I was out for dinner with a dear friend this past week and we were discussing my recent trip to Paris which included a visit to the Catacombs on Halloween. She asked me if I wore a costume. I thought for a moment and answered “yes” even though I wore street clothes. All the outfits I brought to Paris were costumes – I had consciously packed clothes that would project a specific image to the world.
Upon further reflection I realize that I wear costumes every day. Some days literally (hello PL meet singlets) and others days secretively. You see, I decided not too long ago who I wanted to be and what I wanted to project into the world even if it wasn’t who or what I felt I was internally. While I AM this person, it doesn’t always feel like it and sometimes I need a costume to help me feel the part. And my costumes change from day to day.
Who is this person I created? Well, she is cool, confident, knows what she wants and doesn’t care whether others are on board with this decision. She wears funky vests and skirts over leggings some days, classic business attire other days, and often wears workout clothes. But she is always put together.
Some days she is the daring adventurer – wearing her safari gear and ready to roam to unknown places. Some days she is a fiercely independent business woman who gets shit done and helps the people around her. Some days she is the powerlifting diva, holding court in the gym, strong and confident in her booty shorts and lifting socks.
Except when she isn’t. There are days when these personas, these costumed characters just aren’t me and I have to switch costumes – switch to be a little less out there, a little less noticeable. These are the days when I need to recharge and remember why I have so many costumes in the first place and try to reconcile the costumes with who I am today.
I like to think this was a deliberate choice, but I know better. I created these personas to protect me, keep my inner secrets of insecurity hidden from the world. When I put on the costumes and get into character it is easy to think I’m always confident and act with ease in every interaction throughout the day. But I know it’s not the case. I know there is insecurity (I’m not smart enough, strong enough, capable enough) lurking inside.
But at the same time, I created these personas so one day I can be this person effortlessly. The costume that I put on each day helps bring me one step closer to internalizing the outside. If I continue to look and act the part of a confident woman one day I will realize that this person IS me and my clothes are no longer costumes but the outward reflection of the person I have become.