(This is a re-write from a piece I posted about three years ago).
When I was about 14, I had one of those 'light-bulb moments' that totally changed my life; for the better!
At school we had a communal bathroom with a row of about 8 hand basins; each basin having it's own mirror.
Every morning, myself and a row of similarly aged boys could be seen combing our hair, trying to look like Elvis. We would bend our knees, curl our upper lips, and maybe even sing a few lines from 'Blue suede shoes' as we wetted our locks and fashioned them into a poor imitation of the great man's quiff.
One morning that light-bulb suddenly lit brightly above my head as I looked at my own reflection in horror. What the bloody hell was I doing?
It was like a lightning bolt. I knew that I would NEVER be anything like Elvis; so why bother. I didn't have his looks, I didn't have his talent, and I certainly didn't have his magnetic personality. So why the hell was I trying to imitate his hairstyle?
Everything instantly became clear. I should just be who/what I am, not worry about what I look like, and get on with my life without the weighty bloody baggage of Narcissus gnawing at my heels.
I can honestly say that from that very moment in front of the mirror, I have never worried about what I 'physically' look like.
OK, I've never been 'handsome', but what the hell! It's not held me back in life, nor have I agonised about it. In fact, accepting this reality has liberated me as forcefully as how others must be unconsciously welded to their mirrors.
There is nothing wrong in admiring a film, or pop, star, but to want to be like them is sad. To imitate is flattering, but if by doing so the person imagines that some of their hero's talent will somehow become ascribed to them, then they are being sadly disillusioned.
I remember that very moment in front of the mirror as if it was yesterday; its revelation was truly life altering.
I could never be arsed with fashion or the latest trends. I still have perfectly serviceable boots and suits I had made in 1984. Sadly I can no longer climb into the suits anymore!ReplyDelete
I last wore a suit in Beyreuth Germany in 2009, for my son's wedding. As for a tie.....Delete
A very sensible attitude to have, one I have tried to in-still in my children too.ReplyDelete
I don't want to be like anyone else either, but I think that - like it or not - one's clothing and style say something to other people, and you have to be a bit careful what that is.ReplyDelete
You can always tell a fresh art student from a mile away, by the studied carelessness in the way they dress. By not wanting to look like anyone else, they all have taken on a uniform, even if each uniform is totally different.
These days, I like to be as understated as I can be, and this is why I love classic Armani suits. You can dress up and STILL look like a tramp.
I remember my Art College days (early 60s) when the uniform was Duffle coats. We worked so hard to look different and then poverty helped us to really be different!Delete
In Tom's, and my, art student days; Tom adopted a semi-Mao style (always with gumboots), as I went more for 'impoverished' (which I was).Delete
Mao? No, more like the French labourer's blue boiler suit I think. Impoverished my arse - you had a car for a start - you Imperialist Lacky Running-Dog and Laughing Cow.Delete
Would that everyone could have a light bulb moment Cro!ReplyDelete
Seems every generation strives for a 'look' when they are in their teenage phase. It was The Beatles for us and everyone had hair hanging in their eyes. Fortunately most of us 'grew out' of it eventually. A light bulb would have come in handy at the time.ReplyDelete
I was too short and fat to kid myself into thinking that i'd ever be a glamour girl and never liked the feel of makeup on my face. Then i thinned out and was still short, and brunette at a time where blonds ruled the world (i think they still do in part).ReplyDelete
At my reunion this past summer, i saw some of us have aged gracefully, some fitfully, but most of us are finally comfortable in our own skin. That's a good place to be.
Fashion and style always pass me by. I think last year I only brought some new work boots because the others had worn out and I get a short hair cut because its too much bother to wash when it gets over an inch in lenght. I do remember a time trying to look my best (before I met my wife) but I don't think it lasted long!ReplyDelete
I've never been a style chaser. Obviously I could use a little style here and there, even if it's someone else's!ReplyDelete
This made interesting reading. I had a similar moment, in my Mums hall mirror when I was about 17. I was wearing a floaty hippy top and flared jeans and I said to her "Mum, I decided I'm not going to worry about fashion, I'm going to go my own way".ReplyDelete
Some times it has been hard, due to peer and family pressure, but it has made me "me".
Happy new Year to you and Lady M, look forward to reading through 2014 xx