Friday, June 22, 2012

If we are all unique, aren't we really all alike?

This morning I watched a documentary film titled Bill Cunningham New York. I just love people, all kinds of people, especially quirky and eccentric people.
While Bill Cunningham himself was not so quirky and eccentric (at least not by my standards or overtly so) but he had an eye and penchant for individuality that he found exciting. When I say "he had an eye" for I mean that quite literally. When the film was made in 2011 Bill was 80 years old. The documentary chronicles his life, both as a milliner and independent photographer (mostly the latter). Bill loved fashion, not celebrity, and appreciated the every day sense of style. Bill photographs the fashion he sees on the street, and refuses to take money for his photographs, not because he's a philanthropist but because his principles guide him to not being "owned". But more than enjoying who Bill is, I enjoy the thoughts inspired by him.

I love fashion and see it as art. There is a similar thread that runs through my own expression of art through personal style: colorful, richly textured through shape or textile, something no one would wear without courage. Courage to be unique takes bravery against many fears. Fear to be noticeable, fear to be different, fear to be inappropriate for your age or environment or circumstance. A poor woman on public assistance would be inappropriate if she wore a fur or golden threaded silk in public. An old woman would be inappropriate if she wore fashions that teenagers wear. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "I/you can't wear that I'm/you're too old for that." Equally as frequently stated, "That's too old for me; all I need is a pair of garden gloves and a floppy sun hat!" Oh the opinionated and criticizing tapes and responses of the past that keep me from my art, my life, my eccentricity, my joy.

I want to show people how to live carelessly and fearlessly, but must find the courage to do so myself. I will admit to being more successful than not, but being a "super-human" is a daily practice. I am reminded by a poem, the words of which I do not remember, but the feelings of which (simultaneously sad and encouraging) I remember when I dawn my "empresses clothing". The poem is about purple, the poem is about bravery to be who you want to be and express yourself the way you want to, and to put yourself boldly on display despite the inner and outer voices that are deprecating. The poem is also about time wasted not doing so, and about waiting until you are old, and about eventually learning not to care about the opinions of others.

As an artist, heck as a human, it is not easy disregarding the opinions of others. Heck, I anticipate them before they are even spoken! No one likes my beads, my beads are to "weird", my skills aren't good enough, no one reads my blog, my thoughts are unfocused, I speak about too many things, I don't have a signature style, I'm not trying hard enough, I'm not promoting myself, I don't have a clearly defined goal, I'm not disciplined, I'm too opinionated, people don't understand me, I don't really understand what they want, and the list goes on and on. But I'm learning to "do" for myself rather than for the approval of others; the difficulty in that lies in the fact that "art" doesn't pay!

But I do know people, because I like them, because I like myself, and because my endeavors and observations are always geared toward growth, understanding, compassion, and sharing. So I have learned to know that just because I don't hear from people through comments, shares, likes, and purchases, they are there, listening, and admiring, and I am being appreciated in a silent way. And that's okay, because I don't want to tell anyone else how they should appreciate me; I want to tell those who appreciate me that I know you are there, and I thank you.

I am also inspired to share "my style" with you. I love clothes, and I love fabric, and shoes, and girly stuff; but I don't show that on a daily basis, I save it for the promenade (not much of which I've done in months... I miss going out and having fun!) I am not a skinny girl and I have a very unique shape that I don't like. The clothes I see more often than not will not look right on my body, and I have wonderful ideas for restyling them to look great on me; I've wanted a seamstress dummy for sooooooo long!

Every time I see an Ustav add I drool. Oh I would love to dress like this every day! I love the shapes, the colors, the georgette, the patterns, the beading and embroidery, the sexy shape that's guaranteed to any figure. Who wouldn't feel like royalty dressed in this yellow sari!?
 And just LOOK at the amazing embroidery, texture, and colors in this purple and green embroidered shift!
And my all time favorite that makes my heart race! Love the color combos, style, cut, pattern, accessories, EVERYTHING!
And maybe someday I'll meet a man brave enough to wear this jacket. 
 I would wear the sari to the concerts in the park, no problem, I'd wear my favorite orange and purple to play pool, and wear that gorgeous embroidered dress to teach any class, or to the Moose Lodge! But I seriously doubt there is a man in Arnold brave enough to wear that jacket!!

I almost forgot to tell you, I made new beads for the first time in a year! It was pretty scary getting back to the flame, but I caught on again very quickly. Pictures will be taken after I clean them. In the mean time enjoy some more of my style by following my Pinterest Style Board, or all of my Pinterest boards! Oh, and my garden is really exciting; I'll post pics with the new beads!

By the way, Red and Purple DO go together very well!


When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph


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Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts!