Still a wild child after all these years
Susan peaked through the dressing room’s door. She had reluctantly tried on the outfit I put together for her.
“Show yourself, woman!”
She came out in ripped jeans styled up with a crisp over sized white blouse showing a faux leather bustier. With every step in her combat boots her confidence grew. When she arrived at the outside mirror she laughed.
“I had forgotten that this is me.”
After twenty years suited up in a corporate office she was sworn into the idea that to be respected she had to be a lady. She had lost a big part of her self, her curious, adventurous “young” self. When she got divorced her husband yelled at her that she was not the person he had married. She got drunk, smashed some porcelain and in her anger about her life falling apart she saw the first glimpse of her truth.
Have you felt that you sold your soul for your job, marriage or friendships? That you showed the world a person not really you but the role society had prescribed? We humans love community. Fitting in feels comfortable and safe. But what is the price?
Everybody is talking about freedom lately because we have to wear masks. What did we accept though before the pandemic hit? How did our reality look, our every day, prescribed to us over the years? By now we have not only accepted our roles but being watched by cameras at every corner, being analyzed by Ai and controlled by algorithms. We are fed little doses of “normal” and who we should be since childhood. Media and marketing do an amazing job to keep us within our boxes; the fuller they are with pretty stuff the less space we have for questions. Repetition is manipulation’s best friend; we hear and see the same messages everywhere and become what we are told. We see the world thought the eyes of others.
Branding ourselves for social media is an amazing tool when we question our motivation. What is the image we let the world see and why? When our true values show up in our posts, social media can become our savior, it can set our true passion and purpose free. And yes, we might loose a big bad advertising gig but we gain self respect. Especially on Instagram we can find the gems of what we really want by waking up to its theater of vanities.
“You’re all over the place,” a friend on IG told me recently and added, “cool.” Cool?? I was rattled. All over the place is bad, it shows that we don’t have an expertise to sell, a convincing theory to proclaim. After the shock of not being good enough, I remembered my purpose; my style was not to have a fixed style but to explore the world of objects from fashion to surroundings. I am defining myself while posting, outfits are my mantras and affirmations. Style is a process not frozen in place, fashion changes so should we. When we feel our outfits and surroundings and allow them to guide us, they spark ideas and inspirations. Forms, fabrics, materials and colors have energies and their vibrations tell stories. Who do you see when you glance at your gallery?
Giving ourselves permission is the key. Just recently I chose a checkered jumpsuit to illustrate chess, my excitement about a TV show’s perfection; the Queen’s Gambit. If you’re into collaborations this would be a chess board sale. I forgot to add the Amazon link, darn. I was distracted; the outfit did not get me to the cool, collected, ambitious chess genius of the TV show. It got me to feel the crazy of a Harley Quinn. What came through was my fear of chess, the idea that I was too stupid when my dad rolled his eyes teaching me. Could I still sell a chess board with this imagery? Yes, but the story would be different; not salesy but authentic. To tell stories that matter, inspire other to be all they can and also monetize our social media presence is an art.
A casting agent had told me that I’m too old for the millennial crowd and don’t produce the look expected from a midlife woman. I tried to do the white hair and to copy the style advertisers think we midlifers want, but it didn’t feel right. And who says that is what we want? What desires do we discover when we disconnect from the bombardment of trends? When we tune in to our feelings?
“You have the image of the wild child,” a social media friend commented today.
“I can’t help it, she always shines through,” I answered.
Right then it hit me. The curious, fearless, forever young girl is my expertise, my ageless rebel magic, my power. She tests the limitations of my grown up role and lets me see things in new ways. She questions my normal from rules of behavior to the biology of aging. She is my calling. My quirky little rebel shows you a jumpsuit not appropriate for my age to inspire you. Does she question your boundaries? Are they true or fake, healthy or stifling? What happens when your let your inner girl be your stylist?
Midlife tells us that we have an expiration date and that we better sum up pour experiences to create our purpose. The extreme situation of a pandemic asks us to redefine our actions and goals.
No matter if you sell a product, a service or a philosophy; there’s always the why that makes social media work for your soul. What do our posts, our images evoke in others? Are we solidifying the old mindset of a patriarchal society, cementing the old ideas of what beauty or aging is? Are we lulling people to sleep in their cozy bedding or waking them up to new adventures? Is our why propelling us to the life of our dreams?
If you want to be respected you don’t have to be a lady or fear to be seen as a tramp; meaningful success comes from being real. With the power of being an influencer comes great responsibility; to set trends not to follow them, to provoke discussions, open minds and create equality. Freedom is to take our masks off to inspire others and keep the Covid masks on to protect them.
To monetize social media does not mean we have to squeeze ourselves into the “normal” of the advertising world. We don’t wait for them to accept us and brands to come to us, being proactive is the way to roll. We chose what we want to advertise by who we publicly are. Remember “our vibe attracts our tribe?” Success isn’t satisfying when we sell our souls but when our souls are part of the show.
My Harley Quinn says it’s okay to be angry, crazy and weird, that I have wrinkles but don’t let them define me. She might be my dark side but without her I wouldn’t see what I really want in the light. I let her out even when I am afraid of judgment so that you can make the bold choice that liberates you.
Black Friday is a good start to advertise our truth.