I somehow figured that one out when I was just as stupid as any other fifteen year old girl and facing a daunting situation. I'd been moved from Northern Ontario, land of lumberjack shirts and mukluks (those are sealskin boots for those of you who never spent time in the bush), to a very posh town down south. It's not like there wasn't anything special about me, just that I was pretty sure my skills weren't going to wow the preppy kids at my new school. This was a strange land of split level houses and backyard pools. No place here to amaze folks with the fact that an entire beaver colony had accepted me into their midst or that I could drive a boat faster and more recklessly than any guy on the river.
What's a shy girl who's terrified of walking through the doors of that high school going to do? Change costume. ~
I bought this issue of Seventeen magazine and studied it. Then, I did something you never do when you are one of six kids. I asked my parents for money for new clothes. Now, of course they bought us all basic clothes, but I needed special, hip clothes. They agreed to give me the money! I have the clothes and I have the makeup. I had also figured out that these new kids didn't know anything about me so however I acted was how I would be accepted. My guardian angel must have been handing out wisdom to me! On the first day of school, I marched down the halls with a confident smile glued to my face. I even gave a merry laugh when a boy said, "Isn't this a nice, young blossom that's new here?" Well, Blossom stuck as a nickname all through high school and no one ever knew that I had to teach myself how to be outgoing and social.
This might seem like a very shallow take on defining yourself but remember the issue is dealing with shyness in a teenager. Curling up in a ball of awkwardness and isolation would have impacted the rest of my life.
A few years later, I was chatting with an A&R guy from Madonna's record label. He said the best part about working with a performer like her is that she reinvented herself every few years.
Every time she had a new costume. ~
If your goal is to climb the corporate ladder, you'd better get yourself a good suit. That suit says, "I'm serious about my work and you should take me seriously as well." That same suit won't work for someone who wants to be a heavy metal guitarist. That guitar player knows he/she needs some black leather and lots and lots of hair or nobody is ever going to buy the record and hear how amazingly a guitar can scream.
Let's say you want to change the world and fight injustice, cruelty or plain, old evil. You know you can't do it because you are just an ordinary person. You aren't an activist. You are shy, scared of looking foolish, too old or too young.
Batman didn't have any special powers. He couldn't fly, see through walls, stop a speeding bullet or scale a skyscraper. He was serious about what he wanted to accomplish and he wanted everyone to know it.
He got a costume and set out to save Gotham. ~
If you feel you are a painter, writer, seamstress, chef, traveller, photographer, earth mother, psychic, spiritual guide, carpenter or anything else your heart desires, then tell people that is what you are. They will hear your conviction and they will believe you.
You can break relationship patterns by simply changing your costume as well. If your don't wear the 'misuse and abuse me' outfit, you won't attract the abusers. Put on the lovable mask and you will attract people who are happy to give love. The others will run in the opposite direction, looking for someone who is wearing the right look. Pretty soon it won't be a mask, but your reality.
We all have times in our lives when we are forced to reinvent ourselves. We don't always realize we can also do it by choice.
Tomorrow, I will look in the mirror and ask myself, "Who do I want to be?" Whatever I decide, I'll be it.
You can too!
When I was in child, I remember being told, "You have to dress for the career you want", that has guided me all my life. Now I am not a fashionista, nor am I slave to fashion trends or brands. Yet I do like to think not only you are what you eat.. you are also what you wear. It defines you to others, however most importantly, it defines you to yourself. Great post Maureen, great good for thought :)ReplyDelete
It's not just fashion. I woke up one day and decided to be happy. I pasted a smile on my face and tried to keep it there all day. Before long I realized that smile was there even when I wasn't looking, people were treating me differently. THEN I realized I was truly happy! Hope your post helps to change the people reading it.ReplyDelete
Hmmm.... another post that you have written that is making me think.ReplyDelete
I love this post. When I was a teenager my father gave us an allowance which was supposed to cover our random clothing purchases and I really struggled to keep up with the latest LEVIS jeans which were trending at the time. However, my mother would take us to the "big city" at the beginning of every school year and get us a wardrobe to start us off as she believed a new wardrobe could do wonders for building your confidence as a teenager. My mother was all about appearances and how your clothing could really bring you to a new level of confidence. The problem was I lacked the confidence to wear anything too flashy or too "out there" but it did shape my understanding of how I could be somebody quite different in those clothes.ReplyDelete
And then I went through a period where I did not always like that, I actually fought back at that idea of people presenting themselves through make up and their "rags" as I struggled to present me for who me was..... without the adornments.
It took some time but eventually I started to recognize a certain freedom that came from clothing, hair styles and the rest. The idea that I could throw on a "new look" and head out the door and feel very different became more about understanding the many sides of me. I realized that I was not married to a look but that I could explore many different looks that allowed the various parts of my personality to shine and be seen by others... and ME. That was what changed it for me. As a teenager I felt compelled to dress to fit in and that started to bug me but as an adult I recognize that we are all complex individuals and fashion can allow us to experiment with those layers of identity and personality that we don't always reveal.
Okay.... ooops... sorry for the long response. You got me thinking!! I love that about you Maureen.
I did something very similar Maureen, when I was 18 and moved away from home for the first time, from a little hick town to the "big" city. I "decided" to be more outgoing and less introverted and I was going to get my very first boyfriend if I had something to say about it, lol. I carried myself differently, with more confidence and like you said, no one knew me here, so it was easier to pull it off for some reason. Got a job and a boyfriend within the first six months of being here. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it. CathyReplyDelete
What a great post, Maureen! I'm reinventing myself by having my craft blog. I stepped out of my comfort zone and have taken on something I would never have imagined. And the best part is that I decided to do this on my own, out of the blue. My family is amazed that I'm doing this and at times I'm amazed at myself too.ReplyDelete
Oh- Yes, Maureen, I have reinvented myself a few times in my life-from necessity and from desire to do so. How wonderful that your parents realized how important it was for you to have those extra clothes. You were blessed there, Blossom. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend- xo DianaReplyDelete
Awesome post also I love the Madoona thing she was my idol growing up. I feel like I've reinvented myself so many times but this blogging DIY thing is the first time I've really doubted my ability to do it BUT oddly enough now my friends ask me crafty DIY questions like I'm an authority on the subject. That makes me both laugh and cringe lol. I think the "costume I've struggled most with is being an at home mother I felt like I lost my identity not working and the blogging helped but I still feel like I'm not doing anything even though I'm always busy. Loved this post lots of food for thought.ReplyDelete
What a great post Maureen! You were a pretty smart teenager. It took me years to learn the "fake it til you make it" thing. I'm pretty sure that most of my school classmates would not recognize me today and that's probably a good thing! LOL!ReplyDelete
Another refreshing post. Thanks, Maureen for the glimpse into your interesting life. Wardrobe is certainly a powerful tool. I guess that's because 90% of what people see when they look at you is clothing. I used to watch What Not to Wear loyally because it was so much fun to watch how clothing transformed people's lives on a number of levels.ReplyDelete
Oh, yeah, I've reinvented myself a number of times, and I'm not done yet Some fun!
Such a wise post. I am reinventing myself and my business this year. It's all about attitude and how one presents themselves. Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyDelete
Love this post and it's all so true!ReplyDelete
Great post Maureen ... everything you said is true.ReplyDelete
Audry Z. @ Timeless Treasures
Great post! I'm heading out to go shopping tomorrow! Phil will be so pleased.ReplyDelete
I'm worried because you're making Bliss think..... :)
I think it is a wonderful thing to keep evolving into a better you.ReplyDelete
Have a lovely week.
Instead of relating this post to myself, it just clarified the thoughts I've always had about you Maureen, that you're a very wise individual (and it obviously started when you were young). Being English I don't go in for too much 'schmolz' as I call it, but you truly are a very inspiring person and it's why your children are so special. You should be some kind of world leader, people could really learn from you !ReplyDelete
full of wisdom! I have lived in this town all my life and when I divorced after 20 years of marriage to my childhood sweetheart with 3 kids...bummer...I got a new job and pretended...yes..I PRETENDED that I was the new girl in town and everyday...my life got better and better. The wardrobe is a perfect solution whether visible or invisible...I agree with Fiona...you are something else!ReplyDelete
You have such a relatable way to sharing things with your readers. I enjoyed each and every word of this empowering and inspiring post. And, as usual, I leave here happier and impressed.ReplyDelete
Such a great post Maureen! I've probably used 4 of my lives... having already reinvented myself a few times out of pure necessity. My mother says I always find a way to land on my feet. I think I was a cat in another life. Hopefully I have more than 9 lives because I may need them. Somehow, though, as I've aged it's gotten harder to see that I can still make a change in how I present myself to the world. When I was younger I'd make a change in a heartbeat. Thanks for the pep talk, and for sharing a part of your life story. This reminds me that I can still be whoever I want.ReplyDelete
When you taught me as a kid to re-invent myself you should have told me not to do it every 5 years! Mylene never knows what's coming next! :)ReplyDelete
Reinventing oneself, whether it's buying and wearing a new wardrobe, learning a new skill, or creating from within, is vital at many different times in one's life. From being transplanted to a new high school, walking up the corporate ladder, step by step, or searching one's soul for the next stage in life, transformations are part of the game if you want to be winner by the end.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the sage advice, which is always trendy and never tiresome!