Happy Birthday Spring Babies!

We are in the month dubbed Sprouting Grass Moon in the cycle of nature.

The idea of new growth and the greening of Earth sparks in me the hope that change is possible.

As I turn 55 I’m struck that self-care and more rightly so self-nurturing [as a form of compassion for yourself] is the way to go post-50 [or at any time in your life really].

It can be a challenge on a regular day to press the square button to pause the frenetic pace. I make the case for doing so no matter what.

In this time of crisis I haven’t been a saint in terms of self-care. Nor in terms of budgeting.

I thought: 55 is a big deal. It’s more of a milestone than 50 ever was. That’s because you’re halfway to 60.

For better or worse a person can face a new trial while living in menopause. This is the reason self-care becomes a necessity not a luxury at mid life.

Your life won’t wait for you. It’s moving on. Far better to move along with it.

Resisting change is futile in this era.

The motto as I’ve stated in here before [like a caterpillar to a butterfly] is:

Change or die.

Those are brave somewhat harsh words yet oh-so-true.

Who will you be tomorrow?

A more beautiful loving person when you take time out for yourself today.

Happy Birthday spring babies!

How to Cheer Up in a Time of Crisis

New York City has shut down through the end of April and possibly this will continue through early May.

While indoors wherever you are I recommend going on the Dressing Well website to read the stylists’ blog regarding: 5 Ways to Get Out of Your PJs.

In early spring in New York City the weather is still colder and not always warmer yet. The heat still comes on in the apartments.

After reading the stylists’ blog I was motivated to wear lipstick in my apartment even though no one else can see me.

One other thing I do to cheer up is to wear one of my colorful sweaters every day:

I have a rose-pink sweater. A neon yellow Uniqlo. A blue-and-black striped Banana Republic sweater. A sky-blue cashmere sweater. And a cocoa brown cashmere.

How to cheer yourself up can be as simple as wearing a new “outfit” every day.

I rotate three pairs of dark jeans with the colorful sweaters.

Through this third week I’m going to start wearing jewelry at home too.

Wearing PJs all day is the quickest route to ill health and a low mood.

Face it: how do you feel when you’re dressed for bedtime and it’s noon?

You might get empowered after reading this blog entry to dress in street clothes while you’re indoors.

My new habit of dressing up to please myself while sheltering in place has done wonders for my mental and physical health.

This is the ultimate proof that fashion isn’t frivolous.

I think fashion can be feel-good medicine for women as we live through this pandemic.

Spring Cleaning in the Time of COVID-19

Staying indoors in your apartment or house is the perfect time to spring clean.

It’s a great day to get rid of the clutter as well as the thoughts in your head that keep you stuck in one place.

Are readers like I am thinking about your priorities in terms of what you want to keep and what you want to toss in your life?

I’ve decided to engage in spring cleaning as a method of rejuvenation and reinvention in this early spring.

What I’ve learned in terms of setting priorities is that you don’t need a lot of stuff weighing you down.

Yes–I can remember having had 22 tubes of lipstick when I was 40. Count them–22 tubes 🙂

Today  halfway through my fifties I have only 4 tubes of lipstick.

Living on less money while not at your job is the perfect time to get clear in your head that you won’t spend, spend, spend, as a hobby anymore.

Living through this crisis is the natural segue to making these kinds of changes once you’re on the outside.

I’m getting older. Your priorities can change when you go through menopause. I find that while living indoors I have cooled out with caring about things that don’t matter.

Having 22 tubes of lipstick is the not the kind of life goal to aspire to 🙂

In the coming blog entry I’m going to talk about ways I’ve used to cheer myself up while living through this exceptional time.

These ideas might empower readers too.

 

Living through This Crisis

I don’t intend to make light of the seriousness of this exceptional time in history that we’re living through.

To get through this it pays to be practical. Yet certain things I’m doing touch on the idea of using beauty and fashion to pull through a hard time.

Engaging in rituals of self-care is even more imperative today. It’s the method I will be using to protect my mental and physical health while I ride out the COVID-19 outbreak.

Luckily, I am free of the illness and expect to remain in good health.

What I’m doing to stay healthy:

I’ve ordered 3 black and 10 red bandannas from Amazon. It will take 2 weeks for the items to be delivered and possibly longer. Amazon has delayed order times because of the COVID-19 outbreak and increase in online shopping.

I will use the bandannas to cover my nose and mouth diagonally when I must go outside to a food market or an ATM at the bank.

You’re supposed to remain six feet away from other people when you’re outside. As I think everyone is aware of this.

The unintended effect is that the bandannas are a fashionable alternative to regular masks. I was told it’s the surgical masks that are the ones you should use for maximum effect.

So, I’ll stick with the bandannas.

An image consultant sent me the link to a lemon sugar body polish that I can order online. I had told her my skin is pasty like it’s winter even though the spring is here. Staying indoors will do this.

I discovered I had a tube of St. Ives apricot scrub for the face. I’ve started to use this even though it might have been in the drawer for two years.

Along with doing positive healthy things to feel better I talk to my mother on the telephone.

Too if you ask me it’s critical to keep up healthy habits: get out of your pajamas, take showers, and dress in clothes.

I’ve been wearing dark jeans and colorful sweaters while indoors. I was able to buy for only $27 a blue-and-black striped sweater from Banana Republic that arrived two weeks ago.

Now I don’t advocate for going into debt buying things online while we’re cooped up inside. What I recommend is the judicious use of adhering to a spending plan when you’re tempted to splurge on goodies.

To occupy my time I’m reading a book that a friend published–Madolina’s Daughter.

The goal as I see it is to protect our mental and physical health living through this time of crisis.

The things I’ve detailed here have worked for me.

 

 

An Open Letter to Readers

We cannot go back to the hate violence and killing that existed before the CO-VID19 outbreak.

Today is the day to make room in our hearts for others living on earth in our interconnected human family.

It’s time to tear the borders down. The ones that exist in our heads and our hearts.

We cannot allow egotism and bigotry to prevail.

While everyone is indoors I implore you to take the time to spring clean your mind along with your home.

Get rid of the negative beliefs about yourself and others that serve only to hold a person back and keep you stuck.

I will end here with this internet quote from years ago:

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is facing a battle.

 

February 2020 Allure

billy porter

I took home a free copy of the February 2020 Allure magazine as seen above. It’s the Art of Beauty issue.

Michelle Lee the editor-in-chief wrote in her art appreciation editor’s letter:

“Having the freedom to express yourself is art we can all appreciate.”

On the cover is Billy Porter who starred in and won a Tony for his role as Lola in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots.

His audacity to be his authentic self has empowered me.

In the interview with Porter in the magazine he is quoted:

“The very thing that everybody’s telling you is wrong is exactly what you have to be.”

On the last page Porter is asked to Please finish this sentence: I feel most attractive when I’m…

“Living in the fullness of my authenticity.”

From watching an Oprah Winfrey episode he learned “the importance of shifting your mind-set toward service to others.”

Porter has done an inimitable service to readers simply by acting true to himself.

He was the first openly gay man to win an Emmy as a leading actor in a drama for his role on Pose.

Elsewhere in the February 2020 issue in a Modern Wellness feature a writer chronicles her own odyssey with making art:

“The truth is, medication can often help artists better access their creativity and express their emotions more readily.”

A fashion designer was quoted in this article:

“My creative output has never been higher than when I’m on medication.”

I identify as an Author Artist and Athlete.

The premise of my memoir Left of the Dial was “enjoy your quirkiness.”

Reading the articles in the February 2020 issue of Allure gave me a shot in the arm of confidence to continue blogging and speaking out.

My goal is to be part of the solution. My mantra is this:

I stand up for individuality in all its guises in everyone living on earth.

I’ll end here with a curious feature on page 36. Activist and art curator Kimberly Drew was asked to tout the products she loves the most.

When she gets a moment alone in her hotel room she usually ends up dancing. To do this only her Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 speaker will do for listening to music.

Imagine that: an activist touting a high-end speaker that most likely costs $100 or more.

The idea that you can be an activist on your own terms cheers me.

Crank up the tunes I say. Contribute something positive to the dialog.

In honor of Martin Luther King Day coming up this Monday I’m going to post a blog entry about how each of us can make a difference in our own way.

I believe in the transformative beauty of creating art to make the world a better place.

 

 

 

The Beauty of Individuality

The online Merriam Webster definition of stigma is “a mark of shame or discredit.”

I’m not keen to use the term stigma to describe what is in effect a lack of compassion for people who are different, who might not look like you, who might have an illness.

Too often the word stigma is framed as the cause of people not seeking help for mental health issues.

My memoir Left of the Dial chronicles my own fear of not being normal.

In 2020 I would like to be part of the solution to what’s going on in the world.

For too long narrow-mindedness has ruled in society.

I can identify with individuals who were subjected to “conversion therapy.”

I can relate to people who were told to conform and give up their dream of being an artist.

What I’d really like to do is contribute to the dialog about how to heal from stigma.

No one should feel guilty or ashamed because they don’t fit the mold of what other people think is acceptable.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of internalizing this stigma.

On the cusp of 55 I’ve decided to promote individuality as the remedy.

The only way to succeed in life is to be who you are not who others would like you to be.

In coming blog entries I’m going to talk about the beauty of individuality in more detail.

Choosing to Be Grateful

In this gloomy weather I find that having an attitude of gratitude imbues my life with hope for the future.

Every other day I write down 5 things I’m grateful for in my grateful journal.

It’s a hardbound spiral journal that I write entries in.

First I reread the last two or three selections. Then I write a new entry.

A research study reveals that keeping a grateful journal can help a person ward off blue feelings. It might have even halted people from being depressed.

Gathering around the Thanksgiving or other holiday table  you’re bound to interact with people that don’t share your worldview.

I’ve found that the remedy is keep my cool and talk about other things.

I’m too jaded to think that anyone in our government–not Liberal Democrat Republican or Conservative–can help ordinary Americans and do the right thing for everyone on the planet as well.

The part of Thanksgiving that I can accept celebrating is the “giving thanks” part of the holiday.

I’m grateful to be happy and healthy and healed. I’m grateful for every experience I’ve had–good and not-so-good. I’m grateful for everyone I’ve met along the way in my life.

One change–it could be called the fourth changeover–had the most impact on my happiness.

In recent months I’ve been able to make peace with reality and to make peace with other people.

What I’m able to do now is to understand that there’s no “right” or “wrong.”

I am who I am. You are who you are. Others are who they are.

The goal as I see it is to give each other a wide latitude to express ourselves.

What alarms me is that there are people who think the government can actually help them. They have fixed beliefs about Mr. Toupee and about everyone else who has been elected to serve us.

So–they sharpen their knives and cut you to pieces along with the turkey.

I turn 55 soon. The older I get I’ve come to believe that compassion is called for.

We must have compassion for the haters, for those who are less fortunate, for people who have done us wrong, for ourselves if we feel poorly about something we did.

Having compassion for others who don’t think, believe, act, live, and identify the same way you do is what’s needed in this often sad and angry society we live in.

My therapist is fond of saying that everyone being different makes the world interesting.

I’m grateful that there’s no other person like me walking down the street.

And yes–I’m grateful to live in America in a city where I’m free to walk down that street.

Those of us who benefit in the world should be doing things to help people who haven’t had any advantage.

This is the message I bring to you in this season:

Choose to love. Choose to be grateful. Choose to do your own thing without fear.

 

 

Let Love Rule

It’s time to Let Love Rule like the Lenny Kravitz song title tells us to do.

Dwelling on the negative and consuming a steady diet of horror stories in news articles and Op-Ed pieces only serves to harm your mental health.

There’s a lot of hate in the world coming from all sides. The haters have been given a platform in the media.

I have no doubt that hate corrodes the soul of the hater as much as it damages the person they hate.

In my blog I’ve decided to focus on what I’m for instead of preaching about what I’m against.

I take great inspiration from the Accidental Icon blogger Lyn Slater.

She marries her fashion philosophy with enlightened thinking about social issues.

If you ask me we need to position recovery as an act of mental health justice.

Other words have preceded the word justice: food justice, social justice, environmental justice, and so on.

While I’m committed to these other forms of leveling the playing the field in society my prime focus is on mental health.

You can find inflammatory click-bait writing in newspapers online if that is your think and thing.

Be a committed citizen.

We live in an often sad and angry world. Where the old guard of those in power are spreading misinformation under the banner of alternative facts. In an attempt to hold on to their control.

Understand this dynamic. When it’s gotten you down I hope my blog can be the positive prescription for taking time to enjoy yourself.

Read the news should you be able to. Think for yourself about what’s going on and how to treat other people.

In my blog I seek to offer a remedy to the hate: joy, love, peace, and understanding.

In the coming blog entry I’ll talk about my solution.

I’m a fifty-four year old woman living through “the change” of life.

I have things to say and I’m not going to be afraid to say them.

This is what I know to be true:

To forgive is to heal. To love is to live.

 

Having a Capsule Wardrobe

It strikes me today that having too many clothes is a liability.

Your mental health suffers every morning when you stare at a bursting closet and lament: “I have nothing to wear!”

Seeing everything take up all that space in reality you subconsciously think: “I’ll never get my act together!”

Having a routine and prioritizing what’s important to focus on is imperative at mid-life.

After the arrival of the Uniqlo package over a year later I understood that it can cause distress to be overwhelmed by the act of choosing and using items in your wardrobe.

To wit I had written: “Where would I be able to stuff yet another sweater?”

Having a capsule wardrobe is the antidote.

Ever the radical that I am I created a genius plan that beats Marie Kondo at her own tidying up game.

The solution is to only buy clothes you truly love instead of schlepping home impulse buys.

When you do this you won’t have to stare at a bunch of clothes and ask yourself if you truly love each item enough to keep it.

Choosing and using only a core collection of wardrobe items saves your sanity at the front end.

So that you won’t have to engage in clutter control at the back end.

Elsewhere this concept is calling having a capsule wardrobe.

Most experts say this involves having and using about 30 items of clothing each season.

My goal is to replace the clothes I buy in the future with fewer items of better quality.

Really one hack for front-end clutter control is to know Your Self and determine your Style. (More about creating your own style here in the future.)

Then you’ll be saved from purchasing mistakes that only hang in your closet unworn.

Here I can tell you that limiting the amount of clothes you buy frees you up to spend more time on things you truly enjoy.

Some of us hate to shop–at least in actual stores.

Putting careful thought into the clothes you buy is a good habit.

I plan to go 2 years without buying another sweater, pair of pants, skirt, or dress. I’ll talk about this Fashion Challenge in a coming blog entry.

My goal is to do what experts advise: “shop in your own closet” to create new outfits every week.

It seems about right to have 30 to 33 items of clothing you rotate every season.

For the original source of the Capsule Wardrobe Makeover you can read about Project 333 here.

The Be More With Less blogger edited out her clothes to help herself better manage a medical condition.

I’m confident that this approach can S.O.S.–save our sanity every morning when we open the closet doors and ask:

“What do I have to wear?”