Mar 25, 2014

Pink is my favorite crayon

Being a woman isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world...but it's what I have to work with right now. There are so many aspects of ourselves that merit self-respect. I think Indira Mahindra said it best: "When self-respect takes it rightful place in the psyche of a woman, she will not allow herself to be manipulated by anyone."  We have to realize that we are unbelievably competent at what we do. We are flexible and strong and can be both simultaneously. We have good ideas that are practical and creative, and we can articulate them well. We have the ability to deal with several tasks simultaneously and attend to each one. We are organizers, creators, and doers and we all have a great capacity for being. We have much to contribute including a perspective on life that is so different from that of the men around us. We have to believe that we are here to stay, and that we and others need to accept that fact. Self-respect is such an important thing to me and I realize that not only is it essential to me... it is also important to the world. While people take offense at how brazen I am in defending myself, I take into consideration that it may seem catty of me... but then later I realize that not only am I giving myself a voice... I am also speaking in behalf of other people who are silenced by other factors in their lives... and then I think, it is worth it.

We are often experts in guilt. Certainly we have learned it from the masters. We unquestionably and with great doggedness go about our assigned tasks without a grumble or a reproach. We are armed, however, with our sighs, our clenched teeth, our pathetic looks of acceptance and our sagging shoulders. Our favorite phrase may as well be, "That's okay," but we don't really mean it. I don't know how it goes for you but back then, when I chose not to have a voice and do as I was told, I was considering if suffering and doing it so well can be mentioned as part of my greatest skills. It was almost a talent for me. We get our pound of flesh and we lose our souls in the process. I came into a point in my life that I felt like I was taking too much crap from other people that I asked myself in the mirror: "Tell me, is it really worth it? Am I ready to give up the guilt game since it is being infinitely boring?" I found myself realizing that shutting myself up just to please other people wasn't worth it. I think certain unavoidable circumstances have already given me enough suffering... but there are certain thing that I can control... there are certain things that make me suffer because I allow them to make me suffer and saying I have had enough of that and fighting against me can save me from such. So I decided to have a voice. It may be all too easy to conform and be who others want me to be... but ultimately, is that the person I want myself to be? I don't think so. While I may get a lot of frowns and complaints for being outspoken, it is actually liberating not to fit into the mold that society dictates me to be. It took a lot of courage and thick skin to go against the standard but it was worth it. Good things happen to those who don't allow themselves to take crap from anyone else. 

Judith M. Knowlton once said, "I discovered I have choices and sometimes, it's only a choice of attitude," and I think this pretty much sums up what I have come to realize in my transformation from being such a fragile little thing to an empowered being, ready to take on the world. You see, one of the most devastating characteristics of our doing-too-much process is that our perceptions, our judgment and our thinking become so distorted that we have come to believe that we have no choices and are completely trapped. We tend to have the illusion that there are only two choices (usually to stay or leave) and neither looks attractive. The thing is, we do have options. We do have choices, even if the only choice available at the moment is to see that we are stuck and to accept that "stuckness." Amazingly, though, when we begin to truly accept our "stuckness," our situations begin to change. Often, as I have come to learn. it is not the situation that is keeping us stuck but our attitude about our situation. Choices are all part of being human. When we feel we have no choices, we are probably operating out of our disease of pleasing everyone else but ourselves. 

I don't conform and I don't just let things go as other people want them to go. I speak my mind...a lot and sometimes that gets me in trouble. Making a choice not to please everyone takes perseverance, it takes acceptance that not everyone will like you (something difficult to accept granted most of us want to be people pleasers) and more so... it takes courage. Whenever I find myself discouraged from being who I am, due to many comments and negative remarks, I find it comforting to look back at the biography of Ginger Rogers, a very famous actress and performer in the 1930's and 1940's. This particular saying about her is what makes me persevere, " Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels."  and isn't that something so empowering? Ginger Rogers was amazingly good at what she did and I realized that so am I and so are all of you. It takes a whole lot of courage to acknowledge how good we are at what we do. We are caught in this strange cultural expectation of having to be simultaneously competent and passive. This results in a kind of humility that really is a denial of our expertise.  Also, in our doing too much, we seem to vacillate between exaggerating our competence and feeling that we are worthless and totally incompetent. This vacillation between extremes is part of the whole syndrome of doing too much and trying to please everyone else. The real test of courage is being realistic and letting ourselves know and declare that we really are competent and extremely amazing at many things. Ultimately, being good at what we do is not a curse. It is a gift that comes from ourselves and from a power greater than ourselves. And if we decide to water this down or downplay it just to satisfy the maddening crowds, we are ultimately doing ourselves a great disservice. So get up, shout it out and speak up! 

Powder Pink Birds of Paradise One Piece Swimsuit: Neon Island | Distressed and Cuffed Boyfriend Jeans: Mango | Blue Belt: Vintage Italian | Wedged High Heel Shoes: Topshop | Cabas Chyc Bag: Saint Laurent | Metal Bib Necklace: +RUCKUS | Cuff Metal Watch with Swarovski Crystals: Born Pretty Store | Beaded Bracelets with Hamsa Charm: Therapy

Hair Extensions by: Styld. Hair Extensions

In relation to what I am wearing this day, I decided to take on something I have long since avoided wearing because I was afraid of the message it might portray and that it might not look flattering and good on me at all: The Boyfriend Jean. If you noticed, in my more recent posts I have become more confident on trying out new things I never had courage to try out before. Gone are the days and outfit posts of "playing it safe" and "wearing only what looks good on me." I work so hard to think about what article of clothing works for me that I have lost perspective (which I recently gained back) and the insight that I don't have to work for the clothes to fit me... I am after all the one calling the shots and ultimately, it is the clothes that have to work with me and not the other way around. A lot of people and magazines have guidelines on what to wear and what not to wear based on their body shape or their frame... I appreciate that as I think some women really want to know and if it helps them be at ease with what they put on... then I guess it is beneficial. 

People always ask me on my that I now share with Domz on what kind of clothing best works for their shape and while I always answer you should be able to wear anything you want as long as you feel like it, I still manage to provide tips and pegs. I realize these guidelines are just guidelines and they are not the one ultimate manual on what one should or should not wear. So being my 5 feet 3 inches petite self, I defied the guidelines (as one should if they feel like it) and wandered off to uncharted territory of The Boyfriend Jeans. I must admit, I was hesitant at first but after some time, I just said, "to hell with it" I will wear this because I feel like wearing it. I won't be manipulated into submission by playing it safe. I paired it with a powder pink Birds of Paradise swimsuit-again I am defying so many rules as I wore a swimsuit while out on the town and not on the beach where some people might argue... is the place it should be worn. But what can I say... if I was risking it, I might as well go all the way. I was so glad I decided to go for it because I felt so good in it.

While the term "The Boyfriend Jean" may seem to be misconstrued as a very loaded article of clothing, I didn't have any qualms on putting it on because, well I am very secure on who I am and of my relationship. I am not trying to look like a man in any way and I was just trying to be my silly let's experiment on this way. Of course, I didn't borrow this pair from my boyfriend, I bought it from a store this way. Despite the name, boyfriend jeans are not for boyfriends and are actually women's jeans... basically they are not the used jeans one's boyfriend actually wore. It is deemed to be the opposite of the skinny jeans (a particular cut and style I am fond of wearing on the rare occasion I wear pants) as they are roomy and comfortable, they are loose and hide rather than hug a woman's curves (a characteristic Body-con enthusiasts I am sure disapprove of.) However, as I discovered upon wearing the pair, there are many good reasons to wear boyfriend jeans as they are comfortable, they are simple and they look great with a variety of styles and ways you can wear it. While I am sure extreme feminists would argue that "The Boyfriend Jean" is just another example of women trying to wear men's clothing to assert themselves by dressing like men, I beg to differ. I didn't feel like I was stealing from a guy's wardrobe, and I didn't in anyway feel like a man while wearing it... I felt like myself.  Obviously I had quite the time of my life donning this pair and expect more outfits with these jeans from me. As for any political statement I wanted to make: there was none.
I did, however, feel one thing that was liberating in being in these pants: that in my life, I am the one wearing the pants!

xx, JL

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