If you were to ask my mom, she would most likely tell you that I am a bit high maintenance. I rarely leave the house without hair and make-up fixed, and I will never go to the store in pajamas. On more than one occasion, this has caused me to run a little late.
I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve heard my mother say, “Hurry up, Kate, life’s not a fashion show.” But maybe, for me, it is. I have been told on more than one occasion that I shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks about how I look. And I don’t. I do, however, care what I think.
Let me pause for a moment to assure you that I am no fashionista. My style is basic. Super basic. But I like to present my best self to the world, even if my style is lacking.
Some may say my need for make up in public comes from a lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem. And maybe that’s part of it. I’d like to say I have good self-esteem. But who knows? Maybe I don’t. But I do know that when my hair and make-up are done, and when I have decent clothes on, I feel like I can face the world. It is my war paint.
Not to compare myself to a prostitute, but there is a scene in Pretty Woman that hits this topic rather perfectly. If you’ve never watched it, warning: spoiler alert (also do yourself a favor and go rent that movie right now!!). In the movie, after Edward’s friend, Stuckey, finds out Vivian is a prostitute, he approaches her and makes her a–ahem–business proposal of sorts. She is left clearly upset by the conversation. Later she confronts Edward, saying that if she had been in her own (hooker) clothing, she could’ve handled the situation and would’ve been prepared to deal with the creep.
I feel the same in my work. I work in an environment where business casual is acceptable as long as it doesn’t interfere with my nursing duties. But if I have a day full of meetings with parents, I wear scrubs. A presentation about STDs or suicide prevention to the students? I wear scrubs. Wake up with a feeling it’s going to be “one of those days” in the clinic? I’m in my scrubs. Scrubs are my war paint for nursing. I hate public speaking in general, but I can step up and talk to high schoolers about uncomfortable medical topics like a pro when I wear my nursing war paint.
Even beyond my workplace, clothing has always been a quiet passion of mine. I used to dream of being a fashion designer. It started with old dress up clothes and sheets and curtains and anything I could get my hands on and could fashion into a dress. Grandma taught me to sew. That was only fuel to the fire. I have made a few articles of clothing for myself and for my daughter. In fact, designing and creating a formal dress is still on my bucket list.
I feel like I’m starting to stray off course here. My point is that I strive to be in the appropriate outfit with the appropriate make up for every occasion. It’s how I function. It’s how I cope in stressful situations, and it’s my own way of improving my confidence.