What People Think Of Me Is None Of My Business
As a blogger I never know how someone is going to react to what I write or if it will resonate with them. For the most part I write to share my thoughts and feelings on subjects that interest me and hopefully offer up a laugh or two along the way.
Five years ago I did a style interview for Sylvia at 40+ Style.
I enjoyed doing the interview and I even appreciated re-reading what I wrote just now.
Here is one of my favourite quotes,
Confidence can carry off any outfit. Confidence comes with self acceptance and loving yourself. If you can do that, you can wear almost anything you like, no matter your age.
Needless to say, that interview was met with some hostility and negativity by one reader who said that I lacked elegance and wearing distressed jeans, berets and bright colours was for those twenty-five or younger.
To me this was and still is antiquated thinking.
Needless to say, I responded,
Almost daily in real life people compliment me on my clothing choices. I don’t ask for it. They offer it. People always remark about how well dressed I am.
Maybe they can’t tell what age I am. Maybe they don’t have a preconceived idea of what 47 is supposed to look like. Maybe “elegant” fashion for women over 40 isn’t subdued, neutral and forgettable.
I would hope that I have obtained a certain level of elegance with my choices but that I haven’t sacrificed my creative sense of self just because I am over a certain age limit.
I realize that my style isn’t for everyone and I certainly wouldn’t be wearing it if I thought I didn’t have the confidence or body with which to carry it off. My goal is to look the best I can, never be referred to as boring and leave a lasting impression.
I’m not disappearing because I’m older. I’m still the same vibrant, sexy, creative relevant person I always was, but now with a few wrinkles and much more experience under my belt.
And I have to mention this…under 25??? Yikes. Is that when women must give up keeping current and being relevant with the rest of the world?
I wrote an entire blog post dedicated to why I disagreed with this woman. You can read the full post here.
This is some of what I said,
How I dress is a statement to the world as to how I want to be perceived. My clothes communicate a message without ever having to open my mouth.
What I hope they are saying is:
What I hope my clothes aren’t saying is:
like everyone else,
I recently received a wonderful comment in response to this post that I’d like to share with you.
Having looked at the last post of this wonderful thread, I am a LITTLE (60 months!) behind, but your knowledge and self-awareness have been quite insightful and most helpful to me on my own “journey”.
You see, I am a transgender woman who recently began Hormone Replacement Therapy and I constantly struggle with not being “pretty” enough during this awkward phase. But as your less-than-civil beret-disparager above and those I have been in contact with have shown, people are more than happy to share THEIR thoughts about how THEY think we should live our lives. Ugh…
As you illustrated in your above writing, we ALL get to live our lives as we choose…wear that beret if you like…head out the door, even if you are stubbly and not feeling cute. We ALL get to present ourselves in a manner of OUR choosing and, here’s the hard part, ignoring those really have NO say in how we choose to conduct our lives.
We humans are hard-wired to care about what people think because we are a social animal, but where does it end? Who gets the final say on our what choice/hairstyle/skirt length/shoe choice/hair color, etc? WE DO!
As an example, my daughter is, as she identifies, a bo-ho chick. She loves long flowy dresses undercut hair styles and so on. People talk about her style (not positively) enough that she has some tough skin about it and does not tolerate it. A number of people have recently told her that she and her SIX YEAR OLD daughter look and act mannish!!! What human being in their right mind would walk up to a stranger and her daughter…only to tell them that? Some people are just cruel. But, as my wife says…”Hurt people hurt other people”.
So I now live by the old adage…”What people think of me is none of my business.”.
Thank you again for a wonderfully inspiring piece that came to me at a critical time in my transition.
I agree, what people think of me is none of my business.
It is important to remember that we are all human beings, deserving of kindness and respect. We don’t know what another person is living through.
It is best to do as my mother always taught me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
And if you have some kind words for someone, please open your heart and share them with that person. It may be the only bright moment of their day.