Monday, 2 May 2011

The Woman I Always Wanted To Be:

I was running on the downs yesterday and I had this feeling flash over me:

I am the woman I always wanted to be.

I’m not her everyday, I’m sometimes not her for weeks or even months on end. If I'm honest there have been periods of time that have lasted years when she has eluded me completely.
But this is not the first time I have become her, I have been her in the past and right in that moment, yesterday on the downs, I felt like I was her again and I was happy.

The woman I always wanted to be is a changeable aspiration, I have had her in my mind for almost as long as I remember, from about the age of six I would say.
She has been a graceful ballet dancer, an ambulance driver, a perfectly groomed business executive, a blond, a competent fearless explorer, a fashion editor, a well read intellectual, a mother and more recently; a calm, centred island, unaffected by trivialities, non judgemental and confident in her opinions, healthy in body and mind.

Please don’t miss understand me, I am not professing to be a calm, centred island, unaffected by trivialities, non judgemental and confident in my opinions, healthy in body and mind. But yesterday there was a moment when I felt that I was all of those things, just for a moment.

It is interesting how the woman I always wanted to be has developed and evolved. I used to be able to see her clearly; what she looked like, the clothes she wore how she wore her hair, where she lived…Right now she only has traits I aspire to, she doesn’t have a physical appearance or a particular career or home just an inner calm and a happy self confidence.

I’m sure as eggs are eggs that just as she has changed her form several times already she will go through many more metamorphosis in my life time.

In order to feel content I think our job is to accept that the woman we always wanted to be is changeable. accept that we will never be her all of the time. Keep chasing those moments when we become her and try to and make them as frequent as possible.
Work at it, be disciplined, admit and learn from mistakes, don't feel defeated when she eludes you for a while and always welcome her in to your life.

Do this and there is a jolly good chance that on occasion, the woman you always wanted to be will be you :-)

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Reluctant Fashionista

Never let it be said that I am a fashion expert. I am not.
I am concerned with style.
Style is only occasionally, and not inextricably related to fashion. I am not now, nor have I ever been a ‘fashion type’
I have absolutely no interest what so ever in what is ‘in fashion’.
I place great importance on confidence, self-esteem, self worth, happiness and health.
What concern me in sartorial terms are workmanship, cut, proportion, comfort, quality, individuality and flattering silhouettes.
(And glamour and glitter...But mostly only on a weekend and not at the expense of all of the above ;-)

I know it’s been a really long time since I have posted anything here but I haven’t stopped writing. I have simply stopped publishing.
I suppose I had a crisis of confidence over what I am actually doing here.

As I have said before, the fashion industry is a bitch. It tells you what to wear and then slags you off for looking crap in it. It gives you unachievable goals and makes you feel inadequate. It suggests that you compare yourself to ethereal, other worldly, oddly tall teenagers with impossibly perfect skin and obscene salaries.
I don’t want to tell you what to wear or what size to be or how high your heels should be or how to wear your hair, I want you to be free from thinking that any of these things matter in the least tiny bit as long as you are healthy and happy.
But. I don’t want the fashion houses to stop using astonishingly beautiful girls in their campaigns either. I don’t want them to stop showing us high, high-end luxury that none of us will ever be able to afford. It is their job to give us beautiful things to be in awe of and to be inspired by. They are the peddlers of grown up fairy tales, storybook nonsense which is delightful and pretty and gay, the stuff of day dreams and misty eyed wistfulness.

If only people could just see it for what it is. A fairy tale, a silly nonsense which has little relevance to real life but which, if we are lucky, we can dip into occasionally and have fun with.

If we place the blame for our poor body image and low self esteem at the door of the fashion media then I'm afraid that Hans Christian Anderson will have to answer for the fact that we compare our boyfriends to prince charming.

I want people to accept, and make the very best of, the life they have instead of mourning for one they don’t. 
I want people, individuals, (not the fashion industry) to stop placing so much emphasis on how they look or what brand of handbag they carry or what generation their iphone is.
It’s appalling that the most revered men and women in our society are models and pop stars and footballers. Why are our sons and daughters not aspiring to scientists and surgeons? writers and philosophers? Or even aspiring to just do well at something they care about?

The message is if you are not beautiful you are worthless and I want no part of that. 

In reality, the only person who can make you feel inadequate is yourself.

If you know that you are making the very best of yourself in your own image then it doesn’t matter how many airbrushed photos of 14 year old waifs or perfectly groomed celebrities you see…your armour will be impenetrable and you will feel genuinely fabulous at least some of the time.

I don't pretend to be a glamour puss. I am one. 
But then, I am a lot of things....
I love dressing up, and sequins, and lipstick and big hair inherently. Obviously I do, but not all of the time.
I don't wear makeup to work half the time let alone to the gym! I hardly ever style my hair before 7pm and I love my sheepskin slippers (I don't even own a pair of fluffy mules!)

I am not defined by the way I look. There are more important things in life than fashion and make up, glitter even, (though probably not many)
I frequently run into my ex boyfriend whilst wearing a three year old comfy jumper and without a scrap of make up on and it honestly doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

I remember not so long ago I bumped into an acquaintance at a cocktail party, “Gilly, darling! You look gorgeous as always.” She said as she kissed my cheek “how ever do you manage to look so glamorous ALL the time?”
Before I could answer…(“Because ALL the times you’ve seen me I’ve been at a cocktail party…”) Jase chimed in.
“There’s no in between with ‘er luv, she either looks like a movie star or a bag lady.”

He’s right of course. I never do things by halves.