Have you ever gone to a social function and found you were wearing the "wrong" thing? I have. The worst such experience happened to me when I was in junior high school, seventh grade. The school held a Valentine's dance for the students and all of us were welcome to attend. I didn't have a boyfriend and had no intention of attending the dance until some of my friends agreed that we could all go together, even without dates, and it would be fun. I was the only one who had doubts.
I wore a white strapless gown with lots of chiffon. Mother had my aunt make it for me. When I put it on and stood before the mirror, I thought it was the most beautiful dress I'd ever seen. Even now when I look at the photos made that night before I left for the dance, I see a pretty girl in a pretty dress.
My friend, who must have known something I didn't, wore a dress in a fashionable length, with a discretely cut neckline, made of a shiny satin-like fabric. So did almost all of the other girls at the dance. In fact, it appeared they had all bought the same dress except in different colors.
The other two girls in our party were as improperly dressed as I was, and none of us were asked to dance. I couldn't have felt more conspicuous if I had a bulls-eye painted on my face.
It was the most miserable night of my youth. I came home and cried in my mother's arms.
At that age, those things seemed far more serious than they do now. We are fragile and easily bruised and damaged when we are very young. But we grow older, and one day we realize that being different isn't always the worst thing we can do. The young girl I was then wanted more than anything to fit in and belong. Being so obviously out of step with the majority left a deep scar on my psyche for many years. One of the perks of growing older is realizing those things really don't matter anymore. Mature people, intelligent people, don't judge others by what they wear. I'm sure no one but me remembers that night or that dress.
This incident came back to me when I read this article on Seniorwomen.com by Rose Mula.
Do you have painful memories of when you felt you didn't belong? Do you relate to Rose's clothes dilemma?