About Me

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I live in Kent with my husband, toddler Tilly (henceforth known as Monkey) and another baby due in November. We have two cats, Duncan and Lady Macbeth, and four chickens who kindly lay us eggs daily. We live in the picturesque seaside town of Broadstairs. I enjoy reading, knitting and cooking. I'm trying to be a bit 'greener' (not sure how successfully), and to be a gentle parent. Extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping don't freak me out, we use cloth nappies and try to follow some of the ideals of Attachment Parenting. If that sounds as if I know what I'm doing, I don't! I am also a psychotherapist with an interest in Focusing-oriented therapy, and I have a small private practice in the area.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Style Statement

I'm going to share with you a self-development exercise that I am embarking on. It feels a bit scary to do so in blog form, mainly because it will be a process which involves looking at and naming both my strengths and vulnerabilities, but also because it is primarily about finding my 'style', which I worry makes it all sound a bit shallow and materialistic. That's not what it's about as I envision it, and I hope it won't come across that way. Image and personal style are important to me, and I hope this process will help me refine my 'look', but I also hope it will help me to nurture and develop my creativity in an individual way, and bring me closer to myself in all senses.
The process is called Style Statement and you can read about it all here or check out the link for the book here. Here's a snippet from the book's dust jacket:
  • What's your style statement? Two words to live by. Your style statement defines your authentic self. It is a compass for creating a life that reflects what's true to you in every way. From your wisdom to your wardrobe, from your longings to your living room- your Style Statement is where your essence meets your experience.
  • Through a unique series of inquiries into what you long for, what inspires you, and what you're attracted to- as well as what doesn't work for you, Style Statement guides you to discover two profoundly descriptive words that capture your essence. Based on the 80/20 principle, the first word represents your foundation, your 80%. The second word is your creative edge- the 20% of your image that motivates and distinguishes you.
  • Applied with intention, your Style Statement will become a real tool for making powerful choices that inspire the spirit, look and feel of your life- a life that genuinely shines.
So why would anyone *need* a style statement, and why do I want one? For as long as I can remember I have felt that the true, honest essence of me gets obscured by fear; fear of judgement, criticism, disapproval from others. A fear of truly being myself and of making a commitment to that 'me'. I want to find my voice. I want to paint a picture of myself that resembles me, rather than what I think others want to see. I want to stop qualifying and judging myself. I want to live freely and creatively, and inspire my daughter to do the same. I love ideas and theories and different styles and ways of living, but I often get lost amid it all. I end up trying to be all things to all people. I want to know and practice a few things well instead of jumping from subject to subject, from idea to idea. Variety is good and I thrive on the feeling of recognising something new which might inspire me, but I also want to stick with it past the new-and-exciting phase, and that means knowing if a particular thing is 'me' or 'not-me'. I also hope that this process will encourage me to make an effort, for myself that is. I know I am mama to a toddler but that's not a reason to forget to cleanse and moisturise my skin, or to pull on the nearest T-shirt and jeans from a pile on the floor each morning. Aren't I worth more than that?
Ah so this is interesting. I just left this post to go and make breakfast for me and the Monkey, and whaddaya know, the negative, doubting internal voices began their work:
  • "What makes you think anyone is interested in this?"
  • "You are so shallow"
  • "Who are you to go on about yourself like this?"
  • "This will be no different to any of the other things you've started doing and subsequently given up on"
So rather than let them have the last word I am going to have my reply. I know that this post might be interesting to someone because I love to read the blogs of creative women doing similar self-development work- that's how I found the book, after all. But if no one is interested, that shouldn't matter because I am doing this for myself, and I need to learn to use my internal compass rather than wait for approval or interest from others. This process is not about buying the right shoes or accumulating 'stuff' and possessions. If anything it is about reducing waste by making savvy, clever choices that are right for me. It is about coming to feel at home, at ease with myself. And finally, if I give up on this? This is where am I, presently, in this moment, and that has intrinsic value. I *hope* it will lead me somewhere and sustain my interest but it's a tool and a process, I'm not joining a religion after all!

Hopefully I will have time to post again later today with one of the first exercises from the book...


Becky said...


This sounds really interesting and I look forward to hearing more about it. I've never heard of this book before and will definately check out those links.

Thanks and good luck!

Arlenkern74 said...

i agree it looks like a great idea, may we join you xx

willow81 said...

You should definitely check it out Becky, particularly as I know you are doing creative writing yourself. I *hope* it is a good idea Arlenkern, I feel pretty enthused about it at the moment, as you may be able to tell! I'm a bit nervous about posting too much from the book on my blog because of copyright issues but I have emailed the authors to check that out.

Daisy said...

I love your blog...sounds an interesting project...I have got better at being me and wearing bright colours and no make up and having people round even if its a disaster area at home and trying to to think about what anyone else is thinking...I have discovered that its having confidence thats important and you could look great in a bin bag if you wear it with pride! You can tell you are a therapist from this post...something I am looking into training to be...good luck and looking forward to following your journey...

Daisy said...

ps im flower from gp!

arwen_tiw said...

Go for it mama! Silence those voices! ;)