Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The Key Ingredient in Finding New Friends, Lovers, and Jeans
Trying on clothing in a fitting room is an exercise in vulnerability.
You head in to that poorly lit little stall with a pile of jeans in your hand and a heap of uncertainty in your head, and then you strip down to nothing and stand in the reflection of your own judgment. If it's Nordstrom, there's a mirror behind you, illuminating every dimple and vein on your backside. Funny how the lights always seem to shine brighter on those spots.
You slither into the denim, unsure of whether it will mold perfectly to your curves or gape and pucker in all the wrong places. You try on one pair, two, three—finally on the fourth, you stop and stare. You like what you see. You like how you feel. It's you but maybe even better.
And you never would have figured this out if you'd only grabbed one pair from the rack. Or if you'd made a purchase without trying them on first.
The act of letting go of your defenses—stripping down to your natural self—has served you.
The fitting room isn't the only place this tactic works.
A friend and I were talking recently about how it can be difficult to make new friends when you're an adult. It can be scary to ask another ladykid if she wants to come over for a playdate. She might get one look at your collection of owl salt and pepper shakers and deem you a huge dork. Or you could open up to her about your irrational fear of the earth losing its gravitational pull and she might decide you're crazy.
She might reject you.
And wouldn't that be a good thing?
Just like the jeans, we want our friends and lovers and jobs to fit just right. We want them to hug us where it's needed. We don't want them to pull away in the spots they should be close or cling too tightly when we need breathing room.
But like the jeans, the only way to discover whether they're the right fit is to let down your guard and be vulnerable.
And if they're the wrong size, that's okay. It doesn't mean you've failed. It just means it wasn't the right fit.
You just keep trying on others until you find the ones you want to keep.