Agitation was building. Irritating, chafing, clawing at my skin. I’d been having too much fun to notice, and then ignored it until it was too late.
It became so annoying, I nearly stopped mid-salsa. That’s saying something as I was dancing with one of my favorite salsa guys to one of my favorite salsa songs.
I finished the dance and trotted off the dance floor with a grimace. Quickly taking a seat, I removed my shoe to uncover the offender – a sock.
Or I guess I should say, a sock seam. It had been pressing across my toes and rubbed the top of my poor little baby toe raw.
I bandaged the toe and spent the rest of the night sitting on a chair – I admit, pouting a bit and with plenty of time for my mind to wander.
I was reminded of a friend’s toddler, who my friend sarcastically and frustratingly referred to as a “princess.”
Her name is Anna. At the time, she had long curly locks, big wide eyes, a snuggly disposition, and was a lover of music – belting out a tune the instant her favorite songs came on. As adorable as she could be, in the blink of an eye, that melodic, cheerful voice could turn to ear-piercing screaming, and not just any screaming.
I’m talking about the kind you hear and instantly say to yourself “oh thank god, that’s not my kid!”
The offense? Seams. She hated the feel of seams under her arms, down her ribs and especially across the top of her toes. Seams irritated her beyond reason.
Her mom was so embarrassed – “Why does she have to be such a princess?”
At the time, I thought Anna was just highly sensitive, but as I thought about it, and related it to my own experience, I had to ask, really, what is so “princess” about that? The seams were really irritating. (My poor toe was living proof.)
Her parents scoured high and low for seamless shirts and socks, but they were hard to find. So Anna would often be seen wearing her shirts inside out and would walk around barefoot – even on the coldest winter days.
Anna didn’t care if the clothes looked weird – if she stood out as unusual. It was a matter of comfort - substance over outward appearance or form.
So, I asked myself, “Why do we wear the seams against our skin?”
Of course, the answer is obvious. We wear the rough, unsightly seams against our skin, so we present only tidy, neat lines to those around us.
While it’s not a big deal for most of us - we’ve become so accustomed to it that we don’t even notice (not usually anyway).
It struck me as a metaphor for something of greater meaning.
And it was worthy of an experiment. So, I put on a shirt inside out (no worries – I didn’t do this at the dance studio - I waited until later when I was home).
And – Yes, it did feel better!
My peculiar mind once again went into “what’s the lesson?” mode.
Why as a society do we find it more important how we present to the outside world vs. how we present to ourselves? Why Form over Substance?
Shouldn’t pleasing ourselves be just as important – or even more so?
Since that day, I now pay much more attention to what I wear. I’m much more interested in how I feel in my clothes vs. how I look in them to others.
After all, you can’t make others happy. At the end of the day, the question to ask is – “did I make myself happy?”
I’d love to hear from you. Is there an area in your life that you’re conforming to a societal standard instead of your own comfort, health or well-being?
Wishing you seamlessness,
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