Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Into a Swan

Lucky: browsing through this magazine cheers me.

Most of the clothes I wouldn't wear yet seeing the fashions invigorates me with hope. Truly I feel the right outfit makes a difference.

The pink jacket has shipped and I should get it next week so I'll go to the tailor to have the sleeves hemmed. The green coat will need to be hemmed as well even though it's also a Petite size.

Today I wear the silver-tone circle ring which also cheers me that I bought at the Bryant Park Holiday Fair. Lost one of my cubic zirconia earrings so I would like to go back to the store and buy another pair because they are cheap: under $20. So today I do not wear earrings, only the ring and my red cotton hooded knit sweater jeans and black patent snow boots to go into the City.

Do you ever wonder how you look to other people? Do you wonder what people think of the clothes you wear and your jewelry and shoes and pocketbooks? I do wish I could see myself the way others see me. Is my red sweater the same red another person sees? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and one woman's treasure is another woman's thrift store horror.

So you see. The is the endless riddle. We cannot know unless we ask and asking is out of the question unless the other person can be trusted and we value their opinion.

One thing I won't do is ask someone what they think of me: I won't give them that kind of opening because they will only offer a shortcoming most likely. I also don't like to ask others how I'm doing for exactly the same reason. Your own confidence must be your guide. Developing that confidence is critical.

Your must develop a passionate eye for what is your style, what is not your style and how you would act and not act. I often ask myself, "What would Audrey do?" as in Audrey Hepburn. She volunteered her time as a humanitarian at the end of her life traveling to places in Africa from where it wasn't guaranteed she would return. I read about this in the Pamela Clark Keogh book Audrey Style that Aunt Rose gave me for Christmas one year. I recommend the book. It features endless photos of Audrey and a guide to Audrey's style that you can use to make it your own.

Issue 1 of Boho magazine featured a poem Audrey Hepburn wrote when she was asked to share her "beauty secrets" and I'll reprint it here:

"For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone. People,
even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived,
reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will
find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands;
one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others."

The poem says it all. Now you understand why Audrey Hepburn was one of the greats.

It has hit with a force: colors! colors! Cool ones. Not black. Not brown. Not charcoal. Green especially. Blue as well. Would love to build up the green in my wardrobe. I have not so much blue. I used to have a blue pinstripe suit with a short skirt and zip-up jacket from Express circa 1996. Not much blue now. Would love to find an indigo suit for when I interview for the next career.

Red too. And a color in Allure: Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue eyeshadow in Gold for the eyes and Revlon's Ravish Me Red on the lips. A winter palette for the face. The Sonia Kashuk eye shadow duo in Razzle Dazzle also looks good has a light golden shimmer.

These are allegedly the hottest shades of the season: warm gold hues, blacks injected with sparkle, and bold, bold reds. Ha! Well then. Very well. I shall see how to wear my face minus the black of course. The lipstick and gold eyeshadow I can do. Yes I can. A subtle way to look dramatic. No smoky eyes.

When I was young in college I wore Almay eyeshadow trios with brown charcoal black shades and blue twilight black combos. I shudder to think that the only available makeup colors in the 1980s were not flattering to women. Though I remember an eyeshadow palette called Seacoast which looked good on me. I would place the lighter dark colors of the Almay trios inside my lid and brow bone near the inside of the eye and sweep the darkest color up from my outer lid to over the brow bone.

It was the look borrowed from Siouxsie Sioux by young women displaced from the world who were making their way in the underground. The Importance of Siouxsie to Girls cannot be understated. If you marched to a different drummer when you were young you marched to Siouxsie and the Banshees.

She now has a solo career. Her song "Into a Swan" talks about bursting out and being transformed. Oh: I wish I had pictures to show you of my younger self dolled up for a night at CBGB. Instead I have only the one photo taken on the Fourth of July just three months before I had my breakdown.

Something sticks in my mind. How the goal is to navigate the world. How you must be able to call up the dentist to schedule an appointment go to the office sit in the chair be taken care of pay the bill and leave. That is the true hallmark of recovery: if you can do these things.

I dream now of traveling to Spain.

That is what you can do when you are able to get your cavity filled at the dentist: the next step is to dream of Spain.

It always comes back to this:

I was a young woman in love with music who dared become a disc jockey because she wanted to make a difference in other people's lives. I also had a job at the radio station apart from my late night radio show. I had to call up to people to get fill-ins when other disc jockeys couldn't do their shows. I also alphabetized the record albums in the music library.

It was even then some kind of ambition I had unlike the other young women who were studying to be nurses or teachers and were content to bang away at the cash register at the supermarket. I wanted more. I was not going to be a nurse or a teacher. Admirable professions that I'm glad men are pursuing now too. Yet that wasn't for me: I wasn't cut out to follow a traditional path and even now though I'm out in the mainstream in some significant ways I go against the grain.

A friend on the phone this morning told me she understood I gravitate to people who live their lives left of the dial. I would much rather attend a poetry reading than a cocktail party even though I have a number of little black dresses in my closet. One dress I bought because it was gorgeous and I knew its value and that it would serve me well.

Well: this has become a rather long blog entry.

Interesting that there are so many different ways of saying essentially the same thing.

I was lucky I was able to make my way in the world before I got sick.

So that is most likely why I often return to that time which I hold in my mind like a badge of pride.

I will wind down right now and go get ready for tomorrow.

Press on brave souls.

Press on.

1 comment:

Karen May Sorensen said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I wrote you a message and then had trouble posting it because I forgot my Goggle password. I'll try to repeat what I said.

I have the most gorgeous black satin full length skirt hanging in my closet. Designer label. Cream satin lining. Definitely a fall/winter piece of clothing. I want to wear it to church with a silk blouse.

I can't wear it yet because it is two sizes too small. I'm in the process of loosing weight from Zyprexa. Went on Zyprexa in 2001. Went off it two years ago and went on Geodone, which doesn't make me crave food in the same way. Got the idea from Pam Spiro Wagner who lost a lot of weight switching these drugs.

I started my diet exactly one year ago and have lost three sizes. Want to lose three more sizes. Maybe another year to go. It takes so much time because my metabolism is slow (medication) and my lifestyle is very sedate. I exercise but other than that I don't move around a lot.

My brother gave me a for Christmas a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret. I said, "Now I can fit into their clothing!" It is so wonderful to be a large or medium after being an extra-large or plus size for many years. I feel like I'm falling into step with the human race. I know that my blood pressure has come down and my general health has improved by losing the weight. The last thing I bought (before Zyprexa) at Victoria's Secret was a green silk tank top and shorts to wear to bed. I promise, wearing silk to bed feels wonderful. Next best is cotton.

Losing all the weight I gained on Zyprexa will be one of my life's greatest accomplishments.

I shop for clothing high and low. This means some clothing from Nordstrom, Banana Republic, and then the thrift store. Also like vintage clothing. Can't count out Target either.

Back to that black skirt hanging in my closet. It is a joyous treat waiting for me, an incentive to get to my goal, not a nagging weight dragging me down and making me anxious. I bought it in a thrift store for $8. I'm 5'8, so wearing a sweeping, full skirt is no trouble for me. And Church is the right environment. But you know, I'm an artist, and that gives me great freedom to dress eccentrically and theatrically.

Also, although I live in Vermont, I live in Brattleboro, a town where there are a lot of hip 20somthing kids with lots of tattoos that dress really interestingly. I'm 41, and in a couple of weeks will be 42. And no tattoos! There is some stress to dress age appropriately - no more shiny, sparkly clothing for the day time like I used to like in my own 20's. But although I'm in mid-life, I still feel a great deal of freedom in what I wear. Probably will feel that freedom for the rest of my life, it definitely is a state of mind.

Maybe come a cold spring I'll have lost my two sizes and wear my ball-gown black skirt with a black cotton tee shirt. Something to look forward to.

I've been enjoying your blog and wanted to connect. I know what it is like writing a blog and wondering about the people who read it.

Best Wishes,