Looking for answers to life's questions

Posts tagged ‘style’

In Search of my Fashionista

I read a post last week by “To Breathe is to Write” that got my writing juices flowing. She hit on a topic of conversation that I can be quite verbose about given the opportunity. I’m taking that opportunity now. If you go back and read this post, you’ll see what got me going.

She mentioned not being a Fashionista. I could so relate. I’ve rarely had the funds for fashion. I barely had the funds for clothes and by the time high school arrived, I made three skirts in basic black, brown and navy stretch with six basic blouses.Then, in the 80’s and 90’s they were selling a lot of prepackaged color packets. I went to a seminar on personal colors. This seminar was about doing it differently and I was interested.

What I learned, after getting so hooked that I studied for a whole year, was that a lot of women dress in a way that makes them invisible. I actually had a client come back and ask me how to be invisible while traveling in parts of the world where her safety wasn’t assured. I knew the tricks and her travels went well.

During much of my life I have wanted to be invisible and as I’ve aged, found that to be quite easy. But that’s a whole other topic. Recently, I got rid of all my man shirts and have sought out a softer, more fun and feminine look. Since I can’t buy what I want, I’m trying to sew it.

My course taught me that color and style should reflect the personality and coloring of each individual. Family members often don’t wear the same colors. Age had little to do with it, personality and coloring was where the statement starts. I’m considerably more energetic than my daughter. My colors can be a tad brighter but not as bright or bold as someone who loves the spotlight. If you watch news anchors or talk show hosts like Ellen, see if you can tell when what they wear just makes their eye colors pop. That’s when they have your attention. The rest of the time you are looking at the color of their clothes. The clothes are wearing them.

If you are in business, a teacher, leader, boss, or anytime you need to get someone to pay attention to what you say, wear colors that draw attention to your eyes. It doesn’t need to be expensive or even the latest style. Your clothes should not command more attention than your face and specifically, your eyes.

I have never been a fashion slave. My style now is classic with pops of noisy, effervescence. Clothes should also tell the truth about who you are at first glance. Are you quiet, bouncy, take charge, artistic or walking on air with aloofness? The first 10 seconds tell people everything. Tell them the truth; not what some young designer wants for your truth to be. If you want to be invisible, go for it but understand you are creating that. That applies to men as well as women.

I wore a lot of monochromatic. It was my way of staying quiet. I'm really quite noisy. Now I wear more colors at a time.

I wore a lot of monochromatic. It was my way of staying quiet. I’m really quite noisy. Now I wear more colors at a time.

Also, no one is just one color harmony. We have two parents, and lots of grandparents. My daughter was a struggle for me in every way from the moment she could walk and talk. I could not even do her colors, taking her instead to my instructor. As an Autumn/Summer, her personality was strong and quiet at the same time. Talk about mixed messages. Her energy was slower than mine and her colors had to reflect that. We have been better friends since I learned her harmonies. And yes, sometimes she blows off what she knows looks best and wears what she just likes. Sometimes it’s just not so important.

I carrry these with me all the time. My couch matches my colors too.

I carrry these with me all the time. My couch matches my colors too.

Her brother has her same eye color but more energy, as his colors reflect. When talking to him about this post he reminded me that we most often pick out colors by how they make us feel or by how we want to feel. That said, I will tell you that everyone can wear every color. It’s the value and tone. Yellow is a tricky one but there is a shade of yellow for you. Yellow makes us happy. Blue, trustworthy etc.

There are colors I love, but they don’t love me. I like purple, but a warm berry doesn’t swallow me whole. I have to do purples in pens or vases. Even my quilts tend to be more my colors since I’m going to be sitting around them and I want to look nice near them. Oops, is that a bit of vanity creeping in.

Light was essential for clients sitting in front of me. Those drawers held Thousands of color swatches.

Light was essential for clients sitting in front of me. Those drawers held Thousands of color swatches.

Most of the time, it’s hard to find our colors in fashion. When I do, I snag it. I’m still in the basics but my shirts are more often in my colors

even my quilt has my colors. I'm drawn to them naturally now.

even my quilt has my colors. I’m drawn to them naturally now.

Like I said, this is a passionate subject for me and since I’m trying to make friends, it’s time to take off the cloak of invisibility. Do you ever wonder why the clerk at the store ignores you? How do you choose what to wear? Do you long to command respectful attention or be invisible?

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of the Comfort of Home

It’s moving day. I can’t begin to express how excited I am. Except for a short period of 7 months, I have been without “home” for 2 years and 10 days. It’s my own choice of course. There are many reasons to be home-less. I may even consider it again at some point in time which is what makes apartment renting somewhat attractive.

Originally, I preferred to try to purchase something small so I wouldn’t have to do this move thing again. The house in Arizona hasn’t sold so purchasing one isn’t an option right now. It’s expensive to move, to say the least and time-consuming. Pack it up, then unpack it, then pack it up again. I’m really good at it if you need help with your move. I was bragging to someone yesterday that when my last husband and I moved from California to Arizona, I packed and moved 40 thousand pounds worth of our “stuff”. Books weigh a lot. The only thing that broke was something I had not packed myself. We had a yard sale before that move, selling $3,000 worth of “stuff”. That’s not counting what I talked him into giving away.

I wanted to simplify our lives only to wind up with more of the same. My move to Oregon, alone, was with a rented 26 foot truck. Now I will live in 1000 square feet rather than 3000. At 64 years of age, that’s enough to take care of while having the time to pursue more creative endeavors.

After spending over 50 years cooking, cleaning and caregiving, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I have reached the point where I want my home to be a place of comfort for myself as well as my guests. Now, I think that can finally be done. I have learned in the last two years to say NO. Doing it my way is now an option. I can put up my favorite artwork where I want to see it. The lights can be on when I want them on because I’m paying the bill. I can have my windows open for fresh air. That’s why they invented quilts, isn’t it?

What makes your residence a home? I have moved over 30 times in my life so home is almost a foreign concept. Is it a place you park your “stuff”? Can it be more than that? Especially if it’s an apartment and not a home you own. My grown children don’t even have that sense of “home”. We moved quite a bit when they were young though my daughter went through school in almost one neighborhood. Home was not the comfort zone I had hoped it to be.

My daughter said a home is the place that reflects your inner self and nourishes the soul. In doing so it helps you to heal. My last apartment was small, dark and a bit chilly but it gave me time to do nothing but heal. As many people as I manage to talk to, no one has ever heard of Bells Palsy manifesting in the way it showed up for me.

I’m hoping to make new friends to invite to my home; where we can share ideas and laughter. Maybe teach a niece or two to sew, quilt or embroider. I’m looking forward to finding out what my Style is. Of course, it appears to be what I’ve scrounged from here and there but soon my real style may surface. How did you discover your style? I’ve been looking on Pinterest for mine but can’t seem to duplicate what I think I like at the thrift stores. I’ll keep looking though.

My new place has a nice “feel” to it. Is that what makes it comfortable? Is it the bottle of wine in the fridge to make a toast and celebrate another milestone in life? I look forward to hearing from you.

I had spent my whole life feeling homesick. The only difference between the two of us was that I didn’t know what or where home was.”
― Marian Keyes, Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married

From my heart to yours,

In Search of Spiritual Awakening

I sat in front of the television yesterday to have my lunch and rest after cutting the back yard. It’s a massive expanse of weeds that I have yet to eliminate without the use of chemicals, which are not an option for me.
I had taped Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and she had Ram Dass as her focus this week. I’d heard the name repeatedly from Dr. Wayne Dyer and others in my spiritual journey. I’m sure I’ve mentioned somewhere along the way that I have over 100 books on spirituality as this is a search in earnest. Ram Dass had not been on my radar but I thought this might be interesting. When I realized he’d had a stroke and I watched as he struggled to find his words, I related completely. Then he went on to explain how the stroke was a gift of spiritual growth. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor said the same in her book “My Stroke of Insight”. Why do I relate to these people so deeply?

Most people when they first saw me after I came down with Bells Palsy asked if I’d had a stroke. When I said no, they asked if I was certain. Well, the doctors weren’t sure either in the beginning and they did a CT scan followed by an MRI to rule out stroke. That left only the severe damage to the seventh cranial nerve. I always tell friends that it was my last nerve and my husband got on it. I snapped and voila, Bells Palsy. The damage was so profound that I could not form complete sentences for a while. I’m still have difficulty with that even now when I get tensed up. How on earth can Bells Palsy affect your ability to think clearly? No one has an answer. I can guarantee you that by all that is holy, I never want to experience an actual stroke, though I know it’s a real possibility.

So I listened to Ram Dass explain how the stroke took him to the next level of spiritual growth. That’s what Bells Palsy has done for me. It was a gift to awaken me and I know I’m not done yet or it would be gone. What’s left for me to do and learn from this? I’ve had to learn to accept help from everyone which is something I’ve never been good with. I’ve been the care giver always. I’ve learned to let go of relationships that drain me and be comfortable alone and with uncertainty. Of course, I’ve always known that fear and faith cannot reside in the same space. So I had to give up fear. Anger and resentment had to go as well. They no longer serve me. When my portion of my husband’s pension check came up so much shorter than anyone expected after 25 years of care giving, my friends and family were more upset than I. Somehow, it will be enough.
My focus in life has always been a spiritual one. I was raised by an agnostic and an atheist. Now that’s a real lesson. So how did this path start and where will it lead? It started when I was 7 looking at my parents and wondering why they couldn’t remember where they came from. I have no idea where that thought came from since I had a clear impression of where I was before being born. It was followed with me finding a church I could walk to and taking all the neighborhood kids with me. As an adult I went to any kind of church available. But I found there were pieces missing so the search was on. Every once in a while I get another piece of that puzzle. Buddhism has a lot of answers for me as well as Kabbalism. Jane Roberts “Seth” books were an eye opener 30 years ago and now the material of “Abraham-Hicks” adds a few more pieces to the puzzle answering more questions.

Health challenges are mountain movers. If you don’t move that mountain, you’ll be buried under it. I’m not done yet so I’m building my spiritual muscles.

Watching the video with Ram Dass back in the 60’s I saw a bit of the style I have been looking for as well. I think there is still a little bit of hippy in this old woman finally hoping for a chance to be freed. I love the soft, long, flowing look with a wide brimmed sun hat added. Who knew? I was too busy in the 60’s to notice what was going on but I’m thinking maybe I’ll go retro and see how that feels. While I’m planting posies, I’ll collect a few more pieces of the puzzle. If you have any, send them on. Just remember, I’ll never be a fundamentalist of anything. My dad always said “variety is the spice of life”. Pass the herbs please.

From my heart to yours,
My Mona Lisa smile

In Search of a New Identity

My thought is there comes some point in each person’s life where they want to re-invent themselves. It may be when the status quo simply doesn’t work for you anymore. Usually, it comes on the heels of a major change in life. For many of us it comes with the change of a relationship or a change in work or health status.

I’ve never had a clear definition of who I am. When you start out in life refereeing parental fights from the time you could stand, to changing, feeding and disciplining your siblings as they came along, the definition of who you are is laid out for you. That was my definition of myself for more than 45 years. Then the care giving shifted to aging parents and as always, the spouse.
Now the parents, children and spouses no longer need care giving . So that leaves me in a quandary. Who am I without those roles? I never had the time or opportunity to make plans for this situation. I also never expected to be so debilitated by Bells Palsy that I would need my children’s help at this early age. This isn’t how I expected life to go.

While in high school, I finished cosmetology school and eventually got a license. My parents were convinced I wasn’t college material because of my vision limitations. Hairdressing just needed a strong body. Never mind that I didn’t have passion or real aptitude for it. I was a good student and my mother never paid for a haircut again. But my first husband found it humiliating to be married to a hairdresser so I was not allowed the money to renew my license or to work in that field. Don’t you just long for the good old days.

At some point when my children were young, I went to the adult school to study typing and shorthand while they were in school. I was adequate but not excellent. At the end of the course, I could not lift my right arm. Shorthand was not physically possible for me to produce. Wow! How can you not be able to take shorthand? Next I studied color consulting and I definitely had passion for that. I could help people reflect their own personality with colors and styles that suited them individually. Unfortunately I had no self-confidence. I couldn’t sell myself to people for something I believed in so deeply. After moving to a remote location where there was no shopping and few cared about their own self-expression through style, I let that dream go. It still creeps in when I’m in a store and see someone try on something that either looks hideous on them or would be stunning should they choose it. Along with the dream of happily ever after, all my dreams and definitions of who I am vanished into the ethers.

So now what do I do? I do not want to be defined by this debilitating illness of Bells Palsy. I still get the comments from strangers that “it goes away pretty quickly doesn’t it”. I’m thinking 26 months and counting isn’t quickly.
So how does one come up with a new identity? Who do I want to be? What a rare opportunity I have. Lots of questions, only a few answers. I went shopping one day with my daughter and saw a dress that reflected part of the person I see in my mind’s eye. Now, I don’t wear dresses anymore. I usually work too hard for dresses and I have to wear sensible shoes that just don’t look good with dresses. But the style helped let me see part of who I want to become. So what needs to change? I cut my hair after my first divorce and am looking for a new style once again. Now I need something low-cost to maintain. Pigtails under a brim hat would be an interesting look for a woman of advanced age, wouldn’t it?

I’ve read every self-help book out there and they all say go back to the happy place when you were a kid. Well folks, I was never a kid. I’m learning to become one. I bought myself toys to play with like sewing machines, computers, a droid cellphone and lots of fabric and craft supplies. They were an experiment to see what felt good. Music was something I found later in life as well. I’m the appreciator of music, not the producer.

A new identity requires more than new looks. It may require an attitude adjustment. What kind of attitude do I want to have? I have always wanted to be perceived as friendly with a good sense of humor. Somehow, only droll comes through.Here is where I’d insert a smiley face if I could. I think I inherited my mothers dry German humor. In my heart I feel quite witty.

Life with all it’s turns and tumbles shape us. I’m hoping it made me softer and kinder. How does one become the person they want the world to see? How does one find that person that is only in their imagination? Where is that person that doesn’t need a cane to walk and drives a car with a real smile on their face. I’m open to suggestions.

From my heart to yours,