“When one is pretending the entire body revolts.” ~Anaïs Nin
I’ve lost count of the number of articles I’ve seen informing me that as somebody who regularly works from home, it serves me well not to sit around in sweatpants. In fact, I’ve literally just read another such post that states I ‘should’ choose clothes that I can easily accessorize with heels.
Apparently I’m supposed to get up and wear something sexy. Apparently I’m supposed to wear a slick of lipstick so I feel full of something that is referred to as ‘va va voom’.
Va va what?
As I type this I am in bed. It’s 1.45pm on a Saturday. I’m not dressed. I’ve brushed my teeth but my hair is wild and I have no intention of taming it. I’ve been in a creative flow all morning and, let me tell you, I have zero inclination to whip a snazzy outfit from my closet.
The fact that I don’t actually own such things as ‘snazzy outfits’ supports this stance immensely.
But the point is that, contrary to all the advice that tells me otherwise, I truly don’t believe I need to dress up in order to get the best out of myself. I don’t need to put on lipstick. I just need to honor who I am and the ebb and flow of my own individual wave.
Some of my best writing has been born from my bed. The words flow best when I’m allowing myself to be me, not some kind of refined version that I feel awkwardly sewn into.
I did a radio show interview recently. The date had been scheduled but the universe decided to throw some kind of mercury retrograde ninja type move and the details hadn’t been fully confirmed. So there I was eating my breakfast and taking my time when an email popped up telling me the recording was in fact going ahead in twenty minutes.
As I sat on my sofa waiting to dial into the show and getting ready to talk about empowerment, the thought crossed my mind that thank goodness it was radio and not video. Because my make up free face and hoodie and jeans combo didn’t need to make themselves known.
And then, almost immediately after that stray thought had escaped it was chased down by a whole army of self esteem building little warriors who reminded me that it didn’t matter whether it was audio or visual because the value of my message (and my worth) wasn’t dependent on what I was wearing or how I looked.
Dressing like Audrey Hepburn whilst I write just isn’t going to work for me. I’d only be all fidgety and scratchy and I’d forget to do the doe eyes.
What matters to me is that I live an authentic life. I don’t want to be stage managed, I want to be my own person and rock my own look. Mine. Sometimes it’s sweat pants. Sometimes it’s not. And what?
Why do we still feel that we have to present ourselves to the world as ultra polished and perfect in order to be accepted?
I am good enough exactly as I am. And so are you. We’re not less worthy without lipstick.
I was once followed on Twitter by someone who said that she trained women with clothing choices, manners and poise so that they may portray a proper image and not hinder their success. I remember feeling horrified when I read that. It seemed so disempowering to me.
Personally, I believe our success will only be hindered if we choose to give away our power to people who tell us we require poise and training in order to become a person of worth.
Men get a raw deal too. I’ve worked in countless places where guys have been expected to wear suits. If they dared to drop the tie or undo a top button they were putting themselves forward for criticism. Judgements were made on their credibility. Ironically this was often from establishments who turned a blind eye to lunchtime drinking – Sure, have that 1pm cocktail but make sure you’re wearing cufflinks.
Are these really the priorities we believe in? Wouldn’t we rather make an impact with our actions than by our appearance?
We are individuals. Each of us has our own unique set of thoughts, feelings, goals and aspirations. We face enough pressure in our every day lives without adding more to the mix by feeling as though we’re failing if we don’t look like we’ve been styled from head to toe – especially when we’re in our own living room.
The flawless brigade are no doubt cringing at my words right now. They’re trying to erase my blasphemy with careful strokes of concealer and hope that if they throw a little blush my way it will dim my shameless shine.
Because, once again, apparently I’m not supposed to be honest about any of this because then I won’t be successful and people won’t follow me and support my work because I’m just not glossy enough.
That’s right. I’m not. Not even close.
Another thing – articles aren’t meant to end with clichés. It’s supposedly a no-no. Yes, I know, another rule. But since we’ve established that I don’t do rules I’m going in for the killer cliché:
Life is short.
If you want to wear the little black dress then wear it. Love the lipstick? Then please pout away. You can wear a tutu with cowboy boots and a turtleneck if you want! Just make it work for YOU.
The greatest gift you will ever, ever give yourself is the freedom to be who you truly are. You know, that wonderful character you were before the world tried to shape and mould you? Be that person. I have it on good authority that they’re awesome.
Also published via Positively Positive.
Image courtesy of Leon Cato Photography.