Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Does my bum look big in this?*

This post is going to sound like an underhanded grab for compliments ..... but bear with me, it does relate to being widowed and it does ask a genuine question....

I took this selfie this morning on the way to work.  We had a special breakfast in celebration of the Melbourne Cup  - the race that stops the nation.  (Trust me - it's a BIG DEAL here and the dress code is frocked-up with fascinator).

For those that know me well, I don't frock up too often so I donned the required garb (it was a toss-up between the flowers or kitty-ears headband) and decided that I looked atrocious but that kids are forgiving in what they think I look like and it was a bit of harmless fun, not to be missed.

So I tottered off to work feeling Quite Ridiculous but feeling in a fun mood. ..... much the same feeling as if I had donned a unicorn onesie for pj day or something.

But the thing is, I got So Many compliments today that I started to wonder if I actually didn't look quite as stupid as I thought I did.

Now you have to know that my standard dress uniform is a pair of jeans and a t-shirt paired with thongs (Oi! - that's flip-flops to you) or boots (all of them nice ones of course, not ripped, daggy ones).  .... one of the reasons I like my job is that I can wear neat casual clothes and get away with it.
So wearing a dress, jewelry head-dress and fancy shoes is not a normal day for me.

...and I got to thinking that without Greg to let me know he appreciated what I was wearing, I've tended to have a rather low opinion of the way I look.  Not a negative opinion .... I just assume that my relative attractiveness is not particularly important to anyone else and so long as *I* felt OK, then it was OK.  ...and not to imply that  I am really not a 1950s girl trying to please her man and only dressed up for Greg.  It's just not something I do for myself anymore.

So all the compliments got me thinking that maybe I should change the way I think about myself.  Maybe I shouldn't just assume that I am bland and unattractive and that I should back-myself more often because DAMN it felt good to be complimented.

Almost prompting me to ask "does my bum look big in this?"*

So my question for you this week is what do you do to remind yourself that your relative attractiveness  did not die along with your spouse?

*  - running joke between Greg and I.  It was how I would ask him if he thought I looked OK before we went out somewhere nice.


  1. You do look absolutely lovely.

    It is hard now my husband is gone, I dont' have anyone around to say that. Well, friends do when i meet up. Last week a neighbour said 'my you are looking well' which I think meant at three years I hadn't gained a hundred pounds and took up drinking.

    However, dressing up is something I have always done. so in some ways it is a great disguise. It is part of my "normal" if I dont put on makeup and dress in the morning I feel like I must be sick or something. However, the down side in the early days was if you don't look like crap people assumed you'd moved on and felt okay.
    Still - I dress each day thinking I want to put my best foot forward into the world no matter who notices. But your blog made me think of that zen koan - if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound?
    part of me thinks if I dress lovely each day and my husband is dead and can't say "you look great" do I care?
    I guess I do.

  2. If I was 20 years younger I'd be asking you out. But to the point of dressing up, it does make a difference. For the longest time I just wore the same jeans, tennis shoes, and hat. It is only recently, 18 months after Laura's death, that I've started buying some new clothes and shoes. It does make a difference. A new pair of good quality leather loafers makes even my old worn out jeans feel classy.

  3. You do look lovely. Your skin is pretty ridiculously flawless, by the way!
    I have, on several occasions, forced myself to go out and buy new, pretty undies, or a new, dressy top, or some new makeup. It really helps. It's a temporary fix until I go back to wanting to wear sweats all day, every day, but it reminds me that I do still care how I look and that I deserve to feel good in my clothes and my skin. It feels more like a beginning and less like an ending, I guess. It's self care too and that's my priority right now - lots and lots of self care.
    So good for you for making this shift in your mind! I like it!

  4. Amanda, I think you look great!

    My husband passed away suddenly almost 18 months ago, so when I curl my hair or wear something new, my co-workers always comment how nice I look. It makes me think I must usually look awful!

    I am 52 years old and my mother still gives me money each month and tells me it's my "Feel Good Money". I've used it for massages and to get my hair done in addition to getting manicures and sometimes buying a new shirt or earrings.

    Today I am wearing a new fall dress I bought Sunday using a gift card my 20 year old daughter gave me for my birthday last week. We also have a 16 year old daughter so she helps me pick out things to wear because I've found out that if I look good, I feel better.

    I hope you have a good week.

  5. Interesting.

    By the way, you look awesome! :)

    For me, I didn't care for how I looked when he was STILL alive. Not that I was sloppy, I was always dressed neatly, but I kept it simple. He liked me simple, he liked my 'natural beauty' so why would I put the extra effort into make up and whatnot? But when he got sick, I started to gain weight, and my focus was on his health and not me. Even when I started to lose weight, I still focused on him. Hair was just wash and go, no make up, simple outfits to work.

    After he died, I took a good look in the mirror and realized I hated what I saw. Pale, ghastly, my clothes were frumpy. I was only 30 going on 31 when he passed. I started to REALLY focus on me, my well being, my health, my confidence. I lost more weight, I started to receive more attention. I guess when he was alive, I didn't notice any other man around me. I had blinders on. But after a while, I started to see that men thought I was attractive, and beautiful! And I liked the attention. And I looked great after losing weight. And I had more time on my hands to do my hair better, my make up, I was wearing nicer, cuter clothes. I started to wear skirts and dresses (I no no for many years!). I have a lot more confidence now. I look good, I feel good, I feel attractive, and people never cease to tell me I look great after what I went through 2 years ago. It's an awesome feeling.

  6. I echo the above, you look beautiful!

  7. oh I'd forgotten about frocking up! I meant to add that to my vernacular. I had *just* been paying more attention to my wardrobe in the life Before. Matt had been away for the weekend, and I bought some nice dresses - and he did not get to see them. I spent several years in a barn-clothes-only slump. But then I kicked my own butt with marathons of "what not to wear," trashed most of the old clothes, and started selectively building a more frocked-up wardrobe. Now that I've moved, I miss some of my bum-out clothes. It really is easy to be lazy. Cass - perhaps we should have our outings with a required frock-up dress code.

    And now, I have "unicorn onesie" in my lexicon too.

  8. Amanda you look really pretty. I love the fascinator. I am beginning to care about how I look again. I bought a few new dresses and I do feel better when I wear those to work.

  9. You look great. I try to dress up when I can, get my hair highlighted and trimmed. Its the one thing I can do for myself, that helps me feel alive again and like a women. Most of the time I feel dead inside, alone and unwanted. Like you said, I don't really think there is anyone out there who really cares how I look anymore. I long to be happy again, and truly feel it. My husband was my biggest fan and supporter and my love. I am only the beginning stages of my grieving process. This blog is hellping though this journey. Thank you