After picking up the kids from school yesterday afternoon, I walked into the house loaded down with groceries, lunch boxes and mail. The kids were immediately restless and asking for snacks and amidst the general chaos, something in the stack of mail caught my eye. It was the Free People catalog. Here’s the cover:
For those of you who know me, you are nodding your head thinking “Oh yeah, that’s so you.” I was transfixed by this cover and proceeded to slowly page through the rest of the catalog. I hadn’t put down my keys or my purse and my kids were buzzing around me with questions and demands “Mom, can I have a snack?” “Mom can we go ride bikes outside?” “Mommy, where’s my light saber?” But there I stood, practically drooling over the images in this catalog. The colors, the photography, the clothes… even the font all had me mesmerized. I could literally gobble this book up like a piece of gooey candy.
Does that seem strange?
For me, these days, it’s not so strange. One of the perks of getting older I believe is being way more in tune with what you love. It’s more common for me to stop dead in my tracks over a gorgeous chartreuse dress than it would have been when I was younger. I don’t think I even knew what I really liked when I was younger. In fact, I have recently seen pictures of myself from my late twenties when I had a short bob haircut and I was wearing pearls and I thought “Who is that girl?”. I had no idea about what I liked or what my style was.
Years ago, I read a book called “Simple Abundance” by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It was the first personal-growth-type book I had ever read and it really has stuck with me over the years. It was all about finding your authentic self. It gave you exercises that had you tearing images out of magazines and really paying attention to the kinds of things you are attracted to. For example, are you always naturally drawn to hot pink but tend to buy clothes in black or beige because they seem more practical? Do you really notice when a color or a style gets your heart pumping?
I started to notice those things in myself and slowly but surely I realized that what I love is turquoise jewelry and Mexican-style embroidery and brown leather sandals and chunky bracelets. I am naturally called to certain styles and colors and wearing those things makes me happy and makes me feel authentic. Here are a few of my personal favorite wardrobe items:
Every time I wear any one of these things I really feel like “me”. And when people say to me “Oh that’s so you” I take that as a compliment. I think finding that authentic side of yourself, the side that makes your heart sing doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. I know I kind of had to get more in tune with my inner voice as I’m sure a lot of people do. I think we tend to play it safe in fashion and the way we decorate our house but when you stop to think about it, those are the things that you look at and live with every day. Wouldn’t it be fun to take some risks and wear red boots just because they make you happy? Or buy that bright green couch because it made your heart sing? Isn’t that the kind of fun that life is really about? When you really start to pay attention to the things you love, in all aspects of your life, your authenticity begins to shine through. After all, there is only one you.
I think Dr. Seuss said it best: “Today you are You that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”