Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Ramblings on Mistakes, Insecurities and Gardening

After yesterday's post about the types of mistakes I have made in the past when buying clothes, (and after some very interesting and thought-provoking comments you sent my way - thank you for those) I got to thinking about the clothes I have fallen in love with. It is never just the print, the colour or the pattern, it is always the whole package. There is just something unexplainable about those clothes. They are not traditional classics, but I love them throughout the years. They might not be perfect in terms of fit or style even, but they make me happy and I smile a lot more when I wear them. Above all, they make me feel confident about looking the way I want to look.

When it comes to the mistakes I have made, the "wrong" clothes I have bought almost make me feel as if I am trying to be someone else. I guess everyone has those days once in a while: you know the days when you just wish you could fool everyone around you and pass for a different person, someone who is perhaps not quite as sensitive, someone who doesn't care all that much about the small things in life, someone who oozes inner strength. Don't get me wrong, I do like myself just the way I am. But there are days when I don't feel like it's enough. Those are the days when I seriously feel like everyone is staring at me, and it makes me uneasy, almost to the point where I wonder if I perhaps have issues regarding crowds.

Overall, one of the characteristics that I least like about myself is my tendency to waste time on trying to figure out what other people think of me. I know that there is no reason for me to do so, and that it is kind of childish anyway, but there it is, that's me. I sort of realised today that my clothing mistakes often arise from situations or phases in life when I, for one reason or another, feel stressed out about others' percetions of myself. It's almost as if I give in to the invisible stares, as if I am convinced that the teenagers on the street corner are laughing at me. I am 32 years old, and apparently there are still days, or even weeks, when I feel like I did at school - like the wallpaper girl no one remembers, who needs to try to be someone else in order to be noticed. I haven't consciously felt like that in a while now, mainly because I am happier in my own skin and my own mind than I have ever been before. But I do still recognise the pattern, the train of thought, and now in hindsight I can figure out why I tried to look a certain way in the past.

One of the challenges here in the US (and I'll remind you that we live in a small town) is for me to maintain my own concepts of beauty and style. Most women in our town wear jeans, sneakers and hoodies, or shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. I feel like my style stands out more here than it did in Finland, and being 5"11 doesn't really help. If it wasn't for the emotional healing and building the past two years have provided me with, I would most likely bury myself in something that everyone else wears. I still have days when wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt makes me feel like I somehow fit in, and those are often the days when I don't post an outfit picture. That person is not the real me, it is the little conformist whom I don't like. Although she doesn't come out all that often anymore, she still resides in my head and I hear her whispers relatively often - I just try to not listen all that much!

Okay, that is enough about insecurities, mistakes and all of that negative stuff for one day! On other fronts, we took Willow to the vet today, a biopsy was taken, and we should get results very soon. The vet still seems to be confident that her lump is nothing to be worried about, which is good news, but I just want to be sure! After we came home from the vet, Chris and me spent the entire day working on home improvements. I spent hours and hours weeding, shoveling, dragging top-soil bags, planting and whatever else. I got rid of two horrible half-dead bushes on our front yard...

...and got new space layed out beautifully for the-new-flowers-to-come:

I also got our onion container ready, yay! The bulbs are in there, believe it or not!

I'll confess that I didn't wear this while gardening, but I have a feeling you might have guessed that. I wore this to hang out with our friends Lynn and Chris - we had pizza and watched an old Pink Panther movie, and had a wonderful time!

Cardigan: second hand / Plato's Closet
Skirt: self-made
Knee-socks: H&M
Belt: second hand / Salvation Army
Shoes: Vagabond
Hat: Gap
Necklace: second hand / local craft fair


Charlotte said...

Today I also wore a golden yellow cardigan and gray tights! But with a gray knit dress and a chunky rough amber necklace that I bought on the street in Stockholm.
I think in most small towns and rural areas, people dress as you describe. If you are stared at for dressing differently, believe me, it's out of admiration and perhaps curiosity.
If you lived in the Deep South, your difference would be even more striking.
You have a distinctive look. You look like an interesting person. That draws interest, naturally! Something out of the ordinary is very refreshing to the eye.

Lady Cardigan said...

Till recently I was one of those typical sloppily dressed American women (well, I still am, but at least now I am trying to do better). And it always bothered me that I didn't look more stylish, even though everyone around me looked the same! I think maybe a lot of American women have that anxiety about not looking as good as they could, and share my admiration for someone who dresses as well as you. Yes, people probably notice you, but in a good way.

I love your cardigan, shoes - everything about this outfit.

It's so stressful when a pet is sick. I hope all is well with Willow's biopsy.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts exactly. There you have it. We discussed this with my "spare-child" the other day (yes I have my own soon 14-year old son, who has great opinions about these things too, but my few years older "spare daughter" knows it all). And still, even as I am 36 and she is soon 16, we share the same fears. Every day she goes to school, and I go to work, we need to face the army of clones, made in a "leggings and too short top factory" like she likes to put it. Too much make up, giving us the "bad eye" (at least that's how it feels, like you could see the bubble hanging over their big-hair heads saying; "freak").But still, we want to look like we feel inside (btw,she has a great style, fun and little quirky,strong and personal). Also, every day at work I am referred as the "bohemian-one"...I don't mind that though, my friends there know me! But sometimes it's harder with customers, you can't believe how many women there are in their thirties and fourties who are also giving "the bad eye".And just because they feel it's not allowed to wear for example harem pants or moccasins or dresses over jeans or shirts that show your arms or dress that show your knees at certain age. Oh why! And why... well, most of them make ten times more money than I do, but still need their husbands or boyfriends approval of wearing something. And they are so A-D-U-L-S, so serious. It's true, it's sometimes harder to fit in the wolrd and at the same time fit in your own skin. But there are friend out there, other aliens, and you regognize them from the open little smile on their faces when they pass you by on the street. and by the way Chris in my style hero these days; every time I feel like mixing crazy prints, and feel like I don't have the courage, I think of him, and how he does it, without an effort! Sis. Ps. and now to work, wearing happy clothes :)

The Patersons said...

Thank you for sharing! You are not alone in how you feel - I was just thinking to myself yesterday that I shouldn't be battling insecurities at 35!

I think we can help emotions and feelings coming to us, we are only human but the difference now in our, ahem, mature age (!) is how we respond and whether we allow it to control our choices and actions.

It helps to keep us compassionate as well I think, than if we had it "all worked out".

mirattes said...

I like you gardening project ir always interesting to see a progress and i adore your cats as well :)
Today your otfit reminds me the autumn but in a good way, because autumn is my favourite season.

Teenysparkles said...

I can see why you look so happy in these clothes. They look beautiful on you. Just perfect! Hope your cat is well.

Someone said...

LOVE your skirt. Gorgeous!!

Sal said...

It always amazes me when people claim that they don't care what others think of them. How is that even possible? It's perfectly natural to do so, and I hope you don't beat yourself up for wondering.

This is such a cheery springtime ensemble, and SO perfect with the hat!

Jane W. said...

That outfit is perfect--I love the whimsy of pattern mix and socks.

Beautifully made skirt, too!

NYC Fashionista said...

First of - Mistakes are not negative! There would be no growth and learnign without them. And second - where did you get that wooden fram "viljelylaatikko"?

FashionTheorist said...

You look adorable in that outfit! I love the colors - and the hat.

I understand what you mean about living in a small town and maintaining an idiosyncratic sense of style. My town, also a small one in upstate New York, is rather conservative and horsey: my sense of style stands out quite a bit. I sometimes feel rather out of place, and miss living in a more fashion-forward urban area. I love the open spaces, lack of crowding, and calmer pace of life up here, though. I don't know if I really would be happy living in a large city again.

Anonymous said...

Oh my word, what a thrill!! Am I the 'Chris' referred to here by (the wonderfully stylish and ultra-cool--don't let her fool you! :) 'Sis'?? What an honor, if so!! I have much more I could say, but on the chance it is another Chris, then I shall be quick here and just say that sometimes we have to be willing to ignore the stares, and thought balloons that proclaim us "Weird!", or "Alien!!". If you can look in a mirror and find inner peace, or even on those good days, joy at how you look, then what does it matter what the world thinks of your personal choices? And patterns are made for mixing, no matter what the doubters might think!! :) AND...Waves looked stunningly beautiful yesterday...this was one of my favorite outfits ever by her. It just looked so refined, and timeless, in person. Well done, dear!!! xoxo, Chris

wardrobeexperience said...

brilliant outfit! those colours are awesome!

Modesty is Pretty said...

Yes you do dress different and I know what you are saying, because I go through the same, just today during dinner I got stared at by a couple that sat right in front of us and they didn't even bother to try to pretend they weren't staring. The norm is that girls here usually wear t-shirts and jeans or whatever is "in" at stores like forever21. I've bought things too that didn't go with my style but they looked cute on other girls and I wanted to wear them too knowing plentifully that is was outside my comfort zone. I don't wear pants but I have 2 pairs forgotten in my closet (as part of my beliefs women don't wear pants) still I decided to buy them because sometimes I too want to fit in, to wear something that everyone wears just so that I'll be part of the crowd. Same thing with short dresses, I have 1 or 2 that are cute but I never wear them because I know that I'm not comfortable showing all my stuff around.When summer comes and I see girls walking around in short shorts or mini dresses and sometimes I wish I could wear those clothes too. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to be as you said it, the girl in the poster who everyone forgets about, the girl who dresses too modest to catch someone's attention...and yet I love to dress modestly and I love the way I dress because that is who I am...but it does bother me to have people stare at the way I'm dressed. Anyways I probably didn't make any sense hehe I hope you keep your style because I love the way you dress and you are a beautiful girl with a unique style (and I'm 32 too!).

Sheila said...

This is a lovely outfit!

I also stand out in a crowd (and I live in a small city!), but at 42, I've gotten to the point where I prefer to be noticed, because that's who I am. I hate looking like everyone else.

I hope your kitty's lump is nothing. I just found out one of mine has cancer. :(

Nicky said...

You may find that over time you elevate the style in your own small town. Other women may start to think more about what they are wearing because of your inspiration. They may feel more like expressing themselves through clothes and being more creative in what they wear and have the comfort to do that because of you.