I wrote this a while ago, pre-COVID. Things have changed, I have changed, the world has changed. This is a bit of a summary of where things have gone. In fact, things have continued to change, my life, who I am and what I do, continues to evolve.
I cherish each and every Kandi outing I get. Still do and I have done so quite a few times now. While I often do the same thing when out, every experience is so different. I have talked about my desire to get my mug in front of as many people as possible. On a three hour art museum shift at their monthly party, for example, I could have seen at least 1,500-2,000 people, maybe more. Attendance for these parties are around 3,000 people. People that I greet, speak to, smile at and/or engage in a conversation. I don’t skimp on presentation either, so I am usually in heels. Most volunteer gigs have me standing. It is rare that I am just quietly out.
Also when I am dressed, I am “on”. I never let my guard down. I am at minimum aware of my surroundings for safety reasons (be smart). I am also aware that I represent all of my sisters when out, I always want to leave a good impression. Kandi is a bit of a performance. Yes, she is me and I am her, no doubt. But I am also more outgoing, a bigger personality that I am in my every day life.
Things often hurt when I am dressed. Clip-on earrings (or my adapted version that appear to be pierced), over time, become painful. I have made some changes to make them more comfortable as I have learned. I sometimes have this Clark Kent thing going on. I wear glasses, bifocals. Kandi often wears contacts, purely for vanity purposes. My eyes are not conducive to wearing contacts long term. Eventually, on a long outing, my eyes tire or on occasion, become very uncomfortable. I have focusing issues in contacts. You have seen me frequently in glasses over the past year or so as a result.
When dressed, I treat my body differently that I would otherwise. While I am 100% comfortable using the ladies room, I avoid doing so whenever possible. Also without getting graphic, I am, shall we say, not as loosely underdressed than I would be otherwise. I don’t eat as much as I would normally when out and chose only items that I can consume in a “put together” lady-like fashion. I am often slightly physically uncomfortable when dressed. At my age, when you deny yourself the opportunity to “go” you sometimes don’t get that opportunity back again and when you do, let’s just say it’s a struggle.
We have talked before about the time invested in just being out as Kandi. The work and thought associated with the day’s outfit assembly. Shaving, shaving, shaving…… Makeup and getting dressed. The commute to wherever I am going (usually at least 30 minutes one way). Returning home and how I do that. Getting cleaned up and putting everything away. That point was driven home to me as I spent a good two minutes getting ready for Mass with my wife the other Sunday, while she was still applying makeup in the car after 45 minutes in the bathroom.
Kandi is a labor of love. She lifts me to highs, different than highs associated with family and friends, but highs nonetheless. A simple compliment or sometime touching and deeply meaningful compliments, lift me, thrill me to no end. I am honored, blessed and exhilarated by my Kandi experiences.
But…….I am often exhausted. Tired. Beat. I still have a job, still have household responsibilities, still cherish my time with my wife, children and friends. No day is complete without daily exercise, usually a run or at least 45 minutes of activity (now up to an hour and a half on a non-work day). My male interests have gone nowhere, I still love a good game (when available). And oh yeah, I am old! Now I am working three jobs, trying to build a business and establish myself in the apparel industry. Why kill myself? I want to be able to allow my wife to retire. Uncle Sam took a large chunk of our nest egg, as we have discussed here. But selfishly, I absolutely love my apparel jobs (despite one of my “bosses” being an a-hole). It allows me to foster creativity ion many ways and I get to perform. Every sales call, every trade show interaction, every webinar, is a presentation. As such, there have been markedly fewer Kandi outings, my daily workouts have been cut to the bare minimum and my pickleball play, feeding a competitive and communal need that I have, have been sparse.
Kandi, The Great Time Sponge, frequently exhilarating and often exhausting!
These days, I long for the ability to do some of the things I used to be able to. We all do. I am still evolving myself, focusing more and more on my presentation, trying new and different things. Making changes in my basic presentation. You certainly have see some obvious changes. I am getting more serious about permanent hair removal, slowly. I am mentally exhausted frequently, inactivity being my personal worst enemy. Now, it’s the way of the world.
I have also thrown myself into trying (generally with modest or disappointing results) to create some sense of community. It is not at all easy. The old Supper Club was a failure. I have focused this blog as trying to foster community.
I have bad habits. I drink too much. I am intellectually aware that I should cut back and have done so enough that I know it is possible. But I like it, I also feel like I need it and as many here can attest, it is a center piece of our getting out on occasion.
Just know, the smile will never fade, but please do not construe it for someone who lives a carefree life. If dressing didn’t make me happy (like the first 50 or so years of my life), I would just stop doing it. I believe I now have that ability when the joy fades, but it hasn’t yet and so I move forward. I live the same difficult life we all do. I have blessings and curses, advantages and difficulties like everyone else. I just have this platform.
Be well, all! Stay well, everyone! Now excuse me while I go and take a five minute nap….