Some of you know that I'm a writer. What you may not know is I'm not only writing children's fiction, but also self help non-fiction.
I'm writing about how to help people overcome exhaustion, in this fast paced world. How to find your comfort zone, as it's here that you recharge.
An idea for a chapter popped into my head the other day, and it was one that I hadn't considered before.
It's about what we wear.
How often do you wear clothing, shoes, make-up or hair products that just don't feel you?
When you look in the mirror what you see isn't you, but it's a person you think the world wants you to be.
Often we shrug it off as not making sense, sometimes we have to conform. Don't we?
I know I'm perhaps more sensitive than most when it comes to what I wear, yet it took me until I was almost 40 years old before I realised what the problem was, and to find the courage to not conform, and find the style and look I love and feel comfortable in.
You see, deciding what to wear used to exhaust me. You've all been there I'm sure. Looking through your wardrobe, nothing is right for what you need. So you "throw" something on and then spend the rest of the day wriggling and fidgeting as you try to get comfortable. Isn't that exhausting too?
As I've got older I now know what suits me and here is what I've learnt;
1) Heels - my centre of balance is thrown out and I spend my whole time feeling like I'm going to tumble over flat on my face. I've owned 2 pairs of heels that were comfortable - both had a platform sole, so the heel wasn't that high in comparison. So about 1-2 years ago I ditched the heels.
I'm now "officially" the Imelda Marcos of Dr Marten boots. I have black satin ones for black tie do's, they go great with my slinky Vivienne Westwood dress. I've got blue, and silver velvet ones and some black sparkly ones. And day time is easy.
No more worrying about falling flat on my face, going on a stage to speak. No more worrying about tripping up or down stairs. No having to have a change of shoes for walking from the car to the venue.
It was so tiring in heels, always having to think about how to walk. So now I don't need to think when I walk and can just be. A shed load of energy saved every day.
2) Hair - other than my 1980's perm through my teenage years, the most fancy thing that I've done to my hair was at my friends wedding, I was bridesmaid, the hairdresser did a fancy scroll work on my head. It looked beautiful, I kept wanting to pull it out all day. It was beautiful.
On my wedding day no one did my hair. I washed it in the morning and that was it. Because I was in Wales and the water was so soft, it went into a lovely Farah Fawcett flick without me having to do anything. However, I do insist on a good hair cut and colour every 5 weeks, and after that I forget about it. Most of the time I don't even dry it. Saves time and save energy. Result.
3) Make-up - when i was at school, like all 80's teenagers I covered my beautiful teenage skin in foundation etc. On my 17th birthday, my neighbours Alsatian did me a big favour. It jumped up and bit me in the face, tearing open my lip almost up to my nose. Even now, over 20 years later, I cannot wear make-up around my mouth for long periods of time without it irritating.
All I do is where a little eye makeup, and foundation is only for posh do's. I always feel weird when I wear foundation, it makes me fidgety and self conscious. So I save time, money and energy too. Yet another result.
4) Clothes - this took me quite some time to figure out, but now I have, I am, in dressing up heaven. Clothes shopping always left me feeling grouchy and drained. I hated it, and would just buy things without trying them on to avoid the horrors of the changing room. I'd get the clothes home, not really like them and then couldn't be bothered taking them back. Sound familiar?
About 5 years ago we received a memo in work saying we had to wear suit jackets and "dress appropriate to our level in the organisation". This is how to bring out the rebel in me, so I went into the most unusual boutique in my local city, determined not to dress like everyone else. Up until that point I'd worn trousers and a simple top. Not now, I'm rarely seen out of skirts and dresses.
This boutique is my heaven. Its great fun to shop there and the clothing makes me feel amazing. I have dresses which I wear over leggings and a vest top, which feel as comfortable as pyjamas yet make me look fab. Who knew you could look glam and still be comfortable.
Then there is that Vivienne Westwood dress - its slinky, its sexy, it keeps me covered, I can wear it with my DM's. It rolls up into a rucksack. When I wore it to an event a few years ago, I can honestly say it was the first time I've ever gone to a black tie do and felt comfortable. Everyone said how amazing I looked and the reason? It was because I was relaxed. I generally find these events tiring, yet this time I didn't. Because I was comfortable.
5) And last but not least - underwear. Mine is now simple, warm and comfortable. Sod fashion - the only person who see's my undies is my husband and he married me for who I am, not a bit of frilly lace which scratches and irritates. Men get to wear comfy boxer shorts yet women are expected to wear bits of fabric up their arses. Not for me. Big knickers are the future. (You heard it hear first!)
So find your comfort clothes - I know people who find heels are like slippers to them and others who kick them off under the desk, I know people comfortable in body con dresses and others only in jogging bottoms and a fleece top. Embrace what is right for you, don't waste your time and energy on things that don't make you feel comfortable and feel great.
Dress for you not anyone else.