Focus

Focus

This post was started two hours ago and I am just now starting the first sentence. So not only am I having trouble figuring out what to focus on, I am having trouble focusing on what I choose. Since I started I decided to have lunch, manage my airbnb listing and put the laundry in. Now I am back and I promise myself to focus till I finish.

My original thought on focus was that I feel scattered in almost all areas. It is true I have created some priorities: Health through nutritious eating and exercise, learning and travel. It has become obvious to me that outside these priorities I am having trouble deciding what is most important and also how to integrate other interests into these main focuses. I want to do it all!

OR am I using my lack of focus as an excuse for lack of forward movement OR I am sabotaging myself so I don’t “succeed” – whatever that may mean to me OR I just need anxiety in my life.

I say that I want to learn and practice my sewing skills and share them through this blog and sewing meetups. In reality I am so busy traveling, trying to stay in shape and learning about how to share my skills that I am lucky if I find a day a week to sew. Plus now that I have free time I have not said no to many social opportunities.

Then there is the problem of what should I be making? There are so many things I want to try and then there is the looming reality of a trip coming up that involves hiking and biking. And wanting my slopers to be perfect before I use them to create new things for myself. I am back to some of my old habits that lead to less focus.

Spurred on by those distracting % off coupons from fabric stores I decided I needed to go out and get fabric to make a new hiking/biking skirt, two pair of outdoor pants that don’t look like outdoor pants and a couple t shirts that will dry quick and have pockets! And a bike bag to carry misc in on the trip.

My latest shiny objects

Here is my latest pile. 2 yards of fabric in each of 5 colors. Two meant for tops and 3 meant for skirts or pants appropriate for outdoor adventure travel.

I have limited time before the trip. Writing is helping me focus. I am going to make a hiking/biking skirt and a shirt with pockets and a small handlebar bag. Stay tuned. I already am getting unfocused by some more travel opportunities in my inbox.

How do you focus on priorities – or even decide what they are? If you are reading this blog is it helpful or another way to procrastinate?

The rainiest on record

The rainiest on record

Yellow raincoat helped me beat the rain

Here in the Pacific Northwest we had the wettest wet season ever. 22.97 inches of rain between December and February. The old record was 22.27 inches set in 1998. Did it bother me? Shockingly no. I have always thought I had seasonal affective disorder or SAD. I have always lived in areas with shorter days in the winter – Northern Michigan and the Pacific Northwest. Winters are tough on me. But this year was different. I credit it to two things:

  1. Improved nutrition  including Vitamin D supplements that resulted in more energy.
  2. Giving myself permission to take time for myself to explore new things.

Every weekend day when I woke up with rain outside my window I rejoiced because it meant I would not feel guilty staying inside and working on my pattern making and sewing. I ignored the state of cleanliness of my house and did the grocery shopping another day. I didn’t work on my usual job any of the weekend days.I went downtown with a friend and had lunch at the market. Then we poked our heads into all the stores we couldn’t afford and admired their beautiful clothing.  I gave myself permission to feed my mental health and I survived. In fact I was surprised to hear we had set a record.because I didn’t even notice the rain.

Maybe my yellow raincoat helped too.

What have you done for yourself lately to feed your mental health?

 

Fearless Style

Fearless Style

One of the words I used to describe the style I wanted to create for myself was fearless.

Then I started doing an exercise for life planning that asked me to draw a picture of my biggest fear and then burn it. Well I got started and realized that my first hurdle was the fear that I was not an artist and couldn’t picture my fear. So instead of drawing I started writing all my fears crushing down on a tiny stick figure that was supposed to be me. That opened the flood gates to more fears and internal talk that I was only vaguely aware of but needed to shine a light on to defeat.

I was afraid of (among many things)

  • working too much
  • not having enough work
  • employees quitting
  • employees who need to quit not quitting and me having to fire them
  • succeeding
  • failing
  • traffic jams

and then there were all those background fears that the media and government lay on us:

  • terrorism
  • not enough money to cover an emergency or layoff or retirement
  • cancer
  • car accidents
  • …………. and on and on

If we don’t shine a light on these fears, they control us and prevent us from doing things that could bring us joy. They keep us in our same rhythm and routine, our same job, our same vacation spot, same hobbies – you get the idea. It keeps us from taking risks. It keeps us from living life. And we don’t even know it. We keep running on the wheel and thinking the same thoughts, wearing the same outfits (you knew I had to go here didn’t you?)

Routine can be a coping mechanism that keeps us from dwelling on our fears and internal talk and can also keep us from living a life of meaning and joy. Routine is also efficient and it can create more time for the joys in life if we let it. Are you using your routine or is it using you?

If you want to see some examples of what I call fearless style check out these folks:

http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com/

 

Not very stylish but fearless
Allure

Allure

In December my husband started to receive a subscription to Allure magazine. When it arrived I had to wonder why. Did someone give it to him as a joke? Was it a gift for me because I had recently renewed my interest in style and appearance? (that would be a long shot. He is quite contemptuous of the fashion world and certain sorts of marketing that aim to keep us all hungering for the next “big thing?) Did he want to look at beautiful young women? This was a more likely answer. But when questioned he said “No I thought I was ordering a fishing magazine A Lure.” This happened a couple years ago as well when we started getting US. He thought he had ordered U.S Weekly. A case of not listening carefully or paying attention.

Are you listening carefully or paying attention to whether your appearance matches your intended actions and attitudes? You might say you care about getting the job or the customer but your appearance doesn’t match that statement if you show up wearing a dirty hoodie or a sloppy shirt. This conveys the subliminal message that you don’t care enough to do anything different to get the job or the customer. Even here in the PNW. Even if that’s not what you mean.

When I started this journey I was shocked when I looked at myself and realized that what my appearance was saying was what I really felt and what I really was on the inside- an exhausted, depressed woman who spent too much time just going through the motions of living. I didn’t even have the awareness to know that was what was happening to me. Then a friend (on the pretext of helping him) helped me open my eyes to the fact that my life was not really a life but more of a forced march. And I dressed to match it.

My eyes are open now but I have to fight  every day to keep working my way to the edge of the marching formation and into the unit  with the dancing queens and nude cylists (who also need to be aware of using the same behavior patters and march over and over only in a less conventional way(. Have you looked inside lately to see what might be influencing your external world and results? How could your bring more joy into your life (or someone elses?).

The mid life crisis

The mid life crisis

You ask – what is someone who dresses like this doing writing a style blog?

They used to call it a mid-life crisis. My life was on the same path it had been on forever. I just assumed that was how life was supposed to be. Wake up work your a– off, come home, go to bed. Drink a lot of wine.Then a friend helped me see that whatever I was doing it was my own doing. No one was holding a gun to my head and I was the only one who could change it. Well in the midst of my mid life crisis and self realization I decided to find my way back into apparel design. Something I had pursued after high school and started a few times before telling myself I didn’t have the ego to be in fashion design. That led to the examination of what I wore and how I look.

Last March I challenged myself to put some effort in to what I wore every day for 30 days. This was my baseline. I found myself headed out the door to Home Depot with no makeup and something I hoped hid my middle. Having been a plant lady for 35 years I was able to skate by under the radar and no one expected much. (including AND ESPECIALLY myself) A camera and this first picture helped me see that I was way past the time for a personal makeover.

It has been a learning experience and I’ve come out the other side with some new knowledge and a first hand experience of the challenges you face when you want to up your style game.. Some of them are physical- like money, time, the clothes in my closet,my actual body – some are mental – like self confidence, self denial, the discovery that I was trying to be invisible and  questions about why it matters. I have found some of the answers to these challenges and look forward to sharing them with you. I hope you will also share your challenges, discoveries and solutions with me and other readers.

I would love to see you start a style challenge and invite you to share your journey.

 

 

Jacket from my mother in law 23 years ago when I was pregnant

Black V neck top from Goodwill

Black workout pants from Salvation Army