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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wacky Wednesday #36: Christmas Tree

 
This week I am dressed as a Christmas Tree, which I hope is obvious but I’ll declare it nonetheless. Christmas is coming and my outfit is ready, even if my To Do list still stretches from here to the North Pole.
 


This kind of costume is delightful to create because you can decorate it however you like. Let’s talk ornaments, shall we? Some of the ornaments I’m wearing may look familiar. I’m reusing certain accessories from past Wacky Wednesdays. Can you spot them? Last week’s snowflakes and the previous week’s candy canes are getting a second use this week.

As always, I wanted my costume to be a lot of fun without spending much. Here’s what it cost to grow this tree:

Felt, green fabric, thread, tights (already had)                   $ 0

Earrings, buttons, rickrack, snowflakes (already had)      $ 0

Tinsel and ornaments (99 cent store)                                  $ 2

Zipper and felt                                                                          $ 4

String of lights (99 cent store)                                               $ 1

Total spent                                                                                $ 7

My lights actually light up (as the photos below show). I love that extra touch!



Everywhere I went today people liked seeing the walking, talking Christmas tree. I think people enjoy the surprise of seeing a festive costume when they’re not expecting it. But sometimes I’m also surprised. Today this costume led to a comment and a chain of thoughts that I hadn’t expected. As I was leaving my gym, an older man on a treadmill stopped me (and yes, of course I work out in my crazy costumes!). I’d seen him before but we’d never talked. He said, “Every week I see you in these costumes. And I always think this: here is a woman who is really comfortable in her own skin.”

I looked him in the eye, smiled and thanked him. I told him how much that meant to me, and that being comfortable in my own skin is one of my biggest goals. I want my kids to see that I’m confident not because I think I’m perfect, but because I focus on the parts that I like and on things that make me happy. I want my kids to see that confidence isn’t about perfection, and I want them to like themselves. Kids take in unspoken cues from their parents and I hope they follow my lead in self-acceptance. Sometimes I make mistakes as a parent but I think I do a good job at modeling for my kids (and hopefully others) that we are loveable just as we are. We are unique and we should embrace our individual talents and gifts. Being proud of who you are, and being comfortable with yourself, is essential.



The man in the gym doesn’t know that in the past I spent huge amounts of energy and worry over what I saw as my shortcomings. He doesn’t know that my comfort in my own skin is a hard-won achievement and an ongoing journey. I see people who are braver than I am, and their courage inspires me to keep challenging my limits (self-imposed or otherwise). I’m not bulletproof. I have a lot of moments of self-doubt. But I keep going.

What do I think it means to be comfortable in my own skin?

It means that I focus on my good more than I obsess over parts I wish were different.

It means I try not to compare myself to other people, wishing I had their talent/looks/job/whatever.

It means that I don’t let others push me around anymore. This sense of self-worth shines out from inside.

It means I walk with my head up because I like who I am, imperfections and all. I know that what I have to offer the world can’t be summed up by my dress size, the price of my purse, my zip code or any other false measure of worth.
 
 
This started as a Christmas tree blog post. It started with a lighthearted costume, a delight for me to wear and fun for others to see. Along the way the costume turned into a symbol of doing your own thing and not worrying about whether it is flawless or understood by others. This costume and the compliment from an almost-stranger became a reminder to me (and I hope an encouragement to others) to keep shining, in whichever way you shine. Believe in yourself and that confidence will shine out. What started as a playful costume took on deeper meaning. I love those moments.

 
 

https://www.instagram.com/sarahconleyartist




10 comments:

  1. The last two pics are so lovely! Exactly how I think of you, happiness & beauty all over your face. :) And I love the working lights...

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    1. Maia, thank you, sweet friend. You are so comfortable in your skin, and it shows...

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  2. You are so amazing in so many ways, Sarah!

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  3. Mara, thanks, my friend. You are fantastic, too. You give so much to those in your life...

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  4. I love seeing you shine in your own unique way. I especially like your sparkly star headband.
    Roxanne

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  5. Thanks, Roxie-Rox! You seem to bring out my shine...

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  6. You are a Shining example of a very wise woman finding the light in each day. What a wonderful children's book this would make.
    Love, Jeanne W

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  7. Oh, Jeanne. Thank you! I love knowing that others feel a connection to my experiences. We humans have a lot in common!

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  8. Love the outfit and love the message. Thank you Sarah for always bringing a shining light to Wednesdays! Merry Christmas!! Juliet

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  9. Juliet, wow, thank you! So glad that both parts of this post spoke to you...

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