No…I didn’t bring back anything dirty, or a puppy, or a new husband…
I embarked on a vacation to Las Vegas in search of amazing artwork, inspiration and relaxation. If you’ve been to ‘Sin City’ before, you’ve likely already laughed at my expectation to find some “down time”.
There was a bit of art to be found (not as much as I would’ve liked), inspiration was discovered through amazing shows like “Beatles Love“, Cirque du Soleil, “O“, Cirque du Soleil, and “Zombie Burlesque“, but what I came back with was more profound for me as a woman.
It’s hard to express in words; it’s more of a feeling…a sense of ease in how I present myself to the outside world. Growing up as a female, I’ve experienced many different ideologies on how I should behave, dress, and share my opinions. Children are often referred to as being “seen and not heard” (especially little girls), there’s then the experimenting with grabbing attention by dressing borderline provocatively as a teen, and as I settled into early adulthood, all of that simple confidence faded, and I was left feeling like I should cover up, not draw any attention to myself, and become anonymous in the masses.
I don’t consider myself to have a poor body image anymore (went through that too); it was more that I wanted to blend in…but at the same time, my love for unique clothing, tattoos, hair, and piercings made it a confusing blend of anonymity VS. creative expression.
Now it’s not like I had an enlightening, “in my face” realization while vacationing, it was more that I felt free in such a large city, full of every type of person imaginable, all doing their thing and it simply didn’t matter if you are larger/smaller, African American/Caucasian/a Martian, etc etc etc. Also it was blistering hot outside, so I was forced to try wearing formally known as tunics-with-leggings outfits WITHOUT the leggings.
The first time we left the hotel I felt utterly self-conscious; I tugged on my dress constantly and almost turned back to change several times. All an inner struggle inside my brain, as my friend and I walked down the Strip.
When I didn’t experience glares of disapproval, or feelings of shame at “flaunting myself” out and about, the dress tugging lessened. Yes I did receive a few comments occasionally, but for the most part they were polite ones about my smile or tattoos. And hey, honestly: who doesn’t like a little Ego stroking now and then?! I’m not going to lie and say I don’t!
It felt liberating to unleash a bit of “leg”, to be a little louder at times, and to simply not care about what others may think (likely they weren’t even noticing little ‘ol me amongst a sea of travelers anyways).
Coming home has been interesting during this time of feminine experimentation. I wore one of my “Vegas dresses” to my gallery yesterday and again felt full of anxiety as I left the house. When I didn’t notice any dirty looks again, I calmed down. I’m free to wear whatever I like, to be whomever I wish to authentically be. And while it might sound trite or vain, this has been a step forward for me as a woman.
Have you struggled with anything similar? I’d love to hear about your experiences.