Getting comfortable in my own skin

Motherhood can cause you to forget who you were before you were a mother and a wife. I was once asked in a group setting to close my eyes and think of five roles that I have in my life, and in order of importance. I immediately saw the words mother, wife, sister, daughter, homemaker, business woman. Then, one by one with our eyes still closed, he asked us to erase each role, one by one until they were all removed. And he then asked “now, who are you?”

It was such a powerful exercise for me because it made me sit and think about who I was and what my passions were before my husband and my children came into my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have NO regrets about becoming a mother and retiring from my fast paced position in the corporate world to be a full-time mom and part-time business woman. I absolutely adore my children and they have enriched my life in so many ways. A writer and good friend of mine once reminded me that I can be a mother without stifling all of the other parts that make up Tonita. The writer, the counselor, the healer, the mentor, the dancer, and somewhere deep was the sensuous, passionate lioness and they were all waiting with bated breath to come to the surface and have their chance to shine.

Well, on a beautiful sunny yet extremely windy day, I allowed the lioness to prowl. Monday night I had planned to have a breakfast rendezvous the following day after the kids were off to school. I didn’t have to be anywhere until 1pm Tuesday afternoon and I felt like a desperate housewife sneaking off to see my lover on a sneak tip. I was so excited and I worked until late in the evening on Monday to get all of my clients taken care of. I responded to any and all emails and made sure that all open projects were completed. I even notified them that I would be “out of the office” until 1pm with unlimited access to email. My calendar was cleared for Tuesday morning.

When he asked what I would be wearing the next day I asked if he had a preference. He said that he wanted me to show up in a mink coat and heels. Did he really say what i think he said? He wants me to cloak this body – showing 45 years of aging and hardly any exercise after the delivery of two huge babies – in just a trench coat and lingerie and not laugh hysterically??! In my mind, I said hell NO! My ego wanted to please this man and challenge myself to see if I would really get up the nerve to pull it off. That was the lioness talking for sure!

So I tell those voices in my head that tell me that I shouldn’t dare show this body to shut up and I let my ego take over for a minute. I never thought of how hot I would be trying to get my kids dressed, fed and out the door for school in a lined, trench coat, but somehow I did it, and but for the matching underwear underneath, I didn’t have much to heat up anyway. Somehow I got them out the door without my three-year old inspecting my clothing and without talking myself out of the whole thing.

Of course it was the windiest day of the entire month! I was completely embarrassed walking my daughter into her preschool with red pumps, trying to keep my coat from flying open and revealing the lingerie and only the lingerie that covered small parts of my body underneath! I felt so insecure as if everyone that I saw could see through my coat and thought I looked as silly as I felt. I survived the preschool drop off and made it back to the car without losing a heel or flashing any of the other suburban moms dressed in their sweats and sneaks either headed to the gym or on their way back home to finally get a hot shower without interruption. For a moment I felt sorry for them that they were off to Starbucks and not in for the time of  their life! 

 The next stop was the Wawa for coffee and a breakfast sandwich. Of course I felt that every one of the twenty or so people in the Wawa knew that I had practically nothing on under my coat. In my head all of the women were snickering and the men were drooling. And luck would have it that the Chairman of the Board for one of my clients walks in to get coffee and says hello of course with a smirk on his face. Somehow I felt he knew and was secretly hoping he would be the recipient.  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

I jumped into my car and sped off before anyone could recognize me. I was proud of myself that I actually pulled it off –  getting out of the house, getting the kids to school and battling my self-esteem and body image insecurities – and me in my red lingerie, two-inch pumps and  trench coat headed to my rendezvous. I was excited, anxious, nervous and surprised at myself all at the same time. I had finally got the nerve to do this, and now that I was approaching the door I was getting nervous all over again….. (to be continued..)

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