” 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.
I was born with an extra chamber in my heart. OK. That’s not exactly the truth. I just have love for three places where I can hang my hat and call home. Period.
Some of us are happy wanders with a pack on our backs and home is our wanderlust. Some of us are gypsies at heart who pick up and can only live for a short time in one particular place. Then there are those like me and maybe you. We are nesters. I am a nester.
When I am living on the water it’s the sea inside of me that makes my heart beat. When I am living in the tropical sun it’s the white sandy beaches and swaying palms that warms my heart. Then there is Chelsea. Chelsea makes my creative heart crave to do just that. Every time I’m in Chelsea I long to be back in the theater and back into acting.
Many mornings in Chelsea I awakened at 4 o’clock to be on the set by six. Night after night, I have taken cab rides home at 1 o’clock in the morning from the theater district, both exhilarated and tired to the bone. The indoor sets for Law and Order were just three blocks away at the Chelsea Piers and many streets shoots were right here in our Chelsea neighborhood where producer, Dick Wolfe lived. It was a good time in my life. It’s not a big revelation nor secret to anyone that it always is better when you’re doing what you love.
I have often had script reads here in our Chelsea apartment with fellow actors. Back in 1999, I wrote my memoir, BEHIND THE MAGIC MIRROR, on a word processor. I did it right here, warmed by the light streaming through our ivy covered windows overlooking the gardens of London Terrace. All the while unknowingly inspired by the ghosts of numerous Chelsea authors.
The Chelsea Hotel is just a block away going east from here. One must take a deep breath before diving into this list of Chelsea Hotel writers: Mark Twain, Arthur C. Clarke, William S. Burroughs, Leonard Cohen, Jack Kerouac, Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Wolfe, Arthur Miller, Edgar Lee Masters, Brendan Behan and so many others, not to mention all of the musicians who have lived and died there.
I think most of us are a little schizophrenic in our likes and wants. Sometimes to survive economically we have to have a 9-to-5 existence that is not exactly us and we have dreams of another life we would like to live. Take it from this over-fifty woman, “Don’t let those dreams die.” There are hours in your life away from the mundane where you can pursue your dreams if you just do it. It is up to you to make it happen.
A Facebook friend of mine recently posted this picture. What this picture says is indicative of our future. We are slowly evolving into non-communication vis-à-vie with one another.
The other day our neighbor’s child was going to dress rehearsal for The Nutcracker ballet. She is playing the lead child, Marie, and had her dark hair pulled smoothly into a bun on top of her head. I told her how beautiful she looked and how excited she must be. She looked up at me briefly and then went back to her cell phone, without even a thank you.
The ensuing ride down the elevator, I chatted with her mother bubbling with excitement and pride while ‘Marie’ kept her nose in her phone. I believe if parents are not careful they will be raising a generation of rude and detached children. Social networking and the Internet will be the way they fill their minds with culture instead of real life and the real experiences around us. I don’t know about you, but to me it’s a very scary scenario. In my opinion, it should be a wake up call for all of us.
Now, I haven’t told you yet because I am a fairly new blogger here, but I have been a vegan for over 30 years and I have always pushed myself to exercise and keep my body moving beyond the daily routine of living and working, but by gosh I am….well, well over the other side of fifty – kinda’ reluctantly doing the down hill slide. But, I admit even when I don’t feel like it, which is honestly most of the time, I drag myself outdoors and always wind up feeling better for it. And for these last 40 years I have been lucky to live in an area with scenic paths along the ocean and green hills to climb. A great thing that kept me motivated in my pre-ipod years.
My young friend finally convinced me it would be fun and maybe the primary benefit to me would be a reality check on how fit I really was (or not) at my age. She wasn’t crazy enough to consider my placing, she knew I just would be grateful to cross the finish line without the paramedics waiting for me. My husband joked that he would take no odds on me, unless it was to be the ultimate loser.
With that cheerful send-off packed full of confidence building some husbands are able to endow their wives in times of need, I walked to the sign-up area in the park near the starting line, got my blue T-shirt and nervously made small talk with the mostly younger, younger men and women there. The majority with their glistening South Beach tans and flawless laminated smiles. I pulled my geezer Cunard Cruise Line ball cap lower to disguise my white hair and even though by now I was really having second thoughts, I would drag myself forward, knowing the show must go on.
The whistle blew and away we all went up Ocean Drive in South Beach and around the course that curved back to the initial starting line at South Pointe Park. Like a seasoned thoroughbred, I surprised myself at my steady pace. Surely, I didn’t want to drop dead on Ocean Drive and have the humiliation of people stepping over me. Just keep going and you’ll finally either have a stroke and will be on the evening local news, or just maybe you will be able to at least finish this thing, I kept telling myself. My pride was driving me more than anything. I am such a sick-thinking person, I would have murmured under my breath, but by that time I could hardly catch it.
I really didn’t pay attention to any of the other runners. I just kept running and the more I ran my energy grew. Wow. Not bad. Okay. I’m still alive. Surely the finish line is up here somewhere. My heart was pounding and I felt flushed as I gave one final sprint of energy over the finish line that was just ahead, finally in sight.
I saw the paramedic truck there, probably waiting for me,I thought, but my quivering lips just managed a shaky smile as I passed by. This senior has gotcha this time, fellas!
Well, I hung around to go home with my friend and what do you know, I got a nice little trophy to take home. Third Place. OMG. I couldn’t believe it. Now I REALLY am going to have a stroke! Wow! Not bad for an old gal. I sooooo even surprised myself! Way to go girl, I told myself.