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Do Your Clothes Reflect Who You Are?

© meri walker

© meri walker

In my closet are a number of outdated outfits that I don’t wear, that take up space, that I’m saving “in case”. In case of what? That I might go back to speaking to businesses sometime? That the beloved relative who shares not one iota of my taste bought and I might wear just for him/her one day? That I might lose the 10 (okay 15) extra pounds and squeeze back into it even though I have no place to wear it? Every day I look in my closet, hoping for the intestinal fortitude to  get rid of all the clothes that are not reflecting “me” right now.

One of my favorite iPhone artists, Meri Walker, posted a fabulous piece on Facebook and the Joy of iPhoneography website. It was like she was talking right to me. She has given me permission to post it here as a guest post. The photo is hers as well.

Read it – you won’t be sorry. I swear this week, my closet will be purged of clothes that don’t suit that woman I am today.

“I Get That Some of You Just Don’t Get Me” She Said. © 2016, Meri Aaron Walker, iPhoneArtGirl, Talent, OR. All rights reserved.)

In response to my report yesterday on Facebook that my latest “creative action” has been a deep exploration of my clothes closets, a talented mobile artist, Kate Zari Roberts, wrote that every time she opens her closet, she wonders who bought those clothes.

I replied to Kate that I’ve been doing that for years! Like five years. Until last week.

Since moving to Talent, I have been wearing a very few things, mostly clothes I folded up and stacked on the trunk at the foot of my bed or hung on hangers in the door to the bathroom that I’ve been using as an art materials and medical supply storeroom instead of a master bathroom. Quirky wierd, I know. And it’s been my best effort to date. It was way too confusing after I bought a house in a tiny town where none of my big-city clothes made sense anymore. And besides, I started calling myself up on my iPhone all the time, making some crazy new kind of art. I could do that in jeans or my bathrobe. And I have been.

But something flipped in me last week. As I watched President Obama embrace Hillary Clinton on the stage at the DNC, and then heard her make a straight-up acceptance speech as the Presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, it felt like a San Andreas fault moved deep in me. And it moved a lot.

Not because I’ve been a long-time Hillary fan. In fact, quite the contrary. I have had sincere respect for her as a PUBLIC public servant who has remained focused on improving the welfare of women and children for over three decades. I have been inspired by her persistence and resilience in the face of relentless attacks by the Congress and the press and conservative political activist groups while she proposed new ways of doing things that had stopped working. I haven’t agreed with everything Hillary has done any more than I’ve agreed with everything any politician has done, including our current President, who I can’t help but love and honor at the same time that I’ve watched him take some executive actions that I believe are harmful.

But, something deep flipped when I heard Hillary say with simplicity and grace, “I get that some of you just don’t get me,” and then go on to make the case for her desire and competence to be President of the United States. That line, and the tone of voice with which she made the reset of her remarks, allowed me to welcome – in myself – who I have become as a woman while I’ve been treated like a third of a person for 66 years.

The immersion in my own creative process with my mobile devices for the last five years has reorganized my psyche. It hasn’t changed who I am but it has allowed me lightning fast access to capture, shape and share my personal, creative responses to my actual life experiences anytime and anywhere with a lot of people. Powerful, portable, affordable mobile tools – and the ease with which I can freely express my thoughts and feelings – have reprogrammed my “freelance shooter” mind to attend, full-time, to my own experience. After a lifetime of working “for the man,” these days I focus my attention on telling my own stories – with images and a few words – instead of hunting for evidence for others’ stories.

On this trip with my phone – from tiny Talent – whatever I was wearing has been fine as long as it had pockets and allowed me to move freely. This cut out almost all the big-city clothes I brought with me from Texas after a lifetime as a “stay-at-home Mom,” “working professional woman,” “female community activist,” “tango and ecstatic dancer,” “mid-life jock,” “nature lover,” “culture diva,” “sexually liberated feminist,” “printmaker,” and on and on.

What I had accumulated in my closets were either trophies or fresh, unworn armor – “fabric guns” – that had protected my tender woman’s heart against the blazing, unconscious, systemic misogyny that I have stepped into every time I left home to do something that mattered to me. I collected clothes the way men collect guns – to help me get what I needed for myself and my children and to keep the predators at bay – because I’m not a subservient woman.

And I’m far from the only American woman who has lived – or still lives – this way. There are all kinds of women in the world, not just cookie-bakers.

When Hillary simply acknowledged with grace and humor that some men – and women, too – “just don’t get her” because she’s wants to play big in the world, she shifted my understanding of how to hold the resistance I’ve felt about being an American woman for 66 years.

I realize that’s a funny thing for an American woman to say who’s had a big education, a big career and been a life-long feminist activist. And it’s simply true.

In the days since I watched Hillary speak, I found myself opening the closets, pulling out everything, and physically re-experiencing what each of my different fabric guns has done for me. Living in the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” when you’re a woman, you’re always, always, always in danger – and more so if you’re a woman who resists being treated like a third of a person. I started sewing my own clothes when I was seven and I have loved creating and collecting clothing that would help me take care of myself as a woman. I put the sewing machine away when I went back to graduate school. But it’s out now on the kitchen table where I’m looking forward to redesigning some pieces I love that still have happy-potential.

At this point, there are piles everywhere like the one in the picture above. They’re going to consignment shops and battered women’s shelters because I don’t need them and there are plenty of women who do.

I’ve been laughing my head off, putting what I am keeping together in brand-new ways to cover my now aging, sagging flesh in fun ways. I’ve been shrieking aloud when I come up with a new outfit from old pieces, delighted that I have had all the experiences I’ve had, and that I no longer need to keep clothes as trophies of battles won – or lost – or armaments I’m stockpiling to defend me in years to come.

The jig is up: we’re women. And there are a lot of people who just don’t get us. Dressing for success – so we look good enough to eat (attack) – is just too much goddamn trouble. And it cuts out the fun of being a woman who loves clothing because it’s beautiful.

Regardless of whether or not I agree with her every time, Hillary Clinton has made herself a model of strength as an American woman: a woman satisfied to continue her quest to build a safer and healthier world for women and children – even when so many “just don’t get her.”

Well, me too – I’m with her. Wrinkles and saggy arms and asses and all.

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A Guide to Creating Me Time

Paradise Palms © lynette sheppard

Paradise Palms © lynette sheppard

First off, I want to thank all my sister goddesses who wrote me about which topics were uppermost on their priorities for the “Second Adulthood” posts. I promise that I will get to all of them – eventually. Most are high priority for me as well, as I traverse this second half of life. And please, if you have thoughts, insights, or offerings to help us along the way, share them! That’s how we survive and thrive – together!

 “Me Time” was mentioned so many times that it jumped to the top of the list. I used to think (and say) that I needed to find time for me, as if it were lost or misplaced and I had only to stumble upon it to have it. I know now that I was completely off base.

Me time can’t be found. It must be created. We have to actively set aside time for ourselves or risk never having any. Sure, there are always demands on our time. For years, we put aside ourselves for other people and priorities. The rare massage or infrequent bubble bath just didn’t fill the need, though they helped some.

So, how do we go about creating “me time”?

First and foremost, we have to believe that “me time” is important, even critical. Right now. Because it is.

Second, we have to be clear with our family and friends that this is a necessity and in no way diminishes our relationships with them. In fact, they may come to see that a refreshed, revitalized intimate is more present and connected, a pleasure to be around. It can only enhance our relationships.

Third, we must schedule it and keep it as a sacred covenant, to be broken only in case of a true emergency. (And I have found from this vantage point in life that very few of the “emergencies” I responded to earlier in my First Act were truly as urgent as I made them out to be or that I was the ONLY one who could respond. Discernment is called for in such a case.)

Right now, I am writing this blog post from my hotel room on the island of Kauai. I’m sitting in the middle of a bed with four, count them: four, fluffy white pillows propping me up. Sister goddess Lei and I are attending a multi day hula conference. Hula is something we love and share; it nourishes us. However, it is intense to go from early am to late night learning and sharing dances. And while this trip is a type of “me time”, it can be tiring both mentally and physically.

So we’ve learned to schedule a day prior to the conference and a day after to just “be”. We might hang by the pool, make art, or just take a walk on the beach. We might talk. Or not. Naps may spontaneously happen.

Tonight, our last night here, one of our sister goddesses who lives on Kauai will join us for dinner and we’ll have some “us time” as well. I know that we will be rejuvenated and re-created by all of this time. And we will go home rested and filled with joy.

Don’t wait. Start now. Schedule that me time. And let us know how you feel afterwards.

Helpful hint:  it can help to schedule “me time” with a girlfriend. Because we may let ourselves down, but we will not let our girlfriends down. Who knows? It may become a habit. Let’s hope so, anyway.

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Top Home Remedies for Perimenopause

Spirit and Matter © 2012 wcj

By: Pam Andrews of PerimenopauseAnswers.com

Perimenopause is the stage before the actual menopause. This natural phase in any woman’s life is accompanied by early menopause symptoms. These set of perimenopause symptoms normally include a much more uncomfortable premenstrual syndrome or PMS, vaginal dryness, abnormal weight gain, hair loss or thinning of hair, breast tenderness, the onset of hot flashes, and chronic fatigue.

The intake of supplements for perimenopause is highly recommended to accompany the following top home remedies for perimenopause:

  1. Consume a lot of fruit, most especially melons and bananas. These will help in water retention.
  2. Eat a lot of salad greens because they contain a lot of fiber.
  3. Drink a lot of water because it will provide tremendous relief when dealing with sudden perimenopause hot flashes.
  4. Include oily fish such as salmon in your daily diet.
  5. Reduce your intake, if not eliminate them altogether, of coffee, tea, and cola drinks. You may opt for green tea instead. Caffeine will worsen the perimenopause symptoms.
  6. Eat seaweed, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and linseeds.
  7. Switch to wheat germ oil, virgin olive oil, or flax oil, and you will see an improvement on relief from perimenopause discomfort.
  8. Maintain a high-protein diet from soy products like tofu and soya beans to increase the levels of estrogen in your body.
  9. Maintain excellent personal hygiene. The changes in your body, like the vaginal dryness, will require personal care and attention.
  10. Start a regular exercise regimen to relieve the symptoms of perimenopause.
  11. For hot flashes, here are two effective home remedies:a. Drink up to eight glasses of water daily and take three times a day 800 milligrams of evening primrose oil.b. The following tincture will help to reduce the discomfort brought by hot flashes. Take three dropperfuls of it every day. Combine teaspoons of cohosh root tincture, don quai root tincture, sarsaparilla tincture, licorice root tincture, chaste tree tincture, and ginseng root tincture.

The body needs excellent nutritional support from unprocessed foods at this turning point of your menstrual cycle. Maintaining a fit and healthy body will make it a lot easier for you to deal with perimenopause symptoms. To learn everything about perimenopause facts, symptoms, and remedies, visit PerimenopauseAnswers.com. This is the web’s repository of the most updated and well-researched articles that can help you deal with one of the most important physical changes in a woman’s body.

 

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