Deciding to be Yourself
My journey to reclaim my inner fashionista.
“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” – Coco Channel
Let’s just take a moment to let that soak in. This quote really resonates with me, especially considering I became more true to my authentic self at the age of 55. If you will indulge me, I would like to share a little about my transformation and I think you may just have a few “Me Too!” moments.
We really need to travel back all the way to 1981 when I was a senior in high school and the fashionista of my class, a time when every extra penny was spent on clothes. I literally bought something new every weekend. My dream was to attend Auburn University and major in Fashion Merchandising, after graduation I would work as a buyer for department stores and maybe open a boutique of my own someday. Then real life happened…
I started working full time, became a mom to Ashley, met Mike, got married, had Dakota and went about life as a wife & mother. Gone were the days of spending all day Saturday at the mall shopping for the perfect outfit, girls night out with friends was a thing of the past, and money was spent on groceries and bills…and things for the kids. I deemed clothes as a necessity and fashion as frivolous, somehow lost Donna Kay along the way. It was so much more important for the kids to have everything they wanted (within reason); cute and fashionable clothes for Ashley, cheerleading, games and toys for Dakota, guitar lessons, you guys know the drill. I dressed OK, but not in my cute fashionable pieces. I wore the same jeans for years and only bought clothing for myself at Christmas and tax time. Shoes were bought out of necessity, period. Honestly, if it cost more than $20, I was probably not going to buy it for myself. As you can imagine, my self-esteem took a huge hit.
Then came 2018, Ashley was married with two gorgeous kids, Dakota was in his last year at Troy University, and I was going through menopause and an almost empty nester. A bout with what I thought was adult acne brought on by menopause turned out to be rosacea. It sounds weird, but my rosacea diagnosis was a catalyst to my transformation back to my authentic self. As my skin began to clear up I took a little more time with my makeup in the morning. I got my signature pixie haircut again, and reignited my long lost love affair with fashion with the purchase of a pair of leopard flats. I stood a little straighter, I got a new skip in my step, and I gained this new confidence without losing a pound or changing anything other than caring more about my appearance. I wasn’t the only person to notice, the people at work commented not only on my appearance but my renewed sense of joy, and even the grandkids noticed a change with Lexi telling Ash how young I was looking.
It’s not about buying expensive things or spending lots of money on yourself, it’s about valuing yourself and presenting yourself as such. Being true to yourself, dressing for yourself, taking care of yourself are things that we as women can put on the back burner, but something that we all need to embrace. There is empowerment in feeling pretty; it generates a happiness and confidence that will translate into all aspects of your life. I can promise you that if you are happy and confident and take a little time to love yourself, you will be more kind, patient and generous with those around you. In the process, you will teach your kids a valuable life lesson, and you will feel more fulfilled and happy. After all, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” Great advice Coco, thanks!