Enoughness Project Series #13: On fashion shows and swimming again

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If we speak no more of my enoughness after today, let it be remembered that I wore pleather leggings and partied on stage–ON STAGE–at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park with models, fashion designers, fancy Chicagoans and the awesomely luminous Emilee Bond. Through it all, fantastic Emilee at my side, I never once felt like shrinking into the corner for not belonging. That said, I still have some work to do in making this feeling a habit. (right. who am I kidding? of course you’re going to hear more about my enoughness…)

If you’ve been following my Enoughness Project, you know I took three months off from material spending in order to uncover on my own innate enoughness. (see the end of this post for my boilerplate about this.) Rather than buying shiny new things to make me feel like I’m enough—i.e., cool enough for a girls’ night with the momshells, smart enough for a business meeting, tasteful enough for a wedding, yogi enough for a yoga class, organized enough for a playdate, effortless enough for dinner guests, hip enough for x, sexy enough for y, vibrant enough for z—I opted to believe that I was innately enough for all of these things and that I did not need to buy something new in order to make me feel like it.

Mission accomplished. It was a bumpy ride, but since I began the project in April, I definitely do shop and spend less; am more aware of my inner drives where appearances are concerned; buy material items only when they’re premeditated and of great quality (because everyone’s grandma taught them that quality lasts); and am in a reasonably stable habit of stopping myself as soon as the inner mean girl speaks up, replacing her screeching with kinder, truer self-talk. Stuff like, “Emily, remember how awesome you are? The Universe doesn’t care about this other stuff. Just be you. You are enough! Remember?”

All that said, while I’m buying material items again (please note the pleather-accented leggings in the above photo) my journey to a sense of complete enoughness is far from over.

I’m finding new facets to the journey and new ways to push myself beyond my old patterns at every stop on this ride. Let’s talk about two recent trials, which I’ll go ahead and count as Enoughness victories.

I went to a Chicago Fashion Week event and didn’t once tell myself I didn’t belong there. Not even once! This is a major coup. Even bigger, I didn’t freak out about what to wear or compare my body to the models’ bodies. Other related victories: I managed not to text a photo of my outfit to my sister for approval before I left the house, mysteriously made myself at home walking around in four-inch heels, smiled like a loon from the second row throughout the entire show and only felt a little insecure when I shook hands with Lagi Nadeau, my favorite designer from the night. (I mean, who meets Parisian fashion designers? Not me!)

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Bob and Angel take in the Fashion Focus: Taking it to the Streets runway show as part of Chicago Fashion Week. Hot tip: Doc Martens are totally coming back. Along with Pearl Jam, flannel and black pants.

I struggled a bit when Bob tried to snap a couple close ups of me at the after party, which was on the stage at the Pritzker Pavilion. I got flustered with posing for the camera and ended up making really unattractive faces, which I hope were immediately deleted from his phone. “Hmm. You’re tough,” Bob said.

“I know. I just don’t know how to pose for a picture and still be myself. I get so nervous.”

“Be someone else,” he offered. Wait, I actually think I might be incapable of that. In any event, something to consider next time I’m being photographed.

Other than getting my picture taken, which does unnerve me, it was a true miracle that I could go to something like this–and I know how first-world crazy this sounds–feel no anxiety and no drive to be anything other than who I actually am. The only time me being me got awkward was when I struck up a conversation with the fancy-haired guy in the green suit as we walked to the after party. At worst, he was downright bitchy. At best, he was just not interested in making friends.

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Caption: My badass friend, Angel (the hot guy on the right with awesome white hair and cool glasses), invited me to join him and his equally badass partner, Bob (see the handsome strapping guy on the left? That’s Bob.), at a fashion show for Chicago Fashion Week. When you go somewhere with Angel, it’s literally like being the mayor’s arm candy. People wait in line to talk to him. They smile a lot. They touch his biceps like they’re his old friends. (and they probably are.) He introduces me and they don’t care who I am, but they smile warmly because they love him. He is the calmest person I’ve ever met. Never gets excited. Unless there’s amazing food being served. For an extrovert like me, it’s mad fun. I had enough excitement for all three of us. Apparently, I also had a wrinkly shirt. (I feel so grateful to these guys for plumping my social calendar from time to time. Each year I know them, they keep getting more intricate, more fascinating and more magnanimous about including me in their high-cool-factor lives.)

My other big triumph of enoughness? I got into a pool. Yep, I strapped on a suit, a cap and some goggles, and I followed the black line up and down several times like the olden days. Admittedly, it may have been a spectacle because my muscles froze at the 75-yard mark, but I was in that water giving it a go. Exercise is good for me, and running hurts my leggies, so in addition to the new tantric vinyasa class I am LOVING, I think swimming is my thing. But swimming carries some baggage for me. In my head, my swimming skillz used to define me. And it’s absolutely terrifying to be in a swimsuit in front of other swimmers. Particularly as I now rock the mom bod. Also, I’m self-conscious about my face sans makeup. Add raccoon eyes and I’m doubly concerned. Well, friends, I braved it all, and I have the under-eye goggle lines to prove it. What’s more, I had fun, I got to chat a lot with a fun fellow swimmer during practice (stuff I might’ve gotten screamed at for doing when I was 17) and my body completely released all the stress that’d been building. My body is thanking me, too. I think it might be saying, “See? You are enough to try swimming again. It doesn’t have to be scary and you don’t have to be diehard. You have nothing to prove anymore. It can feel good. It might even be fun.”

I’m definitely going to go with fun.

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In the spirit of not just sharing the pretty stuff, here she is, folks. Fresh from the pool. (you can’t expect me to snap a pic of myself in a swimsuit just yet. baby steps.) No makeup, red rings beneath my eyes and I daresay a bit of a glow from doing something good for my body (the glow might also be redness from pool chemicals.) The chlorine and the pool lighting can make a girl look awfully frightful. But I did it anyway. And, know what? That in itself felt pretty amazing.

ENOUGHNESS PROJECT. This post is part of a series about my experiences in uncovering my own innate enough-ness. For three months, I am abstaining from frivolous material purchases, accepting all blessings that come my way and focusing on gratitude for all that I have. The idea came to me in a meditation-induced haze and it has nothing to do with politics or morality. I’m just a girl who’s hoping to: separate the association between looking good and being good; get comfy with receiving; become a glowingly grateful human being; get acquainted with my own motives for material consumption; grow my understanding of when/why I buy things; and establish new habits that are more aligned with my values. We’ll see how this goes…

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I don’t always pose for pictures like I’m getting ready to meditate but when I do, I make a nice mudra with my left hand. Feeling grateful to live in such a vibrant city–and grateful I’m getting better at traversing it without fretting about my lack of enoughness.

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2 thoughts on “Enoughness Project Series #13: On fashion shows and swimming again

  1. You are too beautiful and trendy for me, love! Congrats on getting in the pool again! Love your heartfelt posts. I read them all even if I don’t comment. I love your creative and spiritual approach to your posts – a good reminder to incorporate that in my life!

  2. I love love love you…your path radiates….and you make it easier for others to love themselves, because your own love shines so bright!! xo

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