Unless you’re blind, you’ve undoubtedly noticed my lovely picture at the top of this blog, in which I’m wearing a leather jacket. What you don’t know, however, is that this leather jacket has a story behind it. Buying that jacket marked an incredibly important moment in my life – it sparked an epiphany, an awakening of sorts, a realization so profound that I dare say it changed my life forever. It was a rite of passage, a moment of transition, an a-ha moment, a face palm moment and a “derp” moment all rolled into one. To me, this jacket is almost magical. In order to explain why this is so, I’ll have to give you a bit of history:
A brief history of my awkward youth:
I was born a happy, shiny, puppy child. I had no fear of strangers (truly, my mom told me I would just have gone along with anyone), shared freely, loved openly and beamed my smile at everyone I came across. But, I was also incredibly sensitive and when I became a teenager, my demeanor changed drastically. First of all, I was taller than almost all the other kids (I’m 5’8″ or 172cm, which isn’t huge, but I’ve been that height since I was 12). I was chubby (later, I was severely overweight). I had no coordination or balance and was incredibly uncomfortable in my own body. And, having switched countries (Germany to the US) and finding myself in a foreign environment that I didn’t really fit into (even once I’d learned the language), I had developed a rather severe case of shyness. In high school, I was the artistic, smart, shy dork who tried like hell to blend into the background and stay out of the line of fire. Yeah, I know… hard to imagine looking at me now, but true.
So there I was, introverted, feeling like the ugly duckling, with no faith whatsoever that I’d ever turn into a swan, but dreaming of being one of those amazing looking women I saw in Magazines. This was the late 80’s and early 90’s and it was the time of the Supermodel (back when that actually meant something). Christie Brinkley, Elle MacPherson, Brooke Shields, Cindy Crawford, Eva Herzigova, Claudia Schiffer and Kathy Ireland graced the covers of countless magazines and became the role models for a generation of girls (and the stuff of dreams for a generation of boys…) These women were beautiful, graceful, sexy, confident, styled, thin (but not anorexic looking. These were women!), athletic looking, adored (at least publicly) and cool. In short, they were everything that I felt I was not. I felt like an awkward, bumbling, ridiculous, Godzilla like creature most of the time and I dreamed of the day, someday, when I would also be beautiful and cool and have my shit together. I saw myself wearing jeans that miraculously fit and made my stomach look flat and my butt look round (instead of the other way around). My makeup would be perfect (I was still into blue eye shadow and pink lipstick back then), my hair sexy and shiny with lots of body, instead of the frizzy permed mess I was sporting (it was the 80’s. Stop judging me.), and somehow, miraculously, I’d have mastered the art of accessorizing (I’ll just say one word: Madonna. The “Like a Virgin” version. I’m not proud of myself, but it’s the truth). And I saw myself wearing a cool, brown, leather bomber jacket.
This was the fantasy I whipped out whenever I got too down on myself, which was pretty much every day. I was a teenager, after all. It wasn’t just about the looks, though. It was about who that person was, who I wanted to be. That woman had it all. She walked with confidence, laughed easily, always had something clever or funny to say, never felt awkward and oh yeah, she turned men to butter with the bat of an eyelash. She genuinely liked herself. She felt comfortable in her own skin. She knew her own worth and didn’t really care what others thought of her. She was adventurous and fun and smart and funny. The world was her oyster. She was just plain awesome.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago. If you’ve ever been to my About page, you’ll know that I’ve lost a shitload of weight. According to the Encyclopedia that I just made up, a shitload is about 100 pounds. When you lose that much weight, there comes a time (at several points, actually), when you need to buy some new clothes. At first, I’d only buy what I absolutely needed to. I hated clothes shopping. If you’d given me the choice between ramming bamboo shoots under my fingernails and going clothes shopping, I’d have had to think about it (unless it was swim suit shopping, in which case I’d have gone for the bamboo. Every time.) It was torture and only ever served to highlight how horribly inadequate my body was. But as time passed and I began to feel better about myself (which caused the weight to come off, the sequence is important, but that’s for another time), my shopping experiences changed. I no longer had to go to plus sized stores or visit the women’s section to buy my clothes. I was able to wear stuff that was actually stylish. Jeans looked good on me, even without a tent like shirt to go over them. I began to look at clothes and shopping in a whole new way.
So there I was one day, happily trolling for fashion bargains, when I came across this Leather Jacket. It stopped me in my tracks. It was a cool, brown, bomber jacket, just like Christie Brinkley would’ve worn. I remember it was August and it was incredibly hot. Normally, I wouldn’t have even considered trying on a jacket, but I had to give it a shot. Keep in mind that I live in Spain, where the average body type is quite different from mine. Even though stores generally have my size, this doesn’t mean that the clothes will actually fit me. Often, the distance between the waist and hips is much too short, the back of jackets and blouses too narrow, or everything just lines up wrong. It’s always a bit of a crap shoot. But I was enthralled. The sales girl, drawn by the gleam in my eye like a vulture to the last raspy breath of road kill, swooped in and began to show me the jacket, caressing its soft patina, pointing out the latches and pockets, the lining and label, the sheer f&%#ing awesomeness of it all. Oh my God. There it was. All of my teenage fantasies of what and who I’d like to become one day had somehow been boiled down to this one object: the perfect jacket.
I held my breath and tried it on. And… it fit like a glove. A leather glove. And when I looked at myself in the mirror, I had to work hard not to burst into tears. Because I realized that the person standing there, with her blonde shiny hair (courtesy of my hairdresser’s immense skill), her perfect makeup (I’ve learned a thing or two over the years), her easy smile, her confidence, and her funky and stylish accessories was the person that the teenage me had always dreamed of becoming. I was her, exactly as I’d always imagined. I liked myself. I knew my own worth. I didn’t take shit from anyone (especially not bullshit!). I was adventurous and fun and lived my life on my own terms. I had somehow, without noticing it, become the woman of my dreams.
You had the power all along, Dorothy
But I realized something else, as well, and this is the reason I’m sharing this experience with you today: I had always been her. I just hadn’t known it. I hadn’t changed who I was. Sure, I’d learned a few tricks about fashion and makeup and had grown out my bangs, but the person I was inside had never changed. All I had done was remove the layers that had been covering her up all along. The fear, the self loathing, the self-consciousness, the lack of self worth, the countless masks and defensive mechanisms I’d used every day to shield myself from being hurt or letting people see the real me. The smile that should’ve come easily, couldn’t shine through all those masks. I’d encased myself in a protective safe, only allowing people a glimpse of the person inside if they’d proven themselves trustworthy, and never giving anyone the full combination.
But over the years and as a result of a lot of this personal development work, I’d stripped away those layers. I’d taken off the masks. I’d become authentic, who I really was and always had been underneath. I returned back to that happy, shiny, puppy energy that I’d been born with. And that’s who I saw staring back at me in the mirror that day. The real me. The fearless me (I still feel fear, I just don’t let it stop me). The cool me. Putting on that leather jacket only made me realize it, but she’d been in there all along. I’d been there all along. I just had to see it.
So, for all of you who look in the mirror and wish that you could see someone else, know that the person you want to see is in there, and has been there all along. You just have to realize it. Perhaps there’s an object you used to fantasize about, which represented this person. For a friend of mine, it was a pair of sneakers. This isn’t about success, wealth, or even physical beauty. It’s about a feeling, a realization, an acknowledgement of who you really are and who you have always known yourself to be. Go out and get that object. Wear it or carry it and look at yourself in the mirror. See how it feels. Step into the energy of your own worth. Be cool. Be hot. Be awesome. Be YOU.
how are you?
you really took us back the old school style(big time!) with this article with reference to the names of models and musician mentioned lol!
however i must salute your courage for giving us the readers a glimpse of what it was/is like being melodys world.
my thought for the day is there are so many factors, habits, issues that shield us from having a balanced self image/worth of ourselves and the scales fall off once we begin to take off the unnecessary weights, resolve issues, work on our attitudes, deal with our fears…
you’ve really done a great job working on yourself and i’m certain you aren’t too surprised with the results you are experiencing because you deserve it considering all your effort and hard work.
thanks for sharing this.
take care of yourself and enjoy the rest of the day
Great. How are you? 🙂
Thanks so much for your kind words. It really does feel like taking a weight off when you let go of all the masks and protective mechanisms. For me, it often feels like I’m able to breathe easier. It’s quite a physical sensation, and not just an emotional one. And I do feel lighter (not a pun, I actually do).
Right back atcha!
Aww, lol. This post was really endearing.
I had something similar, although maybe to a lesser extent because I’m a guy. When I was a kid, I was really fat. Even though I later lost the weight by high school, I still thought I was fat. It was such a strange thing to weigh like 150 pounds and still consider myself a lard ass.
Somehow, through some unknown magic, I’ve grown to love myself. I think it has a lot to do with self-talk. I’m always patting myself on the back. But anyway, I’ve actually gained a little weight to where I’m probably officially “overweight” on the BMI. Magically, my self-confidence and all that jazz is unaffected. I could weigh eight hundred pounds at this point I was still pretty much the same inside.
I think that comes with the realization that I determine exactly who I want to be. No exterior look is going to change that, not one little bit.
Coincidentally, I saw a brown leather jacket recently that I really liked, but it wouldn’t fit over my shoulders. Although I claimed to my friend (and a random stranger) that it was because I was far too hunky and muscley.. I’m actually not, lol. If anything, it shouldn’t have fit over my belly.
Nevertheless, a kid was standing right there and his mom let him try on. He seemed kind of shy withdrawn, so maybe he needed it more than me?
Wow Fred. Congrats! And that’s so awesome. I don’t think I’d be able to balloon up to 800 pounds and still be happy. But I totally know what you mean. For a long time, every time I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror or in a photo, I’d be so surprised that I wasn’t fat. I still discover little triggers even to this day, but I usually manage to release them quickly.
Oh, I hope that shy kid got the jacket! Actually, that sounds like a bad 80’s move: shy dork buys jacket, which turns out to be magic and turns him into a cool guy. He ends up going to “the point” with the cheerleader who spills her cherry Coke on the jacket and before he can stop her, she takes it off to clean it and… he turns back into a dork. Oh wait. I just rewrote Cinderella. They so would’ve made this into a movie back then, starring Patrick Dempsey, no less. Ha.
I feel like I just got to know you a little mo’ betta’. Your story is so inspiring. I think we can all relate to this story on some level. I can relate to it a lot! Minus the makeup…still don’t like makeup and look like I’m in drag when I attempt to wear it. But I’m comfortable in my no-makeup skin!
You’re beautiful. I love that picture of LJ embracing you and your smile! And your nostrils are boogie-free!
I suppose it’s impossible to write about this kind of topic and not reveal the odd detail or two of one’s life, he, he. But I don’t mind.
I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with a no-makeup look, as well. There was a time when I wouldn’t have gone to the grocery store without a full face on. Now, I often go days without breaking out the colors. They are there for me when I want to use them and I have a ton of fun, but it’s no longer a necessity. I love that you feel great without it.
Thank you so much for your kind words. And the idea of LJ embracing me. Ha! Adorable. Well, there were boogies, but I photoshopped them out, along with the unibrow and the hair on my chin. (just kidding, I have no Photoshop skills whatsoever. Aside from adding captions to animal pics, that is…)
Huge hugs to you!
You have the nicest and funniest speaking voice. Such a great personality comes through in your writing.
Although I suffer from a problem on the opposite side of the spectrum, (completely lacking in gaining weight), my wife went through a 100 plus weight loss. Reading this made me realize how special people are and how awful we can be for judging others based on appearance or weight.
Thanks for the reminder.
Thank you so much!!
And huge congrats to your wife for her achievement. You know, other people’s opinions don’t really matter. What’s sad is how cruel we are to ourselves when it comes to arbitrary things like weight, appearance, job title, status, etc. If we can treat ourselves with more compassion and love, the world will respond in kind. 🙂
Melody, i always love your blogs but today you were awesome!!!
I also loved your pic at the bottom, its so genuine!
Thanks Luci! Welcome to Deliberate Receiving chica!! And remember, you attracted this awesomeness into your life. 😀
Big hugs for you!
Great photo, really looks the glamorous, shiny, fashionable jet set kind of thing!
I don´t know how many years I spent intensely on clothes, shoes, hairstyles, accessoires etc. to make me feel like this – it´s a young womans world. I´m still deeply devoted to fashion and style without performing it on the outside (takes too much time and energy, and means, but I do what I can, it´s like a second nature to express myself somehow).
Yes, we are what we fancy about, that´s why we entertain this graceful, stylish, sophisticated image in our minds on and on.
Getting older I´ve lost the urge for dressing up somehow, as I can´t keep up to any juvenile image anymore, I also feel that there is no need to perfom this phoney harrassment on me anymore – but I do like the stuff!! 🙂
Interesting point. I suppose I should’ve differentiated – I didn’t mean to imply that people should become slaves to fashion or anything in order to feel better. It was more that this particular object made me realize something about myself. I do love beautiful clothes, and makeup and accessories, etc., though. But not for the same reasons I used to. I used to use them to try and make myself feel better and often they would, for a little bit. Now I use them to express myself, and how I feel that day. I get creative with my little outfits. Some people use tattoos and piercings. I use clothes and makeup. But I don’t have to dress up every day. I’m just as comfortable in jeans and a baseball cap, as I am in a cocktail dress and heels. It all depends on the day and occasion. 🙂
Hi Sara and Melody,
You’ve sparked a thought on appearance. I’ve noticed lately that some women my age (60) who were used all their lives to being ‘the beauty’ have a truly tough time with the physical effects of aging. Not an original thought, but there’s more anxiety involved than I had realized. I have a couple of friends for whom this is a major issue in their lives.
I’ve always thought of myself as looking ordinary, not awful, not amazing, and frankly I’m loving the whole older look. I even love my increasingly crepe-y skin. Old lady hands are awesome! Could do without the gravity-obeying boobs, but the rest is all good.
Your point about accepting yourself as you are is so important, even more so as the years accumulate. If you haven’t stressed too much about your looks, you’ll probably have a more comfortable tercera edad (Spanish for third stage, a lovely description of 60 to 90 !).
Having been brain-focused all my life, forgetting things is a lot worse for me than wrinkles. Okay — DR — I’ll remember where the keys are, or something better!
Hugs to you both,
Hey Mary Carol,
I think you’re absolutely right. I’ve seen the same thing: women (and I suppose men, as well) who have been really beautiful all their lives and have been given special attention because of that generally have an incredibly hard time growing older. Especially if they never found any other reason to feel good about themselves. The outside validation is nice, but the problem is that when it stops, you go back to feeling horrible about yourself. When you feel truly beautiful, from the inside out, a few wrinkles and saggy boobies don’t matter that much. So, I suppose my fat days have gifted me with one more thing: I don’t depend on my looks for my self esteem, because I know what it is not to have them. I shall age gracefully. Ok, you can take my skin cream over my dead body, but other than that, gracefully. LOL.
Hello Carol, thanks for your comment, I appreciate!
Aging, especially for women, is an interesting subject for sure, as it implies so many unresolved issues in life.
I guess, being in the middle of my forties, I´m between you and Melodys age?
As I can tell from my experience so far, I have always felt troubled about my body/looks, but much more when I was young(er) than now, though my visible aging process has started to show evidence already since not a long time ago (and I used get attention by my looks, when I was younger). So it´s definitely not true for me that it gets worse with age. But I´m aware of what´s to expect from the future, and this I anticipate with mixed emotions. On one hand I find it creepy that ultimately we all loose our looks and end up looking the same, just old, and on the other hand I find it challenging in a positive way, that through our own feelings and attitudes, we can awfully well emanate beauty and sexappeal, no matter how raddled the surface.
In my experience it´s surely not true that looking fair and beautiful attracts love and desire, it may attract attention and want, but no positive feelings. I got this kind of real attention only these rare moments when I was able to expose my true feelings, but being focused on your looks and its effect on others, this is rarely to happen.. I have always been wishing to experience true affection, even when I was very young. So I really never compromised resp. took advantage of superficial effects in my private life, so nothing really has changed for me with age in respect of real affection. I´m still looking for the real thing! 🙂
So, and this doesn´t come from wishful thinking, we all have equal opportunities in whatever we wish to experience, I´m convinced. (Ehm, what am I talking here, this is the LOA-Blog, sorry…)
Ballsy move with this article, Melody. Not easy baring your soul like that, but it just comes to show how awesome of a person you are (and always were). And I know how it feels. I’ve had mini-milestones all through my adult life and whenever you’ve passed them and come to realize what you’ve achieved, it’s an amazing feeling. Like a sort of confidence that can’t be put into words. 🙂
Oh, and I don’t bother looking into the mirror too often. I mean seriously, how often do you want me to stare into the face of uber-awesomeness, right? Right? Gets boring after the first 173,000 times (per week).
* narcissist high-five, up high!*
See, that’s so weird. Whenever I write an article and someone tells me it was ballsy or courageous, I’m surprised. I never feel like I’m taking a risk. I just write what wants to be written… I do get nervous when I put myself out there in a new way. The first time I did a video, I nearly crapped myself. Same thing with the first radio interview. The second time is always much easier.
I would bet that you take longer in the bathroom than I do. I just have this feeling… LOL. And it’s great to look in the mirror (why shouldn’t we look at the ones we love?), as long as it feels good to do so. On days when I enjoy what I see, I look in the mirror a lot. On lesser days, I stay away until I feel better.
Never let anyone make you feel guilty for being pretty, Derrek. *Whispers*Nevah!
Matrix style hovering (which they totally ripped off from the original Karate Kid), followed by a mid hair hug. That’s right: Matrix hug.
Matrix hugs are the best kind of hugs! They’re like hugs…on the Steroids Of Awesome. 🙂
Haha, actually I’m a minimalist when it comes to “manscaping”. In fact I’m incredibly comfortable with scruffy me. Hygiene, keeping fit, and comfy clothes are at the top of my list…but other than that I pay little to no attention to the “pretty / good looks” factor. So it’s safe to say that none of my dates has ever had to wait for me to get out of the shower 😀
What an inspiring post, Melody! Thank you very much!
For me, it’s about connecting. I’m most ‘me’ when I’m connected. The first thing that comes to mind is that moment when you know you’ve got the audience in your hand. It’s the same thing Patricia was talking about with the song. It could be reading a poem, delivering a speech, making a comment in a discussion group, and there’s a spot where everything stops and you feel the connection.
Lately, doing energy work, there’s that same instant of connection — lying on my back and feeling the earth’s heartbeat (I know, weird…), touching a piece of wood and knowing what it wants to become.
I think, I hope, children feel these instants of connection much more freely than we adults. Picasso or Miro or somebody said, “When I was young, I painted like an angel. It’s taken me 80 years to learn to paint like a child.” My star wish is to be five years old for the rest of my life.
Woohoo! Feels like a connecting moment here… Hugs to all,
Hi Mary Carol (aka Lady A.S.),
That’s one of the reasons I loved singing so much. The connection with the audience, especially when they really got into it, started dancing and singing along, fueled me. It was like riding a wave of energy. And I never performed for more than 1000 people, usually only a few hundred. I can only imagine what the big stars, who perform for 10’s of thousands at a time feel while on stage.
I don’t think it’s weird. I’ve had some really powerful meditations while connecting to the Earth Energy. I first started to really get into it when I got into Shamanic healing and it’s such a powerful way to connect to nature, creation and the pure perfection of Mother Earth.
I think children do feel the connection more easily, but let’s not forget the value of our perspective. When you know what it feels like NOT to have that connection, I think you appreciate it all the more. I certainly do. 🙂
That jacket does make the inside of your nose look fetching.
My nostrils thank you, Joe Bill.
Hey there Ms. Rockin’ the Leather!
And you know what else – that shines through here in what you share – the “you” that is rockin’ it by sharing what has meaning to you. And it’s what makes visiting this place so much fun – it’s the “you” that you put into it.
On the note of crazy perms…I *ahem* had one of those back in the 80’s too (what in the h*** was I thinking anyway!?!?!?). Today…I’d just be happy with hair completely covering my head (or maybe I’ll get a leather baseball cap…). I’m digressing, though…
Melody, this was so good to read – because I think we have all been there, to some degree, at points in our life – where we’ve felt inadequate with ourselves. And the truth is – we are all amazing, amazing souls…
By the way – I really love that picture at the end, too…your happiness in that just feels so real…
Thanks for your wonderful feedback! It was the style, brotha. It’s wasn’t our fault. Hairdresser’s didn’t know any better, either. And the products, oh my! I’m sure that there are still flies encased in midair in my old bathroom, frozen forever in a haze of Aquanet hairspray.
I’m really glad you liked the post, Lance. That picture was a total mistake. But when I saw it, I instantly fell in love with it. I guess it’s just more proof of the same point: You can worry all you want what you look like in photos, practice your pose, do your hair, check the lighting. And the “best” picture ends up being the one where you got a giggle attack and the real you comes to the forefront. LOL.
Huge hugs to you my friend,
Bah, I am beautiful by default!
I need no role model in looks! Maybe Jessica Alba, but… nah.
I absolutely love leather jackets, and I find it humorous that you write about yours in capital letters. Maybe I could call it LJ? That sounds cool.
Right you are, Sol! We all are.
Ha, ha. Yes, LJ and I are very happy. LJ and I are going out shopping. I love that. My jacket just got that much cooler. 😀
You are absolutely right about “you” being there all along, but so many of us have to do so much shedding to remember who the heck we are, anyway!
I remember when I had come home from the hospital after having son #1, and was standing there looking at my “new” body in the mirror (almost passing out in the process) and my husband went down on one knee, put a hand on my stomach and said,”It’s beautiful to me. That’s where my son came from.” So now no matter how angry I might get at him some days, I will always love him for that 🙂 Our bodies are there to work for us and to encase our souls.
your husband is a star. Men, let that be a lesson to you: say the right thing at the right time, and she’ll forgive you pretty much anything… LOL. Seriously, what a beautiful story. We have so many excuses for feeling terrible about ourselves. But there are just as many reasons to feel great! If we can’t see them all though, perhaps we can start with one item, though. For me, it’s my jacket. 🙂
I thought I was going to be the next Julie Andrews….not her just the next generation of her….I think my moment would not be a bomber jacket, but my hair looking good ( my crowning glory) and having an opportunity to wear something that just looked great on me…and then sing a beautiful song and just enjoy the moment of being transported into the sound and release….
I have come extremely close a couple of times – my favorite was finishing a Joni Mitchell song at a Graduate School Christmas Dinner ( I was wearing a gown I designed myself) and I looked out and the room was silent…and my professor in the front row was crying…..I had just been taught the song the day before and had been very nervous not comfortable yet…so my first response was fear that they hated it….and then 400 people began to applaud…I had never felt so incredibly high…..then someone in the kitchen said to me (I was also waiting tables for the event) “What a piece of Dumb Luck!” and that sent me back to being the shy and quiet me….feeling insecure, apologizing for my learning disabilities.
That is why I go every Monday night and work on increasing my now only 5 note range…with the Peace Choir….so I was like Julie Andrews, I had growths removed from my throat and lost my ability to sing much of anything…
I would so like to feel that moment of silent appreciation once again….maybe I can do it with my writing.
Well, I so enjoyed your post…and I certainly know how when something just feels right and is a symbol of its own rightness is an awesome feeling…You are amazing girl..or should I say bomber jacket woman?
I actually have a similar story. I used to sing, even did it professionally (blues band), but lost my voice a few years ago. Went from 3 octaves down to, um, I’m not even sure. It doesn’t sound good, though. I didn’t sing again for years, but now I’ve gotten to the point where I’m testing out my limited voice to see if I can’t do something with it. Who cares if it’s just for me? Joy of singing is joy of singing. So good for you for joining the choir!
Perhaps our voices will come back someday. I’m ok if it doesn’t (took me a while to get to that point, though), and I have seen tiny bits of improvement. Perhaps the time for singing has ended and a new time has come. I can still yap up a storm. LOL.
Huge hugs to you,
That is an amazing and powerful post. I have a pair of jeans in my wardrobe that have that effect on me. Sadly they don’t fit me currently but your post has made me feel inspired to have another go at stripping off the layer of spare flesh I carry around.
Melody: Thank you for your leather jacket story, you never cease to amaze me with your insights and stories. I may have said this before but you are a fresh breath of air, thank you again.
Thank you so much for your wonderful words.
I’d be careful with those jeans. If they make you feel bad about yourself for no longer fitting into them, they may have lost their magic for now. Go find something that makes you feel good NOW. But if you can use them as motivation (as long as it feels good), more power to you!!
You go girl!