She found herself unable to breathe. It had been building up for awhile but today if felt tighter. Quite uncomfortable. It was more than uncomfortable, really, she felt stifled. Sweaty. Claustrophobic. She began to unbutton. It was a slow process because the buttons were tightly secured and they barely fit through the buttonholes. It took a considerable amount of effort to free each one and, just part way through, her fingertips were on fire.
There were so many buttons.
And this was after the zippers and the snaps and the knotted straps.
After winning the battle against the knots, the snaps, the zippers, and the buttons, she was looking forward to ripping off her insecurities once and for all and tossing them aside.
She thought she had finished with the hard part so she brusquely ripped off the last of it. Her eyebrows pulled together and she gasped in surprise when instead of feeling a heavy weight released, she instead felt a weighty jolt and searing pain. She ended up with bleeding wounds in several places from the parts that had been smashed against her being for so long that they had grown into her skin.
Eventually, she was able to throw it off and it landed in a wrinkled heap on the floor.
She found herself almost feeling sorry for it in it’s wretched state, all crumpled up on the floor. She had, after all, held it so close to her – treated it so tenderly – for so long. She looked at it for a long while trying to figure out why she had been so drawn to it in the first place. It was not attractive. It was less than attractive, it was hideous.
She found herself wondering why she didn’t realize how repulsive it was until now.
She left it there in a continued undressing. She slowly peeled off layer after layer of self doubt. She had learned her lesson and instead of jerking and ripping she worked slowly, gently. Sometimes she had to stop for awhile and come back to it. She kept at it, and after she was done she tackled the removal of her cloak of jealousy and her heavy chains of despair. Piece by piece, she undressed.
She didn’t realize how fatiguing all of her costumes had been until she found herself bare. She stood up straight and stretched out her spine.
She wrapped herself up in a coat of self worth. It was fuzzy and cozy and large enough to tuck around her thick thighs and pull up under her pockmarked chin. She slid on a headband of grace and a draped herself with a necklace of humor.
She looked at herself in the mirror and was startled by her reflection. She was not accustomed to seeing herself in such garments. She questioned whether or not they suited her and what others might think about her distinctive change of attire until she reminded herself that she did, in fact, deserve to be comfortable in her own skin. Happy, even.
She pulled her shoulders back, stood up straight. She found herself automatically starting to put on a smile, until she remembered that she didn’t have to. That a fake smile was another costume she could leave behind if she wanted. She felt adequate without one at that moment, so she let her lips drop to a relaxed horizontal position.
She found herself skipping that one-last-look-in-the-mirror she was so used to taking. She just walked away content.