Elegance and Class
In my mind’s eye, I’m not very original when I picture elegance and class. I come up with images of Audrey Hepburn, with her gamine figure and far off gaze. A picture of refinement without trying to be refined. Classy without spending time trying to figure out what that means.
Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw short, stout, and cute. Just friggin’ adorable. I wondered as I stared at this petite, sad, and anxious girl in front me how on earth I could ever be elegant and classy. After all, I couldn’t be spastic or jumpy or laugh loudly if I was going to be classy, right?
So instead I got to work on hating what was in the mirror, and hating being called cute. My mouth dripped with sarcastic comments, my eyes shot daggers at anyone daring to say that four-letter word. And before I knew it, I was the angriest kid I knew without anyone seeming to have a clue how I felt.
It felt as though elegance and class were only for those deemed worthy by magazines and cameras. Those women who had poise, height, and knew how to dress their lanky bodies. It was apparently out of my reach, so I stopped trying. I deadened the anger over being seen as perky and cute by pretending to be the girl everyone seemed to make me out to be. But the anger still sat heavy, and the confusion over elegance continued.
I decided I couldn’t keep on the angry path, and I couldn’t keep looking in the mirror wishing for something that wasn’t there. I was so exhausted from such a heavy weight. So I worked to find beauty in everything, to have something meaningful behind my eyes, and to see my soul flood from every part of my being. I started to realize that Audrey Hepburn wasn’t my idea of elegance and class because of what she looked like. I learned all about her life behind the scenes and I realized why she exuded such class on the outside: she was emanating it from her very core; her soul shone.
So I kept going. I kept working to shed the outer layer I had built up and learned how to let my soul shine. But I was still getting descriptions of being cute, and shiny and playful, not elegant or classy. So I learned how to take those words as the highest compliments. I know can’t control what words someone uses to describe me but I can control how I take them in.
Then, one day, it happened. Twice. Recently, after all this time, I was called classy. And I didn’t buy a new outfit, or change my swagger for that word. It crept up on me while I was busy learning to love what I saw in the mirror.
I became classy from the inside out.
So maybe I was elegant and classy this whole time. Or maybe I wasn’t. All I know now is that I have learned to expand my definitions of words. After all, they are just words, and what you do with them is the most important thing. There’s a peace around taking in the words I’ve heard surrounding me and deciding what to do with them. I can disregard them, accept them, or decide I need to look into changing a part of myself.
Maybe that’s all it takes to be elegant and classy. Taking it all in and deciding what’s best for me, from the soul: inside out.