Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Dressing for Respect

Today I want to cover a topic that has been on my mind for a while. I’ve noticed how people dress often plays a part in how they act. Friends and I have been discussing this lately. We lament about today’s styles and wonder how attire reflects on respect towards self and others. Does the lack of “respectable” style have something to do with how people behave nowadays?

Pele always dresses in style 
We talked about the different fashions we grew up with and how they changed. Some of us remember a time when girls couldn’t wear long pants to school; dresses only. I remember hating being forced to go outside for recess in the winter because my legs would be so cold. Then when mini-skirts became popular, teachers would make us kneel on the floor and they’d measure to the edge of our hems. If your hemline was more than 2 inches from the floor, they’d make you go home to change.

Those were also times when employees of businesses (they weren’t called “associates” back then) dressed nicely. Boys/men wore suits or, at least, nice sweaters and ties. Girls and women wore dresses that weren’t too revealing. Hair styles had to be professional. People were courteous and were taught to be helpful to customers. The customer was priority. And yes, certain jobs require particular attire. But there was a general feeling that there was more caring between people.

Times changed. People changed and insisted on a more casual dress code. They wanted to dress for themselves and show their personal style. Employers started to ease up. Many still have some kind of a dress code in that their employees wear company T-shirts. But have the times gone from one extreme to the other?

Looking nice doesn’t necessarily mean dressing fancy or owning expensive clothes. (Here’s where I’m probably really going to show my age.) To me, there has always been something appealing about well-dressed people. (Remember ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man?”) That doesn’t mean I think people should always wear shirts and ties. There is something sexy about a guy in well-fitting jeans and a nice T-shirt or even a flannel shirt. And a little dirt doesn’t hurt if he’s a hard-worker. A woman in a dress or pants and shirt that is flattering to her body-type is also beautiful. (And that doesn’t mean shockingly skin tight showing every bulge and blemish or having half her body hang out!) 

Then there’s attitude. People nicely dressed carry themselves in a more self-assured, strong but gentler, manner. (That’s self-assured, not cocky.) They often act with a panache that is comforting. The attire reflects respect of self and respect of others. When you feel good about how you are dressed, you’re more apt to be nicer to others. You can wear comfortable clothing, be stylish, and look and feel good.

When and what made the change? Is it only to appease the young? Is it the continual rebellion of the young to make their statement to the world? Is it the big business marketers feeding the rebellious frenzy of the young? (Big business who makes billions off consumers!)

I try hard to respect others’ choices. I try hard to allow people their individual styles, but it seems that wearing ripped and/or dirty-looking clothing brings about an almost demeaning sense of attitude ... of self and to those they encounter. It’s sending a message that they don’t care what they look like – and their attitude reflects that because they always act on the defensive. They develop an angry, negative demeanor in aura and stance. And how can you say baggy pants with the crotch between the knees is sexy and appealing? 

The hate and anger in the country scares me. The lack of respect for one another saddens me. I wonder, if people dressed like they cared about themselves, others, and life, would that change? If schools helped teach respect and self-esteem, instead of having to focus on national scores and political correctness, if our kids would grow up feeling more self-assured within themselves. If kids were taught how to dress for their body-types, and how to accept the many types of body-types (instead of feeling they all have to have the model-type anorexically-thin bodies), would they grow up with better self-esteem?

As I ponder all this, I wonder where this comes into my goal of living whole-heartedly. How does living whole-heartedly fit in with how one dresses? 

Perhaps it’s just about my goals for myself; being true to myself. I’m not a martyr. I’m not physically pretty. Fancy dressing doesn’t work on my body type. I don’t go anywhere where I need to “dress-up.” 

Being true to myself means accepting who I am and finding clothes that look OK for my body-type/size. It means not forcing myself into clothes that are uncomfortable, so I can be “in-fashion.” I can work, move around, dance, paint, whatever, and my clothes work with me. 

Living whole-heartedly means wearing clothes that reflect a self-assurance and comfortableness for who I am. I don’t have to put on “airs” or pretend I’m somebody I’m not. I am comfortable within myself, and others are comfortable around me. 

Life is good when I’m living whole-heartedly!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Writing on an emotional level

“Emotions drive my writing. If I don’t feel it, I can’t write it.” --SW

This past week I returned to writing the book I’d put aside last winter. Emotions drive my writing. If I can’t feel it, I can’t write it. This puts my writing style a little outside the box for conventional publishers. I feel my way through the writing, and I write in first person. 

I have a couple of theories of why I’m compelled to write this way. 
  1. 1. My goal is to be honest in my writing. I don’t want to hide or sugar coat. I want to tell it like it is, like it happened from my point of view. 
  2. 2. These are my stories, my feelings in the moment, yet I also believe many people have similar emotions. Perhaps, in my daring greatly to be vulnerable, I can say what others may not be able to express.
  3. 3. This emotional honestly is a release. By my telling my truth, I am not letting issues stew inside.
  4. 4. I feel better when I’m able to express my truth.
  5. 5. The writing, and seeing the written word of my feelings, helps me better understand myself and the human condition. It helps me figure things out … or just tell my story.
  6. 6. A final belief/hope is that whatever lessons I learn from life might be passed to others or at least help others find a key to their own answers.
It’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. This doesn’t solve problems, but in my quest to live life whole-heartedly, it’s one more aspect in standing up for who I am, for daring greatly to speak my truth, and further work towards being a better person.

As for my book? I continue to struggle to figure out how to present my vision. Every time I think I have it figured out, and I’m writing the book I want to write, self-doubt sets in. The over thinking confuses me and my brain spirals around. 

The hardest part is not having an advisor/mentor because there’s no one I know doing it like I do. I rely on prayer and meditation and hope when I get those flashes of inspiration, I can get it written down before it bursts into a cloud of smoke and disappears.

I believe. I’ll get it.