How insecure did I feel?  Insecure enough to:

1)   Wear two pair of Spanx.(Caution: layering of Spanx may cause lack of oxygen to the brain.)

2)   Spend more time applying mascara than I spent on homework in ALL of high school.

3)   Use a forklift to hoist the girls back to their pre-baby positions and hold them there with a bra whose straps could be used as suspension bridge cables.

4)   Wear a black sundress to a party on the beach. (Black and sundress, is an oxymoron. )

5)   Buy a new pair of shoes on the way to the party,(literally)  because I was convinced the black, strappy sandals I’d brought be would social suicide.

Yes, that insecure. No matter how many of these “events” I go to, I feel the same way: ANXIOUS.  People and place may change, but the nervous chatter in my head is a constant.

“Do I look too fat? Do I have anything stuck in my teeth? Enough perfume?  Too much perfume? What if I say something stupid? What is his name again? Am I over -dressed?  Am I under-dressed?  I hope I’m not too loud, Why can’t I get the flu and get out of this?”

Another thing that stays the same: I never get the flu. (click to read more)

After a record-breaking trip to the shoe store, (cute silver heels, on SALE. Gotta love that!) my husband and I arrived, primped-out and fashionably late.  We made our way to a dinner table and I managed to (not so gracefully, but thankfully for the most part hidden by the tablecloth) bend my legs and take my seat. (2 pair of Spanx make a girl a little less than flexible.)

I pant- blew like a Lamaze flunk-y to catch my Spanx hindered breath and settled in for a long evening of discomfort.  (Caution: wearing two pair of Spanx, may cause permanent brain damage.)  I looked up and met the brown eyes of a woman with a warm smile.  I smiled back. She was so “normal” I thought.

Within half an hour, I knew I’d met a kindred spirit.  We clicked. We giggled. We fed each other lines. We found we had a lot in common, including but not limited too: an affinity for shoes, cleavage issues, (those dratted, wrap dresses) impulsivity and motherhood. I was having fun, and it wasn’t oxygen deprivation, related.

After dinner, the husbands started talking “work” so we shifted our chairs to make it easier to talk.  That’s when she said something that totally shocked me:

“I’m having so much more fun than usual.  I HATE these things.  I always feel too fat and too lame for this crowd. It’s like a plastic people parade.”

My jaw dropped open wide enough to provide a full on tonsil view. “You mean I’m not the only one?” I said.  “Nope. I’m always afraid I won’t cut it with the perfect people.” She replied.

That’s when I looked around, I mean, really looked around.

True, there a few coiffed, styled, perfect people. But, honestly?  They were the minority. It was more a 50:1 average people to perfect people, ratio.  I wondered if it had always been like that.  I wondered how many others in that crowd felt the same way my new friend and I did?

I wondered how many fun times I’d missed out on because I was too uptight about appearance and measuring up. I wondered if my shoes mattered after-all. I wondered why I only seem to notice the minority of perfect people, instead of the majority of the average? I wondered if I’d ever been that warm smile across the table that set someone else at ease. I wondered if that was enough.

And then, I stopped wondering.  I knew it was enough, because it had been for me.  That smile across the table, made me feel welcome.  It set me at ease and honestly?  It made me like that woman, imperfect as she was.

That’s when I decided.  Next time?  I’m skipping that second pair of Spanx, breathing deep and laughing loud.  Next time?  I’m going to relax and be myself.  Next time?  I won’t miss out on the averagely wonderful by focusing on measuring up to the perfect. Next time, I won’t assume the perfect are so perfect just because they seem to be.  Next time I’ll befriend the perfect and maybe find out they aren’t all that plastic… Next time, I’m going to be that warm smile across the table even if I’m faced with one of the perfect people. I just might find out the perfect people feel insecure too.

What about you?