Feb 10, 2014

Dancing Through Life

 This outfit is a little trip back to the dark side and while "sweater weather" is officially over and the season changes, I am still quite glad that I was able to wear it on what I will perhaps remember as the last of the cold nights in Manila. I absolutely love the sweater and was drawn to the watercolor flower print it had which, personally, I am crazy for as of the moment. As for the rest of the ensemble, I challenged myself to pull off a somewhat "sporty" or "athletic chic" attire. I hope the quilted cheerleader style skirt and the white shoes helped somehow in achieving that look. The thing about being a fashion blogger is that every outfit you wear should project yourself in some way...To be quite frank, I really don't know what this outfit projects... Personally, I just found it comfortable and perfect to wear on said day and that is all I have to say... How others might perceive it hasn't always been an issue for me since I've learned a long time ago to stop thinking of what other people think because it is a hindrance from expressing myself truly. I may not always be the crowd favorite nor the people pleaser...and that is fine with me. To put it in a more elaborate way: I stopped giving a damn about that a time ago. I have so much respect for what I am doing and where I am at this point that I realized that I want to be as raw and real as possible. If this were an album, I would probably call this phase I am currently in as Joanna Ladrido: The Greatest Hits, Unplugged. It just does not get more real than this.

  I turned 27 today (February 10) and all I can think of is how time flies. From the young girl who played with Barbie dolls and who browsed through magazines and looking at these gorgeous grown-up women and wishing I was one of them... and here I am, close to being one and still considering myself blessed. Life is a cycle. We live, we fail, we learn and then we live again. It's the cycle that keeps me going... the challenge to overcome whatever hurdle and overcoming it. It is such a fine frenzy and is it not a well-known Proverb that goes, " Anything worth doing is worth doing frantically." Now I am an anxious person and I think this contributes to why I choose to live my way as such but I tend to be extremely excited with strong emotion and intense passion to live my life. Personally, I find the ending of an old year and the beginning of a new year (it still feels like I am 14 going on 27, really)  to be an extremely difficult time. There is always the temptation to try to "tidy up" all loose ends as the old year and the old you closes. We fall into the trap of believing that it is possible to get our entire life "caught up" before starting a new year and age... starting a new year of our lives, and I think like myself, most people are absolutely determined to do it.  

Also, there is the temptation to set up an elaborate list of "Things to do on my nth year" so that we can, at last, get it right. Like me, I am sure... most of us tend to be very hard  on ourselves: nothing less than perfection is enough. I know and recognize myself to have this flaw which tends to back me up rather than make me move forward. I am so obsessed that things have to go perfectly as planned that I fail to see the bigger picture. I went to the beach for some serenity and a break from the city... I just needed to get away from it all and personally I think it was the best time that I was able to bid my 26th year goodbye and prepare myself... on to the next one. On this first day of my 27th year, I was able to remember to accept that I am perfect... just the way I am. (I swear, Bruno Mars' Super Bowl Half Time show has caused severe LSS for me aka "Last Song Syndrome.) But hey, if it gives me some hope, I'll take it. I've reflected too much on the years that have gone by...those are all a thing of the past... I think all I can do is have the willingness to live my 27th year in a way that will be gentle with myself... one day at a time.

Black Sweater and Black Quilted Skirt: Zara | Shoes: Romwe.com | Accessories: Forever 21 | Marcie Bag in Burgundy: Chloe 

Hair Extensions: STYLD.Extensions 

One of my favorite philosophers, Simone de Beauvoir once said, "One is not born a woman, one becomes one." See, we live in a society that puts so much emphasis upon youth, looks and attractiveness that we have very few models for womanliness. We have such a cult of youth in this society that for a woman, growing older is a terrifying experience. Now, I won't wash my hands clean and say I've been confident all along. The past weeks leading up to this day were a bit mind-boggling and I found myself constantly questioning if I was where I wanted to be at my current age.  Meridel LeSeur was quoted stating this: "Lying, walking, sitting in this room, she felt herself ripening and coloring." Her usage of the words "ripening" and "coloring" are very soothing. Now that I decided to see myself ripening and becoming richer as I grow older, I see myself developing a more intricate patina, my process of growth takes on a different tone. I mean, without knowing how to get there, we are expected to be women and to have the wisdom and stature of a woman. In a society that knows so little about process, there is an assumption that one is a little girl and then suddenly one is a woman. In our sexualized culture, becoming a woman is almost always linked to our sexuality. Womanhood is much more than being sexual and being able to produce babies. I see womanhood as the progressive process of bringing all we have to offer as persons to ourselves and those around us. I am still becoming a woman... that is a process not a state. I mean, let's all give ourselves some credit here... becoming is not exactly a walk in the park. And then, when you are in the process of becoming a woman, you find yourself at a standstill because as society puts so much pride and emphasis on youth. When does it ever end?

I live by the adage that  we grow neither better or worse as we get older... but more like ourselves. I once met a woman in her sixties who shared what a marvelous revelation it was to her to becoming completely gray. "I can just put my ideas out the way I want to," she said, "and I don't get all of that strange energy from men coming at me like I did when I was younger." Another woman in her fifties confided that one of the best-kept secrets in this day and age we are living in  was what she called "post-menopausal zest." I thought I was a whiz before" she whispered to me conspirationally, "and you should see me now..." These were obviously women who had chosen to let the process of aging facilitate their becoming more fully themselves. Now that I think about it, I realize that human beings are probably the only species that worship youth and put a pressure on those going through maturity. Personally, it just does not seem to matter. I would not have known what I known today if I were not the age I am. I have the continual opportunity to grow and I love that! Now that I realized it, as the demands to falsify myself (in my own standards anyway) lessen, I can more easily concentrate on being the person I have always been. Isn't that just amazing?

xx, JL

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