Slip(pers) on a new identity: challenging myself with a different style

Slip(pers) on a new identity: challenging myself with a different a style || raeritchie.com
The slippers in question || raeritchie.com

Yesterday afternoon I played hookey from work for a couple of hours.  I got a manicure with a beauty voucher I’d received then called into the supermarket for some flowers and edible goodies.  While there, I noticed that the new clothing section had a large display of slippers.  Useful, I thought, as I’d binned my past-their-best pair last week and had been suffering from chilly feet ever since.

My excitement at the array on offer soon diminished as the first cursory glance revealed that I didn’t really like any of them.  Am I fussy about slippers?  I am fussy about everything I wear.  I take a strange pride in being very particular about my clothing.  No pattern.  No scratchy fabrics.  Nothing requiring a strapless bra.  No tops cut lower than my handily placed mid left bosom mole (this particular stipulation makes me on trend according to the latest Vogue declaration, although not everyone agrees).

Stood between fleecy pyjamas and equally fleecy footwear, I realised that I am just as precious about slippers.  Pattern and supercharged embellishment – my worst nightmares – ran amok over the thirty something options to choose from.  I tried to cajole myself with rallying thoughts (‘Oh I can live with festive themed Fair Isle in dayglow colours’) but to no avail.  I must have looked like a shoplifter as I repeatedly tried on the same pair to see if I could tolerate self-coloured grey diamantes.  Turns out the answer is no, nor could I even bring myself to remove the jaunty Fair Isle number from the wrack.

In the end the bootees that seemed most subtle won the day.  I reasoned that I could not bother and look elsewhere instead, but the warmth of this pair was indisputable and I didn’t want to face any more days with icy cold feet tucked under my desk.  Sitting at my desk now, I can confirm that yes, my purchase was a good call on the comfort front; my toes are toasty.  The other advantage of my slippers being under my desk is that I can’t see them.  In the cold light of day, away from the supermarket’s strip lighting and the even-more-gaudy rivals, I can clearly see that these are not to my taste.  They are not my style at all.  My feet may be warm but so are my cheeks with a slight glow of embarrassment every time I catch sight of them.

What is so wrong with them?  They feel too silly, too frivolous, too girly.  I favour a darker, plain moccasin shoe design.  These have pattern and multicolour and fur and pompoms and bows and bright soles.  They are not a serious slipper.  I feel strangely like I’m wearing a fairground prize on each foot.

Crucially these slippers challenge my most treasured self-image.  It may seem like a ridiculous overstatement, but wearing something so far removed from my usual aesthetic feels like my sense of self has gone awry.  I treasure an image of myself as sophisticated and even if I don’t hit that mark, it is the ideal that I unconsciously aspire to.  One of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received is that I was immaculate.  So who am I if I wear these blue, white and pink fluffy numbers?

If you’re wondering what I’m on about, think of your closest friends, people you love and value.  Now imagine spending a day wearing their clothes.  Feel crazy?  That’s what I’m getting at.  It’s like I’ve borrowed someone else’s slippers.  They are fun and silly in the best sense, and on another person I would probably admire them.  However what about on me?

I’m wondering if the slippers are a prompt to play with being other, to experiment with pushing my comfort zone around my appearance and even character – because let’s be honest, being so fastidious about what I wear isn’t always much fun.  I get very uptight about the subject.  Maybe the slippers can help me to ease off, to relax, to not pressure myself so intensely about every aspect of how I am.  Perhaps they are providing a much needed lesson in not having to always strive for perfection, a curse that afflicts many of us.  So I’m going to see if I can learn to live with them.  I may need to snip off the pompoms though.

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Observations over the last few days

~ Dislike: feeling tired, ridiculously irrational and hormonal with a horrendous case of PMT.

~ Like: meeting up with Clare from over at Pass the Pattern.  She cooked me a lovely dinner (and a very indulgent chocolate fudge cake dessert!), then we decorated her Christmas tree.  Perhaps a little bit early, but who cares?!  It was great fun. 

~ Like number two: this afternoon I’m off to steward at a Christmas tree festival.  I’m not exactly sure what this will involve (can’t imagine that there will be rioting hoards to control) but am sure that it will be a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  Then homewards to set up for tomorrow’s Christmas fayre at my meeting.

~ Like number three: Christmas!  I know it isn’t even December yet but I’m already feeling very festive and looking forward to the season of goodwill and gladtidings.  It’s a good job, seeing as I’ve been beseiged by Christmas activities already.  And I’m loving them.

Three likes from earlier this morning:

~ At the weekend, I went on an amazing singing workshop in Worcester (hope to post more about this soon).  During the free time on Saturday afternoon, I stopped by the town’s gallery just as a new exhibition entitled “Laura Knight in the Open Air” was opening.  It contained lots of beautiful pictures, many of which are very different to the wartime images often associated with Knight.  Unfortunately there wasn’t a postcard of my favourite painting of two women sitting on some rocks, but this one was a close second.  It was lovely to wake up this morning & see it adding a bit of colour to my bedside table.

~ Noticed that my toothbrush etc are colour co-ordinated.  It honestly wasn’t planned that way but have to admit I love it!

~ My favourite brooch is my mother-of-pearl Palestinian peace dove.  I was really drawn to wearing it this morning in light of all the trouble that has again flared up in that region.  It seems almost facetious to say that in light of how serious events there are.  The fighting makes me feel so sad and so useless, and it is pretty lame that putting a brooch on is the only response that I can think of.  However, wearing it feels like an act of prayer – not wishing for a particular outcome, simply being mindful and thinking about all the lives caught up in the conflict.  This item is therefore perhaps less of a “like” and more a hope for the future.

Further likes and dislikes…

Here are a few more likes and dislikes that have come to me in the last day or so…

Likes

~ Feeling better again. Almost.  Hooray!

~ Labelling all these “likes and dislikes” posts so I can find them easily.  Think I have now mastered the tagging malarkey.

~ Finally finishing a craft project that seems to have taken an eternity.  The intended recipient was in danger of no longer needing a baby blanket… Well, perhaps I’m exaggerating a little.

~ Finally being able to start a new craft project, having now finished previous one.  My little work bag is full with a different pair of needles and different wools, all ready in anticipation.

~ Saving more money on my car insurance renewal than the premium actually cost.  Totally chuffed with that.

Dislike

~ Saving more money on my car insurance renewal than the premium actually cost me, then transferring the saving straight to my ISA, without it even crossing my mind that I could spend that money on something else.  I am too bloody sensible sometimes and that makes me a bit cross.

More likes and a dislike

Trying to get back into the habit (see previous post) with a quick reflection on likes, with one dislike to kick it off:

Dislike ~ still feeling ill after twelve days!  I’M GETTING BORED NOW!  You know it’s bad when you find your own illness story dull.  I have labryinthitis.  That’s all I’m prepared to say about it as the whole thing is becoming tedious.  Most tedious is the stiffness in my neck and shoulders that seems to be the result of the weird positions I’m sleeping in because of the dizziness.

Likes ~

Chippy tea.  Yom yom yom.

Having a very long chat with a very old, very dear friend.

That brief moment where you realise it’s dusk so pop a lamp on and everything – inside and out – takes on a beautiful golden glow

Ordering a new selp help type book off Amazon.  It’s called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Happiness-Project-Aristotle-Generally/dp/006158326X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352839038&sr=8-1 – don’t worry, not an affiliated link, I won’t make any money from the sale if you buy it!).  I did resist the quickest delivery option, though.  Very restrained!

Three things – make that four

Blogging is a habit.  Not inherently a good or bad one, just a habit.  And like flossing one’s teeth, it is the kind of habit that it is easy to lose a hold on.  This has happened to me several times in the last year or so (gosh, how quickly that time has gone!).  Like when I don’t floss, I get cross with myself.  Why don’t I do it when I actually like doing so?, I angst to myself (about blogging, not flossing that is).  I thought that reviving the info on my “about me & this blog” page the other week might rekindle the fire, but alas not.  It just seemed to scary, too daunting, to write after weeks of not doing so.  Even though I wanted to.  At the weekend, though, I had a cunning idea about how flex my blogging muscles again and get back into the posting habit: simply record some of my likes and dislikes.  As the blurb at the top of the page states, the whole purpose of “A Life of One’s Own” is to think about my preferences, so I shall do so once again.

Here are some for today:

Dislike ~ still feeling ill after ten days.  Especially as picked up over the weekend.  I just want to feel better!

Likes ~ a pile of very buttery hot toasted teacakes for lunch; apple shampoo; writing my first tweet.  And now I’m going to lie in the bath.  Like indeed.