Friday, 17 October 2014

One Perfect Day

Today is my birthday. I don't know what 47 is supposed to feel like, but I definitely feel younger than how I thought it would feel, if that makes sense. I still feel strong and vital and engaged with my life. And perhaps more importantly, I feel more like me than at any other time before. I'm not sure if it is the process of ageing, or the effect of having a life threatening disease but I feel confident in who I am, I trust the choices I make and I love my body despite the scars.

I had a look at a few of my blog entries from this time last year and realised that I feel so much happier and more confident with my clothes choices now, too. When my surgery was fresh and I first had a new body to dress, I was so terrified that nothing would look good that I wore anything that worked, without thinking too much about how it fitted into my personal style. Now I have realised firstly that lots of things work and secondly, that the world will not stop turning if I look flat-chested. Those two realisations have allowed to be be much more discerning in my choices and led to me buying clothes that I truly love.
                                                                  Top: Cue
                                                                  Pants:Country Road
I wore this outfit today, and felt great. It contains the neutral tones that I love, simple pants and a top with enough detail and interest to draw attention from my chest. And the heels and lipstick provide the femininity to balance the trousers. There's something magical about wearing an outfit that truly feels like "you".

I have a collection of memories of perfect moments, when I have been aware of feeling completely content and happy. They are mostly simple: sitting in the sun reading, lying in bed with my husband, listening to music at a bar. Today, reflecting on the beautiful life that I have and the wonderful people in it, I collected another one. Do you have memories of a perfect day?

One Perfect Day by Little Heroes (LOVE the 80's clothes!)

Monday, 13 October 2014

True Colours

October is the month of my birth. It is also the month for breast cancer awareness and a time when it seems impossible to escape from the sea of pink that engulfs the internet, the grocery store and pretty much anywhere else you care to look.

I feel quite ambivalent about this. On one hand, I recognise that promoting awareness and raising funds for research are valuable and important. Encouraging women to have their screening done and to investigate any breast changes is something I am happy to get behind. And I do think awareness can make things easier for survivors. Pink can become a convenient shorthand, a way of alerting people to think before they speak. I have a close-fitting lycra gym tank that does not hide my chest at all, and I think that the fact that it happens to be bright pink (very bright pink!) probably inadvertently clues people in on why I look the way I do.

However, I also really dislike the sexualisation of breast cancer. "Save the TaTa's" is not an empowering message for someone who has had to sacrifice their breasts in order to save their life. Neither is a "No Bra" day. Somehow the emphasis has become all about breasts and the cancer bit has been forgotten. Someone on the Facebook group Flat and Fabulous wryly observed that judging from all the media pictures that are shared, it would be reasonable to conclude that the top risk factors for breast cancer are being young and beautiful. I suppose the core of my unease is that slackivism and pinkwashing undermine the reality that, for many women breast cancer is about loss and disfigurement and pain and death. And how they choose to negotiate that reality shouldn't be dictated by the need of our society for them to be sexy. Or positive. Or strong. Or feminine. Or any of the other adjectives that seem to be compulsory for women struggling with this disease and it's aftermath.

So this month, I will donate to an organisation that supports breast cancer research and hope that women in the future have a better chance of surviving metastatic disease than we have now. And I will be wearing black. It seems to me to be a far more appropriate colour for this experience than pink.

True Colours by Cindy Lauper

Monday, 6 October 2014

Your Friends Will Tell You Who You Are

I have a group of friends from University who have remained in touch for the past decade and a half. Every year, we have a weekend away together, with a prize, "The Cumquat Cup", being awarded for the most entertaining or outrageous behaviour. Last year we did not manage to get together; the combination of young families and new babies, stressful new jobs and health issues conspired against us. However this year we are making up for lost time with a weekend in Canberra for the Floriade festival, so I thought I would show you my weekend-away.

One of the themes often discussed on the forum at YouLookFab is the problem of buying clothes for your fantasy life - the life you wish you led but actually don't. The good news for me is that this whole weekend is the fantasy life I have in mind when I choose clothes -sitting around talking and drinking wine, frequenting cafes and restaurants and maybe even catching some live music.

Floriade. I wanted something comfortable with plenty of eating room. Leggings and jumper are optional, depending on the weather. Comfy shoes are a must.

So my final tally: 1 pair of jeans, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 2 tops, 2 jumpers, 2 pair of shoes and a coat.

One of the wonderful things about this weekend will be the freedom to present myself without reference to anyone's expectations. My friends love and accept me whatever I wear, and in a strange city I am unlikely to meet acquaintances unexpectedly and so have no need to dress for that possibility. I plan to enjoy every minute of my fantasy life.  Do you have a fantasy life you wish you could dress for?

Your Friends Will Tell You Who You Are by Kate Miller-Heidke