Retroactive Embarrassment

Have you ever seen an old photo or video of yourself and wondered – what was I thinking?  Even when that outfit or hairdo was in fashion:

  • I shouldn’t have sported it
  • I shouldn’t have succumbed to the style
  • And I definitely shouldn’t have left evidence behind.

(Luckily, I’ve never taken a lot of photos so there’s scant evidence…still, what there is would give the National Enquirer a field day if I were famous and attracted their attention.)

I must have been a legend in my own mind.  Seriously.

I hereby issue an apology for the fashion faux pas I have committed.  I’m not talking about the outfits I assembled in a hurry just to get out of the house and to the job on time.  We all have days in our lives when bathing  and putting something on is the best we can do under the circumstances.  No, I’m talking about when I dressed deliberately, spent money on a fashion poo-poo (boo-boo is too light a phrase), or asked my hairdresser for a particular style, all of which in retrospect make me shudder.

What mirror was I looking in? (It was definitely different than the one I use now.)

I wrote once on this blog that I was a queen in the country of myself and I guess I was.

Didn’t I realize that those leggings I sported with just a sweater belted over them were meant to be worn under a dress or skirt – not by themselves?  I can remember the day when I walked into the presentation with boyfriend in tow knowing I looked good.  I had looked in the mirror and “looked good to myself” as my sister sometimes laughs.  The photo from that time, which is going into the shredder after I finish writing this, shows that the nap in the leggings was straining over my voluptuous (and taunt in those days) thighs.  Thanks goodness I don’t have evidence of the rear view.

Why didn’t somebody say something to me? (Although knowing myself, I wouldn’t have listened.  If I think I look good, no one can tell me I don’t and no amount of praise for a look matters to me if I’m not “feeling it.”)

What about the bright orange two-piece knit set that showed off my curves but must made my butt look like it was ready to set a table service on?  Bright orange at a wedding?  Again, from the front, I looked good to myself.  Not seeing the rear view, I rarely worried about it.  (Let me be clear – I have enjoyed having a big butt – in my culture it was an asset, but I meant to accentuate it – not flaunt it in neon.)

Oh, well, I’m sure I provided fodder for the fashionistas and a few chuckles here and there for casual observers.

I remember the occasions when I felt delicious and dressed like it.  I have two outfits hanging in my closet that I pull out every now and again to reminisce – the purple puckered crepe dress with fringe that cuts away mid-thigh and the red dress that draped and tucked around my arse. 

The men all paused…and I’m sure the women laughed and hollered (as my girlfriends and I used to laugh as we assessed the outfits of our fellow partiers at the club).

Retroactive embarrassment – but I had fun!

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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