Monday, 22 September 2014

My Brain is too Tired to Think of a Title

I am plodding along, both excited to create and too exhausted to do much of anything, either mood hitting me rather randomly and unpredictably, though non of this should actually be unpredictable anymore.  It is quite predictable how unpredictable my energy levels can be.  The massages are helping significantly but they also exhaust me, making me feel as though I have run a marathon.  Why am I beginning this post with a load of complaining?  Good question.  It is basically what has come pouring out my fingers as I compose my thoughts on the page at near thinking speed.  Like many women, many people I would assume, I am my own worst critic, with high expectations of myself and even less ability than average to meet those expectations.  I am quick to dismiss myself as not worthy, not good enough in many categories despite also having a general feeling of liking myself overall.  I doubt I am the only person in this world who is such a conundrum.  Always striving to be better has its up side as well as its down and I like to think I am always aware and always seeking balance.

                                   I have the right to bare arms.

It's in this vein of self-criticism and high expectations that I often struggle with my love of clothing.  Many of you know, having read other things I've written, that I struggle not to see my personal collection of clothing as frivolous and wasteful.  I apply this criticism to myself only in bouts of negative navel gazing I suppose.  I feel guilt at having and loving more clothing than I need while not feeling guilty about the same with regards to books, art supplies, sofa pillows or even food.   Today I am wondering if this is in part an apology for being female.  Not that I don't realise there are also males who love and accumulate clothes but I must admit I am under the impression that they are in smaller numbers.  Somehow I am trapped into worrying that a closet full of clothes is a marker of ever so shameful female vanity.  I have bought into this misogynistic idea that a woman is inherently vain and any indication of vanity in myself bothers me.

                                 I have the right to clunky shoes.

Of course this is not rational and one of my first clues that it is not is that I do not direct the same criticism at other females, only at myself, as though I have convinced myself that to love clothing or shoes is an artistic and creative outlet in others but mere frivolity in myself.  Nonsense but there is no accounting for the nonsense my mind can come up with.  It reminds me of how there was a time when a woman who was a writer was considered to be obviously more frivolous and there were many female writers who used masculine or ambiguous pseudonyms with those who didn't often being derisively referred to as a "lady novelist".  Jane Austen, although she used her own name, did not have the popularity she has now in her own lifetime and got her start by self publishing.  Her work focuses on the social conventions of a certain class and how it effected women.  Obviously frivolous and irrelevant stuff.

                         I have the right to wear boring outfits and post them.

When I looked at a couple of photos I had taken recently depicting what I wore, I hesitated to post them after having just listened to the ever impressive Emma Watson give a speech at the UN.  How could I reconcile this serious subject of gender equality with a couple of OOTD photos.  Fortunately my stupidity was short lived.  I could definitely reconcile it all and in fact it is all very relevant.  The quest for gender equality is about the ultimate freedom, the freedom to be your self, autonomous and unjudged as somehow less for being so.  Women are not the embodiment of frivolous interests any more than men are, we are all a complex mixture of frivolity and depth, and who is to say which is which in us?  My right to equality and freedom includes my right to do what I please with my body, to dress it and decorate it or not, to pierce it, tattoo it, or not, to exist in the size and shape that I am and not be valued any less for it.  Everyone has that right.

I am more than how I dress but how I dress is part of who I am.  All that I am is important and has value.  So I am indeed including this fantastic video of Emma Watson and her UN speech along with myself in two recent favourite OOTDs.  I hope you enjoy and I look forward to your comments.

I am linking up to the ever awesome Patti's  Visible Monday Yes-amazing!  I managed a link!


  1. Wonderful, thoughtful post, Shawna. I love your writing about "frivolous" interests, and how they are classified as women's interests. So not true! What about sports and cars, stereotypical male interests: those can be frivolous as well, yes? I also like your "bill of rights" and could not agree more. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xo.

  2. My brother owns more watches than he can wear at a time, and it bothers him not a whit. If he were to ever tell me I had too many clothes (he doesn't!) I would totally point that out, haha. :D

    I love tops #2 and 3 especially. They're right in my favorite color palettes and they suit your complexion and figure beautifully.

    Also, is that your artwork behind you? Beautiful! Long time no see. :D

    1. So happy to see you back! I've missed you. Yes, it is my art :-) I hope you are doing well.

  3. I wrote about this subject some time ago in a post called Stupid Fashion Lovers. I was sparked to write the piece after reading an article in Elle about writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Chimamanda wrote a story called Why Can't Smart Women Love Fashion? The post created quite a conversation amongst us bloggers.

    Great post Shawna. In depth and very poignant.

  4. Shawna, I just love how you expressed that we all carry frivolty and depth. Did you see the great quote in pinterest that clothing allows us to show a bit of who we are without saying anything? I thought that to be so true and I love to use dressing as a self expression. I think we all do to some extent. Even if it's to show we don't care.

    Clothing entertains me and I'm so glad we don't go around naked!

  5. I agree. We all need no judgement, and most of all from ourselves.
    Just love.
    It's my mantra.
    I only have one.

    Your outfits are not boring at all. You are so cute and playful in #1, so artistic and sophisticated in #2, and so strong and sexy in #3. All of which are different sides of you - kind, intelligent, soft, strong, creative and very alive, very present woman.

    I missed your posts!
    Much love xxx

  6. I feel the same Shawna. And sometimes I get suffocated by the sheer amount of things I own. But of course we are allowed to enjoy dressing ourselves up, think goodness for that. Must watch this Emma Watson video but on a train at the mo, hope I remember to! X

  7. Sometimes I catch myself thinking how shallow I am for loving clothes and shoes so much, but it doesn't last long. Because for me, clothes are my hobby, they are my way of expressing myself, they make me happy, clothes may represent a mood, a thought, an event, a realization. They can be so much more than just clothes. I like how in many tv series the change in clothes represents the change in the character's life. Like for example "Boardwalk Empire" where when a character goes through an ark their wardrobe immediately changes. I found a very interesting interview with the costume designers, you can see it here if you'd lke:
    And another thing, people spend a lot of money on stupid gadgets, iphones, tv's, home decoration and other crap, and no one bats an eye. Why the hell should clothes be the one thing that represents shallowness or a negative trait. People do whatever makes them happy, styling clothes makes me happy, so why should it be a problem!

  8. sometimes i see and wonder. i never thought that i must claim a right to wear no sleeves, flat comfy shoes, simple outfits or to be frivolous in this or that way. ?????
    in the end you are right - no self-judgement (other people will always judge, we only can change our self), no guilty feelings for having fun! if you would buy clothes instead milk for you baby..... but i´m sure you would give away your last chemise for something existential for a beloved one.
    i´m with natasha - just love. all. others. the world, animate and inanimate. ourselves. then you cant go wrong.
    happy to hear massage is helping! exhausting afterwards is normal, a sign that it works :-)
    take a nap xxxxxxx
    p.s: thank you for the lovely comment on "ungeschminkt"!

  9. It's a useful question to ask, isn't it? Would I judge someone else negatively for a particular interest, behaviour or trait? No? Then I might want to use the same yardstick for myself. Most of us are a complex blend of confidence and doubt, frivolity and seriousness, superficiality and depth. And that's OK! We all have to wear clothes, so why not enjoy them, and as Joni says, use them as a form of expression and creativity, a presentation of at least part of ourselves without needing words.
    I watched part of Emma Watson's speech; it really depresses me that this stuff still needs to be said, that gender inequality is still a major issue, I feel as though I have been listening to this debate my whole life and we don't seem too much further forward. Well, we are in some respects, but not all, not enough. I'm heartened to hear Watson identify herself as a feminist, it's a term that many younger women seem to shy away from, which is sad. xxxx

  10. You are definitely your own harshest critic ... take a deep, cleansing breath ... and be kinder to yourself ... you deserve it.

  11. Love this post Shawna ... very thought provoking! I love the jeans/blue top ~ not boring in the least!!!

    Thanks for sharing the UN video ~ amazing!!!

  12. You look lovely and as you said in this post you don't need the self criticism. Continue doing what you do best and love yourself for who you are because there are a lot of us who love what you do. xoxo

  13. So many times I had the SAME thoughts as you.. so many of them, can say.. all of them!!! and then I think... OMG I´m a freak!! Why can I not be as all the other "normal" women in this world!? As I´m getting older I noticed.. I´m NO freak and 80% of all woman had the same thoughts.. so we are all "normal" and must not always try to change our way of living or thinking? The other 20 %.. who cares.. In my age I have the right to do and to be however I like!!! ;)))

    have a wonderful day dear
    Dana :)

  14. You stated this perfectly. I feel like part of the way I express myself is in how I dress. Not the only way, but one of the big ones. It is not who I am, but a part...loved this post!

  15. I loved Emma Watson's speech and already she has been horrifically trolled over it, how awful! like Curtise I am also so depressed gender inequality exists (and all inequality) in this day, and having to educate my daughters on the importance of feminism and using the word 'feminist' proudly (they do, not because of me but because it is their belief) is important to me - and yes, clothing, it isn't frivolous or vain, it is a form of self expression, it's who we are, and dammit! we are worthy and we are fecking awesome! x x x (I may have typed this in my 'Muuuuum stop lecturing' stern face!) x x x


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