40 days 40 outfits - the pain and joy of new beginnings
I was excited to begin this challenge, excited for what it represented and what lay at the end of it - a trip to Amsterdam to celebrate the finish with other participants and to meet the wonderful women who organised it. But I felt so unready!
Last year when I took part for the first time, I was perfectly organised. I would plan my outfits 3 days at a time and lay them out in the hallway ready for the following morning. This year? I had just moved house, I couldn't find half my wardrobe, I could barely remember what day it was and for two weeks I didn't get around to shaving my legs! I felt a mess. I was disappointed with myself for not 'doing it better'. And of course I was aware of how absurd that worry was, how unnecessary. But that small insecure part of me whispered persuasively, and in my lower points, I listened. Isn't it strange how even when we have embraced who we are, have overcome hangups and stepped into a new more confident way of life that we can still get so fixated on how we come across? I mean, it matters of course, but the need to appear like we have it together is such a clawing one at times. I had to drop any pretence on that front about early March, when we started packing in earnest. By mid-March, we had two houses, our belongings unevenly distributed between them, our lives strung out on an overstretched thread. There weren't enough hours in the day or the night for everything that had to be done. So I had to let it slide! In a way this challenge has been similar. In the wake of the move I've not often had either time or energy to outfit plan, to work on my image, to put myself across the way I maybe felt I should. And in that, I've plumbed a new depth of self awareness. I've had to delve for substance, and recognise that, while the outer cover of this rambling and unfinished book may be imperfect, it's not as important as what's inside it. So the real challenge for me is, how do I use these new beginnings to learn about and reveal my true self? Because all I really want is to understand and live that better and more honestly. What I choose to put on my body each day is part of that expression, but it's not as important as the attitude I choose to put on. It's not as important as how I carry myself. It's not as important as how I treat my friends, or strangers. You are all, my dear wonderful fellow humans, multifaceted jewels, each surface reflecting the light from a different angle. Your life and how you live it is a big bright whole, and all its many faces, its expressions come together to form the sum of who you are. But unlike jewels, whose value is often found in their perfection and clarity, there is no shame in a few dinks, a few less sparkling surfaces. They are part of our journey too, and we shouldn't try to hide them. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this challenge is making me think long and hard about who I am and how I want to carry myself in the world. And now, on the cusp of this new beginning, seems a perfect time to find out.