(I make no apologies for expressing myself through coloring my prematurely gray roots.)
I dress people for a living. Well, that sounds weird. Let’s try that again. As a wardrobe stylist I dress SAHMs, corporate executives, music artists and, on a good day, myself before I go to the grocery store. The thing that I hear people say so often during a fit session is ‘Oh, this is SO ME.’ As a creative, I love that because it means that I have tapped into something deeper than just the idea that they like the color blue. I was able to read their personal innuendos enough to choose pieces of clothing that express their temperament. In many ways, we could stop the appointment right there because *technically* I’ve succeeded at my job. Truth be told, I don’t think there is anything wrong with finding an outfit that is ‘so you’. It’s kind of exhilarating, really.
The biggest problem with self-expression is that self-obsession is only a few steps further down that road.
Listen, dress yourself powerfully or playfully. Dress for your mood and wear the Halloween costume. But please don’t get stuck thinking that if you’re not ‘expressing yourself’ every minute of everyday then you are a victim. You’re not. You’re a believer. And believers don’t get caught up in that sort of thing. They know that the only kind of self-expression they need be obsessed with is the life changing grace of Jesus Christ. He radically takes us from having to prove ourselves to pinching ourselves that we were created in His image. Imago Dei. (here and here)
He’s good to us. He’s so good in fact that he created each of us differently unique and beautiful. And for that reason alone I’m no enemy to self-expression. Let’s just make sure we are expressing the self that has come to life through the saving work of Jesus Christ. That’s an expression I can get behind.
Big photo shoot this week went above and beyond what I could have imagined. That’s what you do though, isn’t it. You specialize in above and beyond. You bring tiny particles of hope together in order to weave a tapestry of a life fit for a King. Just when we think ‘it’s happening’ and our lives are finally coming together, we take a step back to see a proud Father showing off his craftsmanship. It’s not happening. You’re happening.
There are moments that tell us perhaps our hearts won’t always be hardened pieces of muscle in our chest and that they might actually race for someone or something again. That perhaps the rhythm of our heart does, once again, determine the level of our affection for our craft and not just the anxiety creativity produces.
There’s still a chance that we can take off monotony’s winter fur and let our bodies feel the warmth of You Happening. We remind ourselves that we won’t forever be cooped up or huddled up. We will fly and move and run our race at our pace in our own time. And be proud. Proud that You delivered this amazing life and proud that we hung on in obedience.
When people ask us, ‘How did you get here?’ our answer will be simple….’I hung on to His promises for dear life and he in turn gave me just that. A dear, sweet life.’
You can’t just ‘get wise’. You can ‘get smarter’. Sign up for a new degree program, sure! Apply for a technical certificate to be a metal worker, you betcha! But wisdom hums a different tune and skips to her own beat. Wisdom knows her value and isn’t cheap. She cost something. Multiple somethings usually. Most often she costs us years of our lives or perhaps some gray hair. On the other hand, when wisdom comes to rest on the young it is sadly due to circumstances outside of their control. They had no choice in the matter yet wisdom is the thing they came out clutching in the end.
Though she be costly, she is priceless. Those two words are not interchangeable. To start our adult lives and realize the costly gift of wisdom is one thing; to walk though the remainder of our lives with wisdom is priceless.
The beauty industry might lead you to believe that every fine line and wrinkle is an abomination to your future. It’s not. I promise. I will be purchasing my fair share of wrinkle creams, I have no doubt, because everyone wants to look like the best version of themselves. But don’t chase the school bus down the road. Leave the backpack and the 80’s hair in the decade it belongs. Be present and happy in today’s life.
Though wisdom be costly, it’s also priceless. Just like you and your beautiful life, dear.
Love from the newly wrinkled girl behind the laptop,
(graphic by the amazing yesyoumaigh. she is most certainly a boss.)
We haven’t really chatted about work much on here…I’m awardrobe stylist! Surprise! I’ve had various styling opportunities in my day. Everything from in-home consulting to working with brands like Bloomingdale’s and Anthropologie. They each bring a different lesson. Some easier than others but all necessary. Here are a few school-house moments I’ve learned through styling:
Always, always be kind. You never know who you’re working with in any customer service platform; shoppers, customers associates, bosses and everyone in between.
Ask for what you want. Employers can’t read minds and neither should they be required to do so. It’s up to you, and only you, to ask for what you want.
No one thinks about you as much as you think about yourself. I was so guilty of this. Obsessed with appearing teachable and helpful…I had good intentions but no doubt I missed the Spirit’s leading on a few things bc I was so worried about myself. I’m working on getting over myself so that I can do my job better. I think that’s called being an adult?
Hard workers work hard in any situation…not just ones they like. You don’t get to tell a leader that you didn’t work hard at a task because you weren’t given the opportunity to do what you ‘deserve’ to do. You do the task at hand and deal with potential misleading in leadership later. Don’t cause a ruckus just because your feelings got hurt.
You will have to work to earn your co-workers trust. Just because you know that you’re a trust worthy person in your circles, doesn’t mean that your coworkers will trust you right away. Or ever. Trust is earned. And don’t toss is around once you get it because if you drop it and it breaks you most certainly won’t get it put back together.
Respect is also earned. I don’t care if you have 5 advanced degrees and an alphabet behind your name….if you treat people like they are expendable you will never win their respect.
Obedience is not the same thing as respect. They often go hand in hand but they are not required to do so. Think of any type of prisoner, they obey not out of respect for the guard but out of self protection. Two very different things.
Being honest is always the right thing to do but being brutal is rarely necessary. In styling specifically, I’m often asked my opinion. I see this as an opportunity to speak honestly in an uplifting way. It’s all about the delivery. One builds and the other tears down and leaves you rocking in a fetal position in the dressing room vowing off denim for life. And no one, I repeat no one, should vow off denim- my favorite piece of clothing!
Real leaders don’t have to announce themselves. Ever. When a diva walks in, everyone knows it and they confuse recognition for praise. A boss walks in and everyone acknowledges and follows her lead, not because they have to but because she’s right. Be a boss not a diva. Only Instagram likes divas.
Even a dream job has job-like moments. Doctors still get blood on their scrubs and teachers still have to do paperwork. Stylists still have to push racks and fold clothes. When an occupation has ‘job-like’ moments don’t overlook the fact that hard work naturally produces humility. Praise the Lord!