Both creativity coaching and journal writing are about self-development, about being the best me possible and then sharing that knowledge in whatever way I can to support and encourage others to their best. For the past six years, life has had back-to-back tough - tremendously overwhelming - I'd really rather not deal with this - events. I haven't felt like myself for the longest time and I certainly haven't felt like the you'll get through it, you're so strong woman that many people see me as. Being strong doesn't mean you can, or should, have to handle everything on your own.
That's the brief background for why I'm so excited with the information I've been learning. As I said, it's re-connecting some dots I'd lost track of and yet, even though it's not entirely new, there's this inner joyfulness at recognizing that things are now moving forward. Not that life isn't a roller coast and not that there won't be other "stuff" that comes up, but in terms of what I am working on, I feel like I've turned a corner that just might stay turned.
We don't tend to see ourselves the way other people see us. Our vision is distorted by experiences in our past and those echoes of negativity speak loud. This month, I've had several ah ha's that have impacted me significantly. One was the surprise thought that popped into my head when I set up my new dress form. It's bigger but it's not BIG. Twenty years ago, I was very slim, even underweight. When life got stressful with my husband's illness, I started packing on the pounds which led to yo-yoing through a variety of diet plans all of which - ultimately - left me heavier. While I'd opted out of worrying about my weight, I hadn't opted out of seeing myself as heavy. That thought was the beginning of a paradigm shift.
Watching the type four information, I noticed how stunning the women were after their makeover. I saw their newfound confidence in their facial expression and posture. In some of the type four make-overs, the women went from exceedingly frumpy to definitely stunning. I observed but I - obviously - could not be a type four because I was not beautiful. It's one thing to be told you are beautiful and assume the teller is biased and it's another to truly accept the compliment.
When I realized that I was indeed a type four, I had to re-read the information from the I am as opposed to the am I perspective and it felt so right that I bought new make-up, put on earrings, wore higher heels, dressed the part, and garnered some lovely compliments. My step has more spring and I too feel that confidence. For the first time that I can remember since being a little girl playing dress-up, I looked in the mirror and thought I am beautiful. There's a whole history that I'm not going to go into about why that is such a lightening bolt moment. Trust me, it's of seismic proportion.
When I was out for a walk yesterday, I glanced down at my shadow and thought what slim hips. WHAT? I have never ever - ever, ever, ever - thought that about my hips. Typically, I look down and think yes, you are definitely hippy. And I am. But I'm not horrendously out of proportion and I have nice shape. When I cut out the waistband for my latest jeans, I thought I'd made a mistake. It looked too small. I actually remeasured everything twice because I couldn't connect what looked tiny with my body.
It's is so very strange at fifty-two to suddenly be seeing myself in a more flattering, more positive way... and very wonderful. For that, I'll pay $99.00. AND.. a lovely bonus... it's having a huge impact on sewing. The wardrobe is cleaned out. The stash is cleaned out. The pattern collection is surely next. And, I'm developing criteria for making the correct choice more often. This is good.
A little bit of knowledge can go a long way. Yesterday, I pulled out four softly structured jacket patterns and read the reviews. My focus was on the pictures. I wanted to see how structured the garment was, how it draped, and how much excess fabric was in the real garment as opposed to the illustration on the pattern envelope. The photograph above left is from LizPalmer's review of out of print Vogue 8454. Of the four jackets I reviewed, this one - and especially her photo - impressed me. This is a look I'd wear confidently and one that would be flattering with my figure. While I didn't choose to sew the jacket, the pattern did go back in stash. The others may not. I'm still debating.
There were no reviews of New Look 6273. I bought the pattern after seeing it on someone's blog - I'm not sure whose. The elements that I know will flatter me are mirrored images at center front, parallel lines, the princess seams that give shape (architecture), the soft but firm structure, and the high sleeve cap. What I need to be careful of is how much drape will that lapel have and will it fall correctly but there's room to adjust that while sewing.
Before sewing, I adjusted the length of the jacket. First I shortened above the waist so the curve would hit at the curve on my body. I'm short waisted. I removed 7/8". And then I added 3 1/8" length below the waist so the finished jacket would hit at relatively the same length as my t-shirt. I am not comfortable with waist length garments. As you can see, I have a small back waist and high hips with absolutely no room between my hips, my waist, and my ribs. My waist is basically a string around my middle. When a garment cuts across at that level, it looks - IMHO - like a beach ball on my butt which is not the impression I'm going for.
These are my latest Burda 8157 jeans. The fabric is stretch denim so I basted all the seams, pinned together center front, and wore them around the studio for two days to see how much they would stretch. At one point, I went to take them off and completely forgot to unpin the front and just pulled them over my hips. OH... that meant I didn't need a zipper and frankly no bulk, no button, less belly seemed like a way better option to me. If the fashion police have a problem, oh well.
To finish the waist, I sewed a waistband with a casing and then put 1", non roll, elastic through the casing. The elastic is only slightly smaller than the waistband and holds the jeans snuggly to my body. I wore them all day yesterday and LOVED them. I'll definitely make more like this.
Another new idea I tried was lowering the waistband an inch so that the top of the waistband is at my waist as opposed to the waistband seam. I'd noticed that I was forever adjusting waistbands down an inch after I'd worn the garment for a while and wondered if this might solve the problem. A string around the middle is not an inch wide. What took me so long ? ? ? ? As I said, they are very comfortable. I think this may be the answer to less alternations and... with this change... it doesn't look like I need to tip the waist any more. I'll explore that next.
Talk soon - Myrna
Grateful - a good week, a good month, and that's an understatement.
... after almost two decades of yo-yoing, I finally realized that being grateful for my body, whatever shape it was in, was the key to giving more love to myself.
- Oprah Winfrey