It's hard, sometimes, to remember who I am. I get lost between the responsibilities and joys of motherhood. I know I'm there, somewhere, but sometimes it's hard to see.
It's weird, isn't it, how tired you are after being a mom. And after a separation, I feel like I've aged at twice the rate. I look at pictures from a mere six years ago and can't understand how I can look so much older in such a short time.
I dress my body in confusion. The clothes I love - vintage circle skirts, shirt dresses, skinny jeans and sweaters - none of them seem to hang properly on my body. With a sigh, I pass rack after rack and pick up the tired standbys and hope to find something that will "work".
It's never about feeling good.
It's about it working.
Then, on Monday, I met a woman named Inka. Inka designs clothing. Gorgeous, flowing, beautiful clothing that makes me want be fashionable and stylish.
I didn't know Inka as a clothing designer at first.
I just knew her as a costume designer who sent me a terrifying email asking for my size because she would be shopping for my wardrobe. I'd been asked if I was interested in filming something for Momtastic and while the thought filled me with anxiety, a part of me, the part that learned to rappel and belly dance and any number of scary things, that part said yes.
I replied back to her with my measurements and a note that perhaps it would be best if I just brought clothing because, "I'm not certain you'll be able to find anything that will fit me or work with my body type."
And suddenly I was a woman who didn't think a professional costume designer would know how to dress anything other than a fashionably thin woman.
Inka replied back, "It shouldn't be a problem."
Not to be deterred, I responded, "If you can figure out a way to dress me, you'll be elevated to Fashion Goddess."
Inka was elevated.
With fabrics that flowed and softened, color choices that made me balk, and a few tips and tricks, she made me feel strong, beautiful, powerful.
It's amazing what clothing will do for a woman. The way it makes us feel - for good or ill - is almost scary in its intensity. For years, I've bought clothes that worked. Then I met a German sprite who talks to herself and drifted in and out of the light. She showed me how to wear a cowl neck, how to combine unusual colors, and how to back away from black.
I'm constantly boggled at how much one person can impact another in such a short time, but today, as I walked through Albertson's with my back straight, an ice blue silk shirt clinging and shifting with my body, my feet encased in strappy heels, and silver bangles dangling on my arm, I realized she gifted me with a sense of confidence I've been missing for a while.
She reminded me not to let it work, but to work it.
For that I am eternally grateful.