The screams were fierce. The tears were hot. The ‘lil girl was NOT wearing her Dora wig into her class, no way, no how.
As she clung to me, begging me to take her home with me, she cried harder and screamed louder.
Parents stared, teachers and students tried to pry her off of me, asking her to come join them in the fun that was about to ensue. She was Dora after all, brave adventurer.
I nervously laughed as the teacher told me she’d tricked them. For two weeks, the story was that she was going to be a hot dog princess. Instead, she came to school and slipped into her Dora costume. She was one of many princess versions of ‘lil girl characters, a popular choice among the pre-3 scene.
A hug from a friend dressed as Broby didn’t help. Promises that Daddy would be there to pick her up didn’t help. She just wasn’t budging.
Feeling the tears stinging my eyes, I pushed her toward the teacher and backed away. I had never experienced being on this side of the separation anxiety and it hurt. I knew how her teacher felt, and I knew I couldn’t give in. I had already stayed too long, the damage was done.
+ + +
The music beat loud in my ears. People kept swarming in, closer and closer. I could feel the room getting hotter and hotter. I could feel people looking at me, like I just didn’t belong.
I sent Greg to pay the tab, I had enough. My mind was racing. I was at a club with friends and my husband, but I felt so out of place.
I felt old.
I felt too big, yet knew if this was a year ago I would’ve been bigger and had confidence. Still uncomfortable in my “new body” and behind a costume and make-up, I still felt like I was not supposed to be there.
We quickly said goodbyes and I couldn’t walk fast enough. My wet feet weren’t moving me to the door at the speed I wanted them to. Finally, I hit the cold air, feeling like I could breathe again. I wondered how in the world the club had ever let me in when so many prettier girls were in line, when I had watched someone with an MTV show get turned away from these very doors.
I just wanted to be in the comfort of my own home and wanted to peel the costume away.
+ + +
Today, my baby girl wanted what protected her to stay by her side. Unfortunately, I couldn’t, and I won’t always be able to. She was ok as soon as I left.
On Saturday, I wanted my comfort zone, back in those big jeans when I walked with an air of confidence and didn’t care if someone looked at me. I was a big woman and proud of it. Now, in a smaller size, I don’t have confidence. My costume didn’t hide all my faults, I was putting myself out there more than usual and felt like people were looking at me wondering why I was there. I look back, and truth be told, I looked just fine, I just wasn’t in a physical comfort zone and that’s ok. It’s not about size, it’s about getting older and more used to being the “new me”.
All of us have our fears. It’s what we do with that fear that makes us or breaks us. Arianna was brave. I was brave enough to a point. We all have our moments.
Sometimes, even our costumes don’t give us enough of a shield to feel like we can take on the world.