidence is that it lets you walk with your head high. You have a certain something in your step. You may strut. And if you are really confident, you will hop on a rooftop and scream your message without a care or concern.
Confidence is being assertiveness with your message and your style. So if it’s just after dawn and you need to announce yourself, you do. You are confident you will be well-received. Unless you are my neighbor’s peacock. Then the confidence you have as you shake your purple and blue feathers while screaming early in the morning is not well-received.
I wonder if people consume peacocks? Just as a means of controlling the current state of confidence!
Beloved is the kind of man who knows what looks good. He knows what looks good on him and he knows what looks good on me. The fact is, Beloved can dress me better than I can dress myself. Mostly because I value comfort over fashion. But now and then I’m okay at finding something that is comfortable and fashionable. Understand that this is a rare deal.
Now I may not be the smartest person in the world, I mean I know I am not, but I know that when I need a certain look, I can just call the man or tell him what I need. He will dutifully seek and acquire the very items I need. And he will always do one better, be it a necklace or earrings that he thinks will fully complete the look.
Of course now and then Beloved is too busy to go out and acquire what I need. Thankfully in this day and age, he can use his skills and find the required goods online. Before the Internet, I’m pretty sure I would have to make do with what I have in the house. Which I would probably be fine with, unless of course it’s a two week cohort at which point this simply will not do. (The truth is, two weeks of having to be fashionable at the cost of comfort would be my version of a fresh level of hell.)
And then there are days like today. Days when I could use his eye and it is simlpy not available. So I make do w th what I have and carry on hoping I’ve managed the look he had in mind when he first bought the clothes. I’m pretty sure today’s dress was not meant to be matched with the light weight cardigan I grabbed, but it was cold out and the dress had capped sleeves. I’m just going to call it creatively comfortable yet presentable. Or perhaps pulled together but somehow wrong.
There is something to be said about little paw prints neatly marching along a crisp white background. There is something else to be said about those same paw prints when they are found marching across a white shirt. A white shirt laid out to be worn that same day. And when those paw prints have been made in mud? Yeah.
The four-footed one would tell you that what you should say about those paw prints is aww. And if those paw prints, muddy no less, happen to be all over your freshly laundered shirt, laid out on a chair, well you should say thank you for your fashion design.
Except none of that is what I said. What I wanted to say is, umm, profanity laced. And no I did not say that either because swearing in front of the four-footed one will not do. I have no clue why this is the case, but it is. So instead I called her into the room, pointed at the now paw print covered shirt which had moved from the chair onto the floor and asked her if she was responsible.
And yes dear readers, for a small moment I waited. I no clue why. It’s not like she is going to answer me in a way I understand. But I waited and then I simply moved on with my day. Minus my new fashion statement.
Beloved studied me as I slowly turned in a circle for him. The wrinkle between his brows was definitely wrinkling meaning that this outfit was also doomed to be cast aside as unworthy of the event. So far the five outfits I had tried on and deemed appropriate had been discounted by him for a variety of reasons. Some days it’s hard for me to believe that I can even dress myself for every day outings.
I never use to be this unsure of clothing, fashion or myself. Lupus, though, has a way of keeping me humble. My weight and figure has changed repeatedly with medications required to fight lupus. My body carries the scars of various medical interventions from this disease as well. And somewhere along the lines my confidence has slipped off as quickly as the lupus rash slips on my face.
So I twirled and modeled and hated every minute of it. Hated the way I was so self-conscious and how Beloved would shake his head and tell me that the stuff I was worried about could not even be noticed in this or that. I was leaning towards a turtleneck top with long sleeves and pants. He shook back his head and insisted I consider the loose and almost gauze-like shirt to go with a smaller top. He relented on the pants though.
I watched him bite back the words he wanted to say, the words he said so many times before. He would tell me that I was beautiful, that no one could see the damage from this illness. That for the moment I would look like every other woman, beautiful. But lupus doesn’t make me feel beautiful. I know warriors and survivors can be beautiful. But I feel like I’m covered in dirt and wounds and sweat and much as I fight this illness in the trenches. And I don’t think I will ever be beautiful again.
There are certain individuals who cannot resist a good puddle. It doesn’t matter how big the puddle is, it must be entered with much enthusiasm. Don’t worry about how dirty or clean the water is either, that’s not the point. The point is to enter into the water and just enjoy it.
The problem with these individuals is that their joy upon entering the puddle cannot be restrained. It is as if the water loosens the control and restraint they show throughout their lives. And thus the great splashing must occur. It isn’t their fault really. I mean they seem unable to control themselves. I try to remind myself of this when I encounter these individuals. Well that and give them a wide berth because I’d rather not get splashed or soaked if it can be helped. For the record this strategy has worked fairly well so far in my life.
Until. Until I discovered that the four-footed one had found puddles. When she was younger she wasn’t sure what to make of them. Then she started walking through them, but not splashing. However now, well now she has found the joy in splashing through puddles. The bigger the splash the better. (I’m pretty sure her theory is to splash the water up over her back. I suspect this has very little to do with her getting wet and a great deal to do with getting as many casualties as she can.)
It is impossible to give the four-footed one a wide berth, not when she’s attached to me via a leash. And this time of puddles are a given. Pulling her away from one results in letting her get close or into another one. It also means that this time of year I end up getting wet, from ankles to above the knees, depending upon the size of puddle she has managed to find. So if you should see me out and about wearing rain pants and there is no rain present, please just don’t comment on my odd attire. Just know it’s to protect myself. From the splasher that suddenly entered my life.
I made a minor mistake today. Well it didn’t start off as a mistake, more or less a fashion choice. And in and of itself, it wasn’t a huge decision and for most people it would never been a mistake. But of course I am not most people (frankly when you get down to it, none of us are most people because we are all individuals) so it ended up being a mistake for me.
You see friends while I was getting ready to head off into my day, I opted to wear rings on my fingers and thumbs. I do that. I like rings. The problem is I have lupus which leads to finger issues. I also have arthritis and sadly my knuckles are starting to show signs of it. Today was one of those days where I could start off wearing my rings no problem (when my hands aren’t too bad they are actually a bit too loose on my fingers) and yet by the end of the afternoon I knew I had made a mistake.
But I’m a confident sort of girl (it happens with years of dealing with these issues) so I figured I’d handle this without too much fuss. I tried a to gently tug them off, but it was a no go. No big deal, I can just run my hands under cold water, even though my hands are already cold. A friend suggested not to use water in case my rings slide off under running water were lost down the drain and instead offered ice as the solution in the past. Neither worked.
One of Beloved’s sisters swore that butter, preferably the unsalted type (I’m afraid I didn’t ask why so I don’t understand the reasoning to it), was a sure-fire way to remove any ring stuck on a swollen finger, no matter how badly messed up the knuckle might seem. Clearly my fingers and knuckles missed this memo. And now, despite my confidence, I was beginning to realize that I had made a mistake. Rings were a mistake. They could become a costly mistake if my fingers decided to continue to impersonate a hot-dog that plumbs up when it cooks.
Thankfully just as the last shreds of my confidence were slipping off, I realized my fingers weren’t swelling any more. Sure they weren’t going down, but they weren’t getting worse so I reasoned I could just wait it out. They’d being to return back to their original size and I’d just be able to slip them off. So that’s why despite being all set for bed I’m wearing my rings, earrings (I couldn’t get my fingers to undo them) and fancy necklace (again, clasps can be hell for me). So hey, I might not be wearing fancy nightwear, but I’m all jeweled up!