Thursday, February 03, 2011

Without a presence, there is no absence

"High Tea" Esca, February 2011
Yesterday I had a bit of a mini-breakdown. As I was trying to pick an outfit to go on a date Jon and I had planned thanks to restaurant week, a nice whopping reality-check slapped my self-esteem to the sewers.

For a few months I had been pining to go to Esca because of it's slow-food mentality. And thanks to specials we could take advantage of it. I knew it was impressive considering the review sites labeled it as "$$$$" and while I don't own any fancy frocks, because let's face it I can't afford the SATC lifestyle, I do own some decent items. But yesterday, the outside world was quite literally an ice-skating rink and there was no way to leave the house without rain boots and cozy pants.

I know we all have an "I-don't-have-anything-to-wear" dilemma every once in a while. But I instantly fell into a pity party. Why don't I have nice, professional clothes when I'll officially be one in May? Why don't I have a versatile closet? What have I worn the past year at my other job? Why have I gained all this weight since living in the city and my decent clothes doesn't fit right? Why is this restaurant giving me the Cinderella-syndrome?

I was knee-deep. I cried. I yelled at Jon. I took out the majority of my closet to try on. I did not want to go to the restaurant of my dreams anymore if it was going to make me feel like a scrub. Why did I deserve or think I had the right to go to such a place? I kicked Jon out of the room and remembered to breathe. Here I was with the perfect opportunity to try new things, have a romantic date, feel nice about myself, and I was throwing it away because of a tantrum.

I quickly threw on a nice tank with my thick Gap sweater and stuffed my black "professional" pants into my Tretorn rain boots and decided to face the disapproving looks of staff. At least if I didn't look fancy, Jon didn't either and we'd be in it together, like a couple. And if they didn't approve and try to offer us blazers, then we would keep our dignity and patron a different restaurant. It's NYC right? Everyone dresses crazy!

As we travelled over my confidence starting swelling, "well screw them if they don't accept us!" We made it finally, where a very attentive staff that was kind despite their initial reactions of seeing us, and sat us at a small table full of different sized utensils that we had no clue how to use. Jon and I looked at each other agreed: we felt like little kids wearing our parents clothes. We were the youngest ones there among business executives and ladies-that-lunch.

We were out of place, but we ordered anyway. And it was one of the most delicious meals I have ever had. (Note: if you ever go, order the spaghetti a la bolognesa!)

This seems to be a recurring theme in my NYC life: finding a niche to fit into, a balance between my young-professionalism versus my peter-pan roots, feeling classy enough to dress-up my single-parent-lower-middle-class Argentine roots in this sky-high concrete city. It's one of my personal demons that is always lingering in the back of my mind, where I've come from. And I never want to become one of those adults that consider Applebee's fine dining.

But hopefully, I can do as I did yesterday and overcome the negative voices and enjoy what I deserve. Grow into myself and who I'm meant to become: appreciate the skeletons in my closet but ignore their taunting voices.


  1. Sorry about you having clothing issues, but Yay! For going to the restaurant of your dreams! And I'm glad you had a good time.

  2. @Su
    I think the breakdown beforehand helped me appreciate it even more :)

  3. @Michelle in a shell Hi Michelle, looks like this reply code thing is working on your blog now. Congrats.