I’m doing Miss Sugar’s New Year New You Experiment in Radical Magical Transformation (again) because I find it’s a really good way to kick my own ass into getting things done. You should try it!
Instructions: “Think about how you’re presenting yourself to the world and how that’s affecting your own personal goals. […] Give your physicals selves some love and magic this week!”
Tarot Card: Seven of Swords. Both the Wildwood and the Osho Zen decks are applicable in this case.
I’ve never known the seven of swords to be a positive card. Even when the interpretation is a good idea (It’s time to take the mask off! It’s okay to stop maintaining and fall apart right now. I know you’re worried about What People Will Think, but you really are Enough in spite of those fears), the actual process of showing people one’s Real Face can be terrifying (and can sometimes backfire). Yet, sometimes, what it points to (e.g.: in a reversed position) is the need to break old habits, break silences, break out of self-imposed prisons of Shoulds and Musts.
I was yacking with a friend about this a few months ago, and it seems to fit here pretty well: A lot of us learn to keep ourselves small as a defence tactic. If you are a woman on the internet (even a white, cis woman such as myself), you learn pretty early how many readers it takes to start getting unwanted, threatening attention from trolls. If you’re a woman who ever leaves her home, the same goes for when you’re walking downt he street.
There’s a zillion people (of a very specific gender, most of the time) who would love to police us back into silence and invisibility, and a lot of us balance on a thread between “too visible” and “straight-up hiding”.
The thought of being Visible, of being Big, can be really frightening, whether we’re worried about being attacked by trolls, cat-callers, or The Fraud Police, and it can be exhausting to deal with.
Presenting yourself in a way that shows you in your best light, as your best self, can be exhausting.
I went to a book launch a couple of weekends ago. I went to the Gorgeous House in the Country (a luxury home built inside a reclaimed barn – for real. I want to live there when I grow up) book launch of a femme-lookin’ (I say, because I don’t actually know if she’d ID as femme) lesbian writer’s new novel. Her sculptor-painter partner was decked out in a Nice Suit at the merch table, and she was all dolled up in a shiny gold blouse signing everyone’s new books. My wife and her other partner (through-whom we know this couple) both talked about feeling out of place at the party. Even though, as creative dykes in the 40-75 age bracket, they were even more among their peers than I was.
But I swanned in there like I owned the place, because I’m a queer femme writer (in a raspberry faux-fur 3/4-sleeve coat, a leopard-print skirt, fancy stockings – that the woman who turned-out-to-be-a-publisher noticed and complimented me on, no less – huge, diva sunglasses and hot pink lipstick… I was flagging pretty hard, kids) so how could I not fit in?
… And it worked.
I mean, right up until I found out that the nice queer-poetry-chick I’d been politely down-playing my writing work to (my wife had been chatting her up, but I hadn’t wanted to hog the spot-light while talking to another writer who probably wanted to talk up her projects as well) was, um… the publisher of our friend’s novel.
That was supposed to be an elevator pitch, was it?
We’ll see what, if anything, comes of that interaction, but it was an introduction regardless.
A while back, I wrote a little bit about how Glamour is feeling hard right now. We’re in “transitional shoes season” in these parts, the point in the year where you really do still need close-toed shoes, but winter boots are definitely too warm (and clumpy) to deal with anymore. My “tranisitional” boots are all in a bad state of disrepair and, while I can and do make them work, they’re bad enough that it’s hard to make them look “street chic” (or whatever you want to call it when fancy fashion starts riffing on a ratty punk look) at this point. I’d love to get (or more likely make – this is one of the reasons I keep a shoe-maker on staff, after all) a few pairs of shoes like this so that I have Options that won’t wreck my back and can look “professional” (in the office work sense of the word) while also looking artsy-funky-weirdo (I.E.: actually like myself) at the same time.
But the reality is that this isn’t really about shoes. It’s about how I feel about myself.
When I regret the haircut I gave myself (even though I now look great with my hair down), but I can’t tell how much of that regret is because I feel like a total grease-ball when my hair is hanging in my face, vs how much is because I miss having the option of doing funky anime buns and being able to do this without too much trouble, vs how much is just missing that which is easy and familiar… What do I even do with that? But when I catch myself feeling “frumpy” in a skirt I picked out, gleefully, from the clothing swap heap because it would finally let me wear leopard print on something other than lingerie, that I stitched a new lining into and replaced the zipper on because I had wanted a skirt like this for so long… That’s a bad sign, folks.
If my personal goal, my Queen of Cups Project, is to be more receptive to all the Good Things that come my way, I need to believe that I’m worthy of receiving that stuff. Feeling ugly, unworthy of notice, or unable to keep it together (says the chick who discovered she’d spilled… hollondaise sauce?… on her skirt mid-way through her work-day and is expecting Company tonight while still having an entire kitchen full of dirty dishes to deal with)… does not inspire feelings of worthiness in me about myself.
So. How am I handling this week’s prompt?
Well, my office-contract recently ended. So I’m back in the land of “wear whatever you want” (hurrah!) and I’m aiming for a mix of “ultra casual” (like, skirts made out of former-pairs-of-pants, very colourful socks) and “Fabulous Bohemian” (diva sunglasses, faux fur 3/4 sleeve coat, Fierce hair-do – or lack of ‘do, since it basically means just leaving it down – and cute boots). I finally shaved my legs. A friend painted my toenails yesterday. I’m feeling pretty good, even if my heart is still yoyo-ing up and down and my feelings of self-worth are following suit on a rollercoaster of their own.
Things I can do (concrete/mundane things I can do) to show my physical self some love (this week, and all weeks) that will also (probably) help my mood and energy levels:
1) Get dolled up and go for a walk
2) Sit in the steam room of the local pool while wearing my bikini and soaking up the heat
3) Eat fancy pastries, ideally with friends (but this is not a requirement), while out and about
… So, basically, dress spiffy and get out of the house.
I can do that.
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 Say what you want about The Beauty Myth, it’s insidious and fuck.