I didn’t discover until the last seven years of my mother’s life that, when it came to clothing, she loved color and sparkle. It was a discovery I made quite by accident. For some gift-giving occasion I had decided to give her some tops and while shopping I found a gorgeous deep purple blouse dusted with small white flowers. The center of each flower was a sequin, giving the top a subtle but undeniable sparkle. I thought it was beautiful. However, I had never seen my mother wear anything like it, so I almost didn’t buy it. But, throwing caution to the wind, I did. After all, if she didn’t like it I could always return it, right?
Mama loved that purple top. She wore it frequently and always received compliments on it. She delighted in telling everyone that her daughter had picked it out for her. A tradition was born. For most gift-giving occasions for the remainder of her life, I bought her colorful, sparkly tops. Not all were hits, but most were. Mama found great pleasure in telling her friends “my daughter dresses me.” When mama passed away, my sisters and I made sure she was buried in a colorful outfit with a bit of sparkle. I think she would have approved.
Why did mama never choose such clothing for herself? I don’t know for sure but I have my suspicions. I’m pretty sure that topping the list was fear of reprisal from some of the more conservative members of her family. Whatever the reason, I’m glad mama had the chance to express that part of her personality for a while.
In some ways, I am like my mama. I’ve spent a good portion of my life not fully being myself for the fear of what others might think. I would like to say I have put those fears behind me and, to a large part, I have, but not completely. It’s still a struggle.
But, after years of wanting a tattoo, I got my first one in 2014; I now have five and would like more. Not everyone likes tattoos and I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t approve of mine. But, you know what? It’s not about them. My tattoos are a part of me and tell a part of my story. I wish I had gotten them earlier.
Whether we are blessed with thirty-five years on this earth or ninety, life is too short to spend it worrying about what everyone else thinks about us. So, get the tattoo or the piercing. (Or both!) Get the haircut that’s “too young” for you and finish it off with some funky colors. (FYI, there’s no such thing as a haircut or clothing style that’s “too young” or “too old.” Pay no attention to the naysayers behind the curtain who say otherwise.) Wear the big, glitzy jewelry and the glittery nail polish. We only get one chance at this gig called life so we may as well rock it.
So fire the glitter cannons and sashay away darlings. We’ve got this.