Friday, February 19, 2016

Autism Answer: A Story About Getting Dressed (aka Hippie Jeans)

I haven't really bought myself clothes since I was seventeen. Everything I've worn since then was given to me by friends, family, and neighbors who were cleaning out their closets. 

I love this! I'm recycling, re-purposing, and, well, not spending any money! But most of the people who always shared their used clothes with me have moved away and for the last few years I've been wearing what little clothes I still had from long ago. This is fine, I don't mind big holes in my jeans and threadbare see-through shirts. However, there are times when I get hired to work on advertising photo shoots and I need decent clothes to wear on set, so I made a fun New Year's resolution. "In 2016 I will buy myself one new article of clothing every other month."

So, last month I went to purchase myself a pair of pants and was met with an unforeseen issue. I had no idea what kind of pants I wanted! Everything I've been wearing for so long was from other people, people who had their own styles and fashion sense, and my style became wearing other people's clothes my way. I hadn't really taken time to know what I wanted to wear, only how to wear and like what people gave me.

Finally I settled on an affordable pair of jeans that I liked. I really liked them, actually. So I got excited and ran into my youngest son's room to tell him about my jean-buying adventure.

After laughing about me not knowing what I wanted to buy and then learning that I had  finally discovered a pair of pants that I liked, he asked simply: "Were they hippie jeans?"

I thought about it for a second. "Ya, I guess they are. They do look like hippie jeans."

"Well, I could have told you that. That's your style."

I think that's pretty fabulous!
Peace and love and all that delicious jazz!!

Sometimes we are who we are because we have to be. Sometimes our style is something we discover based on necessity. That doesn't make it not our style; indeed, my style is deeply authentically truly organically about happily working with what I'm easily offered. Yet, given the chance to know who I am when in the position to choose from everything, if everything is easily offered, I find myself sometimes heading in new directions. 

This is a lovely and important gift to give ourselves! Knowing what our style is when we are absolutely able to choose accessories and outfits and environments from every single possibility gives us a clear vision of who we are and what we want. 

And I can tell you with absolute certainty that every single time I've had a clear vision of what I want, I've gotten it! With a clear idea of the fashion I want for my life I make shifts; I accessorize differently, make purposeful connections, and face new directions. And then, once again, I choose happiness in working with what I'm easily offered. Yet, because I know clearly the style I'm interested in, I'm easily offered the accessories and opportunities that match! 

When I'm confused, though, or when I'm unsure, as I was at the beginning of my pants buying adventure, my son gave me a lovely and important reminder. Ask the people close to me. Ask my trusted friends and family what style they imagine I am. Often they will have a clarity that I might be lacking. Also, too, they may be seeing something that I don't see about me, and I may want to change it. 

Either way, their idea of my style will be enlightening and interesting. So, I'll ask!

It's obvious to me now why my son would know me as someone who'd want hippie jeans. After all, when people cleaned out their closets and gave me clothes I happily accepted them with a "recycling, re-purposing, community-minded used and shared" attitude, rather than a "poor me, how embarrassing" one. 

Besides, peace and love and freedom, man. That's so me!

When we get dressed, friends, whether it's the clothes or attitudes or careers we're choosing to wear, let's always keep in touch with our personal style. 

Sure, our styles will change sometimes, and that's freaking awesome, but let's always make sure we're the one choosing our style. Not because we want to fit in or be cool, but because we want to express and celebrate who we are!

Getting dressed offers us some surprising opportunities.
Now, excuse me while I put on my hippie jeans! 

Hugs, smiles, peace, and love!!!!
Autism Answer with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

Barefoot, books, and coffee, outside in my hippie jeans!