When you find your wedding dress, you want to feel beautiful. You want Yes to bubble up from the depths of your being. You want to hear trumpet fanfare as you meet your own eyes in the mirror.
Alas, I was in too much pain to conjure fanfare that March morning in 2013. My body had been toiling through a litany of discomforts: physical shifts that readied me for the emotional shifts of marriage and our big move. On Dress Shopping Day, my shoulder ached. The store’s strapless bra dug into my ribcage. I felt about as lovely as a discarded tissue.
Thank heaven for Lindsay and Jade. “Try it on with your normal bra,” they said. “If they add straps and hem it a bit, it could be perfect.”
I obeyed, partly because Jade and Lindsay possess keener fashion savvy than I; partly because I was too weary to go to another store. We pinched the back of the bodice to see how it might fit after alterations. We held up the skirt to the desired length.
We bought the dress. (I say that literally. My friends both pitched in to bring the dress into my price range. Excellent wedding present, right?) By the time July rolled around, I could see what Lindsay and Jade had glimpsed long before: it was perfect.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the Johari Window. When we went dress shopping, my friends had their eyes on my blind spot: they saw what I couldn’t.
Last week I had a third interview at a prestigious private school back in Massachusetts. It was a position I knew I could ace: Pre-K through 5th Grade Music Teacher. Landing the gig would ensure that we could return to New England this summer.
I didn’t get the job. I saw the email on Sunday morning while bustling in Willa’s kitchen, getting ready for a day of yoga teacher training. I felt a little sad: I mean, I’d really like to return to New England this summer. But I felt something else, too.
Call it spaciousness. Call it curiosity. Take another look at the right half of the Johari Window. Not only are we blind to certain aspects of our selves; there are aspects that remain hidden even to those who know us best.
On the train Sunday evening, I watched the sun descend over the marshes and trees I love. I didn’t mind the dirt on the window or the power plant blighting the horizon. I could sense my connection to the broad world beyond my limited view.
If there’s anything I know, it’s that there’s a lot I don’t know. Sometimes friends have to tell me, Buy this dress. It really works. Sometimes strangers deliver the message: This job is not for you.
At this point in my journey, I’m grateful for every clear sign: the Nos as well as the Yeses. If given the choice, I’d opt for the job I know I can ace, but I’ve never actually landed a job like that. Each step of my meandering career path has stretched me past the boundaries of my competency.
So now I wait. When Big Important Matters elude my understanding, it’s best to refocus on the small, delicious blessings of today. The cat craves my attention.
Willa gave us a Buddha butter dish just like the one in her kitchen.
The season of open windows has returned.