From the Petula Clarke song “Downtown” 1964. One of my all time favourite 60’s feelgood songs, always gets me out of the dumps (when played loud, of course). A fitting title for this post.
For most people, what I am about to describe is a simple, everyday thing that normally would not deserve even a line in a post, let alone a whole post. To me it was a step into a fear that, until today, I had shied away from facing. I went into town. As Mark this was never a problem. As myself, Christine, on the other hand it was a very, very big deal. I decided to dress smart. I wore my black shift dress, black low heeled shoes, natural tights and long black jacket (which I always seem to wear, and I’m wearing a lot of black lately). It took longer to decide what to wear than it did to do my makeup, which is unusual, but I also have a fear of looking ridiculous. (This fear is greater than people reading me. I’d rather someone point to me and say: “That’s a man”, than people laugh at me because I’m wearing something totally unsuitable or I’m totally mismatched).
The original plan was for me to go over to Tracey’s, go shopping in Farnborough, walk the dogs then back in time for the doc’s at 5pm. This didn’t happen. Due to various interruptions I ended up being ready at three, then remembered the kids coming out of school. There was no way I was going to be able to deal with that on my own, so the plan changed to going to the doc’s then into Aldershot (time permitting). This changed again when the ticket machine on the bus failed and it had to turn back. So Tracey rescheduled the doc’s and we went into town instead. To say I was bricking myself at the thought would be an understatement. I was terrified, but decided to go ahead anyway. Chickening out would just put me back down and I would never get up again. On the way in we met a friend of mine and stood having a chat on the corner. People passed by but no-one really stared or commented. Slowly my confidence began to rise. Our first stop was to be the 99p Shop. This was on the other side of the town centre, so I had to walk the length of it to get there. As we walked I began to feel less and less conspicuous, and actually started to enjoy myself. By the time we reached the 99p Shop I was feeling easier and more natural. We wondered around the shop getting the stuff we needed (including a new pair of sunglasses for me) and went to the checkout. I stood with Tracey while she put the stuff through and looked around. No-one seemed to be staring, the kids just played, the world hadn’t stopped to look at me! Then we went to Wilkinsons. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel conspicuous browsing the makeup aisle. I was able to stop and really choose what I wanted instead of grab and run. (This usually resulted in buying something that I couldn’t use, no matter how hard I tried). We wandered around for a bit, getting bits that Tracey needed and then left. Walking back I felt on cloud 9. I had done it. Finally.
Just a note: On a previous post I had stated that I had gone into town for the first time as Christine (Dye Another Day…). This was only wearing jeans, jumper, minimal foundation and trainers, not really trying too hard but wanting to.