Saturday, November 19, 2005

Winter intuition

We had our first frost yesterday morning. Scraping my windshield with only a credit card and no gloves during the rush of getting to school and work on time meant I couldn't appreciate it. Regardless of what the calendar says, winter comes for me with the first frost. When I woke this morning, my world sparkled everywhere, and I was still warm inside. It was beautiful but touched with sadness for me today.

I love cool weather, but I'm not ready for the cold. I know my Tennessee winters with temperatures in the 40s, 30s and 20s may seem warm to some, but I'm just not ready for long stretches of dreary gray skies, long nights, and cold rains. I've been going through my closet, and I hate my winter clothes more than the rest of my wardrobe. Working from home for the last few years has meant I haven't added much in the way of professional clothing to the wardrobe. My selection is limited and old. I see the downward sliding temperatures, and it reminds me of how frumpy I'll feel. Investment clothing is not in the budget right now, and a couple of good, classic pieces in some color other than black are what I really want.

There's some irony here because last night I wrote an entry about confidence and how it relates to my work life, but I lost it with my inexperience with Blogger software. Yesterday in the AOL news, there was an article about how pretty people make more money than the less attractive. As a former employment recruiter, this wasn't news to me, but it's always good to see your experiential knowledge verified by outside research. The catch is that employers recognize confidence as attractiveness. Attractiveness is a cultural standard, as well as a personal one, and while I meet many personal standards of attractiveness, I'm still a good distance from the cultural one. When I feel frumpy, I feel even farther away.

I bridge that gap with camouflage. I have a voice that's distinctive, and that's one of the reasons why I've built most of the sales side of my career on telephone relationships. In one old office, people had a running bet as to who could make me lose my telephone composure. The stunts got to be outrageous, but no one ever won. In a face to face meeting, my voice is just part of the impression, not the primary one. As a fat woman, I feel that good grooming is even more important for me than it is for most people, because there are stereotypes to overcome. That becomes part of my camouflage. So does my height and bearing. I will not walk as if I need to apologize for the space I cover. I mastered the art of smiling regardless of circumstances and actual feelings before my years reached double digits. Inside I'm hoping that whoever I'm talking to won't realize that my skirt is seven years old, and that my now trimmed to the quick nails still have a stubborn bit of acrylic overlay on the tips.

I've realized while writing this that my appearance concerns are really deeper. Part of this is financial fear of beginning a new commission driven employment, and the desire for new clothes and a fresh, pretty manicure is its reflection. Part is a voice from my memory that told me repeatedly that I'd never amount to anything. Those loving, destructive voices are the worst, and I'm gradually giving myself the authority to believe that they were wrong about this, despite having been right on so many other things.

Winter is the time we're supposed to go into our caves and hunker down. Instead I'm going out more than I have in a long time. I made a choice about this change, based on logic with a literally written list of the pros and cons before I came to a decision. Logic tells me that I can handle this. My emotions aren't so sure, and this plays into a weakness of my INFJ personality type. My intuition and feelings are strong and good, but they're not perfect. The perfectionism that seems to come with this personality framework has demanded that I coldly cultivate my logic to cover all the bases. I need to trust my logical side more, but doing so goes against the grain. My goodness, it's counter-intuitive. If I dig deeper, I know that it's the right thing to do, and you can't get any more intuitive than that.


Blogger Gabreael said...

We had our first frost last night. I love the new look of this blog.


November 19, 2005 9:59 AM  
Blogger ~~Kath~~ said...

That was a very thought provoking entry. I have a blog here, but mainly because I want to be able to comment. I'll probably just paste entries from AOL over to here, so if you want to keep up that way, my blog is:

November 19, 2005 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Lisa :-] said...

I still can't comment on this journal from my new laptop. If the computer is set up not to accept "cookies," blogspot will not publish your comment. Period.

That said...

What I tried to comment the last time I was here was, my first inclination upon reading this entry was to send you a big, fat gift certificate to the catalog/store of your choice. Heck, I know you're a beautiful lady, and I want you to look your best as much as you do. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Maybe a big gift certificte to a nail salon, too... :-]

November 19, 2005 8:31 PM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Really great entry, Cynthia. That INFJ temperament can drive you to madness if you don't watch out. As you know, I'm the INFP and I think the "P" really helps in terms of letting go of perfectionism. But I do still struggle, going around and around, trying to find confidence in who I am, what I am capable of. Oh I need to laugh. I need to learn to laugh at myself and laugh at life, be more playful in my orientation to life, not be so serious all the time. I like the way your new journal looks. My visits to everyone are going to be hit and miss for a while, until I can find my way around this place. Much love to you.

November 20, 2005 1:38 AM  

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