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Monday, May 18, 2015

Done With A Capital D.

The thing about loving someone in secret is that when you lose them, you don't know what to do with your grief.

When it is obvious, as in the case of a divorce, say -- people reach out to you, share their stories, commiserate. You find new tribes and supports and ways to get by until the sharp scathing pain and the choking lack of breath becomes a dull ache, and then a slight twinge.

But when it has been clandestine, under wraps ... you lose your whole grip on the world and this planet and life just keeps spinning madly on as if it never happened at all and you question everything you thought you knew and believed, you question your intelligence and your faith and your trust and your worth. And things moving while you're immobile, paralyzed by your lack of understanding and jarring, invisible loss -- it feels seismic, and you find yourself looking around with widened eyes, praying that someone else felt that, too.

Except no one does, unless you tell them. And in telling them, you compound your loss, your regret, your heartbreak, because you have to come clean. You have to admit you are not the person even you thought you were. And the shame blankets everything, darkens all the lucid spots, clouds over any validity you may have once thought existed until all that's left is a sad, sorry trope yet again repeated in your life, but from a different, less honorable perspective.

Your brain tells you that your grief is selfish, as you mourn something that was never really yours in the first place, even though you truly thought it was on the cusp of being everything you hoped and dreamed, everything you had been promised. But your heart -- your heart whimpers that it was real, as real as anything else you've ever known, and it bears mourning not only in it's loss, but in it's betrayal and your abandonment.

Your disposability is crushing, another heart-wrenching episode in the long line of events convincing you of your inevitable invisibility. You are an hourglass running out of sand and you know it. You have always known it.

But as with these things, as with most things, the brutal ending allows no path for return, cutting the largest wound of them all in its wake. It is Done with a capital D and you will never have closure, you will never see a return on the time and the energy and the trust and the love that you spent a year of your life putting forth against the odds, because you believed two bright, kind, sea-glass eyes when they looked deep into your blackened earth ones and said the things you never realized you'd needed so desperately to hear, things you'd been waiting your whole life to hear from someone who looked at you, finally saw you, as magic.

This love was real. This loss is real.

Even if I am only granted the space to grieve as I once loved ... in secret.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

On Outtakes and Examples.

I know I'm moving slowly into this new realm of blogging, and I really could be better about it.

But an interesting thing happened with just this second outfit I tried to capture quickly amid the chaos of that.

On Outtakes. via

Someone else wanted to play dress-up, too.

Growing up, I don't remember spending a lot of time watching my mom get dressed or do her make-up or anything. Sure, there was some of it -- we were pro shoppers together -- and I do remember liking hanging out in her closet, and one time when she described some make-up techniques to me in my pre-teens ... but I feel like I learned a lot of what I know because I sought it out.

Like most tween girls, I was fairly obsessed with magazines like Seventeen where I caught a lot of "tips" on how to dress (to impress boys) and wear make-up styles (that boys liked) and stories about how to handle unrequited crushes, etc (read, boy fever). I also remember picking up booklets near the teen-marketed make-up in the aisles of superstores that literally spelled out how to use the products. This was before YouTube, children. You needed another female (or in my case, sponsored literature) to teach you the ropes.

The '90s were a tough time to be a young girl, let me tell you. The epitome of femininity was Britney Spears. Add in a great deal of body issues and a lack of self-esteem and LORD. My early teen years were hard. It's really not a wonder at all that the whole pop-emo-punk scene appealed to me. It was an easier sartorial choice to make regularly, plus more accepting of differences and encouraging in trying non-mainstream things. Plus I loved the music, but I'm not going down that memory lane right this second. That whole scene allowed me to experiment with my appearance and how I presented myself in a way I think some women never actually afford themselves, out of fear, maybe, or the deep-seated lessons taught to us as young girls through glossy magazines that our bodies are for male consumption, and therefore we must dress the part.


So in a lot of ways, I feel like I earned the style I have, the DGAF attitude about what I wear and how I wear it. And this is part of why I consider my appearance a feminist one -- I wear what I wear because I like it, because it makes me feel good ... not because someone told me it's going to get some man's attention. Now, because of how I'm built, sure, that happens, but it's not my intent, and as I've gotten older I've become much more vocal about telling dudes who cross the line as much. My body is mine to do with as I please and Imma do just that, thanks.

I identify as kind of hard femme. I like looking pretty, or stylish, or even sexy, with my own edge. And I do it for me.

Yet somehow, I didn't think too much about the little eyes watching me this whole time, as I've embraced my own style and my own body more and more.

On Outtakes. via

I should have seen it coming -- how she always tells me I look pretty or beautiful when I'm on my way out the door to work, finding some detail of my outfit to comment on (usually my jewelry, but sometimes it's the pattern of my skirt or the color of my dress) and her approval sounds genuine. How she likes to sit and watch me put on my make-up in my bedroom, and she asks questions about the colors she sees (often saying "oooohh" as I apply them); her contagious enthusiasm when I ask her opinion on lipstick colors or shoe choices.

Don't even talk to me about the times I've taken her to Sephora or Ulta with me.

I've been inadvertently teaching her to love fashion -- and hopefully herself -- this whole time.

On Outtakes and Examples. via

(No, seriously, I stole this pose from her. Child has vision.)

And to watch her feel confident about the clothes she puts on her own body, to watch her think carefully about what she puts together, and then wanting to show it off (she's been calling herself handsome when she looks in a mirror lately and I adore it) and I'm absolutely blown away by her.

I want her to feel in charge of her own body. I want her to feel like she only dresses for herself, not because someone else dictates how she should present herself or for whom she should present herself. I want her to learn to bend and break the rules and try new things and most of all, I want her to look in the mirror and see herself as I do, as beautiful and strong and wonderful and an inextinguishable light in this world.

I also hope she never dyes her hair but you know, I'll deal. People just pay a lot of money to get what grows out of her head naturally and I don't want her to squander that little bit of black (red?) magic. If she does, though, I'll do what my mom did -- help the first few times so it doesn't get jacked up. And then ugly cry about it all later.

It's insane, this parenting gig, when these creatures who were once a physical piece of your body start ... being their own people. And she may only be four and a half, but the roots of the girl child, the teenager, the woman she's going to be are peeking out at me and I'm just hoping that while she still thinks I'm beautiful like a princess, while I still hold magic for her, that I can not just tell her, but show her, what confidence and knowing yourself looks like in real, everyday life.

On Outtakes. via

I think I may be on the right track.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit.

The response to last week's post made me mushy inside, guys. Thanks for indulging me and being supportive of my silly interests and hobbies. Y'all are the best enablers a blogger could have.

Now down to business.

On Wednesday, I left my house at 9:25 AM after putting the kids on the bus, knowing I would likely not be home again until 10 PM that evening. This is not my usual schedule, and the fact that it was non-stop back to back events kind of made me feel a bit ... dark.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

This may be a surprise, but I'm actually a bit of an introvert. I like my quiet. I need my down time. A day full of things where none of them were fun but all of them needed accomplished just made my soul weep.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

So I needed an outfit that was appropriate for not just one, but TWO shifts at work, as well as the day's errands and appointments. And as much as I love dresses, I needed something more utilitarian -- read pockets my phone actually fits into -- and less fussy (it was a super windy day, as you can see from my hair) and I guess my inner '90's girl is just taking this moment to shine in all of her angsty pre-teen glory.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

I was lucky enough to be able to pop home for literally 45 minutes mid-afternoon -- to let out the dogs, get the mail, get Tova changed for soccer ... and take outfit photos because after detailing my outfit for a friend via text, she practically screamed at me to do a fashion post.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

Et voila, Liz. Et voila.

A couple of things made this shoot more difficult, aside from the time crunch. Taking pictures in the front yard versus the back posed a challenge ... my neighbors are nosey, people walk by all the time, so I had an audience which made me nervous (please to notice, if you zoom in, my chronic resting bitchface in full effect). Also it was a weirdly overcast day and I forgot that the front yard doesn't get the best light in the afternoon. But this outfit felt like it needed a less cheery backdrop ... so bare cement stairs and front porch it was.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

I did manage to take some better detail shots, though.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

Also because Liz yelled at me that I needed to. Because details are important.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

I also experimented with some new Lightroom presets from VSCO. I love their VSCOcam app on my phone for editing photos, so when they released a free starter pack of presets for Lightroom, I got stupid excited. I wish ... I wish they just had a desktop app like the mobile one, because I'd use that in a heartbeat. But these presets were okay, probably more refined than the ones I've created myself. Slow learning curve, all this fancy photography stuff.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

Complete sidebar: I really need a name to call this series ... thoughts? And any other things any of you out there want to see, or questions you have about stuff? I feel a bit strange still being like LOOK AT ME WEAR CLOTHES so if this can be a collaborative effort, I'm all here for that.

Also this post's inspirational shout out is to Kaylah at The Dainty Squid because hipster life goals.

Moody Dawn 'Til Dusk Outfit. via

Black flower-print lined blazer: Old Navy
Floral print tank: Old Navy
Black cuffed chino shorts: Old Navy
Black tights: Spanx (yep. no shame here.)
Neon green belt: H&M
Chandelier earrings: NYCO (I think, I can't really remember, I've had them for eons)
Rose gold single chevron ring: Vince Camuto (via TJMaxx)
Bracelets: Mantraband
Multi-chain necklace: H&M
Short moto boots: MIA (via Nordstrom Rack)
Lipstick: Too Faced Melted Berry (because I know someone's going to ask)