Wednesday, October 6, 2010
I'm No Bobby Fischer or Lewis and Clark... But I Make This Look Good
"Don't think so much."
"Quit overanalyzing everything."
And my favorite and most recent… "Chill the fuck out."
These are a few of my least favorite sayings. Probably because I've heard them throughout my entire life, but I think more so because I would love to be able to do any of these things at any given time. This is the one piece of advice that eludes me more than anything since I follow pretty faithfully the idea of Choice. If I truly believe that we can, in any given moment, choose a different path, a different way of thinking, a different pair of shoes than the day before, surely I can find a way to choose to worry less, or not at all. I should be able to choose to relax my mind, surrender to what is and what I'm creating. I should be able to turn the analytical part of myself off long enough to enjoy dinner with my boyfriend. So, if I believe this is possible, why, then, can I not figure out how to do it.
It's like when someone asks me where North is. No, not the True North I described in my last blog, but the North that would get me out of the woods if I were stranded. Do you know how long it takes me to figure out which direction North is? Thank God I live in valley where North is marked by a gigantic needle pointing straight in the air and South is easily identified at night by a blaring light that blasts into the Universe. I tell you, those casinos definitely don't want tourists to get lost. If nothing else, I think directionally speaking, Las Vegas is the perfect city for me. I feel like an idiot when I can't figure out my directions. It's something that comes so naturally to other people and I instantly get frustrated that I don't have this very basic trait that almost everyone else has.
Same with chess. I have been taught at least five or six times how to play chess and have then played an entire game. The next time someone asks me to play, it's gone. I have no idea how I played before or even the most basic of rules. Some things just don't seem to stay in my brain. Now, I think with lots and lots of practice and a strong dedication to both the compass and the chess board, I could probably overcome these handicaps. However, while frustrating at times, I don't really feel the need to overexert myself trying to learn either one of these things.
Now, thinking less? Enjoying something without having to analyze it? Relaxing? Chilling the fuck out? Yeah, these are some things I'd really like to learn how to do. With all the change I am creating in my life, this particular part of my personality is something I would like to change the most. I think one of the reasons why I struggle so much with this is the belief I have that I must give up control to something outside of myself in order to do this whole "surrendering" thing everyone keeps talking about. I'm afraid that if I let my guard down, I'll be thrown off the path of enlightenment that I've worked so hard to create for myself. Sounds kind of silly, doesn't it. Here I am with a map in my hands, a map that I've drawn that leads me to a place that I only hope is actually there. In the meantime, enlightenment herself is all around me, shaking her head and saying softly "silly child… the path is not the way - you are already enlightened by accepting the journey".
Then where the hell am I headed???
The truth is, I don't know. But I'm starting to care less and less and maybe that's what surrendering truly is. I sat in that restaurant on July 1st, mapping out The Rules because I was unhappy with the way I was living my life. I wanted change. I wanted to see something significantly different happen because of the choices that I made. Even then, I was approaching everything from a very analytical standpoint. I am starting to think that perhaps… just maybe… hold your breath… I may have been wrong in that approach. Not initially. I needed something extreme in order to get the train going the opposite direction on those tracks. But I've seen the changes in my life almost instantaneously and continue to hold on as tight as I can while the change continues to swirl around me like a tornado. What is it going to take for me to simply let go and ride the wind?
I did do something this week that was definitely outside of my comfort zone and felt a little… out of control in the process. And you know what, it really wasn't that bad…
One of my favorite shows on television is What Not To Wear. In fact, I have found myself starting to schedule my gym time around when the show is on so I can watch it during my cardio hour. For those who haven't seen it, it's basically a makeover show. The two hosts, Stacy and Clinton, take a person whose friends and family have sent in a request for fashion help without said person's knowledge. Stacy and Clinton "surprise" this person with a week in New York that includes fashion advice, $5,000 for a new wardrobe, and a crash course in hair and makeup. I am a big fan of a lot of those makeover shows because of the transformational context of everything. For example, Extreme Makeover and it's spin-off, the Home Edition? Those shows change people's lives. It's amazing to see the transition from the opening credits to the closing monologue. I could never watch a full episode of the Home Edition without bawling like a newborn by the end. Well, What Not To Wear isn't quite as intense as this, but it is still similar in that it gives the person they choose to makeover a new sense of who they are. It looks at why they were dressing they way they were, analyzing how they feel about themselves and what their belief is in regards to their self-image. And then the hosts give them some valuable, and sometimes harsh (but always with good intentions) feedback. Then, some ideas are presented about different clothing options and the person is sent out onto the streets to buy new clothes. Typically, they struggle at first - anxious to pick out things that they are comfortable with and are not new for them. Sometimes, they go to extreme and have to be reeled back in. Either way, Stacy and Clinton show up towards the end of the shopping extravaganza to "save the day" and the person ends up being grateful and thankful for the help. Then, after a new hairdo, some makeup tips and a show-and-tell session with the hosts, they go back to their friends and family for their big reveal.
What I love so much about the show is watching the attitude of the person shift so drastically. They are usually hurt and stubborn in the beginning but by the end, they are so happy and absolutely glowing with a renewed sense of self-confidence, ready to take on the world. That's good shit, I don't care who you are.
I mentioned my friend Nancy a while back in one of my blogs. We used to work together in the hotel industry and have since chosen different career paths. Now, she is in fashion, which is extremely appropriate as she has always been my most fashion-forward friend. When I was younger, I was also really into fashion. In fact, I even graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Not for Fashion Design, but still… I was all about it. However, the older I got, the less I cared. Plus, I started wanting to attract less and less attention to myself and deep down, really didn't think I looked as good as I used to and so I stuck with clothes that were unflattering or hid the parts of my body that I no longer loved. I started wearing hats all the time and as I really started to get into my "avoidance" stage of life, I purchased most of my clothes from skate stores, dressing every day in Hurley T-Shirts, wife beaters, board shorts or jeans and (Travis's favorite) my Vans or DC sneakers. I'm not really knocking this look - but for someone who wants to be taken seriously and treated like a respectable woman, it's probably NOT in my best interest to be dressing like the masculine half of a lesbian couple. I am positive this is why I continued to attract guys that always treated me like a buddy, never a lady (see blog on chivalry).
Unfortunately, fashion-wise, I don't think I am a big enough disaster to be a candidate for What Not To Wear so I decided to have my own little show. Jeremy had received a gift card to Macy's as a promotion from Harrah's and I had a little bit of shopping money saved up myself. So, I called up Nancy and she, of course, agreed to meet me at the Fashion Show Mall on the strip for a "makeover morning" yesterday before she had to go into work.
I decided from the very start to surrender completely and give her complete control of the shopping trip. I told her all about this convention I was going to (Blogworld!) and how I wanted to be taken seriously. I told her I was done dressing like a kid but that I had been out of the loop for so long that I didn't even know where to start. Just walking through Macy's to meet Nancy, I was already working up a sweat from being so overwhelmed at all of my choices. I said I was in her hands and wasn't going to turn my nose up at anything she suggested or recommended.
So, we started walking through the store and she began grabbing things off the rack and telling me about how to mix and match items to make many outfits out of one. She told me the importance of basics and educated me on some of the latest styles and looks that were modern, but not too trendy that I would appear dated by the end of the year. I liked most of the stuff she was grabbing off the racks but, admittedly, I would never have picked out the outfits she did if I were on my own. At one point, she pulled a dress of the rack and I jokingly said "What, are you trying something on, too?" She just smiled and put it with the rest of the clothes in her arms.
We went into the fitting room and I couldn't believe it. Everything looked great! There were only a few things that didn't really work with my body but for the most part, a whole new style for me came together in that little tiny room! I was amazed! I was so happy with everything she had selected and she was telling me about all the little accessories and basic pieces we'd go find for much cheaper just to complete the outfits. She told me how it was good to spend a little more on really important pieces - like jackets, dresses and shoes - and to fill in the rest with moderately priced belts, jewelry and undershirts.
And the dress that I laughed at on the hanger? The most beautiful dress I've ever had. Seriously. Like it was sitting there waiting for me to find it. Unbelievable.
Needless to say, I learned a lot that day. Obviously, I learned a ton about the latest fashion and how to wear clothes that not only flattered my shape, but still spoke loudly in terms of my personality. Nancy kept pointing out how important it was that I felt comfortable in everything I tried on as it has to feel "right". More importantly, however, I learned that giving up control is not only okay, sometimes, it's the only way to get the most out of the change I am looking for. It is really refreshing to be wrong sometimes.
So, as they do in the television show, I held a little fashion show for myself today - taking three outfits that I wore all the time before and then comparing them with three of my new outfits.
This is old casual Tina. This is something I would wear all summer long - I would wear this bowling, to a pool party or just an afternoon at a friends house. This is a very safe outfit for me. (I'm going to have to hide my Vans from Travis so he won't burn them now that I have a new look)
This is new casual Tina. I love that even my energy seems different in these clothes. I'm ready to face anything, meet anyone, and puff my chest out because I deserve the credit and the attention. I feel confident, attractive and comfortable with this look.
This is old going-out Tina. This is something I would wear to the bar or to the movies. It's easy and quiet. It doesn't draw any attention to me and is completely within my comfort zone. I have been known to wear outfits like this to the club. Yeah, yeah… I know…
This is new going-out Tina. This is completely fun for me. It's new, it's a little edgier than I'm used to. I love how nice I look in skinny jeans and cargos. I would NEVER have guessed I could pull this off. And the belt? I always thought I'd come off as Peg Bundy but it really works well. The colors are great and it's tough without being manly. People can still tell I'm a girl - ha!
This is old dressy Tina. I like this dress but definitely feel as if it's a little young for me. I don't like showing this much skin and strappy shoes have proven to be painful and dangerous for me more than they have ever been sexy. I do like that it shows off my back tattoos, but sometimes, it's nice to have those covered as well.
This is new dressy Tina. Okay, so I kinda feel like Madonna in this outfit. In both the good ways and the bad ways. But, come on? Madonna is the shit! And I was VERY surprised at how well this outfit looked once I had it all on. I felt grown up without feeling old and pretty without being flashy. I feel like at a dinner party or reception of some sort, I would be taken seriously in this outfit. And the boots are amazing.
Not bad, eh? I didn't include a picture of my new favorite dress in the whole entire world. That's an in-person kind of thing…
So, there you have it. My own little makeover. Like I said, giving up the control wasn't so bad. It was quite liberating to have achieved this level of change by not having to control the entire situation and call all the shots. It makes me wonder if I can truly sort out the idea of surrendering to the point where maybe I can give my brain a break every once in a while. I do know for sure that worrying all the time and analyzing every little thing about life is not healthy. Without spontaneity, we all just end up living in The Truman Show and I can't imagine a life more miserable than that.
This was a little bit more than a baby step for me but I still have a long way to go. I'm conflicted about My Rules and how breaking some of them and feeling bad about it is affecting my journey. Guilt is not an emotion that attracts positive energy. Already my journey is turning out differently than I planned but maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.
I mean, really - should you even allow a person who doesn't know which way North is to draw a map anyway??
Posted by Tina V at 2:38 AM