Monday, June 23, 2008

Vulnerability Blog 2

Working out, for me, is not a fashion show. It's not a chance to meet people. It's my time to do weight-bearing exercises that will burn calories, build lean muscle, raise my metabolism, and prevent osteoporosis when I'm older. My workout clothes are semi-color coordinated, but they aren't state of the art or anything. Quite honestly, they consist of garage sale purchases and free camp t-shirts. On mornings when I work out, I struggle out of bed, done the clothes--hoping they match, grab a ponytail holder, and drive to Curves--no make up, no deodorant... Oh, yeah, I'm a thing of beauty--especially that early in the morning when my face takes on the snarl of a bear just waking up from hibernation.

Last Thursday after a hard session, I decided to stop at Starbucks on my way home and treat myself to a well-deserved latte, which I have not indulged in for quite a while. I made a quick turn to the right and stopped at the Starbucks on Central Avenue in downtown Naples.

Before I go on, let me explain the demographics of downtown Naples. We're kind of retirement central here, but we're wealthy retirement central. Many of the homes are 10 million dollars and up. (You can get them in the low 1 to 2 millions if you go a few miles away from the beach.) It's nothing to see BMWs, Porches, tons of Hummers (I don't know why they're so big here as we DON'T have any hills.), Cadillacs, etc. You name the car, we've got one here, and yes, that includes Ferrari's. With such cars come the men who don't need Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and the trophy wives who wear the fancy workout clothes and have their personal trainers for 4 hours a day. (If you live here, don't try to keep up with the Joneses. They're in massive debt trying to keep up with everyone else.)

So I walked into Starbucks wearing my black Soffee shorts (showing off a yet another bruise on my leg where I had again bumped into a piece of random furniture), a royal blue shirt that was given to me at a camp for volunteering to pick up the keynote speaker (Royal blue looks hideous on me, by the way.), my $9 Target purse, my hair tied up in a random ponytail with my too-long-to-be-bangs flying every which-a-way, no makeup, and no deodorant--and I had just worked out. Clear the room, everyone. The "thing of beauty" wants her coffee.

Did I mention it was a Starbucks in downtown Naples?

Oh, yes. I'm standing there in all my post-workout morning glory, probably smelling like eau de sweat, surrounded by plastic-surgery-enhanced women with color coordinated workout gear, men in white collar t-shirts and ties, and all the "beautiful people" of Naples who were perky because they had already had their coffee. I must have bumped into a guy who looked exactly like Thomas Jane, like, four times.

Forget standing of 5th Avenue in a red dress while my sister was trying to take pics of me for my book cover--this was tons worse. I kept sending little mental signals of "Don't look at me" to everyone. Yep. Vulnerability... All because of the way I felt when I compared my appearance to everyone else's.

What's really funny is that I went back into the same Starbucks later on that day wearing makeup, a touch of my favorite perfume, and a nice outfit--along with actually doing my hair, and I felt totally comfortable. (Two Starbucks trips in one day! I felt like I had died and gone to heaven!)

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