When I was in Kindergarten, I changed my name to Peggy. I didn’t tell my parents or even my teacher. I just started writing “Peggy” in the top right hand corner of my papers. I guess by process of elimination, the teacher figured out they were my papers. She called my mom to tell her about my stealth name-change. My mom asked me why I was now wanting to be Peggy, and I told her about the beautiful woman who lived across the street. She was young and pretty and blond and she wore halter tops. Really feminine ones. And I wanted to look like her and act like her, so I thought I would start by taking her name.
More recently, as I did research before opening my online shop (ellieandadair.com), I talked to a woman who works in the fashion industry. She gave me some great advice. One of the things she told me was that I needed to create an online presence through blogging. I needed to post pictures of my life and to create and image that people wanted to emulate. In other words, I needed to be Peggy.
I totally know what she meant. I follow those blogs. It’s my job now, to research what is in style in the fashion world, so I see those blogs with those lives that are totally perfect. The skinny thighs and the perfectly staged backgrounds and the loosely curled hair and the flawless skin and the coffee cup in hand to make it all look so natural. I see them everyday. And they make me feel crappy, usually. Sometimes I fall into it and I buy the eyebrow gel they say they can’t live without. But mostly they make me feel frumpy and a little bit like a loser.
I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to create something false. Do you? Do you want to create a perfect image so that people want to be like you? It’s so natural on both sides, I guess. It’s natural for us to want to be admired, and it’s also natural for us to put others on a pedestal and want to be like them.
But both are a lie. My sister and I were talking about my Peggy obsession yesterday, and I couldn’t help but think the thing that began at age 5 is still happening at age 45. Pause.
I’m not sure if this is true for every woman, but for me it is a daily decision to release that striving. There will always be someone who is better. Prettier. Thinner. Smarter. But there will never be anyone who is good at ALL of the things I’m good at. I think it’s the combination of strengths that makes you uniquely you. Never forget about the combination. No one has ever had that combination before. Before I close my eyes for the night, I ask God to tell me about how much He loves me. He reminds me of those uniquenesses and it feels really good.
I recently asked an interior decorator about her secret for combining styles and she said her advice was to choose what you love and you will find a way to work it into your design. That was the most freeing decorating advice I’ve ever received. She was essentially saying, you be you! Follow who you already are. Don’t follow the recipe for the perfect house, don’t emulate the blogs. Choose what you love. That's exactly how I feel about fashion. Choose what you love. You don't have to follow trends you do not like. Wear what you love and don't worry about what everyone else is doing. That's fashion freedom!:)
Your strengths and beauty are already in there. They aren’t meant to be melded into what someone else says they should be. I've been telling this to my daughters. Be who you are. Do what you love. Embrace your strengths and value your strengths. They are yours for a reason. And the reason is not to impress other people with them, but to bless them. Figure out how to use what you’ve been given in order to bless the people who cross your path. I think that’s where the joy is.