i grew up a tomboy. i had short hair and my name was leigh. people weren’t sure at times if i was a boy or a girl. i wore toughskins jeans and plain white t-shirts. my mom was / is mentally ill and popped pills. she was locked behind her bedroom door while i grew up.
i created a tough ass little kid persona; i didn’t need anyone, i could take care of myself, and i would kick the ass of any boy or girl that gave me, my sister, or any of my friends shit.
i stopped fighting before i graduated from elementary school, but i didn’t shed my tough as nails persona until i met my sweet husband.
when i met dave on an airplane, i knew he was the one. once i had that figured out i was screwed because i didn’t know what to do with him. i was used to meeting guys at bars and having a make out, but not getting in a real relationship. very quickly i knew i was in over my head and went to a therapist to get to the bottom of what was going on.
after about 2 years of hard work on the couch, i figured it out. the tough as nails persona was gone and the real “i love to cry” leigh was out.
i felt like a new person. i looked at myself, life, my husband, just about everything with clear eyes.
dave and i got married and we had a couple of kids charlie and margot…then a couple more kids sargent and audrey then….eve.
when margot was about 4 years old she came home from a play date with a flyer that said ‘join our fairy princess treasure hunt! mothers and daughters put on your tutus and roam the magical forest for hidden tresasure!’ margot was so excited and i was game to take her. i went into her cardborad treasure chest dress up bin i bought at costco for her birthday and pulled out a white sparkly tutu and a tattered pink one that had gotten a bit more play.
margot picked the white sparkly one and i picked up the pink tutu and headed to my bedroom to get ready.
i pulled the pink tattered tutu up over my jeans and threw on my flip flops. it was about time to go, but i ran to my full length mirror really quick to have a peek to see if i put it on right. i stopped. just stopped everything. i stared at myself. i stared at myself for a few minutes while tears dripped down my cheeks. i couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. i couldn’t believe how beautiful i felt in it. i couldn’t believe at 40 years old i was experiencing this feeling for the first time. i felt like a princess. it felt magical. oh, the tattered pink tutu.
margot and i had the most glorious day that day. we held hands and ran through the forest, not even caring what we were looking for. i felt young and happy and free. i wore that tutu for the rest of the day until bed time. when i took it off, it didn’t go back in the cardboard costume box, it went in my closet. i wore it to my kids school to set up for events, i wore it to go out with my friends, and i eventually sewed the tattered thing to a tank top (tanktutu) and wore it on the oprah winfrey show.
i am not sure if i cried the first time i put it on because i had never felt like a beautiful little girl and i was allowing myself to feel that at 40?
i don’t know exactly why, but what i do know is that it brought me joy. i have decided i want a lot of that in my life.
so, if you see me in a tutu from time to time, i am not trying to be cute or outrageous…i am just sprinkling a little extra joy into my day.
huge hugs, thank you for reading, and may you find your inner tutu!
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