Recently I came in contact with a lovely, lovely girl. She seemed to define femininity. She had perfect porcelain skin and the gentlest curves. Her belly was soft and rounded and her hips swayed as she moved. She wore a jade Buddha around her neck, and it was adorned with diamonds and gold. It should've been gaudy, but on her it somehow wasn't. But these weren't the things that kept drawing my gaze back to her. No. It was her hair. It was dark and shiny, and she wore it pulled into a high ponytail with the ends tucked back in under the elastic. It was somehow casual and elegant at the same time - a look I have often strived for and never been able to achieve.
It looked so perfect on her. It looks so silly on me.
It is the way I always drew my mother when I was a child.
My mother had a cocktail dress - a gown, really - that was red with black flecks. It was not flashy or low cut or even particularly form-fitting, but she looked so beautiful in it. Every time I drew a picture of her, whether she was going to a party, working in the kitchen, or playing with me, I always drew her wearing that dress. That dress was grown-up and sophisticated and far beyond lovely.
And I always drew her with a ball of hair on top of her head. My mother wore her hair short, permed, and wet-set. She never wore anything that resembled a ball of hair on top of her head. But in my youth, I thought that was the perfect glamorous hairdo to complement her beautiful elegant gown.
And this young lady was rocking it. So simple. So sophisticated. So feminine. She was probably 25 years younger than me, yet she made me think of my mother as I always pictured her. She did not resemble my mother in the least, and yet the feeling was there. Sophisticated. Feminine. Lovely.
When I learned to sew, I was thrilled to find a bolt of fabric that reminded me of my moms red gown with the black flecks. I bought a length of it and made myself a dress. I almost couldn't bear to wear it. It wasn't a special dress - very plain and simple, as my skill level demanded - but it made me feel so beautiful and so powerful and so feminine that it almost scared me.
I mentioned all of this to my mom at that point. She barely remembered that dress. It wasn't important to her at all. To me? It was her very essence. That, and a shiny ball of hair on top of her head.