I recently received an email from a reader concerning my reinvention over age 50.
I have enjoyed reading your story in 8 Steps to Reinvented Style. You talk about letting yourself go in your 40s, but I am wondering how that happened? How did you get to a point where you didn’t care about yourself?
Despite the fact that I tell my story in the document, I believe she is right to ask the question. I do not know if I answered it deep enough. I was heavily criticized by family beginning at a young age…that would be my own mother. But it wasn’t until after I began to gain weight through child bearing years that the criticisms and their voice became louder.
A healthy person would have responded with a physical workout routine and healthy eating plan. But, I had responded to difficult parents for years with a dose of rebelliousness. Oh, I wasn’t robbing stores or using addictive substances, but I was rebellious. I was so rebellious that when I noticed my father it bugged my father when he could not make me cry that I stopped crying for a long time! When family began to criticize how I looked in my late 30s and early 40s, I was rebellious when I just gave up. Though I was hurt, I was also angry that they didn’t seem to care about accepting me as I was, so I would shoe them and just not care either.
I think it is important to acknowledge the rebellious, prideful spirit we can all have at times. When I reached age 50, and saw myself for the first time, and for the first time understood how quickly time was marching on, then I was ready for a change. Finally, ready to look and feel my best. At that time, I no longer had to deal with the really toxic people daily. I was more confident in my job and enjoying what I did. I also had surrounded myself with very affirming friends. I was smiling more, laughing more and ready to put the anger behind me.
That was my state of mind when I discovered What Not To Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. Many women hated that show and saw both of the stylists as mean and hateful with their criticisms of what some women wear. But, when I sat down to watch, I was ready for change and (this is important), I was teachable. Being teachable is critical to go through reinvention or change of any type. I looked at those programs and was horrified to see me reflected in many of the women. I heeded Stacy and Clinton’s advice and began to make changes in my style. They so resonated with me when they said, OUR CLOTHING SENDS A MESSAGE TO THE WORLD ABOUT WHO WE ARE. I am a communicator…I got that big time. I did not take offense to anything they said and understood that the intention of the show was to help and not demean.
Controlling the messages of what I wore turned me around. My late 30s and 40s were stalemated with rebellious, nobody-is-going-to-tell-me-what-to-do, attitudes. That is how I got to the Big 5-0 birthday looking and feeling so frumpy. Yes, I had been hurting inside for a long time, but responded in a wrong way to the hurt.
Once the stalemate of pride was broken, I was ready to be teachable, learn and become who I was meant to be….a joyful, creative, confident woman.
I hope this makes sense and will help someone out there. If we go anywhere with a teachable spirit, there is no telling what can happen….yes, even over 50!
KEEP SMILING, EVERYONE.