“Watch me, watch me..”
When I was a teenager I tortured my parents to watch each and every one of my hundreds of dives into the public swimming pool; I was so cool and got better by the dive. Did you see THIS one???
“Look at me,” was my attitude entering college classes, parties, conferences in my twenties and thirties. When I became a mom “me-me-me” melted away in the love for my son. My life was about him, the new number one on my list. As a single mom I stored my career, fame and fortune, fashion and party fun in the basement. I loved Pinky and the brain, Pokemon, power rangers, skiing, hang gliding and our road trips showing him the country. Who needs grown ups when adventures with my kid were so fulfilling?
Then he left and I was on my own.
I went to a party. I walked through the bar filled with eighty people. The large mirror showed me sassy in a tight black lace dress.
Nobody, not one person looked at me.
I was 55 and INVISIBLE.
My ego woke up with a scream; she was angry and swore to combat ageism. It prescribed the belief that midlifers are “going down” and have nothing to offer; they are irrelevant for the advancement of society. Arriving at senior-dom we are burdens to society, living of social security or driving to our final destination in a cushioned carriage of our savings. The road to death is plastered with senile senior moments….
Not for me. I’m a rebel. I have a rad futuristic screenplay on my desk. How can I be taken seriously?
My goal was not just to make midlife prettier and easier to cope with but rebellious. I did not want to please but shake awake. Not the “advanced style” but my way.
I raised some eyebrows with “sexy over 60” low cut outfits and got to hear that I should be a lady not “desperately trying to look like twenty” with my teenie bopper looks. I responded, “I’m shooting for 16.” Yeah. I let my inner child play.
Look at me, I am cool over 60.
I had a couple thousand followers but hits and comments were mediocre.
“Women are afraid of being rebellious,” I was told, “forget it already. It’s so teenager.”
Okay then. I calmed down the rebelling and posted nicer, sweeter, more fashionably accepted outfits and lots of pink. Pretty in pink helped me to warm up to my feminine, compassionate self and got me more likes but didn’t raise engagement.
I was not relatable.
I have something to say. Please look at me.
It hit me when I watched a woman friend doing everything “right’ for likes. She lived her life and styled her social media solely for applause. Every action, gesture, outfit, smile or word is calculated to please and is meticulously set in scene for the agenda of being approved of. I had always loved the idea of “fake it to make it” but this strangely hurt me. It reminded me of my 20’s and 30’s when I fulfilled my womanly manipulation “duties”, testing how far I could get with sexy charm and smart theater. I regretted having flirted and elbowed myself into success.
My recent pleasing attempts felt like manipulation now and I did not want that anymore. I did not want to desperately long for getting the ball tossed to me.
My life coach had taught me not to enter a room with “look at me” but with “who are you?” So I did.
Look at them. They look amazing over 60.
So truly wonderful, so out there!
Sometimes I had to dig deep into my self loving confidence to overcome this unnerving little thing called competition and the fear of not being good enough; I feared women were “better” than me, richer, fancier and designer clad with creative and make up teams, photographers and agents. I didn’t have that, gawd!!
We only get what we can handle; I had learned to listen and to be open. To really see what they show.
Women I adore don’t always tell stories or have life coachy wisdom accompanying their pictures; their pictures show how arty, empowered, fierce, fearless and creative they are. They don’t talk about their real, we feel it. Others add heartfelt words coming from the depth of who they are and ring little bells in our heads.
I looked into many mirrors and they looked back at me.
The more honest and authentic I became the more women responded to me from their heart. “Your vibe attracts your tribe” proved true.
Look at us, we are ageless. We make visible who we truly are.
I was back to the beginning. I am a rebel. It doesn’t matter that not everybody likes it. Looking at the world “my way” isn’t a demise I need to hide; it is my power.
I decided against botox and fillers even when women friends with facelifts looked ten years younger than me. I did not do color, filter and style coordinated galleries. I did not gray my hair when many others did. I do not wear neon colors as the trend scares me (nice little challenge right there) and I sometimes write more words than I am supposed to.
It felt like my life depended on it; I had to be the real me.
I am a rebel with the cause of me.
A woman friend in Europe mentioned that she is always controlling what she wants the world to know and what she wants to keep private. It hit me like an alert as the word private was not even in my vocabulary anymore. For me it is the other way around; what can I dig up that is share-worthy as it might in some way help, inspire, enlighten or uplift my friends and followers?
The strange idea popped up that my personal life had become of service.
Confessional literature is an art, so is raw, real, rad posting in social media. We learn to give the world what it wants to see and to be true to ourselves in the process. In a world where ageism waits at every corner we become Dalis and create what we feel.
I tune in every morning before my post; what does this matter to me and why does it matter to the world? I wrap it into pictures, stories, fashion and outfit ideas in a dance of fun and philosophy.
To be seen we have to be relatable but for our message to be heard we reveal what’s underneath the wrap.
If you’re still searching for the branding of YOU your daily exercise of being true to your Self will get you there. It took me two years of testing; thrills of “that’s me!!” and disappointments of “missed it” to hear my message and find a way to make it visible.
The path is as personal as the outcome.
I go with the trendy flow and make it “mine” by feeling what’s in it for me.
I post pics with my dog because women love pooches but also because she is my Guru, my emotional support buddy in so many ways, not a decoration.
I post pictures of my style of the day because that’s what everybody is looking for but focus on what resonates with me; what makes me feel happy, fierce or protected. I let the latest trends wake up new, story telling emotions and show how outfits can guide and empower us.
If I’m ever going viral as a naked nymph over 60 I’ll better have a cool reason that aligns with everything I am, a message that enlightens not just a quick fix for my glory.
I am a rebel with the cause of me for you.
Latest in midlife many of us realize that there’s more than following the norm. We discover deeper levels of ourselves, interesting inner movies we might have neglected while trying to be a master of fitting in. We played “extras” rather than taking on the role of heroine.
It’s fun to “have stuff” but fulfilling to be our true selves.
It’s the inside that counts.
Which doesn’t mean that hanging in pajamas or unisex baggies is the cozy solution, on the contrary, the confidence of self worth is just the starting point. If we don’t want to be seen as “sleepers” rotting into retirement we spice up our uniqueness; she usually is neither the slob nor the trend obsessed fashion sheep. It’s the woman who has worked like a coal miner to get to her truth and shows it.
We are our brand when we are true to our Self.
Making our power visible is a necessity to be taken seriously.
I met a middle age woman recently, overweight, hair cut from a barber shop and in baggy clothing bare of any fashion sense. I sensed my judgment but also her pain. We started talking.
A documentary film maker from the Midwest she was bitter not to be taken seriously. She was the creative force behind the film they were shopping around and nobody ever addressed her but always her male business partner. She was ignored. She hated “these bullies” and blamed superficial Hollywood for not seeing her.
“I am invisible,” she said with a tremble of repressed tears in her voice.
“I know the fear,” I responded, “I am a midlife woman with a Sci Fi fantasy script. I can imagine the Gen X assistant of the assistant producer’s eyes glaze over looking at my age and not listening at my pitch.”
I will very carefully decide on what I will wear.
I did not say that loud but I swear if I could give her a make over, even Hollywood would take her seriously. Outfits talk.
People judge a book by it’s cover. And - shouldn’t we show our content in our form?
I am looking for a book designer at the moment because my upcoming book cover has to show at first glance why people have to read it. I would like you to get a feeling of my soul when you look at it. It’s the same with our style. We are the invitation to the world to look at us. I’m not sending out burnt-at-the-edges punk letters when I am throwing an opera themed party.
Visibility that lasts and is satisfying to both, our bank account and our soul is created in the very specific unique beauty each of us are. We style our life from the inside out.
I let go of wanting to be visible. I dug up one of my old posts, one of those foreshadowing guides, where I promised that I would walk my talk. I do it in many different shoes, that’s my thing; to be many facets of myself. Sometimes I fall on my face like recently on plateau heels; I made a story of of it.
I’m an explorer and share what I find, inside and outside. What’s your thing?
Look at us, we are ageless. We make visible who we truly are.