The Empress’s New Threads

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A woman is always shopping. There’s no one time that she can say she’s not looking at or for anything.  We look at window displays and wonder if that pair of shoes would match that dress in the wardrobe. We look at her jacket and note that we need one for ourselves. It doesn’t matter if the purse is bulging at the seams or straining at the weight of the coins you collected from under your couch cushions at the end of the month.

My daily route to school requires me to pass by Westlands and being a window -girl, my nose is always pressed against the glass. Its not that I’m searching for anything in particular but I think clearest when staring out of a window than when on an aisle seat.

So last week, one of those yummy dresses they hang in westie got my attention. It was orange with yellow detailing. Strapless. Short. It would be the perfect Sundress to have, I thought. With a straw hat and strappy sandles …  I had to have it!
  
I kept putting it off and after almost a week of drooling over it in a passing matatu,  it was time for the moment of truth.
Those dresses in Westie always look amazing when seen from a far but its when you get close and the ‘magic pegs’ at the back that give the dress a lovely shape come off that you can truly judge it. More importantly, the fit of the dress on you.  You know, *picking imaginary lint off me* not all of us are human hangers #models#. So how it looks on a particular woman’s body makes all the difference in the world.

IT FIT PERFECTLY! Then I started doubting. Was I sure I couldn’t get anything better? It couldn’t be that easy, could it?! Then I remembered that the last time I had acted out of my doubts and left a lovely dress.  I spent the whole night regretting it and the next day, I arrived just in time to see it being carried off by its proud new owner. I had that dramatic moment where I went down on my knees and screamed ‘Noooooooooo’ to the sky. In my head.

The Empress *me* has new clothes. The best part of it? *whispers* You can see them!

Completely unrelated, at the beginning of the year I told a friend of mine that this year I was getting serious about my writing. Finally got around to it these last two weeks. Im doing it offline but I may get around to posting them here. Writing for no other reason than to write frees the mind, is what I’m learning.

Of beauty famed, of beauty sought. Of beauty that is.

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Beautiful.
What a word! I smile a little just saying it.
Beauty.
My chin lifts slightly in homage. That’s a word to be respected. But, what, pray tell, is beauty?
All these images come to mind of things that have been said to embody the word.

I have a thing about hand written letters, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned some time on the blog. When I was about 16, I started writing a string of letters to … well, I don’t have a name yet so let’s call him F.S.O (future significant other). I poured my teenage heart into these letters and those days when I feel a little lost, I tear one open and read it. Today, I read #5.

I’m all about moments and high school was all about going through one particular moment, where I’d feel everything kind of slow down. It would feel like the voices all around would get drowned, submerged under water. I can feel my heart beat. I can feel myself breathing in and out. And then …I feel everything; an explosion of emotion. It takes over completely until its all I am aware of. Until I’m lost.
That’s when I would write. Sometimes I feel myself slipping back into it … but I’m not that girl anymore.

I have Chubby Girl Syndrome. This is an ugly story for me to tell because I have a number of scars from it.  CGS reduces a person to a shell that is inadequate. Its a vulnerable state that allows other people but mostly, it allows a person to tear themselves down.
I allowed CGS to give me the meaning of beauty.

It told me beauty was skinny. It said that beauty is being light- skinned.
CGS said that beauty was a flawless skin, a perfect figure, a tiny waist, flabless arms, beauty was height, it’s legs that go on for miles..
CGS told me that beauty was not me. The sad thing is, I believed it.

We seek beauty everyday, so when I couldn’t find it in myself, I became half the person I could have been.

Reading the letter, I realize how far I have come and how much distance I have put between me and the girl in the letter. Recovering from CGS is something I do everyday. I do it each time I stand in the mirror and smile.

The meaning of beauty? Acceptance.       

Valentine Fever *Not*

Its February.  So what’s on everyone’s mind?! VALENTINE’S DAY! From bashing it to psyching up for it, the blogosphere (not to mention the whole world) is abuzz.

Now you’re probably thinking I’m about to firmly assert my pro-vals or anti-vals position and then I’ll try to win you over with my sound judgment (we know it is) and perfectly constructed argument. Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not what this post is about. After all, why say what’s already been said?
A pal of mine put it rather squarely in his own Valentine’s themed post here el316.WordPress.com .

Frankly, I don’t have an opinion on Valentine’s. It may be a marketing gimmick . It may be a day people placate their guilt for not showing their love to their significant others for the last 364 days. It may be a day to alienate all those who are not in a relationship. It may even be a day, set aside specifically for you to go all out, forget about life and it’s craziness and focus on each other. I don’t know.
A day is what you make it. You give it its meaning.

On a closely related subject, I watch the Wedding Show. Don’t  look at me like that! Yes, I’m an idealistic girl who dreams of lace, ruffles and flowers. Sue me! (And yet I am to a degree a feminist. Its allowed!).
Anyway , all kinds of couples are featured on the Wedding Show. Young and old, rich and poor, big and small …. from all walks of life! We watch the program for a number of reasons. (Yes, we. Sometimes with my sisters, sometimes with friends. Never alone.)

Sure, we ogle the flower arrangements and salivate over the cakes and we ooh and aah over the dress, but mostly, we diss! There’s always something to diss, no matter how awesome the wedding is. Not that we’re fully fledged haters! We give credit where credit is due, but where its not, we diss!
But the main thing, the main reason we set aside an hour each week to watch 2 couples walk down the aisle and dance mugithi in a circle are for some measly two minutes. Sometimes less.

“It all started when…”
The story. That’s it. Just the story. How they met, how it all began. That’s where the flavour of the Wedding Show is, in my opinion. People meet in all kinds of ways. For some, its the whole customer-supplier scenario or who saw who singing in the choir or, of course, the friend of a friend scene.

The point to the ramble? I’m getting to it!

“So why do you love him/her?”   
And they proceed to say things like it was her smile, her singing, she’s caring, she’s beautiful, he’s a good man, he’s loving, he’s God-fearing and of course he’s/ she’s my best-friend.
Pablo Neruda is a brilliant poet and I can’t say it any better,
I do not love you except because I love you.  
No one ever says that! Traits fade, people change, so when it happens do you fall out of love?
Love is not because of but in spite of. Its a decision.