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Your Clothes Miss You

Wherever you go throughout your day or evening you’re likely to encounter someone who appears to be on the brink of downward facing dog. Doctor’s waiting rooms, grocery stores, department stores and classrooms will no doubt boast at least one person in yoga pants. You may think to yourself; “Oh they have just returned/are on their way to a yoga class.” If this is the case I pity the poor forsaken changing room; it’s cubbies and benches empty and lonely. Perhaps all these stretchy panted people are returning/on their way to storefront yoga studios whose only distinguishing feature is a wooden floor and bacteria sodden mats. The transition from clothes boutique to yoga studio consisted only of a few lotus decals and an oppressive air of serenity; bereft of a changing room.

That storefront-no dressing room scenario explains some percentage of the ‘no, no, they just look like sweats/pajamas” yoga pant wearing crowd. Of course people are allowed to wear whatever they wish. But a sea of black spandex is a bit dismal. We all have days in which we don’t want to get dressed (they’re usually called ‘sick’ days.) But these athletic clad people are out socializing in the world. They are at lunch and shopping for non-essentials (both activities one doesn’t immediately associate with clinical depression.)

Not everyone enjoys clothing and/or accessories. Some people consider dressing a bore and a chore. No amount of “You look like a sad mime!” messaging is going to make an impact. Perhaps the message that ‘wearing spandex leads to needing spandex’ might influence their decisions. As we embark on this season of shortening days and excessive gaiety, a zipper and button can be a guy/gal’s best friend. As you reach for the second glass of champagne or third mini-quiche, you might feel the pinch of a strained waistline of actual clothing. Nothing modifies behavior more quickly or efficiently than physical discomfort.

For people who do enjoy clothes and/or accessories it’s important to remember that clothes need air. They need to be worn and have a life. They are not meant to be purchased only to languish in closets/dressers. If you’re thinking; “I want to be comfortable” ask yourself why your real clothes are uncomfortable. If you’re thinking; “It’s too much trouble” perhaps you’re underestimating yourself. There’s something quite uplifting about making a bit of an effort (and it is such a little effort.) Walking out your door wearing actual clothing communicates; “Hey world I’m ready” both to you and to the world.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Style

 

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Nobody’s Watching You

A therapist friend recently asked me for advice.  (No this isn’t the opening remark at the American Psychiatric Association convention.)  She was feeling remiss about starting, and not keeping up with, a blog.  What with her practice and her actual life, her energies didn’t seem to be directed into blogging.  I actively listened (until she took a long breath, I’m only human after all) and asked her “why do you want a blog?”  “I guess I don’t, I just thought I should” she replied.  I assured her that no one is watching.

Doing things that have no (positive or negative) impact on anyone else because you feel you should is exhausting.  Time and energy is in fact finite, and to habitually spend any of it on activities that simply don’t resonate for us seems rather self-sabotaging.

Of course I don’t mean to suggest the key to a self-actualized life is to only do what one wants.  Not at all.  There will always be things we must do (i.e., teeth cleanings, insurance wranglings, tax filings, etc.)  There will always be things we do because doing so means something to someone we love.  We will attend partner’s high school reunions (and duck out frequently to text friends back home) we will be by the bedside of a sick and frightened loved one, we will babysit a “I have a permanent marker and I’m not afraid to use it” toddler so his mother can get her hair cut.  Relationships by definition are two-way streets, and no doubt people similarly treat us with generosity.

There is a difference between engaging in the world and with our loved ones and reacting to trends or external pressure.  The tricky part is that the only way to detect what actions resonate for us personally is to listen very closely.  There are some people who love nothing more than staying up until midnight making 60 homemade cupcakes frosted with each classmates’ initials.  These people no doubt love the sense of creativity and accomplishment that comes from such an activity.  But the person next door might be doing the same thing because he/she thinks it is expected.

By whom this activity is expected is an interesting question of course.  No one is watching.  Do we project an exacting parent’s expectations onto strangers?  Maybe.  Do we really think that the world cares that much about what we do or don’t do?  Maybe.  Do we look at the world in a very critical manner ourselves and therefore assume everyone else does as well.  Perhaps.

Not much good can come from living one’s life as if on stage.  Humanity is far too wrapped up in their own lives than to sit and watch ours.  If you find yourself dragging your feet or having a gastrointestinal disturbance when faced with an activity; take a moment.  Are you going to book club or yoga because you love the experience, or because you feel ‘this is what I should do?”  There are enough built-in “should do”s in grown-up life.  Read whatever book you want.  Find a physical activity that makes your heart soar (literally) and blog only if all the words in your head desperately need to get out.

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Well-Being

 

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