Look the Part You Want to Play

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If you want to be a certain sort of person, you need to think about your appearance. It might seem petty but it has a huge effect on how the world treats you, how people perceive you. Also, that is the person you see every time you walk by something reflective. Do you look boring? Do you look interesting? Do you look like a librarian, a doctor, a rockstar, a genius, a punk, a goth, a professor of heavy metal studies?

If this is the way you are presenting yourself to the world, you need to take some time to analyze it. Tweak little things, or change important elements. But it absolutely must be considered.

A long time ago, I was struggling with my job in advertising, since I was perpetually stressed and exhausted, and had no time or energy for my own art. I caught my reflection in the subway window one morning – I looked gray, brown, at least 20 years older. That was disturbing. I started dying my hair, wearing a little makeup to work, and finding slightly more interesting clothing. How could I be an artist if I didn’t see myself as one?

Who are you at a glance?

If what you want to be has no obvious outward appearance – suppose you want to be a dolphin psychologist – then find something with a dolphin on it as your symbol of the goal you are trying to achieve. I have no idea what a psychologist would look like appearance wise, but still, that is what you should see in the mirror, that is how should present yourself.

It is far too easy to get stuck in a rut. You wear what you have always worn, you grab what is on sale, you don’t think about it very much. Take the time right now to stop and think. What persona are you displaying to the world? Whatever you wear to sleep, to do housework, that’s your business of course. But when in public, what would you want to say about yourself to strangers at a glance?

Sometimes thinking, “what will people think?” is a productive thing. You have to remember that most of the people you run into every day are imaginary. If you don’t know their name and you’ll likely never see or recognize them again, they aren’t real. (We will get into more about the imaginary people in another post.)

You really cannot care what people think, but you should give them a direction.

If your passion is something personal, that you don’t want the whole neighbourhood to know about, keep a personal talisman of some kind, or wear something that is meaningful to you, but innocuous to others. For example, if your goal is to become amazing at S&M rope bondage, perhaps you could find a keychain with rope on it, or a tiny necklace with a “love knot”. Only you need to know what it really means.

Perhaps you’re not into fashion – that’s fine. I don’t care what’s on the runways, or the current trends. I don’t have the money to buy a new wardrobe every season. I wear a lot of black, plain clothing that mixes and matches. I use accessories, makeup, and my bright red hair to present myself as an “artsy person” to the world.

Accessories are a quick, easy, affordable way to add personality to your look. I highly recommend digging around on eBay. I’ve found leather studded cuffs for $7, fascinating pendants for $2, and killer sunglasses for $12 – with free shipping, but since it’s from China, it might take 8-14 weeks.

Here are some links to give you ideas:
http://www.ebay.com/usr/coolarea?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2754
http://www.ebay.com/usr/deainthebox?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754
http://www.ebay.com/usr/900jewelry?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

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If you have lots of money, check out all of the original handmade things on Etsy.com – buying higher quality and local would be better, of course. But for those of us with limited funds, we have to make do.

One day long ago when I was looking particularly pale in the work washroom mirror, I wished I had been wearing mascara. It pops my eyes, makes me look more awake. If it has this big of an effect, why hadn’t I been wearing it every day? It’s such a small effort, to spend an extra 30 seconds on my face every morning. But it makes a world of difference to how I feel about myself. Confidence is a sketchy little animal, and everything you can do to boost it is a good idea.

If you’re unsure of your makeup skills, do a YouTube search – there are so many makeup tutorials your head might spin. Try a few new things with the makeup you already have – most of the time it’s technique, not product, that gets results.

I now have four versions of hair and makeup. Popping out to the store is a one minute eyebrow & eyeliner flick. Going to work requires 5 minutes of basic makeup and a few minutes fixing my hair. A party or date would likely take 10-15 minutes, and crazy but mostly sweat proof stage makeup takes around 20 minutes (I also do my vocal warmups during this time). It’s always worth it – take the time to make yourself feel as fabulous as you can, and be the right face you need for the destination and activity. Just be sure to start early, because being late to an event due to poor time management is lame. If you’re testing out a new look, try it a few days before the big event, so you know how long it will take, and work the bugs out ahead of time.

If you’re in the midst of changing and improving yourself, you need to look inward, but don’t forget to also take the time to look outward. We live in a visual world. Who are you at first glance?

Action Items:

Who do you want to be? How do you want the world to see you?
What little changes can you make to realize this vision of yourself?
What little tokens or talismans can you keep around you as your vision charms?

 

Decluttering is Hard, Giving Things Away is Easy!

ihaveasecret-giveitawayOne of the strange things I have anxiety about is letting things go. Perhaps it is because my grandmother grew up during the war, and always instilled in us the importance of making the most of every object. Maybe I am afraid that I will not have the material things I need and therefore be left unprepared, which can lead to being stressed out, embarrassed, and other nasty emotions. Maybe growing up fairly poor made me afraid that I won’t be able to purchase things I want in the future.

I am a packrat, and I cannot throw anything away if it is potentially useful. You can well imagine the state of my art room – art supplies, crafts, gifts, books, old sketches, every manner of knickknack under the sun – it is all taking up room to the point where I can barely work anymore.

Here is the interesting twist – I can easily give things away, stress free! As long as it is going to someone who might potentially use it, I have no problem with passing it along. If it’s not myself throwing stuff in the trash I can let it go.

This year, as always, I asked people for no birthday gifts, since I no longer have birthdays*. In the spirit of holiday giving, I brought two large shopping bags full of fabulous things to the party and invited everyone to take it all. Reverse birthday presents – that has to be healthy on many levels.

I gave away necklaces, bracelets, blank notebooks, a few small paintings I did many years ago, gardening and japanese fashion magazines, makeup, a wee radio, purses, and more. Giving my treasures to friends not only cleared out a pinch of space, it makes me happy to think that these things are being used and enjoyed instead of stuck in boxes and drawers. I set my things free into the world. Also, I have to admit, it was super fun sitting there saying, “I think Kelly would wear this necklace the most”, and “Kate has the best colouring for this lipgloss”, like some sort of cheeky Santa Claus.

Give It Away Now

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Now I am completely inspired to find other things I can clear. I traded an old sewing machine I’ll never use for a few bottles of wine. I gave a bag of old clothing made from interesting materials to a friend who makes “Ugly Bunnehs” out of donated fabric. I am preparing to haul several more bags of old clothing to Value Village, but I am finally ready to toss out anything worn, dated, or that I know nobody would want to wear. I am ready to trade things to Bunz for nearly nothing if they pick the stuff up.

While going through the art supplies, I also found a giant colourful gift bag – perfect! Any art supplies that my friend’s children might enjoy went into that bag, and at the next available opportunity, out of my house.

I actually had two old Mac G4 computers stashed under the desk in my art room, which had been sitting there for at least eight years. I posted online to see if anyone would want them – suddenly I had a taker for those, and the CD burner, plus he will take away my giant old monitor for me because he has a truck. By promising to give these away, now I absolutely had to get cracking and clear the drives of any old files and wipe them to get them ready.

By making that promise, I had to follow through. The obligation was key to finally get the job done. Doing things for others is a stronger contract than doing something for myself. Life Lesson Noted!

It’s going to be a long process. Ten years of accumulating junk, I mean stuff, in this house will take some time to clear. One zone at a time, one day at a time.

(Have you ever noticed that your junk is stuff, but other people’s stuff is junk?)

I’m not quite ready for the total Zen clearing, minimalist house concept, but I am planning to do one zone per month or two until things are greatly improved.

What can you let yourself give away?
What can you never, ever get rid of?
Please comment!

 

* They say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”. Therefore, when a few gals and I spent a weekend there on what would have been my birthday, it was trapped in Vegas. As long as I never go back, I have no birthdays and I am not aging. Logic!

Fixing my Smile Actually Fixed my Smile

 

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As far back as I can remember, I have been dreadfully ashamed of my teeth. I don’t recall if my baby teeth were nearly as bad, but when my adult teeth came in, you can instantly see my British heritage. (Sorry for the stereotype, but in this case it is true.)

The four front upper teeth have always been the issue. The centre two teeth are tilted inward, so they sort of kick out at the outside edges, especially on one side giving a distinct snaggletooth effect. (Or, as one nasty person on an online forum mentioned when I used to work in TV, a “rat tooth” look.) Continue reading “Fixing my Smile Actually Fixed my Smile”