Part of the idea of starting my little blog was to write about my life and style, or lack of as I have mentioned before. So, I thought I’d do a post looking at the style part. To do this I think this is the time where we delve into a bit of my background to start with and see where we go from there.
I’m not huge on being a girly girl. I like getting mucky and grubby, and rarely wear makeup or style my hair. And as for being stylish, well that’s something I’m still trying to figure out! I would love to be one of the school mums that look amazing everyday without looking as though they do. I know contradiction in terms, but what I mean is they look amazing without really having to put much of an effort in to looking good. We all know this isn’t necessarily the case as it often takes a little bit of planning getting stuff organised and ensuring a routine is in place. But these are the mums who seem to effortlessly glide onto the playground with finesse and no stress. They have the perfect outfit on for whatever they may be doing and just seem to have it all. I know that whilst this is happening on the outside, what is going on on the inside may be very different, but she hides it well! What I would like to achieve is something near this but be me. I’m not going to copy someone’s style as that might not be mine but I want to find my ‘style’ for me now and be confident in it. I know my style has changed. A lot. I wonder if I can get away with the boho floaty dresses I once coveted? I wonder if my love for Joules, Seasalt and Boden clothes is my way of being more countryfied? Simply to look good in a pair of well cut jeans and a tee would suffice at this point maybe? Only time will tell as I find my real ‘me’. What I do know is that I’m going to have to up my game a notch!
When I was younger I didn’t stand out, nor did I particularly want to. I was a bit on the geeky side at school and was never overly confident in my looks. I always shied away from the camera and if someone did manage to catch me on film you would find me hiding at the back in a crowd or have something with which I could semi-hide behind. After growing up a bit and looking back into why I felt like this and still do to some extent as just doing a selfie for me is agony! I realised that this all came from one person in school telling me I was ugly, and that if I didn’t have long hair I’d be mistaken for a boy. Bullying can come in many guises for me it was verbal. I was told I was fat – even though I was far from it and that my clothes just looked like I’d put a bin bag on. This was something that was a constant occurrence in my school days although I hid being bullied from everyone. I pretended nothing was going on and I tried to just blend in. I wanted to be friends with the popular kids as well as everyone else, but I just didn’t have the confidence to go up and say “hi”. Looking back at it now and knowing what I know, a bully is someone who is fundamentally insecure and needs the feeling of power over someone to make themselves feel better. Perhaps the person bullying me was insecure about their own looks and weight and decided I was an easy quiet target. Who really knows, I just hope they now genuinely feel better about themselves and not at someone else’s expense.
It has only been the past few years where I have had to become a stronger person due to a couple of ‘big’ moments, major surgery and a long term relationship change, that made me sit up and think and coupled with my experience of being a teacher which has enabled me to put it all into perspective and gain some of the lost confidence back. I’m what you might call a high functioning introvert. Being a teacher there is an expectation for teachers to be confident individuals with extrovert tendencies, there are in fact studies showing that many are actually mild introverts and do exactly what I do – put on a performance. Every time I step into a classroom and deliver a lesson I put on a show. When I work in industry I am the same everything I do is a performance, delivering training programmes to big business CEO’s and even top ranking civil servants. It all involves me putting on a brave face, a façade you might say and just taking a deep breath. The truth is deep down all I want to do is hide away from the world and blend in. I want to be the unseen.
Why do I do what I do then? I’m good at it, that’s why. I love teaching, imparting my knowledge and skills on to people who may benefit from it. Getting students to engage in whatever I’m delivering and them walk away thinking they learnt something useful. And, I will say it again I’m bloody good at what I do. If it means putting on a brave face and being a showman for a while then its what I must do. I can always shrink into myself afterwards.
Most of the time I come across as being chatty and confident. It’s a ruse. I’m dying inside. I feel I have to chat otherwise it might have an impact on something in the future. What? I don’t know. If you’re a mum collecting your kids and I chat to you, it’s because perhaps yes we could become genuine friends but it may also be that if I don’t my child may not get invited over for play dates and may miss out on social things. It could also be that I need to set a positive example to my children, if they see me being sociable then they will be confident enough to hold conversations with others and not shy away. I want what most parents would want for their kids, I would love for them to be happy and confident and be liked. I would love for them to be popular kids in school but for some this is too much and for my kids? I know they’ll have friends, I would just like those friends to be true friends to them. I don’t want them to go through what I went through.
I picked up a book called ‘Bigmouths, bullies and so called friends’ by J Alexander, initially for my son who has been bullied and still gets called names by one particular boy at school. He was a little too young for it when I first bought it but now I may encourage him to read it as I found it to be really good at identifying bullies and why they do what they do. I like the book as it puts it in kid speak and although was written a few years ago its still relevant. As daft as it may sound it really put a lot of how I felt and still feel into perspective.
There are many ways age has helped me. I don’t suffer fools gladly and will not take $#!% from anyone these days. I say things how I see them but I try not to do it in a manner that will cause upset. I prefer constructive criticism whether it’s me receiving or giving it, I can’t abide narcissism or arrogance. I try to follow the motto ‘if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all’. It’s not about being a snowflake, it’s being polite and considerate something that we seem to be lacking in this day and age. I don’t always get it right, but at least I try.
I’m beginning to feel happier about myself these days. I had a huge slump in confidence when I had my first child and the second one came along and my feelings still hadn’t changed. I often feel that I’m not me anymore. I seem to have lost my identity. I’m not Becks anymore, I’m just “Muuuummmmm”. Nobody of any interest, just someone who’s there to make sure kids are fed, watered and have clean clothes every day. I’m still after the holy grail of mums – going for a wee in peace! Although its not so much these days as the oldest is now eight and doesn’t follow me everywhere unlike my five year old who seems to be my shadow. I was a bit overweight before I had kids but after having them I put on even more weight which I convinced myself I could lose and didn’t, so now I have a ‘mothers apron’ belly and a backside you could park a motorcycle in, let alone a bicycle, which is the bane of my life! I did lose a stone and a half a year or so ago but that seems to have gone back on along with bad eating habits – snacking in the evening before bedtime!
I know that I need to lose weight not just because I would like to look better but I would like to be healthier. I have high blood pressure and scoliosis which are not helped by being overweight. My joints are hurting me all the time and I have no excuse I need to get my head in the right place and make a commitment to making weight loss happen. This isn’t going to be easy as I’m a comfort eater. I’m not one for sweets and chocolates. My nemesis is savoury snacks, especially crisps. Exercise is another key factor I need to start doing more of. I huff and puff just going up the stairs these days. I know clothes hang better when they are not straining over a huge tummy or ample derriere slim or not. I’m fed up of being tired all the time.
I knew I needed to get out of my slump and thought about my next steps. It’s not easy. Some people have a natural ease to looking good and make it seem so easy. I thought that if I joined an open style club community on Facebook for those over forty it may help to give me some of the old confidence back as most people were there in a similar boat to me. Initially this was quite good but after a while the group got huge and admins didn’t monitor comments as much and trolls started getting on there so I left. I then chatted to a dear friend about it as she had been one of the stylists in the paid club connected to the open community and she invited me to join her private style club. This has been a real eye opener for me. I have been learning lots about style, including how I find my own particular style to suit my personality, colouring and shape. There will be more on this another time I think, perhaps a series at some point (along with an interview or two with stylists). It’s a learning process and it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my quest. Yes, some of it is common sense and intuition but there is a sort of science behind it all. And, I like being part of something that cheers me up when I need a little pick me up. I join in the activities when I have time and often just dip in and out of the club when I have a few free moments. It’s not silly in any way, this is my little bit of me time, be it five minutes or half an hour. It makes me feel better about myself and it’s the medicine I need. I’m beginning to care about myself again. I’m beginning to feel there is a new me inside somewhere. I put mascara on occasionally and might look to at least colour co-ordinate an outfit. But, I’ll still have days where I’ll turn up to school wearing my scruffy clothes, no make-up and unkempt hair. Some weeks it will be more often than not. Sometimes I’m just not in the zone but hey, I’ll always chat just don’t be put off by the way I look I’m just having a bad day😉
Perhaps this may be you too? Maybe you’ve experienced similar feelings and don’t quite know where to go from here. There’s a part two to this coming next post if you’d like to find out a bit more. Feel free to comment.
Take care, stay safe