Our Clothes Are A Mirror Of Who We Are

” She had a womanly instinct that clothes possess an influence more powerful over many than the worth of character or the magic of manners.”   Louisa May Alcott

Our clothes and style are a mirror of who we really are, aren’t they?  When we wake up in the morning what we wear indicates how we feel, where we are going and our attitude about the next twelve hours.  

For men more than women, I think, sometimes dressing becomes routine as soon as their feet hit the floor. They throw on their favorite well-worn jeans, T shirt, slip on flip flops, loafers or old sneakers and are ready to face the world and what is out there waiting for them.

Most women are different animals all together. We plan, organize, accessorize and treat clothes as an extension of who we are. Our clothes don’t actually make us, but we make the clothes our own.  

Copyright Sandra Hart© 2017. All Rights Reserved

Let’s Band Together

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I was 11 years old. I was a cheerleader. It had been a great football game that Saturday afternoon and we were on our way home. I was a happy six grader full of achievements and good friends. I grew up in a Ohio Valley steel town with of all types of immigrants and religions, but I didn’t know prejudice, none of us did. We never thought about our parents bank accounts or status. We were all friends and liked each other because we were classmates, we were neighbors, we were girlfriends.

My emotional slate was clean. Every small dream I had was realized. Every goal I wanted was achieved. I loved my parents. I loved my brother. I loved my friends. I saw no fences and I knew no fences. The meaning of hate and envy was never a part of my life up until ‘THEN.’ And it was when after that football game on Saturday that ‘THEN’ happened and my life changed forever and my perfect childhood world came crashing down around me.

My girlfriends and I used to walk together the few blocks from Roosevelt School to our homes on LaBelle View after the football games together. One by one we would say goodbye as each girl would reach their house until the last cheerleader was left to walk a few blocks to her house. This afternoon was different though as all the girls walked me to my house first. As we were saying the cheerful goodbyes, all of the sudden one of the girls started saying mean things to me. Then a couple of the other girls chimed in while the rest stood silent looking at the sidewalk and their feet.

I think I have permanently blanked out a lot of the conversation, but words like ‘snob’, ‘stuck-up’ remained in my mind, permeated my clean slate and cracked it wide open. The pieces stuck in my throat and I remember having no response other than to turn and walk up the cement steps to our front porch and into the safety of my house.

I was stunned and heartbroken. I remember lying across my bed and crying for hours as though my life had ended. This was the worst thing that ever happened to me in my life since I had been on this planet. I was so humiliated that I couldn’t even share my pain with my parents. I suffered in silence. I felt my life was over.

I am a firm believer that mind and body work together to keep us healthy. So it is of no surprise that a few months after this incident of embarrassment and abandonment by those I thought were my good friends that I became very ill. Diagnosed with rheumatic fever I was bedridden for four months. This was the pendulum swing in my life. I returned to school a shy and introverted girl, never in my teens to recapture the self-esteem that was broken and beaten down by my small group of friends that I loved.

I have since shared my story with several of my close friends and at least two of them have had similar experiences as young girls whose lives have been altered by what we now call ‘bullying.’

It’s amazing, although we’ve matured and most of us have had great achievements on our own since leaving the torturous girls behind in their small dust, the scars remain.

I understand. I really understand every time I read a tragic story of a young person reacting to being bullied. And of course today it’s so much worse because of the cyber bullying that is so easy to do. It is so easy to destroy a teenage psyche because they’re thin and fragile and not yet hardened to the reality of life and have strong self-esteem.

So today I was especially delighted when I discovered that my cousin’s daughter is involved in a program, Lets Band Togetherto help stop bullying.

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Lets give peace and civility toward one another a chance.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

Peace. At Last

I was as bald as an onion when I was born. And when I finally did grow hair it was platinum and straight. That all changed …. well …. I don’t know exactly when, maybe about when I was ten or so. Then all hell broke loose. On top of my head. Massive frizz the color of straw.

Braids became my savior. Any solution to tame that unruly crop that suddenly appeared up there. I remember my grandma and mother making my plats so tight my head would ache. But the mess was hidden and undercover. I used to hate it. Hate it…Hate it!

Why is it we are cursed to covet what we don’t have? I have done everything throughout my life since those braids to get rid of the curls. Not the hair, just those darn curls. For me, it is and always has been ‘straight-hair-envy’.

When my mother was getting poodle perms I was embarrassed by my curly, unruly hair. I thought she was crazy to ruin her nice straight hair to look like our family pet. But she didn’t think twice about keeping mine in braids like a show horse’s tail.

At thirteen ‘The Hair War’ between mother and daughter about cutting my hair finally was won by me, and she chopped off my braids. But that’s when the next battle began. The one between me and my new short and wild hair finally escaping from its braided jail.

I struggled through high school using pony tails to normalize the life sprouting from my scalp, but it wasn’t until the mid 60’s that I found out about a cure to what ails me. Hair straightening! I had discovered my new best friend! Considering every model and movie star had beehives and straight hair, my tangled mess was anything but beautiful in the eyes of the celebrity world back then. So I was relaxing, straightening and rolling. This girl did everything measurable within the law to kill my curls.

At home and away from the public eye I walked around like a space alien in front of my children with empty frozen orange juice cans bobby pinned on my head trying, oh so trying, to look like Farrah Fawcett. This was the best method available to me at the time to murder the kink on my head.

And then something quite strange came trending out in the 80’s. Curly hair ?! It was…. It was….. everywhere! Natural, permed, short, or voluminous. Curly was in vogue. Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon! Gosh, I hadn’t gone out in public with my curly hair in almost 20 years! What in the world?? Should I dare to just shower, fluff it dry and go out of the house?

Nuts as it sounds, that first time I walked out of our apartment onto the streets of Manhattan with my curly hair, I was a little weirded out about being so nakedly honest as to who I really was. To step out being the real me and to embrace, to accept the whole me which included that mass upon my head was hard and a long ride down in the elevator to the street.

I will forever blame it on my husband. It took the ‘hair love’ of my husband for the first time in my entire life to really, really accept my unruly wild and naturally curly hair. He made me do it. It was my husband, finally, who told me to just ‘go for it.’

So recently, when I posted a new profile picture on my Facebook page my cousin made a nice comment about my hair. That reminded me about a photo album my husband has compiled throughout the years taking literally thousands of pictures of my hair. He has always bizarrely been obsessed with my wild hair. So one thing leading to another, and with writing time on my hands today, forgive me for digressing from more important things and selfishly opening up to you about my hair woes and joys.

As a dear friend of mine who suffers from alopecia often reminds me, more is more, less is less and no fun at all.

She is right. There has been a truce. I have made peace with my hair. At last.

P. S. I still haven’t thrown away my magic wand to straightness-my long and narrow hot iron. I suppose if I were a smoker it would be like vaping or sneaking around the corner for a puff or too. Sadly, still addicted. Sometimes. But still at peace.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

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