Sometimes, the simplest and seemingly insignificant moments can change the way you view things. You’d hardly expect an epiphany to strike as you elbow your way to the cheapest sale item in New Look. But that was exactly where it happened.
I had tried on half the sales rack before leaving the exasperated changing room attendant with a mound of unwanted clothes. Having given up on finding anything that suited me, I wandered upstairs to peruse the shoes when a beautifully coloured dress caught my eye. I approached it tentatively because of the massive Maternity sign hovering above. I stole a glance at the floor staff and puffed my belly out a little. I felt like I shouldn’t be there. And that was when it hit me: I could go wherever the hell I wanted to go. I had been obediently walking within the perimeters of the square labels that society had branded me with, questioning nothing and missing everything. Dramatic stuff for someone who shops in New Look!
I began to realise that these strangers did not know who I was. My life was an unopened storybook. For all they knew, I was a happily married schoolteacher, excited about her upcoming arrival. Or an unemployed singer-songwriter torn between travelling to New York to pursue a dazzling career, and staying in Dublin to raise a child who would never know his father. Or a weird single girl pretending to be pregnant.
Twenty minutes later I strolled out of the store, swinging my bag of purchases: an expectant mother’s dress, a man’s hoodie and a teenager’s T-shirt. This small step opened up a whole new world of permission and possibility. Granted, I had only stuck a little toe outside of my comfort zone but, for someone who has always been excessively honest and terrified to bend, let alone break, the rules, it felt liberating.
Images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Butterflies_UFmuseum.jpg; http://browneyedbellejulie.blogspot.com/; http://sussurrosegritos.tumblr.com/page/110