I am thankful that you, my reader, knows me well enough to not judge my flightiness of character. That there would be a theme in my Ideal Life called “personal style” seems so insignificant amid all the other things to be worrying about these days.
And yet…and yet. This is why I got started in all this silly Ideal Life business in the first place. It was a conscious realization that my appearance, and specifically, how I felt about my appearance was the first step to coming out of a post-partum depression which had turned my world into a very, very dark place. If I could at least look like I was a functioning member of society, and not an overwhelmed, self-flagellating ball of nerves and psychosis, I could perhaps, carefully, begin the painful process of learning how to live again.
So. Here’s where we were starting from.
In my Ideal Life:
- I am a person who never says “I have nothing to wear!”
- I am a person who knows what looks good on her.
- I am a person who loves what she owns.
- I am a person who wears everything she owns.
- I am a person who always looks effortlessly put together.
- I am a person who has more good hair days than bad.
- I am a person who doesn’t just “look good for my age.”
- I am a person who knows what shoes to wear.
- I am a person who takes care of everything she owns.
- I am a person who can alter and tailor her clothes to make them fit.
Where are you coming from?
Spoiler alert: I bought no clothes in 2021. I have worn every single thing in my closet this year, including my evening gowns. I love just about everything in my closet, except for that stupid white blouse which I still can’t bring myself to discard.
My challenge to buy no clothes included a rule that forced me to do my mise en place every night, so that I wouldn’t stand stupidly in front of my closet at 4.00AM when I woke up or 8:00AM before we had to be out the door and whine to myself, “I have nothing to wear,” just because I was too tired and to stressed out to choose.
I’m laughing to myself about statement “In my Ideal Life, I know what shoes to wear.” Laughing, because, truth be told, every weekday for the last three weeks I have been wearing my ancient black rainboots. You see, we have to cross a field to get to the scalawags’ school, and it is unforgivingly muddy at this time of year. I didn’t want to imperil any of my nice shoes during my comings and goings. So I have been thumping around Mulhouse in black rubber boots. I am so cool. (Ah! There was one of those audible eyerolls again. I hope you heard it this time.)
The problem is that…well…I really like not having to think about what shoes I am going to wear. I just wish those shoes weren’t ancient black rubber rainboots.
It gets me thinking about my motto:
I endeavor to live my life with all the enthusiasm of a child wearing rainboots.
I’ve had some ups and downs this year with my body image, but using those Ideal Life statements as a guide has kept me from stewing on the bad surprises, like, I don’t know, starting to actually look my age. It was bound to happen sometime, but at least I haven’t yet pulled a Gigi and started looking into ways to medically reverse the inevitable course of time.
And lastly, I am coming from a year in which I genuinely learned how to alter, mend and refashion clothes so that they become not just wearable, but look spectacular, too.
Where are you going?
One concrete place I am going in the next year? To the store to buy myself new socks. Hear ye, hear ye, I declare the era of mending socks is over!!!!!!!!
You know where I would like to go? I would like to go into a year where I don’t think about this all the time. But given the fragility of my self-worth and my tendency to verbally abuse, then gaslight and manipulate myself, I know I will have to remain vigilant.
I will likely spend the first few months of the year trying to navigate the perilous waters of learning to trust myself. I will probably, although my challenge will be over, avoid going into stores, simply because I’m afraid of all that temptation.
I’ve got a quote from Jurassic Park mangled up in my brain, that says something like, “You were so busy seeing if you could (stop shopping for a year) that you didn’t stop to ask if you should (be in an abusive relationship with yourself.)” By removing the “could” guardrail, I subsequently must deal with the “should”. And I just don’t know if I am ready for that. So I either need a plan, or I need to decide that what I have is enough and I am enough and stop talking to myself like rotten fish and then trying to buy back my good graces.
Practically, though, since all of that sounds like too much hard work, I would much prefer to go with the thought, “2022 is a year in which I don’t think about this all the time.” In that case, I know what I need to do: deepen the Go-To Catalog and work on developing the Mise en Place habit as far in advance as possible. Oh–and only own one pair of shoes–just preferably not black rubber rainboots.