Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Losing Inhibitions

When I was a little girl, my Mom always wore a wig. I'm not sure why... maybe in the 70's that was the "in thing" to do. But I never remember her leaving the house wigless. She would pin her real hair, which was long and thin, up into a bun, and then stick on the wig, securing it with bobby pins. She actually had several wigs, all in brown and all very similar; they looked pretty good on her.

One day my Mom and I were going to church in the middle of a raging thunderstorm. The church was at the top of a hill in a residential neighborhood, with a parking lot across the street. We pulled in as everyone was arriving, and we hopped out of the car to get inside as quickly as possible. But when my mother got out of the car, she put up her big, black umbrella and as she stood there in her dress in the wind I thought for a moment she was going to rise up into the air, Mary Poppins style. Instead, she ended up doing a George Bush as a huge gust of wind turned her umbrella completely inside out. And then, the same gust lifted her wig right off her head, up into the air, and across the parking lot. It was a sight as my large, short, bare-headed mother with her inside-out umbrella charged down the street after her wig, which was blowing and rolling at an alarming rate all the way down the hill through the neighborhood as lightning flashed and rains poured down. When she finally got to her wig, she was red faced, panting, and soaked. She retained as much of her dignity as possible as she walked into the church with the remnants of her umbrella in one hand and a sopping wet, crooked wig on her head, dripping into her face. After that, she didn't really care who saw her without her wig anymore; she just laughed and got over it.

Maybe it's time we accept ourselves as we are. There's nothing wrong with dressing up in flattering clothes to cover up some flaws, but don't be ashamed of what's under them. Don't be scared that people will see you walking or jogging down the street and think you're fat. Who cares what they think? It's okay if someone notices you're not perfect. Don't stay home and sequester yourself from society just because you are fatter than you want to be. Don't miss out on joy because you're busy feeling inhibited about your faults. It's okay to have faults; we all do. You're the same worthwhile person whether you're fat or not.

My Mom died without her wig on. She laid on her bed in the moments before her death, with her thin, long, silver hair draped across her pillow. It didn't matter to me that she was fat, and it didn't matter that her trusty wig was sitting in her closet, never to be worn again. As I held her as she died, what mattered was the life she lived. All the laughter she brought to so many when I was a child; and the pain she caused me as an adult. There was no inhibition in dying; she was stripped naked of all pretenses, too weak to keep them up. We'll all be like that in the end.

Why not drop the pretenses now? Work on losing the inhibitions so we can fully live and smile and enjoy life. It's easier said than done, but it's something I'm working on. In this blog, for example. I've said things I would never have been able to say before. I've admitted the truth about what I ate, how I've felt, my weaknesses. And it has built strength.

I like to remember my Mom running down that hill after her wig, and then walking into church smiling with rainwater dripping down her face from that silly wet wig on her head. It makes me smile that she could laugh about it and not cower and go home in embarrassment.

Let your wigs fly, people. Let the real you come out, flaws and all.

29 comments:

Bethany said...

Wow--if only I could...I'm one of the most inhibited people you could ever hope to know. I've gotten so much worse as the years have gone by that it's hard now to even see the good in myself at all. I feel like losing weight is the only thing that will make me "acceptable." I'm just so unsure of myself in every way...
~Bethany

Kenz said...

That's such a lovely story and beautifully retold. You've inspired me! This weekend I have a party to attend that I've been really nervous about, everyone going last saw me when I was 3 or 4 kilos smaller. I KNOW that is such a small amount of weight and that they're not going to notice, but I was honestly thinking of not going. How silly is that? You just made me sit back and notice that for myself.

Consider my wig to be rolling down the road...

Dinah Soar said...

This is a good thing to learn young...I was age 50 before I began to relax and 'not care'.

Don't get me wrong--I still fix up , try to put my best foot forward, but I don't dwell there.

It's like I read one time--you get yourself ready, looking in the mirror fixing your hair, make up, checking out your clothes...all well and good...but once done, don't give it another thought.

Move, live, breathe. Dwelling on the way you look is constricting. You choke yourself off from others and from life in general. Learning to let go and let God is the key to a full rich life.

We can only do so much with the package we've been gifted and the circumstances we find ourselves in. If we despair over that which we can't control, we'll waste our energy and miss more important stuff.

I can't tell you how freeing it is to be happy with 'me'. It is pride I think that prevents us from accepting that we are not perfect. We know it, but we reject it and try to make ourselves better--and for what?

If making ourselves better enriches our life and gives us joy, it is a worthy endeavor. If not--it's akin to casting your pearls before swine.

The best way to impress people is by not trying to impress them. Just be yourself, warts and all. Those who can accept you warts and all with no agenda make the best friends.

It is possible to learn and grow and become a better 'you' while accepting your current self. Find the balance to reach forth and grow without beating yourself up for doing so, as if being less than perfect is a curse.

In short the best advice I can give to myself and others is this: "get over yourself".
***********
When I was younger I was so self conscious, so much so that if I saw someone whispering I knew they were talking about me. Is that paranoid or what?

Back in my day we called it 'having an inferiority complex'. Guess what I found out years later? Most people, if not all feel inferior. Those who don't appear to do so hide their insecurities quite well--often behind a cloak of confidence.

Those who are truly confident are easy to be around and accept others because they have nothing themselves to prove.

Finally....hahaha...the fact that I posting this comment is proof positive that I'm over myself...I'm sure there are some who will read this and think 'boy that woman doesn't know when to shut up'..haha..and they may be right--but no one died and made them king/queen. And I accept that I am a wordy person. And while I try to say more by saying less most of the time--or at least work toward that goal--I don't feel bad about my 'yak'. When God made me he threw away the mold--he did that with each and everyone of us.

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

Anonymous said...

What an honest and beautiful tribute to your mother, a mother for which I know creates mixed feelings in you. But in spite of things she did, I see now how much you genuinely loved herm in spite of the many unlovable things she did. A touching story with a profound meaning. Thanks for sharing that, Lyn.

Karen In TN

new*me said...

great insights here today Lyn ;) One of the greatest things I have learned so far in my journey is to stop putting off life......until I __________. Now I just go with life as it comes and situations never cease to surprise me. I'm off to another function at the kid's school today. In the past, I avoided ALL of them because I didn't want people to see the kids had a fat mom.

Shelley said...

"Let your wigs fly" - I'm going to remember that. Great story, Lyn - thanks for sharing it!

TNelson said...

This post really made me think. My family (sister, brother, dad) live in another state about 350 miles away - not that far but I haven't been home to visit in over 2 years due to a 30# weight gain. The last time I visited, my 80 year old dad made some comment about my weight -big blowup and I haven't been back. This post makes me think that I am only harming myself and so I will make plans to visit next spring and let those comments, if they come, roll off. - Trish

Maggy said...

Great post. I have been thinking about this lately too. I am working on it.

DEBRA said...

Good post today Lyn and advise worth taking!

Lacey said...

I love this post. The image of your mom running wildly through the rain after a wig is too hilarious, and I wonder how many of us would have continued on to church after something like that. It's a beautiful story.

Sharon said...

i can be fat and still feel cute. I hate it when i am fat, and don't feel cute. That's annoying.

I know you are going to do great.

~TMcGee~ said...

This is something that I am currently struggling with. I'll be honest and say that I probably won't let "my wig fly yet"...just not ready. I will say that I took a very teeny tiny baby step last weekend. *drum roll* I let my hubby take a picture of me with my kids. Of course I crouched down and hid behind them but you can see my face next to theirs and we are smiling and happy.
I'm hoping this time next year, I won't wish that I were the "invisible woman" when I go to my daughter's school play.
Good post, Lyn. :-)

Amy Jo said...

Holy cow, Lyn, hit me where it hurts!!! :)
No, really, this is exactly what I needed. I'm SO EXTREMELY worried about people's opinions of me, all the time. Life would be much more fulfilling and enjoyable if I cared a little less, and let a little more of the real me shine.

As Luke Wilson's character so wisely words it in the movie "The Family Stone" (GREAT movie, by the way),

"You have a freak flag. You just don't fly it."

Alexia@theonelastthing.com said...

My mom was of the 70s wig generation! I wish she would be less concerned with what people thought. I've probably gone too much the other way ;-)

bbubblyb said...

What a great post Lyn, this so hit home for me. 18 yrs ago my mom had Cancer and lost her hair and wore wigs, we laugh about all her wig stories, we have a storm one too lol. My mom wrapped pantyhose around her head to keep her wig on lol. My mom is like a mix between Edith Bunker and Lucy Ricardo lol. When my mom got Cancer again a few years ago she never worried much about wigs (she's fine by the way).

Anyway, thanks for the memories, the love for your mom shines through.

I'm working on letting my wig fly but sometimes it's hard after living a life of always hiding.

Hugs,
Dawn

Bunny Trails said...

What an amazing post. This is a lesson I really needed (more than you know). I am unique - extremely. I have also spent most of my life hiding that. Why? Because I am so afraid of what other people think. So stupid. Really it is. Thanks for 'smacking me in the face' this am. I am a freak (yes, Luke Wilson quote is one of my faves) and I am proud of it!!

Thanks for being such a great person and sharing your greatness with us!

ryry the adventurous said...

I like this story. Especially the part about her not caring if she wore the wig anymore. It's that great moment of "Oh, nobody noticed regardless, and I'm still the same awesome person."

You are awesome. :D

Paula said...

I'm probably older than most of you, I'm 54. That is one thing about aging, you really do feel more free. I have no interest whatsoever in what anybody thinks of my looks, only about my personality. It's a great feeling indeed

Karyn said...

I love the picture of your mom walking into church like that...the fact that she didn't just get into the car and drive back home is amazing and a great lesson for all of us.

Carol said...

Well stated! BTW, as a runner, any time I see an over weight person trying to run, or really struggling, I try to say something encouraging. To hell with anyone who says something negative about another person trying to improve their health!

Dani said...

Thank you for sharing the story of your mom with us! Her experience and your post ring so true with me. It reminds me to be always authentically me! THANK YOU!

Big Girl said...

you are so right. we should live w/ less inhibitions and thanks for sharing your memories of your mom.

Anonymous said...

Maybe self acceptance "letting our wigs fly" is our healthy habit this week.

As always, thanks for your honesty Lyn. Your openness helps in so many ways.

Pandora

Blue Castle said...

I loved your post. Sometimes I feel bound by inhibitions. I want to be free of them and really live.

Thank you for sharing this.

(I've lurked a long, long time and really enjoy your blog)

Getting Healthy said...

BEAUTIFUL post! I will keep the image with as a touch stone. Thin or fat I've had a problem with this. It is definitely something to work towards.

Laurens_Closet said...

What a beautiful and personal memory you have shared~ thank you. I realized this last summer that I was so worried about what people would think of me in a bathing suit that my children were going without swimming at the pool. And what was my own reaction when I saw an obese woman in a pool? I never think anything of it. Why would anyone REALLY care? So I left my concerns behind, put on that skirted swimsuit, and took the kids swimming. And we had a blast. THOSE are the things that make memories- splashing around at a public pool. Not how many rolls mom had on her tummy.

thanks for the reminder...

~ Amy

Juice said...

I struggle with this too. One of my family inheritances is a over-arching concern for what others will think! I need to worry less about others and more about what my God will think. That's the right perspective - I just need to remember it daily (hourly, minutely...). Thanks for such a memorable story. You are truly a gifted writer.

Pamela said...

Lyn, I honestly cannot begin to tell you how much this post touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful lesson for the holiday. Thank you, Lyn!

Jen415 said...

This is probably the best post I have ever read of yours....brilliant! You should repost this on 3FC.

Jen415, Wig-Chaser