Have you ever forgotten how to smile?
I recently caught up with a work colleague who is currently off on maternity leave. Naturally I asked to see photos! As I flicked through the photos, I delighted in the images of her healthy and gleaming baby boy smiling with all of his being as cherubic bubs are wont to do. The twinkling eyes, gummy smiles and beaming face: divine! The last and most recently-taken image however, struck me. The little baby is growing into a young boy but his expression is so different. His brow is furrowed and he looks worried and quite stressed. His mother commented, “ah yes, he’s forgotten how to smile.”
With the so many muscles that go into making a smile, I can’t blame the little tacker for not knowing how to activate them all in response to a camera in his face. However his mother’s comment still got me thinking. Have you ever overthought something so much that you feel like you have forgotten what normally comes naturally? Like pin numbers that I can only remember if I don’t think about them too hard. Or riding a bicycle where one just has to jump on and get the motion going, otherwise you’ll fall off…
This year I fell off my blogging bike. There were a number of reasons and I also had a lot going on in other facets of my life, as is often the case. But the blog, and I really must thank you BusiChics for persevering, because we sure had a lot of technical issues this year! First the blog went down, than I started changing the design which then led to even more issues. If you’re ever getting a blog designed, IMO the number one question needs to be: what will it look like on the computer and all mobile devices? The things that I’ve learnt! Anyhow all these things combined started to erode at my creative confidence. The big ideas that I had, started to seem ludicrous. And then I got stuck in a rut. I’m sure it affected my own personal style because upon reflection, there are a few Little Black Dress (LBD) Project posts that I’d like the chance to re-shoot!
In this state of eroded confidence, I continued to attend networking events. I listened to inspirational leaders share their stories, I mingled in roomfuls of awesome people making their passion, their work. Often this was the motivation that I needed to keep on chugging. Other times, it made me feel even more terrified than ever before. These people had their shit together, some of them were doing these things while juggling with long-term relationships, other jobs, children- human, furry or both! I doubted my creative competence. I must have started comfort eating because my LBD was getting uncomfortably tight. I wondered what made me ever think that I could realise some of my creative goals. “What a nutter,” I thought, and not in an encouraging way!
Then one evening, the deliciously-bearded man who this year became my boyfriend, took me out to see a gig. Not just any act mind you, it was one that consisted of a transgender musician surrounded by scantily clad women, each bending over and shaking their asses about. At first, I wasn’t sure whether to be offended; I do tend to get worked up about dancers in hip hop videos seemingly pandering to male viewers. However there was something about watching those women, with imperfect-but-beautiful bodies, shaking their healthy, competent asses in the air. Heck for most of the show Big Freedia’s dancers weren’t’ even looking at the audience, these ladies were having too much of a ball doing their own thing!
“ASS EVERYWHERE! ASS EVERYWHERE!”
is Big Freedia’s anthem and somewhere in amongst all that ass, I realised that I needed to stop worrying about my imperfections and start freaking get my own ass out in to the world. Yup, it literally took me a room full of bouncing bums to realise that no-one is perfect, that we are going to make mistakes but we are also going to have a lot of fun seizing life and giving things a good go! In cutting myself this slack, I feel like my creativity and ideas are coming back. Like my colleague’s little boy, I’m trying to not overthink things and just do what comes naturally, feels right.
So I’ve been quietly throwing my hat into a number of rings. Seeking out opportunities and saying yes, where earlier I’d not have dared. Jumping back on this bicycle of creativity and pedalling my stubby but functioning legs to get this show back on the road!
So it is without further ado, that I’d like to share with you, dear BusiChic, that I will be exhibiting my Little Black Dress Project at Melbourne Central as part of L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival’s (LMFF) Cultural Program. << click that link to see me in the official program!
A very big thank you to Melbourne Central and LMFF for the opportunity to show my project that I hope will be of use to busy women (and helpful blokes!) everywhere. I’ll be spending the holiday break furiously working away at the accompanying book that I hope to have self-published in time – phew!
There are SO many amazing people who have been incredibly supportive of me this year and I am so grateful for your patience and kick-ass; thank you. Also I’d like to thank Annabel Candy of Successful Blogging and Nikki Parkinson of Styling You for pulling me aside at the Problogger conference last year and telling me that I needed to put more photos of myself on the blog (see point 5 in that post!). The advice from these women that I admire made such an impression that I thought up this project in order to have a practical reason to implement their advice (also something that I learnt in that conference from Emma of 30 Dollar Date and Chris Garrett). If you’d like to read more about the ideas I started this project out with, you can read the very first LBD Project post in the series here.
I’m trying to stop worrying that these are photos of me and instead focus on curating an exhibition that is useful for everyone who comes to see it. I have been really encouraged by the response I’ve had to this project. I wanted to explore how much wear we could get out of one Little Black Dress for work; something that most women already have hanging in our wardrobes. I love the way in conversations how women of all ages, stop, consider then go on to tell me how useful that they find the concept. Hopefully with a bit more tweaking, the final book and final 52 outfits will comprehensively cover all of the looks we can create for work. I want it to be practical; showing how to use items that we already have or can purchase, thereby supporting Australian designers and the economy! The exhibition will at minimum consist of images from the project as well as some styled up mannequins. If you have any favourites that you’d particularly like highlighted; I’d love to hear from you! Seriously I’d value any feedback on anything!
I’d also like to take this chance to thank you, dear BusiChic, for all of your support throughout the year. This blog is my creative outlet, one woman’s cry out into the digital space for like-minded professionals and it is so lovely to hear that I’m not alone. We are not alone.
Wishing you and your loved ones a safe, memorable and festive season. I will be taking a break with fresh new streetstyle posts at the ready for you on January 2, 2013.
Cheryl Lin aka busichic