Wisdom from a fitting room attendant

It turns out you can receive deep insight in some unlikely places.

Like the fitting room area at Nordstrom Rack.

Making decisions hasn’t always been my strong point. After all, I did go to four colleges in four years—two of them twice. There are some things that I know exactly what I want: froyo flavors, movie theater seats, guys, my go-to hairspray brand, work-related stuff, what my walk-up song would be and a number of other seemingly important things that present a variety of options. But then there are other things that cause me stress in trying to decide: which health care plan to choose, whether or not I really need everything I pick up when I’m walking through Target, how many more miles I can drive after the little light comes on to remind me that it’s time for an oil change, and so many other things that I simply can’t decide which ones to list.

And then there was the dress situation.

LAZ
This is my friend Laz, who called himself the Black Bond that night.

I went to a wedding Saturday night, and I determined I had nothing to wear to it and needed a new dress. So, I found myself at Nordstrom Rack Saturday, and I ended up in the fitting room with more options than necessary. Somehow I narrowed them all down to two. But then I had to make a decision. Needless to say, this was not a good situation. Add to that the fact that I was in a time crunch, and it’s the perfect equation for a potential disaster. (Yes, I do realize that picking one dress over another is not a life-altering moment.)

I stepped out of the fitting room with both dresses in hand and went to ask the opinion of the fitting room attendant. She said she liked the black one better than the rose-colored one because something about the waist made it look fancier. Then the following conversation ensued:

Me: Are you sure? You think it’s the black one that wins?

Fitting room attendant: What does your heart tell you?

Me: My heart? It’s a dress. I’m not sure my heart is telling me anything, other than maybe that I need to hurry up.

FRA: Yes, but the heart has a way of connecting with your mind in times like this.

Me: Is this like a Grandmother Willow thing?

FRA: Who?

(Apparently she hasn’t seen Pocahontas.)

Me: She’s a tree. So, I guess I should go with the black one?

FRA: I think so. But ultimately it’s not the dress that really matters. It’s the person wearing it.

I’ve never had such an insightful experience while shopping.

When I was at the wedding later that night, I realized how right she was. While I often notice people’s attire, I never think much of it. I’m more concerned with the actual people than what they’re wearing. I don’t think anyone would have treated me any differently if I had worn the rose dress instead of the black one. I know there are certainly times when people are judged and treated poorly because of their clothing, but that doesn’t mean it’s right, and it doesn’t mean we need to care so much about what we wear. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be presentable, but I don’t think I should have had so much trouble making a decision about which dress to buy. Love the people, not the clothes. That fitting room attendant is a wise gal.

And she was on the right track about the heart thing, though I still don’t know that I’m going to apply that in all of my shopping escapades. I remember taking a yoga class years ago, and the instructor told us to lead with the heart. I really like that saying because I don’t always like to try to apply logic to situations in which logic would just ruin things. Some things don’t make sense, and perhaps they simply shouldn’t. They don’t even need the scrutiny of decision making because you just know what you’re supposed to do. You’re being the person in the dress rather than the dress itself, and you’re leading with the heart.

That’s something our homegirl Pocahontas knew how to do all too well—with the help of Grandmother Willow, of course.

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