June 24, 2017

Peek-a-boo

My girlfriend's eyes widened as she leaned forward on the table when I sat across from her and her husband at a local eatery during a lunch break from work.  My husband arrived and sat beside me.  Karen said, "did you know you can see through your blouse?"  Then she smiled and her husband chuckled, while I looked down at my shirt.

Story of my life in fashion - I have no life in fashion, never had, most assuredly never will.  From an early age of being a Tomboy, blue jeans and a t-shirt were my chosen clothing.  PF Flyers or Keds wrapped my feet protectively - I adored how my "outfit" made me feel: like a cowboy, Indian, explorer, hunter, athlete.


My parents had seven children and, even though mom always dressed beautifully, she most likely did not have the time or patience to teach me how to dress.  Our family struggled financially and money for clothes were doled out carefully.  I was not only not interested, but also rather clueless about clothing and was not going to ask my mother for new outfits when mine were nice and worn in.  I also knew we were poor and hated asking for something when it was obviously, to me, a burden to their pocketbook.

One year, though, junior high to be exact, I had one outfit to wear for the full year.  It was a lime greenish skirt and sweater, which I wore almost every day as my clothing choices were pitiful.  I became increasingly uncomfortable with wearing the same thing as peer pressure to be cool was a "thing".  Thinking about this difficult year of school - I have no clear understanding of why my parents did not intercede or show concern and take me shopping for a new outfit - but know they were overloaded with responsibilities themselves ... and I was number three of seven.

There have been since junior high school embarrassing times where my choice of clothing was, well, less than glamorous.  I had adopted a carefree attitude toward dressing and learned to have no fashion sense, but also did not seek assistance.

Two less than ideal experiences that stick out, among many, were:  my husband and I were invited to our good friend's home - we thought to visit as we often did - but when we arrived it was a somewhat formal party, and I was dressed very very casually.  I could have climbed into a corner and died of humiliation - but smiled my way through the evening, even through some shaded looks from the revelers.   Then, I was at work when my long skirt (my Bohemian wanna be moment) got caught in the wheels of my chair and could not extract myself - so had to call my boss into my office to help.  I've never worn a long skirt again as feel the "chair gods" were giggling.  My boss and I did have a good laugh over this event, and for that I will always be grateful to him.

Back to the day of the see through blouse.  I was working full time in a psychiatry department and had no opportunity to change this shirt, or go home due to the work expectations.  So, after laughing with my friends and husband and eating lunch, I returned to work knowing without a doubt, that my body was exposed to these psychiatrists ... u n c o m f o r t a b l e.  Imagine what they could have said about me behind their closed door.  I was well-liked in the office, a bundle of energy effectively and successfully working on special projects I was assigned to, but again, clueless.  If they knew my back story, would it have made any difference?

So, if you see me walking about town or see me on Facebook and I'm wearing my striped shirt with flowered pants, pink socks with yellow and white shoes, smile.  I'm still and always will be Connie - my mother's unique child - I love me and so do an awful lot of people (I'm told) and isn't that part of what life is all about?

6 comments:

  1. I love this story and I feel so bad. I always thought you didn't want any help with your clothes and I guess that was true. I think you were always outside doing something when shopping was mentioned. I feel like this was a huge part of your growing up years and wish we could go back in time and change it.

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    1. No worries Laura. Writing from my heart was cathartic and fun. I would not want to repeat those years because I'm in a good place and feel comfortable with who I am presently...and have embraced my large, eclectic wardrobe. Thanks for posting.

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  2. Can relate to this story, Connie. Keep them coming 😀

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    1. Thank you, Candy. I know most people have stories like this in their lives - writing it exposes me (no pun intended in relation to this story) - but felt wonderful posting this particular blog.

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  3. I'm chuckling as I read your narrative...not because your situation was "funny," but because I think most of us had similar experiences back in the 60's. My sister and I did have our own clothing but also shared some; but the biggest thrill was getting hand-me-downs from my older cousins! They weren't wealthy, but when they outgrew their clothes, their moms would mail a package to us...it was like Christmas getting that box!

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    1. Jane, we grew up in similar fashion, with parents of the same generation. Our cousins mostly lived in Marquette so when we moved to the Lansing area, any exchanges were out of reach. Now, that would have been awesome to receive gift boxes of clothing! BTW - my black see through blouse was totally see through! What a hoot (not then, but now).

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