Over the years I’ve admired people like Madonna and Kylie who repeatedly seem to be able to reinvent themselves to move with the times. I don’t particularly like their style of music, but they are good at what they do, and being able to reinvent themselves is part of that. Thankfully, I don’t need to, as I wouldn’t even know where to start.
But then today as I was driving home after some ‘retail therapy’, the recent words of a friend came back to me “How did you do it Helen? You’ve lost 12 kilos and basically reinvented yourself.”
The 12 kilos was the result of eating a healthier diet of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat, as well as eliminating all carbohydrates and processed foods from my grocery trolley. Having lost those kilos meant I now had to buy some new clothes, as I had gone from a size 14 down to a size 10-12. This gave me the perfect opportunity to reinvent my wardrobe, although I hadn’t deliberately intended to do so. I just needed clothes that fitted me, and with all the EOFY sales, it couldn’t have happened at a better time. A part of me did feel like a change, so I just started buying items that I liked, regardless of if it was my usual style or not. A pair of bold bright blue tights was the very first item, and that then meant buying other items to complete the outfit.
My former wardrobe has always been quite reserved, conservative, and practical. I liked bold, bright and radical, but just never had the confidence to go there. Somewhere within me I guess I had decided that if I was to wear bright, bold, and radical, then I had to be bright, bold, and radical. And I’m not! So I never ventured beyond black, navy or brown for shoes, because then they can be worn with anything and everything. My lower half was usually a dark colour be it pants or jeans. Tops were usually where I ventured out with colour in a relatively conservative manner.
I remember a few years ago, I bought a bright red pair of jeans. I don’t think I even wore them once, before they ended up in a bag for the second hand clothing store. At the time of buying them I thought I could be bold enough to wear them, but when it came to actually doing it, I just wasn’t there yet! Then last year I bought a khaki pair of pants, but I’ve only worn them a few times . . . again not fully comfortable with them, despite how I felt when trying them on in store.
In hindsight I think the process of reinvention actually began in May this year. I wanted something different! And so I had my hair cut asymmetrically, and coloured from light brown with blonde foils to a two tone mix of red and dark brown. In life I like everything symmetrical, but I love this asymmetrical cut, despite the fact that I’ve rediscovered short hair is more work than longer hair.
In my wardrobe I now have and have worn with confidence, bright (single coloured) tights with ‘just above the knee’ skirts. I’ve bought some bright red suede boots and some ‘very green’ casual shoes. All of which will only go with certain items in my wardrobe, but I’m exploring options outside the usual as well. Options that I’m told ‘work for me’, but maybe they’re not the norm, and they certainly have not been my ‘norm’ before . . . so it’s all a work in progress.
It seems strange to me that I can be so conservative in my wardrobe sense, but when it comes to lifestyle choices, I’ve spent the last 5 years living on next to nothing, house sitting for or boarding with friends in between short term volunteer trips to Africa for 6 months to a year. That’s hardly the decision of a reserved, conservative, practical person who doesn’t like to stand out.
All of life is a journey, as we discover new aspects of ourselves, and new ways to express ourselves, exploring outside our usual way of thinking. The change might start with one small decision (such as a pair of tights) different to your ‘norm’ that leads to another small decision, and so on it goes. And before you know it, that area of your life is new and different to what you once knew it to be.
And who knows you may well be pleasantly surprised to find that others are impressed with your reinvention. Really, it doesn’t matter what others think, but it’s always nice to receive positive feedback. But what I’ve learnt through this process of reinvention and what I’d like to encourage you in is this:
Be the best you that you can be. That’s who you were created to be. Not trying to be who you think you should be.
Be true to yourself! Be the real person you are in each area of your life. And when it’s time for a change, be open to that . . . as it comes with a whole new level of freedom of expression.