I work in child and family wellness, mental health, specifically. It is such a delicate field, and I help people through some of the hardest times they’ve ever had. Every day I find myself walking this fine line between two extremes – personal and professional. I like to think I have found a happy 60/40 to 70/30 range. Kids like it when I joke, parents feel normal when I share “normal” stuff. No one is comfortable when you share too much. You get the picture.
I also live in a small community. I see my sweet clients and their families all over the place. Tonight I went out with some friends for a ladies night – 3 moms, 3 little girls, lots of joy. I saw many clients, and I loved it, because seeing families out, for family events, is what my work is supposed to support and encourage. Win!
In what may seem like a random tangent, I’m going to tell a little about my clothing issues here, promising it will all come together. So, I’m a sensory-seeking, unique brand loving girl. Good fabric, boots that are “right,” and simple, feminine styles make me wiggle a little. For instance, tonight, my friend’s purse was sitting on the counter in front of me. It looked like that gooey soft leather you’d want to eat if you were a dog. Shamelessly, I reached over and petted it while she ordered a coffee. It was exactly how I imagined it would feel, and my neurons smiled.
But, I married a man who does not care about these kind of things. AND, he is the ultimate in frugality. I can’t call him cheap, because that isn’t accurate. He’s just very careful. There is a sound that announces the failings of “Debbie Downer,” a fine character I identify with from Saturday Night Live. ”Want Want,” is the best I can do without belaboring the point. Let’s add that sound here…
After a couple years of sneaking garments into my wardrobe, only to have him laugh at me and ask “when did you get that?” I realized I was being childish. THEN we had children. Double “Want Want.” I have become frugal. Now I don’t shop much at all. So, I get most of my clothes from my tall friend – who still shops. I am also tall, but she’s got assets I don’t have. We don’t need to go into detail here, but let’s just say stuff sometimes doesn’t fit right. When she flings these castaways out of her wardrobe, I get all excited and scoop them up. Sometimes an item’s a go. Other times I just wear it anyway until I figure out exactly what it is that caused her to toss it.
Tonight, I wore some real junk out of the house: A long sleeved cotton t-shirt that I love the color of, but forget, every single time, how offensive the pits smell; a black zip up vest that is kind of late 90’s, but that I refuse to pass on because I am now frugal; and one of tall friend’s castoffs – a pair of navy blue slacks that are just about 2 inches too short. I am feeling a little proud of myself as I write this. I mean, I’m really brave to go out in public looking like that. In a small town.
It wasn’t until I took my seat at the performance that I realized the outfit was not only brazenly out of style, but there was some serious butt crack going on. I ran my hand along the back of my auditorium seat to ensure it had a nice solid back, which happily went all the way down past said butt crack. Whew. First sigh of relief. Then, I raised my arms and my relief fled. I put my arms back down, and I calmed myself, thinking, I’m a grown woman and so be it, my pits smell. Bodies are bodies, blah blah blah. I did warn my friends, because that’s just horrible behavior otherwise, and one of them nodded, recalling the last time I’d worn stink shirt.
It wasn’t until the intermission that I forgot about the butt crack problem, having acclimated to the setting. I mean, at home, I just wear this stuff around. It feels normal. So, when cutie #1, who is the smallest of our 3 cuties, started talking to me in the aisle, I crouched right down to her level, so she could see that she is valuable to me, that she matters, that her words mean everything.
Intermission neared its end, and I felt the gentle draft of air, you know where, as people passed me returning to their seats. When cutie #1 was finished telling me about the magic of the world through her eyes, I stood up, discretely adjusted my pants, and glanced behind me – where I saw 2 of my clients turning at a sharp 90 degree angle, back to their seats.
And I laughed. And I quickly decided to toss these pants into the donation pile. And I felt happy that some day, those little girls might have something embarrassing happen to them, and I conjured up hope they will remember seeing their healthcare professional’s butt crack, and laugh instead of cry. Because everyone has a butt crack. The incredibly stinky pits is another issue, however, and I like this shirt too much to toss it. I am now on the horns of a dilemma…wish me luck.