For years I dressed myself daily in a very predictable manner. I'd put on my "button-down-responsible-adult" shirt on top my "dutiful-daughter-and-sister" pants and layer on my "prompt-responder-to-all-crises" vest. Before heading out the door I'd don my "going-above-and-beyond-anything-I-tackle" coat and, for good measure, I would take my "you-can-rely-on-me-for-everything" hat and "sure-I-can-do-that-for-you" scarf.
As the years went by and life became more complex so did my wardrobe. I began amassing new 'looks' as I took on more roles and responsibilities, adding outfit after outfit to my already overstuffed closet and drawers.
Initially, I didn’t mind some of the tight, constricting clothes I had to wear. After all, my "exercise-until-you-fit-into-a-size-zero-or-else-you're-fat" pantyhose and my "work-hard-every-second-of-your-life-to-prove-yourself" dress resulted in oh so many compliments. Who doesn't like being admired? And as others' admiration and respect for me grew, the more I measured my worth by the hats I wore and the sacrifices I made.
With time, the undergarments of "discipline-and-selflessness" and "I-can-be-Wonder-Woman-and-gracious-at-the-same-time" bra began to pinch and be very uncomfortable. I could barely wait to get home to tear them off so I could breathe freely.
As my tolerance for self-inflicted pain and misery waned, a radical thought began to form...
"What if I peel off these layers of duty, role, responsibility, identity, conformity, and expectation? What would be left?"
The internal dialogue that ensued lasted for years and involved a devil and angel on each shoulder.
Then, like a flash of lightning, the truth illuminated the stormy landscape of my thoughts. The birth of my nephew ignited a spark of clarity.
With reverent awe, I marveled at this tiny wonder, the unfathomable miracle I held gingerly in my arms. This wee baby entered the world without any clothes or identities; in fact, he didn't even have a name. He didn't need a cloak of conformity to be pure preciousness; he just was.
As I imagined this sweet existence growing up into adulthood it was clear to me that his developmental metamorphosis would not in any way change the fact that he was a priceless being. Another luminous thunderbolt: the same holds true for me, and you, and every single human being on the planet.
So, what did I end up doing, you ask?
No, I did not become a nudist or shun all attire as a result of this realization.
I simply began to acknowledge my true nature prior to getting dressed everyday.
Now, I take a moment to nod to the fact that I am life manifested; that I am enough.
I do not need to define or justify my existence with the garbs of identity;
I enter and exit this world in my skin; the garment of my soul.
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