BY Lisa Bardes
If I were to answer this question today, in the present moment, I would say I dress for myself. Perhaps those reading these words may answer differently. Some may agree, but maybe for a different reason. In either case, I wish to share my experience and journey with my self-image and faithfully we will all agree on something!
I think the major pivotal point and the end of my ‘past self-image’ was when I was living in Hollywood, California. I was dating an out-dated Entertainer, who happened to be a fanatical Muslim. This experience came after I had made a vow to The Almighty Creator to change my Ego and asked for aid and assistance in doing so. I was lead to reading self-help books and I began to hang out with spiritual healers. I decided to read up on all the religions I could find books on. I wanted to learn more about the Egyptians’ and the purpose of life and humanity. In doing so, I experienced a real stage of enlightenment. I learned about the power of prayer – even if it was just a form to center myself. I discovered that this worked and it changed my Atheist perspective. If I followed divine order, like Nature, I would experience fantastic things in my life always resulting in exceptional outcomes. So I followed what worked and literally surrendered my Ego. That was easier said than done, for me at least.
After surrendering my thee closets of shoes, clothing, fantastic accessories and what I call my personal make-up line with back–ups, I realized who I really was. My mother did a wonderful job of raising me as a lady. Always made sure my lipstick was on, Daddy loved to take photos of all of us growing up and I was 100% a girly girl. No question. I spent years surrounding myself with clothing and gossip magazines, refusing to wear anything but the finest. On summer camping vacations, I made sure the bathrooms had plugs and I would never leave the tent without my make-up on. My mother used to smile when she would see me hide in the Ford LTD station wagon curling my eyelashes and hiding from potential boyfriends. At this time of my life, I was dressing for boys.
Much later in my life, I found myself dressing for Corporate America. My self-image at that time was one of a professional manner. However, since my love for boys grew to love for men, my shoe and clothing selection came from more of a provocative image. I loved high heeled shoes. In my mind, what they do for a women’s leg is invigorating to look at. I loved to define my legs in a great pair of heels! Seriously! But what they did to my poor feet is another thing. I believe my front parts of my feet are permanently shaped in a V, as that is what I forced them into everyday!
When I got to Hollywood and left a 5 year relationship, my self-image changed once again. This time I was dressing for girls. Not to attract girls, but to compete with girls. I found myself sucked into a very competitive world of women who acted like sharks with claws and we had to fight for men’s attention – especially those who had money. I exhausted myself with thoughts of low self-esteem and discipline to keep my body in shape and my appearance fresh. The man I was dating insisted on manicures and pedicures weekly, and that I was to never leave the house unless I was completely dressed – sharp! I was dating a Vice-President of an Entertainment company and image was everything! I had the finest clothes, finest cars and 5.5 rock on my finger. I definitely succeeded in materialism.
Lately, I dress for me dependent on my mood. In my personal research, I learned the color of the day. I use this as a guide to establish my decision if I cannot decide what to wear. I still carry a girly girl image, but a bit more relaxed one – so to speak. I love clothes still and shoes will be a permanent passion. My shoes now are flip flops. My feet relax daily in a portion of the Pacific Ocean and they have healed from the years of stomping around in fabulous shoes. As far as my image, well that has healed too. I would say my self- image has fallen back to one of a natural female – a confident woman with an essence of a fragile little girl. This is what I feel on the inside, and believe this is what reflects on my outside. Maybe a closer image of my mother, but no longer of what someone wants me to be or expects me to be or that of someone I see on TV or in a magazine. Today I dress from the image that is reflected of exactly who I am. I dress for me.
Featured image via Judy ** on Flicker