This is my ugly robe. Or rather, this was my ugly robe.
Take a good look:
-It's made to be a look-at-me-I'm-practically-a-towel style of robe. Can you even call that fabric?
-It's a rather unpleasant shade of baby blue.
-It has two gigantic pockets, two gigantic chicken-wing sleeves, and is floor length.
-It has a hood.
-Oh, and the zipper only worked for about a week and then broke, after which is just hung on slightly above my belly button keeping the robe "closed" but only in the most lenient definition of the word "closed."
It was a damn ugly robe.
But as ugly as it was, it was also the inspiration for this online project. You see, the ugly robe came up in conversation with the woman I like to think of as my personal lighthouse in the dark--my beacon when all hope is lost. My life coach of sorts. Ok, my therapist who I pay to listen to me talk and occassionally give me really sage life advice. (If I can't be honest now, at the beginning, how will I ever?)
I told S about my ugly robe. I told her about it in this manner:
[resigned voice] "Well, it's ugly robe season again, so I guess there's that to look forward to."
I think she choked on her herbal tea. While rolling her eyes.
And then she told me something that really hit me at my core, in that part of myself that hears the truth when it most needs to, that internal compass that has no tolerance for bullshit.
She told me--I don't even need to paraphrase here because she was rather succinct--"Well, if you hate it so much, then get rid of it. "
This woman is worth every penny.
Here's the thing, you should probably know before you go on any further, that this project is coming from a place of rather determined intention. It's going to be cheesy at times, and cliche, and probably induce some eye-rolling and uncomfortable laughter (from you and me). Because, honestly, an ugly robe is at the heart of this project, so you know I'm reading into things a little too much. And that I will embrace and continue that trend throughout this process, as I have a rather strong dedication towards "honoring from whence we came."
But S hit on something really true that day. She reminded me that I can't just sit around and wait for my life to happen to me; I need to take an active role in creating the life I want to live. The robe was just a small piece of a larger struggle I was having internally--and that was ripping into my external world--to make ch-ch-changes that I'd deemed necessary long ago, but not found the strength or motivation to make. Simple as that. S hit the nail on the head: quit wallowing and playing the part of victim, throw out your damn ugly robe and beyond that throw out all the other damn ugly robes you are holding onto as well, be they literal or figurative.
The lady really got me thinking. So on not-quite-the-eve (anymore) of the New Year, but close enough to be able to easily visualize myself taking a first step into something unknown but important, I decided to make good on the promises I've made to myself over the years. One of them was writing more, hence putting these thoughts down here. There are plenty more though, and what this goodbye ugly robe project is really about is remembering the life I want to build for just myself--that of course includes other people-- but doesn't start from the assumption that someone else is going to take control of my happiness or dreams or successes or failures. That it is up to me to take the first step forward, even if I stumble a little bit, and see what my life can grow into.
See: cheese has been served already.
Oh, and by the way, there is going to be a new robe. I'm not going to pretend it's sexy-even though the photo would like to imply it is - but it's cozy looking, has a little bit of a ruffled edge around the collar, is a cute flannel pattern, and overall is so much more me. Which is the point. And as S and I discussed, by replacing the zipper with a tie closure, I am asserting the fact that 1) I am not a middle-aged woman with saggy breasts (thank you very much) and 2) I am not resigned to a life in an ugly robe. Read into that if you want to, you probably should.