LA and Back... Thank God

I was in Los Angeles for work a couple days ago, and I can't tell you how glad I am to be back. I'm not going to rant about the city itself, but I'll admit that the little slice of downtown where my boss and I go several times a year isn't a very happy place for me. I'm trying really hard to get over what gets into my head every time we go there, but so far, I've been unsuccessful at dealing with some pretty nasty feelings that surface every time we make a trip to LA.

We go to Los Angeles to buy clothing for the boutique where I work. All day long, we're working in showrooms surrounded by representatives of clothing lines and buyers from other boutiques located all over the west coast. For the most part, these reps and buyers look a lot like one another: long, straightened blonde hair; lots of make-up; some plastic surgery on the face, lots on the chest; tight, revealing clothes; crazy high heels... you know, like your average gal from Portland. Ha! My boss and I stick out like sore thumbs while we're there. If I put on ChapStick I feel made-up. You may remember that the last time I was there I split the butt seam of the pants I was wearing, so I wore my pajama sweat pants for an entire day in the showrooms. We are not your average fashion market attendees.

Anyhow, the strange thing is that even though I'm not fond of the look that is so prevalent at the fashion market, even though I'm really turned off by processed hair and plastic surgery, even though I like a down-to-earth, natural look, once we've been at the show for a few hours I always start to feel really bad about myself. Which is crazy. Crazy. I know. On a daily basis (when I'm not in LA, at least) I think about the fact that I am so content with my life. I think of how lucky I am to have the amazing family that I have, to have a job that I like, to live in an awesome city, to be healthy and strong. And in the list of things I value most, how I look (or how anyone else looks) doesn't even come into play. So why is it that when surrounded by women who are actually visually unappealing to me, I start to feel so bad about myself? Huh? I need a good shaking. Can you relate?


LeeAnn said...

I know what you mean. I'm in a sales industry that hires Barbie dolls, and then there is me- the exact opposite. Yesterday I forgot to put on makeup and was completely fine about it. When I go to national sales meetings, I get the same feelings/experience and call it the "group effect." When you are in an artificial environment of people who all uphold an idol to inauthentic ideals, it is overwhelming and powerful. I have always felt out of place, but realize that out of place isn't negative.

I have received comments in personal conversations how I do stand out, but it isn't related to what I look like (all that is in my head). The conversation from the other person always hints at my personal confidence and peaceful nature. It does break my heart that women do fall into a trap they built themselves when it comes to beauty and how they define themselves.

So much can be discussed about your experience, but that conversation is not meant for a comment on a blog. Glad you are home and glad all you clothes stayed in one piece!

laundrygirl said...

Yes - I can indeed relate.
This is why people who live in California make a point of mentioning that Northern California and Southern California are two different beasts. I stay away from LA
not wanting to feel like an elephant since my size 26 is not welcome among the size twos!

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

On some level I feel like I need to defend my home city, but on the other hand, I don't live there and can never see myself living there again. But just so you know, the Barbie doll plastic surgery crowd is not indicative of the entire city.

After watching "Beginners" (for the 3rd time this past week) I had a strong desire to be transported to LACMA.

p.s. I bought some Terra Tint lip balm and feel like I'm wearing MAC lipstick when I put it on.

traci said...

I totally know what you mean about sticking out like a sore thumb in situations like that. I've been happy to avoid that for a while since moving west. As for LA, I've been traveling there a bunch for work over the last six months and have started to fall for that city in a most surprising way. Probably because my working days are spent in the bowels of a Museum and followed by a mad dash to find yummy food in random neighborhoods with my colleagues as guides. But so far, I kind of love it.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think you're wonderful - but I think it's a natural to feel like that sometimes, especially when you're feeling like you're out of your element and everyone seems to be judging you. Why is it that women are so hard on each other? I like that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are big on telling women to be kinder to one another.

I grew up in a place where people have lots of surgery, fake boobs at 18, fake noses at 16, etc. I also love makeup, but prefer the natural aging and boobs myself. But perhaps I'm more lucky than some of the people (men too!) who feel the pressures to have to change via surgery to look like celebs, or to please their spouses, etc. Calf implants for example...

I love that you ripped your pants last time (have done that a few times myself, and always in public), but what a bummer!

Shan said...

"...I always start to feel really bad about myself. "

Baby, I could write a book.

It always takes more mental toughness to resist the status quo than it does to conform. Being one of those people (the straightened, the liposucked, the botoxed and the lifted) comes with its own insecurities, I'm sure, but at least you'd blend.

Connie said...

I bet they'd feel the same way if they were among you and your friends for days. I think we like to stand out in a crowd- but not too much. Still, it's funny how separate our rational and irrational brains can be.