“These are the 10 items for under $15 you need to buy right now.” I get at least a couple of emails along those lines every day. But turning to more shopping, more instant gratification, is nothing but a Band-Aid for the pain we are experiencing right now. It’s for our souls what eating fast food is for our bodies.
This year really had more than its fair share of challenges. We had to experience that just when we thought we couldn’t take it anymore, yet another disaster happened. There have been days -- too many to admit -- when there was no strength left to change out of sweatpants, or even pyjamas. And that’s okay.
I share the experience of wanting to curl up and hide for weeks on end. I remember the day though when I felt that something inside me (my spirit?) said “Enough!” and I felt the urge to put on something nice and feel happy and pretty. Does anyone else feel that something’s gotta give but doesn’t know where to begin?
There used to be plenty of reasons to get all dressed up: just to go to work, an important meeting, lunch with a friend, dinner with a friend, a date. It makes us happy to put on nice things and know we look good. And, at least when we’re out & about, it’s also a time to relax.
In the past months though, it has often felt as if there was no more room for relaxation in our lives.
We might feel like we’ve reached the end of the rope, but the story of 2020 does not seem to have come full circle yet. We need to stay strong, and we cannot do that if our cup is running empty. For that reason it is crucial to grab onto every opportunity to feel happy. It works just like an airplane: you put your own mask on first.
I’d like to introduce you to the idea that finding something to wear right now that you love is actually worth the effort because it will help rebuild your strength. Stay with me for a moment.
It took me more than half a year after the pandemic struck to move the strapless dresses, sequined skirts, and delicious heels to the back of the closet, and when I did, my heart felt like it was in a knot.
It was like I was saying goodbye to a part of my life -- a part that made me feel alive and happy, and that I did not want to let go of. For the time being, there was no space anymore for going out, and the thought of having fun while so many people suffered so badly was unbearable to the point where I could not even consider it.
In light of everything that is happening it can feel shallow to focus on dressing. Trust me though: finding nice things to wear has become especially important now that we don’t go out, because it feeds our souls on a daily basis. And we need that little bit of extra happiness: we can’t get a hug from our friends, but we can hug ourselves with a beautiful dress.
While I have found joy in slipping into a nice dress again, the way I put things together and the items I pick are different today from six months ago. My style per se hasn’t changed, but comfort is now the #1 goal. While we are still adjusting to the involuntary upheaval of our lives, the items we put on our bodies need to provide the comfort that the outside world cannot give us right now. It is if we also consider the beauty of the clothes we choose that they start to act as a blanket to our souls and bring us much needed delight.
Change is uncomfortable, and this year we have been forced to face external circumstances that require changes within ourselves that are painful, especially if we resist them. When we allow ourselves to surrender to the discomfort, we will be able to see the opportunities for finding our way through this mess that 2020 has been.
We have permission to be okay -- to have a good moment, to feel good in the midst of chaos. Doing so fills up our cup and enables us to keep going and be strong for those who need us.
Dear friend, I might have just given you one reason to get out of your sweats and wear a dress during quarantine, but it’s the most important reason of all: YOU.