I’ll take blind panic for $500…

Okay, so a month ago, I picked out my dress for the RITA ceremony online.

It took me weeks. 

I mean weeks. I was trying to match my editor’s dress (which is stunning, because she is stunning) and trying to pick something that didn’t make me too… uhm… large.

And I thought I found a dress.

It wasn’t going to arrive for a month– but I could deal with that– it would arrive the week before I left, and I’d be good.

As you could probably guess by my last post, not only did it not arrive, but thank you, PayPal, the order was CANCELLED, and I was fucked. 

I know that the last time I went to the national RWA conference, I was, well, a little intimidated by how well, uh, everybody dressed.  Yes, I said it. I felt like a big, tank-wearing, capri-sporting slob. So, yesterday, as I hauled my family through the 102 degree heat, I had a revelation. Btw–don’t ask how we all ended up going– I think it had to do with the Minion movie and trying to catch the early show, and somehow there came a point where Mate and I both screamed FOOD in tandem, and well, five different stores for me and a new pair of shoes for Mate and kids who were SO ready to be bribed with fro-yo, and that’s all she wrote.

But back to my revelation.

Yes, I was freaked out by omg wtf am I going to wear, and holy HELL how did I get all these clothes and not know if I could wear them or not, and JESUS do I even look good in them?  Also– the purple paisley thing from two RT’s ago seems to have dropped off the fucking continental divide. I’m not even sure if it looked as good as I thought it did, but I have to admit: I miss it. There, I said it. I miss that fucking dress/tunic, even if it’s just to say, “No, you body-odor-sucking polyester nightmare, I have moved beyond you now so piss off!”

And… the revelation.

I’m not just freaked out by going back to RT as the tank-top wearing, capri-pants sporting, M/M chip-on-my-shoulder nightmare that I’m sure I was two years ago.

I’m freaked out because one of the things that I almost lost (but didn’t– thank you Mate!) was a little teeny pewter pin, that’s just so lovely I can almost cry.  It’s my RITA pin, and it goes on my lanyard, and it says to everybody, “See this person you’ve never heard of, with the book that would get run over by a tractor trailer in most book pitches and then killed with fire?  She’s a RITA nominee!”

Oh, holy God.

I’m going to be a princess.

Now see, I’ve spent my entire adult life absolutely sure that I did not get to be the princess. I mean, I never even imagined being the runner up princess. I was always the servant girl who helped the princess get her shoes and her prince and got to celebrate in the riches of the kingdom.

Being prepared to be the servant girl, I have to admit:  I don’t have the shoes to be the princess.

There, I’ve said it. There is no dress I can wear, no shoes I can buy, no hair product I can invest in that will make me live up to being the princess.  Since Mum first put cloth diapers on my bum, I have been knocking shit over with my ass and then doing the touch-your-toes-look-at-my-keester stretch to pick them up.

I have no finesse, no party wit, and no elegance, grace or style.

And unless the expedited shipping that I paid an embarrassing amount of money for pans out, I’m going to have a dress I’ve already worn, and have already packed again because I am taking no chances.

So, you’d think I’d still be in a blind panic, right?  Because my dress is arriving tomorrow and I’m getting on a plane at 12:05 am?

But something happened yesterday as I nearly came unglued.  (Mate kept asking if I cried on all the sales clerks in the Sacramento area as they told me that no large-sized fashion stores in the area  carried evening wear in July, and I had to admit that yes, yes I had. And one woman offered me a summer dress with a cardigan, and I, who once wore a muumuu as evening wear because it was all I had, almost ripped her face off.)

I made that revelation, had that epiphany that no dress/make-up/hair-dye whatever was going to make me any different than the woman who types stories in her disastrous kitchen with dogs jumping on her knees, and calmed the fuck down.

Of course, a lovely text convo with first Mary and then Damon helped me pull my shit back in a sack, but in order to calm down enough to even ask them how to calm down, I had to remember something really important.

And I can’t remember what it was now, because yes.

I’m still in a blind panic.

Oh, wait!

Yes. My kids thought that pin was damned cute– they did. But they didn’t think it made me any less liable for dinner, or any less horrible for making them stay home from San Diego while they were forced to babysit, or any less of a deserter for leaving them for a week.

I can do my best professionally and personally, but every princess is still the serving girl in the kitchen the next morning.

It’s what princesses do best.

0 thoughts on “I’ll take blind panic for $500…”

  1. Cal says:

    Do you have Nordstroms out there? I've gotten evening wear from them and they usually have some. Right now they have a couple of seasons going. Also, try Nordstroms Rack. Good luck. You're wonderful and a great writer. ��

  2. Ruby2 says:

    Everything is going to be all right. Truly. Because people are interested in you, not your clothes. Wearing a nice dress at a fancy bash–that's something for you, not something that other people need.
    I've come to the conclusion (tested at various high profile get-togethers around the world), that if your hair doesn't unduly draw attention to itself, your makeup is age-appropriate and your lipstick is red, no one really cares what you are wearing as long as it is black and fits well.
    Personally, I usually wear a tailored black suit and black heels everywhere I go (including fancy dinners where everyone else is wearing white tie) and no one has given me the stink eye (well, except for that time in Stockholm, but that's kind of a special story).
    I also hear that expensive call girls dress exclusively in suits these days and who should know better what appeals than expensive call girls?
    So. It's going to be fine. Groom well, ensure your clothes are clean, wear your intelligence on your skin and you'll be fine.

  3. Donna Lee says:

    I am a card carrying member of the "always a servant and never the princess" club so I get what you're saying. I think you are wonderful and that your wonderfulness will shine through whatever you wear.

    The people who count? Think you are gorgeous.

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