When someone uses the phrase “aging gracefully” I usually cringe. Knowing my limitations and recognizing as Elaine Benes admitted in the “Jackie O” episode of Seinfeld “I don’t have grace, I don’t want grace, I don’t even say grace.” (Actually, we do say grace, we’re not ungrateful, just klutzy.) But having grace? Gaaaagh!
Two years ago it was my dear husband’s time to celebrate this passage. Since that time, I’ve watched him transform from a cool confident state of mind into a man determined to embrace aging with faith, friends and family. Together we decided to engage in living as organically as possible within the boundaries of our responsibilities. Turns out, turning 50 is not as fearful as I thought, in fact, it’s proving to be quite liberating.
Where my husband has turned into a silver fox with his lengthening platinum hair, mine is growing in sporadically with more wisps around the ears and brow than I once found comfortable. I originally began coloring my hair when a young clerk offered me a senior discount at the ripe old age of 39! Now, ten years later, I’ve grown weary of coloring my hair and want to apply the organic life style to the way I style my hair. But I’ve got a secret weapon with a hair stylist that understands my desires and fears. She recently blended in my growing roots with silver highlights giving me the confidence to keep moving forward together, me and the hubby can go gray together.
Something happens to our eyebrows when we age, as least it did for me. Back in college, I had eyebrows to rival Brooke Shields but as I aged, and they continued to grow unruly, I submitted to removing (plucking) any offensive or wayward growing brow hairs. Eventually, my brow line became so thin and adding brown liner looked worse and worse (like painting clown lines across my forehead). Now, I’m in the patient process of letting them grow. As difficult as it was to get started and succumb to the pressure not to pull stray growth, I left them alone. Organically, they began to grow into a defined brow line.
Why do I bother sharing these observations? Because it’s the type of personal editing we all face. Think about all the re-edits you’ve undertaken over your lifetime (young or old). We can’t edit our age, but we can always edit our choices. And the wisest choices are those that help us live an authentic and organic lifestyle.
I have no intention of meeting the conventions of aging within a market that places unrealistic expectations on beauty. Are you in a similar place? Let’s journey this transition together, as gracelessly as possible.
In case you're wondering where to get a hold of these sexy body shapping Jeggings:
Originally published on Story Behind the Cloth as part of their Valentine Self-love party, February 10, 2018.
We like labels. Colorfully embroidered, easy to read, descriptive, labels. Labels can identify manufacturer, origin, fiber content, and, care instructions.
Yet, even when a label is clearly printed with all FTC required elements, can it define the product's quality or value? A wise consumer will be more likely to purchase a product if familiar with a brand they recognize on the label. A valuable brand recognized for its quality.
We often label and define each other and ourselves by perceived identifiable terms:
But do these terms truly describe our environmental, social, intellectual, and sensual needs? Self-Love is providing adequate care to maintain the quality of our content.
Could you create a label that fully describes your content? Would you be able to list all your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs? You can imagine the lengthy list of instructions the label would require.
Our parentage (manufacturer) and place of birth (origin) may be out of our control, but the nurture we received at our origin has a strong influence on our mental and emotional needs.
Self-love gives us the knowledge and strength needed to value ourselves no matter our gender, nationality, occupation, status, or age. When we recognize ourselves as beautiful, intellectual, loving, artistic (fill in your own content here), we are empowering ourselves with what the Greeks called, Philautia.
Philautia is self-love in its healthiest form. It shares the philosophy of “self-compassion” which is the deep understanding that only once you have the strength to love yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, will you be able to provide love to others. As Aristotle put it, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”
You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. The only way to truly be happy is to find that unconditional love for yourself. This self-love naturally affords you with increased confidence, poise, and self-assurance.
Practicing self-love naturally assists you with defining your own personal style, labeled by YOU! Here are some simple steps to help you create a personal style that deserves your own label:
Honestly identify your needs.
Attentively identify the styles that make you look and feel amazing.
When my active, intuitive, and ambitious daughter was in the 4th grade, she entered a music contest. After working to prepare her for the competition, her teacher confessed to having trouble relating to her.
“Well, you know, your daughter is gregarious.” He said.
Despite being a word nerd, I hadn't heard that word used in this context (about a child).
“I’m sorry, what do you mean by that?” I asked.
“You know, she’s very outspoken and likes to be the center of attention.” He said.
As a young mother, I was not sure what to do with that. But I recognized it as his label, not mine, not her fathers, and certainly not hers.
“Well, perhaps she was graced with those qualities for a reason?” I responded.
We never used that word again, nor allowed her teacher to use it.
Many years later, that same girl would take me to visit the ancient British monument at Stonehenge and encourage me to love myself through a, particularly difficult time. She returned the self-love she was allowed to own as a child.
This article is dedicated to her and her loving husband on this, February 10, 2018, their 6th Wedding Anniversary. Without their love and dedication, I may have been lost after that visit to Stonehenge. But with her encouragement, I regained the ability to love myself again and found the confidence I needed to repair relationships, develop my own fashion business, and share my personal style with the world on my mission to wreck, less.
Now, it’s your turn. What's your label going to say?
I have a rare, no, a weird skin condition. I refuse to post pictures of what I've dealt with my entire life that no doctor has ever been able to diagnose, nor treat. It appears to be some kind of hives that constantly itch and break the skin at times. I've had many of treatments that range from the full of allergy testing, more than one treatment of steroids and even UV light application. None of them work.
The past few months have been the worse. BUT I've been able to reduce my physical stress to a livable condition the past few weeks with a constant and liberal application of a Neosporin product.
My FASHION conundrum (and ultimate challenge) is what to wear while trying to let my skin both heal and return to normal. This means no itchy tags or rough seams, no irritating undergarments (I could pass for a 70's bra burning radical these days), and soft and natural fabrics.
I'll post my attempts to remain both stylish and comfortable this week. I'm supposed to go to a couple of movies with my family so let's see how THAT turns out.
What is your favorite go-to outfit when life kicks your butt and you go down and out for a day or two? Comfy PJ's? Fluffy fleece track pants? Warm and fuzzy grandpa/boyfriend sweater?
Here are a couple for sale in my closet just in case you need to add some practical, distinctive and maybe a little unconventional to your leisure wear collection!
Stay warm, stay well, stay reckless.
After the recent loss of some dear family members this past month, I found myself once again battling the anxiety and depression I was diagnose with in 2014. That was a long road and perhaps I will write about it some day, but today is not that day. But I would like to share with you several tools and techniques I discovered and am able to apply when my symptoms reoccur.
Do you need help?
To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
In order to encourage others to get the help they need, I'm contributing 10% of each sale to TWLOHA from my Ebay store. But the one fundraiser most dearest to my heart is my Flannel Fundraiser on Poshmark.
Never Stop Fighting
In 2015, an actor from a show my family watches launched a campaign to raise funds for TWLOHA. Jared Padalecki admitted to suffering from depression and wanted to use his influence to help others in similar circumstances. Through his bravery and example, many people were helped. Since that time, his co-star, Jensen Ackles, has also contributed to the same cause in support of the fans that reached out through Jared's first endeavor. You can follow his charitable work on his FB page HERE.
Having successfully sold a few replica "Winchester" flannel shirts, I decided to begin listing them one at a time and donate all proceeds from each sale to TWLOHA. This is the first flannel chosen (the shirt under is from Jared first campaign and is not included in sale):
The Aeropostale Quilted Plaid Shirt, size small petite, is both warm and comfy with a vintage feel that looks like you must have got it from your boyfriend. You can purchase this fine flannel on Poshmark HERE. If new to Poshmark, sign up with code NELYS to get $5 off your first purchase (don't worry, the full amount of your purchase will go to charity). And remember, Always Keep Fighting!
Gwen Bielicki - vintage style addict, aging gracelessly
Alternative apparel rescued and restyled for reckless women of all sizes.
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