No Pink Please!

PinkUnlike many women who seem to gravitate towards the color pink, I hate the hue with a passion, regardless of whether it’s baby, bubble gum, rose, magenta, hot, blush, fuschia, or any other shade in the pink portion of the spectrum. It bothers me to no end when people, especially men, assume that every female likes pink and that all females should identify with the color since it is a “girl’s” color. I am not a fan of gender stereotyping, and find myself delighted when I hear a woman say she hates pink, or that she refuses to dress her young daughter in pink. Amen to that!

My mother certainly fell under the gender constraints which dictated that her daughter should wear pink, but thankfully she allowed me to assert my personality and hatred of pink when I dressed in regular day to day clothing. However, I did not win the battle when it came to my yearly portrait sitting. In fact, there were SEVERAL years in which I was made to wear baby pink chiffon dresses to my portrait sitting. This was utter torture for me, because I felt like a poof of pink cotton candy, ultra-girly and completely unlike the tomboyish girl I was. My mom would point out that I would only have to wear a dreaded pink garment for a few hours, and that pink was SUCH a good color on me. Truth be told, many shades of pink flatter my complexion very well, but the mere sight of pink has always turned my stomach.

I also remember one item of clothing which was given to me one Christmas (I believe it was when I was 4 years old). The item was my first bathrobe, a baby pink, polyester quilted number which I wore for many years, until it literally began to fall apart, and of course I was thrilled. When the robe was finally retired, it was no longer a full length garment, but hit my knees. When the time came to pick out a new robe, I selected a vibrant blue robe to erase the memory of having that pink monstrosity.

Some people may regard pink as a happy, calming, comforting color, but to me, it is just plain UGLY. Even purple, which is one of my favorite colors, has to have a strong leaning away from the pink spectrum in order for me to choose it. If it’s too pink, I will opt for red or black. I look at pink and I think of Pepto-Bismol and weakness. It is very safe to assume that I will reject anything (that includes clothing, accessories, decor items, etc.) that is pink. I can guarantee that I will never have logos or merchandise which have the color pink in them. It was difficult for me to pick an image for this blogpost because I knew it had to be pink. My hatred of pink is consistent and pervasive.

Pink is NOT for this girl!

Rings Are My Thing

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Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved rings. They were always my favorite items of jewelry, and would always catch my eye. My mother was aware of my fascination for rings, because every time we went to one particular toy store in a local mall, I would make a beeline for the collection of costume rings which were always by the register. Occasionally, she would tell me to pick one out, and she would buy it for me. I treasured those rings, and still have one crafted of faux aquamarine in a box of collectibles to this day.

My two core teachers during first through third grades (at Montessori, I had the same core teachers for the three years I was there), Miss Umholtz and Mrs. Austin, also loved rings. Miss Umholtz would change things up every week, so that a different group of unique silver rings would adorn her long, slender fingers. On my last day of school at Montessori, Mrs. Austin gave me a gift: a tiny cloisonne heart ring. That ring also sits in my collectibles box, along with the faux aquamarine ring.

As my own personal style began to emerge over the years, I discovered that I preferred wearing many rings at one time over just wearing one or two. By the time I was 20, I adopted the habit of wearing at least 3 rings at a time. The only exception to this was when I was married. During those years, at the stern suggestion of the man I married, I only wore my wedding ring on my left ring finger, and I wore my college ring (which was given to me by my mother) on my right hand. Once my marriage was over, however, my habit of stacking and adding rings slowly but surely crept back.

I now wear between five and seven rings at a time. At one point, before I got married, I wore ELEVEN rings on my fingers. I love the feel of silver or platinum around my fingers. Interesting or unique designs will always catch my eye, especially if they showcase a beautiful stone or crystal. Some of the rings in my collection have such powerful stones in them that I have to be in the right frame of mind to wear them. I also love wearing rings on different digits, like my thumb, or above my knuckles (aka midi rings).

It’s amusing to note that midi rings have become popular recently, because I have been wearing them since the 1990’s, when it was considered a bit odd to wear one. What is a midi ring? It is a ring that is worn between the first and second knuckles. I’ve got news for those of you who think this is a new or relatively new trend: midi rings, or above knuckle rings, have been worn since the Middle Ages. During Renaissance times, wealthy people wore midi rings to indicate that they didn’t have to perform manual labor.

Bernhard Strigel, Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1515

Bernhard Strigel, Portrait of a Woman, ca. 1515

I am such a creature of habit that I will wear the same group of rings everywhere. That includes the midi rings and the ring I wear on my left thumb. It doesn’t bother me that some people think I wear too many rings. I very rarely wear earrings, so I make up for it with embellishments on my hands. My rings have become little pieces of armor for me, and I am so accustomed to how they feel on my fingers that I feel strange when I have to remove them for a photo shoot or other event.

Wardrobe Issues

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Have you ever had a moment when you looked at all of your clothing and thought, “I don’t feel like wearing any of these things!”, and wished that a wardrobe fairy would alight upon your shoulder and grant your wish for a whole new wardrobe? Well, I have had that feeling repeatedly over the last few months, and I cannot figure out why I am experiencing such a feeling. As a result, I have been itching to switch things up, and add some color and flair.

The main challenge I face when it comes to adding wardrobe items is the fact that I can’t stand shopping. My eyes glaze over within about 15 minutes of being in a mall or shopping area. I will NEVER understand the rush that many women get from bouncing into a store, trying on mountains of clothing, spending their hard-earned money (or their husband’s or boyfriend’s, as the case may be), then moving on to the next store to repeat the process. No thank you!

Online shopping has been a welcome alternative to walking into brick and mortar stores for me. It is quick, relatively painless, and many companies make returns and exchanges easy. Even so, I still have a problem spending money on clothing, because clothing never holds much value. I know that the markup on clothing is astronomical, and I also know that reselling items yields almost no return on the initial investment.

However, I also know that flattering, comfortable, and stylish clothing can boost a person’s spirits and confidence. Though I go through all of my belongings several times a year and get rid of things which are threadbare or damaged, or which don’t fit me correctly, I still have this feeling that I need a change. Perhaps a few new tops would do the trick, since some of the tops in my closet have been a part of my life for close to two decades. I look at them now and think, what the hell am I doing, keeping these things?

It doesn’t help that my body has been shifting ever so slightly, but enough that my clothing fits differently. I am essentially the same size, but I know that age-related muscle loss is occurring, which makes me very upset. Another curious thing which happened recently is that I am suddenly cold in cold weather. I had spent a good year in the grip of night sweats and hot flashes, and grew accustomed to always running hot. I could go out in 35 degrees Fahrenheit weather without a coat and be fine. That has all come to a screeching halt, which I welcome, but the problem is that I got rid of most of the sweaters I had!

Is this a mid-life crisis? Maybe. Whatever it is that I am going through, I had to figure something out to keep me from tearing my hair out in frustration.

My solution: I purchased some new, inexpensive dresses, tops, sweaters and leggings, and said goodbye to some clothing items that just HAD to go in the give-away pile. I have been trying to assemble new outfits so that I present different looks which still reflect my personality. It has been fun looking at the new styles!

It’s MY Image And MY Branding

I have been struggling to assemble various elements of my personal branding on my own, but this task has proven to be extremely challenging. One of the first things I worked on was a logo, but after seven months, I still have nothing to show for it. Part of the problem is that I only have ideas of what I want to convey, and I have to rely on the creative vision of a logo designer to interpret my ideas in a way that is cohesive with my brand. This project has dragged on and on, and I am now beginning to doubt whether I will have a logo before the end of the year. There are countless other things on my to-do list, such as compiling an email list, revamping my three websites, designing a newsletter template, etc. I don’t have the expertise, nor do I have the time to do all of these things on my own. So I have been sitting on these projects as well.

Another thing I was hoping to get into place was a public relations person to help me with my image and to increase my exposure. Here’s where I ran into another wall. I had a meeting recently with a very competent and talented PR person but as we continued to discuss my goals and my vision, I realized that there was a disconnect. This person went through my images online and explained why certain images fell outside the realm of certain goals I was trying to achieve. While I understood that some images were less conservative than what a typical physician would take, I also felt attacked and restrained. Part of what I love about being who I am right now is the fact that I AM atypical, that I am defying the odds, and that I am challenging stereotypes.
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One thing this person told me was that I needed to consider what a certain television show producer would think of me if he saw how I portray myself on the internet. With all due respect, I don’t live my life for others, and I will NOT conform for the sake of being invited on someone else’s TV show. I have enjoyed my personal freedoms and feel that as long as I honor the boundaries of common decency, I am NOT going to start doing photo shoots in business suits. That is simply NOT me and I would be miserable if I was FORCED to do that. I will never be the kind of person who will fit in a neat little conservative box. Try doing that to me and I will rebel.

In an era where the more outlandish and crazy someone is on television, the more popular they are, why is it that I am expected to remain on the straight and narrow path, with the reins pulled tight against my expression and my personality? I honestly don’t want to EVER sell out and become what a TV network or what middle America expects me to be. Perhaps Dr. Oz’s popularity stems somewhat from his conservative vibe, but I can tell you that when it comes to image, I will never be a predictable female version of that guy. No way. Don’t expect me to wear scrubs on a national TV show or dress in conservative garb just to appease the viewers. I am an IFBB Bikini Pro and very proud of it. So what if I model swimwear and fitness apparel? So what if I like to look sexy? Since when is that a crime?

My plan is to keep doing what I am doing, remain true to myself, maintain my integrity and keep moving closer to my ultimate goals.