I used to harm myself in many different and subtle ways; one of them was with clothing. When I felt bad about myself, I’d dig out my worst clothes and wear them to punish myself. Jeans that bit into my stomach and made me ache all day. Sloppy tops that made me look ultra frumpy. I wouldn’t bother styling my hair; I didn’t deserve it.
That was a lifetime ago. As part of my recovery, I cleared out all the sad pieces and—over time—built a new wardrobe of clothes that I love to wear, that flatter me, that make me feel good.
However, there were still some things that I longed to wear, but convinced myself were beyond my fashion grasp.
Among them, scarves.
I’d look at stylish people, floating around with a jaunty scarf, and think how wonderful they looked. And then, in the same moment think “Not for me”. Surely I’d look too messy, too pretentious… just wrong. I’d look like an idiot, trying too hard.
But I was at a party. And there, on the opposite side of the room, was a charming man wearing the most beautiful scarf. Festooned in bright, graphical print. He looked amazing and I practically vaulted over a sofa to reach him and tell him.
“You look terrific. I wish I could carry off a scarf like that”, I burbled.
He grinned. “It’s just a scarf! Of course you can!”
I must have looked sceptical, because he unwound the scarf of wonder from his neck and handed it to me. “Go on.”
Feeling somewhat self-conscious yet oddly happy, I made a hamfisted attempt to tie it on.
“There you go! It looks good”, he reassured.
I peeked in the mirror. Damnit, he was right. I looked… stylish. Confident. Full of scarf. I looked like a scarf-wearer.
The next day, I bought my own jaunty scarf. Like an 80s explosion of a scarf; pink, blue, orange and green, all in ragged blocks.
I wore it. And I liked it.
And perhaps I do look like an idiot. But I’m a warm idiot, so who cares?