Thursday, September 25, 2008

You Look Nice

I have a problem with compliments. It's an interesting situation because I actually love praise. When I was temping, I got a kick out of finding the most efficient way to put together binders of materials for meetings and then watching as my superiors marveled at my speediness. But being organized or knowing the answer to a question in science class are areas in which I've never doubted myself. Areas in which I expected the praise. What I put on my back, however, is a whole other story.

I don't take very long to get dressed. Part of this is because I like to streamline the getting ready process. Outfits are decided on the night before. Shoes are lined up by a wall. The weather is checked to ensure that I choose the right jacket. Sometimes I think about it too much, and it's obvious to those around me. I'm especially bad in the summer time. Having grown up in Boston, colder months are where I truly shine. Summer dressing gives me headaches. And though I've gotten much better at all of this, it still surprises me when someone comments on my clothes in a positive way. I deflect and shy away. I don't perk up like I once did in chemistry class. My insecurity is palpable.

I'm trying to work on that. To stop frowning when people say nice things or shaking my head in disbelief. To some I think it comes across as bitchiness. Or that I'm one of those people who fishes for compliments by tearing themselves down in front of others. Believe me, it's none of that.

I've heard the praise a lot more as I've lightened up and let go. As I've taken to just throwing on a white tank and a long, maroon cardigan with my skinny jeans. I receive more compliments in those clothes than I used to get when wearing any of the many dresses lining my closet. Maybe it's not the clothes themselves. Maybe it's that my not thinking so much removes the stress that seems to hang over me like a cloud most of the time. I am comfortable. And comfortable Samantha looks a lot better than Is this wide, ornamental belt out of place? Samantha.

It's all about caring up to a point and then saying Fuck it.

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