Yesterday was a day of mourning for the Jewish people. The holiday, Tisha B’Av (9th day of Jewish month of Av), commemorates the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish people. While you can go about your normal routine (work, shop, take care of the kids), you’re supposed to be reminded of the suffering of the past in many ways (no eating, drinking, bathing, wearing leather shoes or anointing one’s self) and, hopefully, strive to become a better person.
I took part in this ritual. Was I hungry or thirsty? A bit. But how did I truly suffer? I had to go to work and interact with colleagues without any make-up! You never realize how powerful a basic tool is when you can’t have it. I definitely felt off my “game.” Alas, not all was terrible. To compensate for my insecurity, I wore an amazing dress (an H&M find!). It wasn’t an elaborate piece but I knew it looked pretty darn good. I was amazed how much wearing that simple dress gave me the emotional, even physical strength (perhaps I was imaging that physical part) to “perform” throughout the day.
When prepping for a big presentation I usually see the outfit and make-up as the final touch only. Sure it’s important how I look. I’m in the ad biz after all and market beauty brands for a living. But I still take for granted the awesome impact that my appearance has on my sense of confidence and esteem.
Certainly yesterday’s fast reminded me of my people’s history and the need to develop my character, thoughts and actions – my inner identity. All the various prohibitions really bring this home. But I also learned just how important my appearance – my external identity – is to me. This certainly doesn’t mean I’ll always attempt to look good – just ask my husband about the threadbare sweatshirt I wear to bed. But it did push me to wear something a little more special today.