We all have a perception of ourselves that may (or may not) even vaguely resemble the way the rest of world sees us. I’m usually okay with this. If the world regards me as invisible, then, frankly, I get a lot more work done. If the world, or a certain man, sees me as an uptight ballerina/naughty librarian type… well, they’ve got the uptight part right, and I can live with the rest (as long as they can live with the disappointment when “naughty” turns out to refer to the fact that I don’t always put my books back on the shelf right away).
But what happens when you throw the world a curve? For instance, if I left my apartment tomorrow sporting a tiara would my environment actually screech to a halt because whacky headgear is not my normal expression of self? I’ll admit that I’ve rarely thought of actually donning a tiara—except to thwart the ridiculous dress code at my old job (they said “no Capri pants,” but they didn’t mention ballgowns or diamond-encrusted accessories). But for some reason, it is flitting through my brain more and more these days.
My friend’s incredibly awesome, young daughter routinely chooses a pink, sparkly tutu in order to face the day. When do we stop having the freedom to go there without fear of ridicule? Is it when you face the mean girls in middle school? Earlier? I have pictures of me posing in a pink flowing cape and matching gown when I was about 10. The fact that I had fashioned my ensemble from old bedroom curtains (ala The Sound of Music) made absolutely no difference to me (though I was in the house). I was awesome and regal and clearly destined to be ruler of all I surveyed. As an adult, well… let’s just say I’ve worn a lot of gray. Occasionally, I’ve thrown in some tan/oatmeal to spice things up. No more capes. No tiaras. I was a serious business person with a serious business person life which was reflected from my sensible hair to my sensible toes.
Sure, now I’ve loosened up a little. I have those red pants. My world took a deep breath with that, but it righted itself and moved on. But if I left the house tomorrow wearing those red pants, my black “Chucks” and a tiara… would people say, “How delightfully quirky!” Or would they say, “Another nutcase in LA.” Would I feel free, or would I feel smaller under the imagined scorn? And who decided these things? Who decided that a tiara (or a pink, sparkly tutu) shouldn’t make the daytime cut for someone aging at the speed of light?
On my island, there will be tiaras for all! Of course, I’ll be the only one living there, so that will be fairly easy to accomplish. Still, I like a goal with whimsy, and this will be mine.
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