What Not To Wear??

Question: 

At what point in a relationship is it appropriate for your significant other to criticize what you wear?

Guadeloupe

On a recent trip to the Caribbean, that was supposed to be a romantic getaway, I decided to change into a pink off-the-shoulder tunic that I absolutely adore.  It has a string of multi-colored pink pom-poms tiered on a braided cord.  I intended to wear it as a beach coverup.  My boyfriend clearly didn’t take to the look.  He kept asking, “What is that hanging there?” And something like, “Why would you wear that?”  Granted, we kid around with each other – I call him Bighead, but that’s more like a double-entendre. (Hehe)  Anyway, he proceeded to inform me that it’s something he would give his 10-year-old. I felt he was getting pretty liberal with his commentary needed to be reined in.  You see, this was our very first trip together after three months of talking on the phone; we’ve known each other most of our lives, but only as casual friends.  We were still sorting out this new version of our relationship.  We’ve decided that we’re in love.  That said, I’m a practical girl.  I’m not lead by emotion and having been single most of my life, I have a pretty good idea of what I stand for and the sacrifices I’m willing to make to compromise and make my relationship work.  But I’m also an independent woman who needs to be respected.  So my response was to establish a “New Rule: If you didn’t pay for it, you don’t get to criticize it!”  I said it as nicely as possible.  I believe I put a smile on my face to force myself to not have an attitude about it, but not a big enough smile to make him think I wasn’t serious.

It took me a month to pack my suitcase! I thought I was satisfied the first time I packed, but as time went on and I thought more about what I would need and how I wanted to look, I decided to reconsider everything.  I put back half the things I had packed when I realized I had enough for a week, not three days!  Then, like I said, I had to reconsider what I wanted to look like. What experience did I want to help create for us through what I wear.  See, what a woman choosesto wear is not only self-expression but atmosphere transforming. What impression do I want to make? Where that pink tunic fell into that context is ‘ beachy, fun, silly, youthful.’  The flip side of this situation is what it tells me about him at this early stage of our relationship.

The Top Three Things I Learned About My Boyfriend Via My Wardrobe

One impression of him i solidifies is that his personality is more on the serious side.  I’ve said this to him.  He does have a sense of humor and we laugh a lot (mainly because of my lightheartedness, to be honest) but his disposition is serious.  He is divorced and perhaps this is due to the experience that lead to that conclusion, as well as his sense of obligation to his children and the family business.  Whatever the case, the bottom line is that he is more of a serious, conservative person.

The second impression it gives me is that he does have an expectation for how I am to look for him.  This surprised me a little because he has made statements about being a more casual dresser – jeans and a nice t-shirt – although not against dressing up a bit when it’s called for.  When I talked to him about my challenges with packing well for the trip, he told me I don’t need to give it that much effort just for three days.  But in the back of my mind I know my man would want me to look good for him, therefore I took his input with a grain of salt.  If nothing else, I have to look good for me. Looking back, I am adding up the comments he made that make it clear he ispaying attention and what I wear doesmatter to him.

The third thing I have learned about my new boyfriend is that he will definitely complement me when he is impressed with how I look, and it doesn’t require overt sex appeal.  It was the outfit that covered me nearly head-to-toe that got a rave review: “You look really beautiful in that outfit.”  It was a pair of grey lounge-y, refined sweater pants with a grey hip-length tunic with embroidered cut-out floral design, and sparkly dark grey platform open-toed sandals.  When I walked toward him at the outdoor bar where he was waiting for me, his associates turned around to watch.  I think that did it.  I’ve also figured out that he prefers neutral tones like grey, tan, navy blue, brown, black, etc.

The moral of the story is, I am willing to dress the way my man likes, but the decision is mine to make unless he foots the bill for my wardrobe. (Gotta work on that!)  In the meantime what I amwilling to do is avoid wearing things I know he definitely won’t like – but ONLY if it’s convenient for me!

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Comfort Is A Girl’s Worst Friend

When-Our-Comfort-Zone-Becomes-A-Danger-Zone

A theme that has come up recently with the younger people in my life is the issue of how to assess the value of an opportunity.  I have repeated the same advice, to think about  the long term benefit(s) of accepting the opportunity being presented.  The thing that stood out very clearly in both situations is that they wanted to wait for the perfect situation that did not require any additional sacrifice: the perfect job in their field, paying the desired salary, close to home with a positive work environment.  These are people working survival jobs that don’t bring fulfillment or much career advancement.

What I told them both is that we have to step out of our comfort zones to get where we want to be.  A very “lucky” person can see things work out exactly as expected, however the truth is, it is highly unlikely.  Plans face frustrations.  There is a popular expression that states: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  While that sounds pretty cool and most would agree, as with most motivational quotes, it is a different thing altogether to internalize its meaning then practice it in real life. And what is a comfort zone??

 

ship-sail-quote

We are created to multiply our innate gifts and talents.

 

Welcome To The Comfort Zone

‘Comfort zone’ is a pretty way of saying ‘complacent’ or ‘apathetic.’  It is a state of familiarity, predictability, consistency and untested confidence.  It’s a place of the knowns and known unknowns.  It is home base.  In a comfort zone you know what you have.  The down side to never straying from the comfort zone is stagnance.  Yes you know what you have, but it is all you will ever have.

Showing Up

We often get to a point in life where we want something different, even if we do not know exactly what it is.  There is a powerful force inside that yearns to be released in some particular direction.  It may be the desire for more income, better use of skills, development of interests. In this day and age entrepreneurship is the highly valued; more people than ever want to “be the boss.”  But any change to the norm requires some level of ambition and that inescapably requires risk.

When we want to accomplish something greater we need a plan of action with short term and long term goals; we have to assess what we are willing to give up to get started in that desired direction.  Changing careers or employers is a good example.  Are you willing to give up the place you live?  Are you willing to take a longer commute to work or work in an environment that is not ideal in order to gain practical experience in order to become a more attractive candidate for the dream career you envision?  Are you willing to make the monetary sacrifices necessary, such as spending more on transportation or more professional credentials?

It is nearly impossible to make any progress toward a significant goal without getting very uncomfortable.  Success and risk go hand-in-hand.  There is no way to know where an opportunity will lead and sometimes the best opportunities appear very undesirable.  Doing things we don’t “feel like” doing can be blessings in disguise because the first step is to make ourselves available for that unknown key to unlock the door to the chance of a lifetime.  The first thing you have to do is show up.

I learned this while pursuing a career in acting.  Plenty of people are drawn to the industry because of the perceived glamour and riches that can come with it.  Have you ever watched a TV show or movie and wondered how in the world that actor got that part?  Maybe their acting stinks or they are otherwise somehow wrong for the role. When I see situations like that I remember what I was told by casting directors: about half of the actors who are invited for auditions don’t bother to show up!  Showing up is literally half the battle in life.  Actors who go to everyaudition that they can, even ones they’re not invited to, are more likely to eventually book work consistently, not only because of the increased odds they gain from going to as many auditions as possible, but because their consistency is noted and appreciated.  They’re hungrier than everybody else!  And because of that they will be trusted for their work ethic and reliability.  So between two actors, one being stellar who attends auditions sporadically and one being mediocre who shows up consistently, the latter will have a higher likelihood of booking the part because of their reputation.

The other thing I learned from the acting world is that the industry is small. Everybody knows everybody, ultimately. Other industries are the same. Human beings are relational.  One of the blessings of showing up is that you don’t know who is going to notice and make a recommendation to someone looking for someone just like you.  You never know whose mind you are on.

Showing up for every audition you can get to means showing up when you “don’t feel like it.”  When you’d rather sit on the couch and watch TV or doing whatever other activity brings you pleasure.  It even means showing up if you are less than prepared and chalk it up to simply more audition experience and another opportunity to “be seen” by someone who may be looking for your type in the future.  Being willing to get uncomfortable means being willing to be less than your normal cute self.

The point is that it is those who do not expect their best opportunity to look and feel a particular way, but can consider the different ways that an opportunity may be able to enhance their skills, network and reputation who will ultimately fulfill their purpose and reach their goals.

Training Day

 

Rough diamond 980x

Challenges can make you stronger.

 

The best thing about challenging one’s self to get uncomfortable is how it will strengthen a person.  When we get uncomfortable there are hurdles that we have to figure out how to overcome. It makes one more “street smart.” It develops character.  It teaches one how to manoeuver in life when inevitable difficulties (the unknownunknowns) come up – even in the realm of your ideal life.  Overcoming fears, doubts and anxieties trains our brain and our spirit to persevere instead of giving up when things get hard. It can teach us to recognize ugly-looking opportunities as the potential diamonds in the rough that they are.  Ask a real estate investor.  The gold mines of life are the places that most won’t go because it’s not cute or easy.