Wednesday started with an explosion of self-confidence in our walk in closet, followed closely by a near meltdown. Only will power prevented a full-on nuclear event from occurring in the closet, although Greg might tell the story differently. I had purchased some new clothes that I was quite happy with twenty-four hours earlier. But there I was standing in the midst of a variety of clothing that was strewn across the floor of the closet, on the bed, and the ironing board. Multiple dresses had hit the floor along with assorted pants, leggings, pantyhose, tights, blouses, jackets, and accessories. No matter what combination of new and old I tried to put together, the result was not meeting my expectations. And then there was that stupid full-size mirror Greg had hung inside the closet the previous weekend. Time was sliding past as I created hill after hill of discarded clothing. My good humour had left the closet long before Greg walked in.
He looked at me, scanned the closet, and began to laugh. Not only did he laugh but he had the audacity to ask, "What are you doing?"
I thought what I was doing was self-evident. Getting dressed. At least I was trying desperately to get dressed, it just wasn't working out how I had planned. None of the new items felt right. The combinations of new and old weren't working either according to the mirror. At some point my brain and emotional responses stopped working together too. My brain had left the closet long ago, deserting my emotions and leaving them to escalate.
Greg usually has good sense about when to back out quietly but he blew it. He kept laughing which led to a blistering response from me that was entirely fuelled by anxiety and panic. Time was running out and I was not even half-dressed. Not only was I half-dressed but that dang mirror was reflecting the clothes explosion back at me increasing my misery. I had to be dressed quickly. There was a conference to attend and sessions to deliver for a client. The only thing between a successful day and me was the right outfit. Oh, yes - and a husband who continued to laugh while announcing, "This is funny!"
It probably was funny. Except that to me it felt desperate. Nearly half of the clothes I owned were no longer on hangers, and I was still struggling. When I could no longer continue with the experimentation, I reached for an old faithful item. I knew it was comfortable, it made me feel good, and it was suitable. It would have to do. I collected the remnants of my self-confidence and patched myself back together quickly because there was a full day of work ahead.
The clothes-confidence explosion had been a surprise. I had gone to get dressed with the expectation that it would be a simple, straightforward experience. Somehow, something I did every single day without a great deal of thought turned into a battle. The harder I struggled to come up with a resolution, the worse it got. As soon as I stepped back from the struggle, I was able to make a sensible selection and get on with the day. Stepping back meant reminding myself that the day was about others; it was about helping, inspiring, and equipping. Although my closet encounter was an unwelcome surprise it was also a good reminder that set me up for a great day.
The day went well and a stranger even offered me a compliment on my dress in the hallway. When I got home I had to straighten my shoulders and walk back into the bedroom to deal with the aftermath of the morning indecisiveness. It was funny, Greg was right. But it was also maddening to have wasted that energy and created such an awful mess in such a short time. Next time I begin to feel the assault on my confidence, I will remember all the clothes in heaps on the closet floor. I will pause to shift my focus to consideration of the contribution I can make to others.