I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my friends say, ‘I love that!’ about something I’m wearing, only to add in the same breath, ‘I could never pull that off, though.’
Bright red lipstick. Knee-high socks. A giant bow in my hair. All looks I’ve worn on countless occasions that my friends have openly admired, but haven’t dared to try themselves.
It’s one thing if they secretly hate my style. But, I get the feeling some of them desperately want to wear bright colors and playful accessories, yet something inside tells them certain looks are off-limits.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved fashion statements. When I was in elementary school, my favorite jeans had graphics of neon sneakers displayed at the bottom with actual shoe-laces interwoven into the fabric, all the way up my legs in a fun criss-cross pattern. In middle school, I fell in love with the retro, colored stripes of softball socks so much that I found every excuse to wear them outside of practice. These days, I love wearing jewelry and sweaters adorned with big animal faces, particularly of the fox or dog variety. If I love something enough, I’m going to display it in a prominent place. Oftentimes that means I’ll make it part of my aesthetic.
“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love” ~ Goethe
Did anyone ever tell me I could pull those looks off? Nope. Did I wait to get confirmation before covering my body in animal faces? Sure didn’t.
Though I’ve boldly rejected the ‘pull it off’ mindset in my appearance, I’ve totally fallen victim to it when it comes to pursuing my passions. I’ve had a nervous hesitance around people who seem to so effortlessly live the artist lifestyle. Those friends of mine who have been making music for years. The ones who photograph complete strangers and display their work at galleries. Who started designing clothes in their bedrooms in high school, and continue to do so.
I’ve admired these friends from afar, thinking to myself, ‘damn, that lifestyle looks awesome. I wish I could pull it off. It takes a rare kind of talent, confidence, certainty that I just don’t have. If I was more daring… more of a badass… more motivated, then I could be an artist.’
What it actually takes is the choice to take a small step. Now. If I want to be a painter, I need to paint. If I want to be a skin care specialist, I need to get certified. If I want to be an author, I need to write. That doesn’t mean I’m going to be a best-selling author right away, but I don’t have to be the best to live the life I want. I just need to start creating, and keep creating, without all the silly excuses. With this in mind, this week I focused my efforts on creating the life I want by writing, starting a big painting project and making connections with Portland spa owners. I’m sharing my most creative ideas with other artists, and in return I’m getting great advice and encouragement to live out a lifestyle that used to feel unattainable.
Next time you start to tell a friend how much you love her green nail polish, stop yourself from saying you could never ‘pull that off.’ Think about how meaningless that is. Smile. Give your friend a better compliment. Then, give yourself the ultimate compliment by covering your nails in the craziest shade of green you can find. Don’t stop at your fingers, paint your toes, too. Go wild! Don’t be surprised when you hear someone say, ‘Ooh, I love your nails! I wish I could pull that color off.’
This post inspired by the amazing Nicole Antoinette and her most recent post, ‘Do Whatever You Fucking Want.’ 🙂
With courage, love, and intensity,
Photo credit: Shandi-lee / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND