Monday, 9 July 2018

There Are So Many Lost Poems

The thoughts are so abundant and complex and yet fleeting and they all seem important so I carry a notebook with me to write them down.  I should be more modern and use dictation.  That’s what Jim thinks I should do but I like writing.  It makes the ideas more solid.  The best ideas come when I cannot write, when I am driving or just about to fall asleep.  Sometimes in such a moment a complete poem composes itself in my head.  There are so many lost poems.

There are many unwritten stories too though I struggle with those.  I have many ideas that remain unfinished.  It is difficult to articulate them. 

I’ve never understood why people think I am very articulate.  It is something that has been said of me all my life and yet I know just how much I am not articulating.

I think that is why I like painting.  I can articulate in images and colours.  I wonder if those times when I stop painting are due to that sort of frozen state I get mentally.  A mental fatigue where I cannot figure out what I am thinking or feeling or seeing.  I am in survival mode.  I need recharging and restoring and sometimes I just need to hide from the world.  There is too much world and there is too much going on in my head so I cannot process it all.  I cannot be creative or articulate when my brain is whirring with all of the things I am supposed to do like pay a bill or make a meal and it feels as though I have forgotten how to do those things.  It feels as though my body is made of lead and I cannot possibly do those things.  But then I do something, maybe a trivial thing but something and I feel guilt.  If I can do this why can I not do that?  

I have not painted in about a month, after painting constantly for a month or two prior.  I cannot paint when stressed and yet not painting causes some stress.  It’s a difficult place to get out from but I will.  The desire is there but the body is not yet willing.  And there is some fear.  What if I have forgotten how?  The way back in is to not paint a thing, but a feeling.  Today I managed an hour of painting and this is what I got onto two small canvases.  It’s a start.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

What is Warm Blue and Should I Wear it?

I am endlessly fascinated with colour.  It is my favourite obsession and it supports my other  favourite obsessions, painting, personal colour analysis and gardening.  Colour expresses so much and I even use that when I retreat from colour.  When I am overwhelmed and I want soft, gentle feeling neutral colours, that is still very much an emotional response to colour.  The tendency to describe colour with the terms warm or cool is a complicated matter that relates to our perceptions and associations with the natural world, since of course colour doesn't have an actual temperature.  When we were in primary school we were probably taught that the blue-purple-green side of the colour wheel was the cool side and the re-orange-yellow side was the warm side.  The placement of pink seems to be generally on the warm side though that is debatable as pink is red with white added and white cools a colour.

Black, white or blue added to a colour takes it into a range that humans generally see as cool, while yellow, orange and usually red take a colour into a warmer range.  Interestingly, red can be neutral if it has equal amounts of yellow and blue added to it, otherwise yellow warms it by taking it in the orange direction and blue cools it by taking it into a more wine or cranberry kind of red.

Cooling down orange is only achieved slightly, by adding white or black and so orange is not a good colour for people who are purely cool in their own colouring or who are neutral but leaning very cool.  Yellow can be made to look cooler by the addition of blue so that it cools down the yellow but doesn't become green.  If you can imagine the yellow you are looking at tipping over into green then you are probably looking at a cool yellow.  Blue is made warmer by the addition of yellow and yet, maybe it isn't.

Many people perceive red as a warm colour and so the addition of red to a colour is also described as warming it up.  In the art world there is much debate over which is the warm blue, a violet-blue or a green-blue.  Again, warmth and coolness is a perception and not a fact.  In art it matters mainly because cool colours are said to receded and warm to advance, which is also a perception thing and not a fact but perception is what art is all about.  If you want something to look as though it is further away in a two dimensional rendering you must employ some visual tricks, one of which is to use colours the human eye preceives as receding.  In this case it is usually agreed that the yellowed blues recede and the blues with red added advance and thus people argue that yellowed blues (teal, aqua, turquoise, cyan, cerulean) are cool.  In the world of personal colour analysis those blues are referred to as warm.

Purple is also interesting in this regard because we generally consider the purples that lean red to be warm and the purples that lean blue to be cool as we perceive red to be warmer than blue.  I was puzzled then about how the purely warm seasons in colour analysis (True Autumn and True Spring) were usually assigned a very pure purple and even some bluish purples.  I also know from my own experience with purple that I am more flattered by a true purple than by a red-violet.

Here is why:  In this case it is a matter of complementary colours.  Someone who is a purely warm season has yellow/gold/orange predominantly in their skin undertone and the colours opposite those on the colour wheel are blue and purple.

For a True Spring the undertone is yellow, whose opposite is true purple but a bright blue (with yellow added but not enough to make green) is also a good colour because skin with a yellow undertone can also read as a bit orange.

For a True Autumn the undertone is gold which is yellow but browned/darkened and the complementary colour reflects that so bright blue is not in the True Autumn palette and the purple is slightly muted just as the golden complexion is.

It seems to be the case that this use of complementary colours doesn't work as well for those with cool skin tones and I wonder if that is because it's flattering to enhance yellow or golden tones but not quite desirable to enhance blue ones.  Enhancing the pink in a cool complexion is better.  A cool yellow works for some types of cool-toned people but it's so difficult to find the right yellow it's rare that a purely cool person will wear yellow effectively.  Cool skin also has pink undertones and the opposite on the colour wheel for pink is green (because the opposite of red is green)  Cool greens look great on people with cool undertones and enhancing any pink in the complexion tends to be seen as a sign of health.

According to those who colour analyse people, neutral skin tones are most common, though they still lean slightly warm or cool so an understanding of how this concept of warmth or coolness applies to colours is helpful for everyone.  In the 12 tones systems (all based on SciART)   there are eight neutral categories and four 'true' categories. Even if you don't like or understand the SciART system or any colour analysis system it can be helpful just to understand how colours we wear relate to the undertones of our skin.  If yellow is a difficult colour for you and orange practically impossible, you likely have a lot of coolness to your skintone and could be a Winter type.  If blue is difficult though not impossible you may be an Autumn type.  If yellow is one of your best colours you may be a Spring type and if you can wear any sort of blue easily you may be a Summer type.

Purple and Teal often work for everyone as they tend to have equal mixes of warm and cool colours.  

Friday, 29 June 2018

Playing With Spring Colours

Once I start collecting images I see how there are so many options for Spring colours. Just as with the season itself, green is abundant.  Here are some colours I would wear, and want to start wearing more of. Lately I am not finding them, or at least not in the styles and fabrics I want.  I don't have a lot of clothing and I like simplicity, with everything working together.  That's the beauty of drawing from one seasonal palette. 

I love the idea of a tomato red dress but not this style.

I often shy away from turquoise but this top is pretty and I love the deeper turquoise of the dress.

Spring colours are quite literally delicious and juicy.  I am madly in love with this yellow though have yet to find it in a garment I could wear.  I would settle for yellow shoes.

It takes a bit of practice to spot warm blue but turquoise, teal and purple are colours that work for everyone though there will be better and worse versions. It helps to know if you are looking for bright or muted, dark or light versions of them.  Spring purple is very true purple-not too blue or too red. 

 I've always thought this was a great colour combination.

 Spring colours are often found in food, especially fruit.

That pink is not likely to work well unless kept away from the face.  It's probably Bright Spring.

 And Vanilla ice cream, oh how I love it.

Some of the best examples of Spring colours come in flowers, but there is also gorgeous green foliage to consider.  The green of the leaves here is perfect.

When I had a garden it was well known that my favourite thing was what I called the sunset colours.  I collected plants with this colouring, especially roses and rhododendrons.

 Ranunculus, tulips and poppies come in these gorgeous colours too.

I've gotten very lazy with photo credits these days.  All images are found on Pinterest and if I've used your photo and you want me to remove it please message me.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Spring, Autumn or Just Warm?

Yes, I am still obsessed with personal colour. 

Colour Palette

My online colour analysis resulted in a category called Warm Autumn which kind of straddles the Autumn and Spring palettes used by the SciART system.  This result was very useful to me in the sense that I knew I was struggling to decide whether Autumn or Spring was better and it didn't seem to be a struggle commonly described.  There are a few obviously warm celebrities for whom there is no agreement about whether they are Spring or Autumn.  Marcia Cross is one of those and so is Beyonce.  For awhile I just settled on the idea of being warm-dominant and very medium, and knowing I can worry less about clarity or mutedness.  I thought I might be content with a colour diagnosis that was nicely open like this, but that was silly of me.  I know myself to be someone who loves precision.  I like the best, most accurate answer.  Maybe it's just that the same answer can be worded in more than one way and I have a preference for certain wording.

For awhile now I have played with colour fans from both SciART True Autumn and True Spring. (Different systems use different names and slightly different palettes but I am still a fan of the SciART)  I find that using these two palettes gives me a better sampling of possible warm colours and colour analysis is not as restrictive as many people believe because there are always a couple sister palettes one can dip into.

My Mum knows she looks best in cool, slightly greyed colours and I suspect she is a Soft Summer,  but she dips into True Summer and Dark Winter and those both make sense.  True Summer is still cool and slightly muted with grey, although it is fully cool whereas Soft Summer and Dark Winter are slightly warmed though not necessarily on a level where most of us would recognise that.  One clue is that they both have a small degree of taupes and browns in their palette whereas the pure cool seasons do not.   Mum's default colours are blues and berry tones and if she's not a Soft Summer she is probably Dark Winter.  My Dad is also probably Dark Winter and my brother looks like one of these categories as well.  Given this, it doesn't surprise me much that I assumed I was one of these too.  I imitated my mother in dress style and colours for most of my life.


Photography and computer monitors are often inaccurate with colour representation.  These can only be used to get an idea of a colour palette and samples of Spring often look a bit less saturated on the computer screen than they actually are.  True Spring doesn't have any true pink and what looks like pink in these images is very definitely coral on my Spring fan. Next to true pink it will look more orange but next to true orange it begins to look pink.  

It's not science but I do it anyway....playing with photos is mainly just an attempt to show here what I have found with the actual palette fans and my experiences with clothing.


 I can't get rid of the belief that I am actually a SciART True-Warm Spring who can wear some of True-Warm Autumn even though I was analysed as an Autumn category in a different colour system.   As good as the analyst is, and I do believe she is very good, analysing from photos is difficult because accuracy is difficult and because it's not going to give the same effect that draping does, where the face actually reacts to the colours.  I seem to be one of those people who looks more like a stereotypical Autumn than Spring but that doesn't make it so.  I can certainly just go with the idea that I am a Warm and play with all purely warm colours, not worrying much about whether they are clear or muted, but sticking to the lighter and medium ones.  In reality that's essentially what I do but I can get rather obsessed with finding the 'right' answer and I think that in terms of 12 season SciART analysis the right answer is Spring and not Autumn.

My Experiences Tell Me This:

Autumn colours can look a bit heavy and dull although the warmth in them looks good

I only look good in some ( maybe half ) of TA colours but all of TS colours

A portion of the Autumn palette is too dark and heavy for me-the lightest colours are best

Autumn makeup is too much/heavy for me

Autumn deal breaker colour is rich burgundy/maroon which is not stunning on me.

Spring deal breaker colour is warm bright blue which looks very good, better than burgundy.

Light Spring deal breaker colour is light golden khaki which is also quite good on me

Spring makeup is better on me than any other season, with Autumn second

Key Thing:
With the True Autumn palette there are colours I would wear and some I would never wear because they aren't good on me.   With the True Spring palette there are colours I would wear and some I would save for special situations because they are psychologically too intense for my comfort.   

Here I am with the Autumn colours.  In my opinion they look good but not as good as Spring.  A little bland perhaps.  They look more muted than I am.  I think one reason I use the lighter colours is that the mutedness isn't as obvious. The wine-pink colour isn't good on me and the darkest colours aren't either.  The teals are good but perhaps Spring teal is better.

Just for fun, I'm looking at Light Spring as a palette I might sometimes borrow from it and it is possibly just as good an option or better than Autumn. I wouldn't wear the pinks and seem to look a bit orange near them but everything else looks like a possibility.  As Autumn is a bit muted this is a bit light.  The colours might look a bit insipid on me but could perhaps be incorporated into a mix of colours where True Spring is predominant and near my face.

 And this is fun...Pick a blue.  Do you think I am equal to the True and Light Spring blues?  I do.  More exciting on me than the Autumn blues.

Conclusion:  I could do worse than to wear some Autumn colours, or Light Spring colours but in Sci/ART I am a True Warm Spring.

Lipstick Draping 

 I also tried the makeup route for testing season.  It's not as reliable as clothing but it can sometimes help. 

A woman I know on a Facebook Colour group is a Bright Spring who can borrow a lot from Bright Winter ( these seasons are also sometimes called Clear ).  Recently she tested some lipstick colours and shared photos, asking for feedback.  The Bright Spring colour was clearly better on her and looked like it belonged on her face while the Bright Winter colour was sitting on the surface. She pulled it off better by using blush that matched it but the Bright Spring lipstick didn't need any other makeup to make it look good. You can see from such a comparison how important brightness is for her but also that warm brightness is better.

Another challenge about testing your season with makeup is knowing whether or not you have correctly identified the season of the makeup in question.  There is overlap too since makeup interacts with our pigmentation in many cases so many colours can work for more than one seasonal palette if they are influenced by the underneath colour of you. Just google a lipstick colour and see how the different lips and various lighting it can make it look cooler or warmer, lighter or darker than it may look on you.  We also don't necessarily know to look for harmony when looking at makeup.  Some people are not aiming for harmony at all, but simply drama or a deliberately unnatural look such as black or grape-purple lips.

The pink-red-orange range of your best colour palette is where your best lipstick colours come from but the comparison needs to be made with lipstick swatched on white paper not your hand or arm or another person's and not the tube of colour.

I struggled with the lipstick method though because everything seemed wrong.  Autumn colours were too heavy and Spring colours too saturated and anything pale soon looked chalky.  Often colours were good and I could see that there was appropriate warmth but somehow it still looked wrong.  Too thick, too intensely pigmented, too heavy and I began to realise it was a formula issue so I only wore lipstick well blotted.  It was a better solution but still just didn't seem quite right.

It wasn't until I discovered the style ID blends that I realised I need a very light and sheer touch with makeup and that it was not a colour issue necessarily.   I look best in a lipstick that leans orange as it will read as coral pink on me but I need a very light and sheer application like a tinted balm.  Most people are seeking intense pigmentation in a lipstick but I am not.

Another clue that I am a Spring and not an Autumn is that Spring is clear, juicy, a bit translucent whereas Autumn is opaque, a bit velvety.   I need that translucence in makeup and perhaps even more so than some Springs because of my style ID.  Springs are more likely than Autumns to benefit from a sheer formula.

So I have  returned to something I had and didn't know was my best. 

Welcome back to Revlon Super Lustrous Rich Girl Red in the Shine formula which is a tinted lip balm.  It is astonishingly good on me as it is a warm tomato red that turns into a dark coral on my lips, not too dark, quite sheer and believable but still giving that polished look that lipstick gives.  When the shine wears away a stain remains though it does come off with eating and drinking. 

You might wonder why I persisted so intensely with lipstick if it just wasn't working for me.  There are two main reasons for that, I think.  One is that it was a problem to be solved.  The other is that I like how simple it is to swipe something on my lips and look polished if I am going out the door, and yet it's very easy to remove when I need to.  Most of my friends don't wear makeup and I don't on a daily basis either.  I wanted to be prepared and accomplished at creating the polished or professional or adult look if and when needed.  I also find that something on my lips gives me confidence.  Perhaps that comes from the influence of a former generation.  The adult women in my life when I was growing up tended to wear nothing but lipstick on their faces.  To me it was the symbol of being an adult female.

Do I need a symbol to tell me I am an adult female?  Perhaps not but don't we all do the things that make us feel right?

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Life Brings Surprises: Self-Diagnosing as On the Spectrum

I was not sure if this post would ever get shared.  I was not sure if it was going to come out coherently or if there would be any benefit to sharing it. Will I regret sharing it?  I suppose it can always be deleted. 

Summary:  What if all your life you knew you were a bit odd, were struggling, could not fit in but nobody else was really noticing this.  What if you worried that you had some sort of mental illness where you imagined you were a freak because you imagine you are odd when you are not?  What if you worry you are neurotic so you Google it endlessly only to be reassured the traits of neuroticism are not yours only to panic again a week later worrying that they are?  What if you live with the constant anxiety and stress of knowing something is off but you don't know what and if you are crazy for thinking so when others say 'Don't be silly, you are just you and I love you the way you are?'  What if you know you are hiding many things and hiding them makes you safe but also means that nobody knows how 'weird' you really are so they aren't going to believe you when you say something is wrong?

What if one day someone suggests that you might be on the Autism Spectrum so you obsessively research it for almost every waking moment over a course of several days and you discover that you are?

This is called self-diagnosis and whether or not your self-diagnosis is accepted by others is pretty much a matter of who those other people are.  There are many myths and misconceptions about what it is to be on the Autism Spectrum so certainly there will be people who assume that if you are not Rain Man you are not Autistic.  Some don't know that the term Aspergers is no longer used and that this diagnosis has been absorbed into the Autism Spectrum Disorder ( ASD ) terminology.  Some are diagnosed themselves and resent others who are self-diagnosed for various personal and emotional reasons.

Diagnosis of adults and of females is rare and the traits many people know as Autistic are male traits and also often childhood traits.  An Autistic person can learn to mask certain features and studies show that females in particular are good at this.   Increasingly there are adult women being diagnosed as professionals are learning how to diagnose adults and particularly females but in many parts of the world access to a diagnosis is almost impossible and even if available costs money.

For some people, myself included, the time, expense and difficulty required to get a diagnosis isn't worth it.  I don't need funding or support so I don't need an official diagnosis.  I need to understand myself and I need those closest to me to understand.  I need to feel okay, even good, about who I am and to let go of hiding and masking some of that.   As I figure out who I will tell and how I will tell, I am considering what the consequences will be.  Not being believed will be very upsetting.  It seems logical to me that I don't really need to tell very many people.  It's not a matter of 'Hi, nice to meet you, I am autistic.' even though something about that seems rather efficient and practical to me.

For me, understanding this about myself comes as largely a feeling of relief.  Everything makes sense now and I have words to better describe my experiences. My desire to be understood is enormous, in a way most people in my life don't really understand, but I make do with being accepted and loved.  People think that it's fine to say they accept me as I am which essentially means 'despite your quirks' but would you say to someone with quadriplegia that you accept or love them despite their limitations?  It seems somewhat unacceptable to do so.

Of course, I have spent my life working very hard to mask many or most of my ASD traits.  In some ways I might wish that I hadn't.  Eventually you realise that you aren't masking everything, which leaves a few things that are seen, things which leave you open to being judged as weird, annoying or unskilled in some ways.  When people tell me they love or accept me as I am, I tend to hear that they accept me despite the ways I am unappealing.

If I tell people I am a self-diagnosed autistic I am sure to encounter doubt, skepticism and possibly even hostility from 'officially' diagnosed people on the spectrum.   I have read many stories of those who are even officially diagnosed being told they cannot be on the spectrum because of X or Y trait or ability being either present or missing.  Self diagnosis can be highly accurate though probably both a combination of luck and diligence.  Of course it can also be wrong.  I know how much I have researched, the degree of credibility of the various sources I have looked at, what all my own personal characteristics are and the reasons for many of my behaviours.  I also know that many types of diagnoses don't actually come with a blood test or brain scan, but rather are a conclusion drawn based on extensive collection of data either self-reported or reported by those close to the person being diagnosed.

As an elementary school teacher I have filled out countless forms of behaviour description for students being assessed.

I am aware of various traits potentially belonging to other diagnoses and how to rule them out.  Even professionals make mistaken diagnoses and females are frequently misdiagnosed before finally getting an autism spectrum diagnosis.  Being someone who obsesses over a topic and researches endlessly, questions and re-examines constantly, I know just how thoroughly I have investigated something and the level of knowledge I have.  Other people do not know this.

If you are trying to self-diagnose for something do your research thoroughly and pay attention to the credibility of the sources.  The most obvious red flag is someone selling something they claim is a cure.  Look for medical journal articles, university department articles and to some degree the documented experiences of others with a diagnosis.  Ask yourself why you want a certain diagnosis.  Does it seem to be the best fit truly?  Does it explain things so that now it all makes sense?  Get an official diagnosis if at all possible and if it can assist you in life. 

Some significant points:

If you have met one person with autism, you have met one person with autism. I am not sure who first said this but it's quoted all over the internet.

I hesitate to use illness analogies, but we don't assume that everyone with the same illness presents in exactly the same way.  The medical model is often male and it has taken far too long to discover that females present differently in many situations.  

If you think being on the spectrum or having Aspergers is just being smart, a little quirky and having poor social skills you might wrongly diagnose yourself.    While many on the spectrum choose to be proud of who they are and embrace their differences which is generally a good thing, being on the spectrum is not an easy thing.  It comes with difficulty and discomfort to put it mildly. Having spent most of my life trying to blend in or trying to be bold and confident enough not to care when I didn't, I know that accusing me of wanting to be a special snowflake couldn't be a more inaccurate accusation.

Everyone is quirky and different.  This is true to some extent.  The difference is whether or not your quirks cause you problems.  Just because you are unaware of or cannot see someone else's difficulties does not mean they are not there and that they can be easily dismissed with the statement 'oh everybody is different'.  Rather, the approach should be to recognise that being human happens in a variety of forms.

Websites that may be of interest to females on the spectrum:

Everyday Aspie

Tania Marshall

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

General Anxiety

I've written a little bit about being a very sensitive person and about being an introvert but I've not fully addressed the topic of generalised anxiety.  The fact is that I struggle with it though I don't have an official diagnosis of Generalised Anxiety Disorder, likely because I've never needed to seek one.  To be honest I am not really sure how much of my personal details I am prepared to divulge, though I also tend to make it my mission to help others by discussing health concerns that are less talked about, less understood and with which I have experience.  Usually that is CFS/ME or chronic illness in general.  Because illness is stressful and can itself cause anxiety, I don't really know if I have a separate condition or if it's just part of the package.  I have no way of knowing and can only make guesses which don't contribute anything helpful to the situation.  It works for me to be medicated though periodically I have gone off medication, believing all to be well.

This is a common problem for people who need to be on long term medication.  When the medication is working you feel good, you begin to believe you are cured and you don't need the medication any more.  You stop taking the medication. You may be okay for awhile.  I have done that at least twice in my life and I hope twice is enough to teach me.  I hope I remember how bad it feels to be constantly anxious and on edge: to live with your fight or flight response so readily triggered.  

There is a chance, that by writing this publicly I am holding myself accountable.  I say 'a chance' because I often don't immediately know my motive for doing things.  Feelings are something I have to work out logically.  I think that I am feeling a need to be in control, and that I am choosing to do something, write about this, so that I make myself accountable to taking care of the issue.  Of course, there is never only one reason and a secondary reason is the hope that it may help someone else who lives with anxiety or loves someone who does.

Recently I spent some time in Vancouver. It was a wonderful weekend trip though also exhausting and it must be said that as a tourist I cannot do most of the things even elderly tourists tend to do.  I don't have the stamina for more than an hour or two of mild activity.  So, it's only because I was on a mission for some particular items that I went shopping.  I don't enjoy shopping and shopping in the city is exhausting.  There are people. Lots of them.  And noise.  I'm not used to moving through a crowd and I tend to pause and give way  if my path collides with that of another person.  This meant I was pushed around, although not with any or much physical contact, but sort of bounced pong-like via aura. Crossing the street, or getting across the corridor of a mall was particularly challenging.   By the second day I was getting better at just picking my path and continuing on it, but although I got better at coping with people I didn't get any better at coping with the noise.  Loud music is everywhere, caf├ęs, pubs, restaurants, shops.  I suspect studies have shown it makes people buy more, whether that is food, drink or consumer goods. 

I achieved my shopping mission with much exhaustion ensuing and bed rest required but I came away with a renewed appreciation for small town shopping.  I am just as likely to not find what I am looking for at home, but at least I don't have to deal with the crowds.

Despite my dislike of having to function in a crowd, I don't particularly have social anxiety, which seems to be one of the more common manifestations of generalised anxiety.  Often I feel physical symptoms with no really solid reason for them so my brain hunts for reasons.  I feel jittery and tense and over-stimulated.  I worry about everything and try to control or manage my environment as much as possible because that seems like it would be calming.  Sometimes it does help, but not always.  I wake up in the morning feeling anxious and worrying about all of the things I want to do, need to do, believe I should do, can imagine other people think I should do or want/need me to do, and feeling too physically exhausted and overwhelmed to manage it all.  This feeling stays with me as long as I am awake and it is difficult to divert myself enough to be free of it.  If anything happens that is a bit stressful or difficult I might have what I call a melt down.  This will be either a fight or flight style melt down and I cannot predict which it will be.  

I don't like being that person.  It feels like having your brain and body hijacked by another being.  I am someone who doesn't like to be out of control.  I drink very little alcohol because I loathe being intoxicated. 

I am not going into all of the details about how anxiety affects my mind and body but I suspect you can imagine it or you know someone who experiences it.  It's not something you can just talk or think yourself out of.  If it were that easy everyone with anxiety would do it.  You don't talk yourself out of a broken leg. If your leg is broken and you have to get somewhere you might drag yourself or hop on one leg.  You find a strategy to cope in the short term; you don't cure yourself.  Fortunately for me, though not for many others, my anxiety has never gotten so bad that I cannot function or care for myself, but it has gotten bad enough that I can foresee that happening.  There are indeed strategies, cognitive behavioural therapy deals with these, that someone with anxiety can learn to employ to help with coping, to make certain portions of life manageable.  The brain can be re-trained to different thought patterns.  But make no mistake, this is hard work and a small repair.  It is worth doing but anyone doing it is making much greater effort than someone who does not struggle with anxiety can ever understand.  I suspect someone living with chronic physical pain might understand.  

This is not to say there aren't people who do not suffer with anxiety yet still feel great empathy and understand it through the eyes of someone who cares.  There absolutely are and someone living with anxiety is fortunate if family members and close friends are supportive.  I am certainly lucky that way, although none of my friends know about the anxiety.  You would have to live with me to know about it unless I tell you.  It's stressful being so exhausted that you cannot do what you expect of yourself, what you want to do, what you believe others want or expect of you.  It is possible that this is the main source of my anxiety, along with my personality tending towards being a worrying perfectionist.  I don't ask people for sympathy.  I generally don't mention it.  But this blog is a little bit different.  Here I am trying to reach out to anyone else who might have a similar experience and needs to know they are not alone.

I've had five days back on my medication and it hasn't kicked in yet.  It won't for about another week.  I'm taking deep breaths and one day at a time.  I will manage.  I always do.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Ethereal Natural Classic

 I have played with the style ID calculator quite a lot, and refined my responses after thinking over a few things and puzzling about the Gamine/Ingenue issue.  I needed to resolve it and then dissolve it. 

I was confident about these things...

1. I should not have so readily skipped over Gamine elements.  I considered everything very carefully and discovered that I did actually choose some Gamine boards.

2. Gamine and Ingenue keep seeming like possibilities so I wanted to get to the bottom of that.

3.  I was very influenced by the draping in Romantic style and the ornamental detail in Ingenue so wanted to reconsider how highly I ranked such boards. 

4,  Natural and Classic on their own don't look good though pure Classic looks slightly better on me than pure Natural. 

5.  Ethereal seems really important.

Step One
So I examined all of the boards carefully again.  Ranked them with the 123 system which is essentially 1=a few things look good with my face  2= many of these images suit my face 3=all of this looks great with my face. 

My results were a bit problematic.  I got an even spread of Ethereal, Natural, Classic and Ingenue.  Results like that are too difficult to work with and probably not useful or as accurate an assessment of what I look like in clothing.  I think it comes from selecting too many options:  I had a lot of choices in the number 2 category which is 'this looks sort of good'

Step Two

The alternative method of inputting choices is to only chose the best and put a 1 in the columns.  So I selected only everything I had ranked as a 3 and was then given the results

This is my happy place.  It makes sense to me.  I know there is a great deal of Ethereal and if it were practical I could successfully dress in an entirely Ethereal outfit.  An essence value of 50% generally allows for an entire outfit in that essence but Ethereal has to be converted from magical elf woman to something that resembles real life clothing.  Natural has the potential to be very similar to Ethereal.  I know the aspects of Natural which don't work for me and I know that the boxier, most unconstructed versions of it don't work.  But it can be adapted to a body skimming, elongated and loose look which does work very well.  Ethereal also calls for delicate but highly ornamental details.  Classic brings in some delicacy and I know that Kibbe's recommendations for Soft Natural and Soft Classic (soft being his term for extra feminine which Ethereal also is) both include antique details in jewelry, intricate details such as Celtic designs or Art Nouveau both of which I LOVE. 

Considering Simply Ethereal Natural
Ethereal Natural on it's own, without the Classic element, can lean a little too boxy in shape.   Everyone tweaks their style blend to suit their own needs, tastes, preferences and body shape, although the overall premise is that there is not much need to get hung up on worrying about dressing a pear or an apple or a banana.  Apparently I am a banana, which is a worrisome fruit to resemble given it is a bit bent.

                  Some Ethereal Natural looks I like

 This mostly appeals though I wouldn't wear such dark tights and the skirt looks like polyester so while I know it's got an Ethereal look because of the sheen, a Posh Earth Goddess objects to polyester most of the time.  Unfortunately she can't afford silk. 

Maybe not exactly this colour, but yes to earrings like these.

And yes to this pretty scarf.

This one is very boho but a bit heavy with the Natural accessories so I would modify it with a thinner belt and  lighter jewelry.  Slightly neater hair probably too.  That is essentially how I dress now though I'm a little low on boho blouses.

This one might do well.

And I would like this without the bling.  I know that sparkle is meant to be Ethereal but it's too blingy for me.   It's Disco Ethereal.

Of course, I am the woman who has picked a thousand sequins off her clothing over the years.

Ethereal Natural can wear some slouchy trousers too, palazzo pants, loose or draped pants that are gathered at the ankle if they are still slim in overall silhouette.  But I have yet to find such styles long enough to accommodate my height and they look quite silly when they are too short.

Ahhhhh Sarah Pacini, be still my heart.  I'm not even sure she does these styles anymore.  I went to the website and didn't really like what I saw there.

This one has heavy beads I would have to forgo.  But it's my fantasy so I can style it however I wish.

I recognise that I would look great in this but I don't think I would actually wear it.  It has a dramatic feel to it by nature of being nothing like what anyone else around me is wearing and that tends to make me uncomfortable.  So even if I had a million dollars to spend I probably wouldn't stock my closet with these.  Also, it wouldn't look so great with a winter coat and boots.

While I would not truly feel comfortable in this outfit, I recognise that if it were converted into a dress  these basic lines would look great.  Strangely, if it were a dress I would probably feel more comfortable wearing it.  

Much of my exploration is academic but I always like to be well informed going forward.

All images found on Truth is Beauty Pinterest boards.

Friday, 15 June 2018

Comparing Ingenue and Gamine

Skip the first half if you don't want to read about me and just want to know about Gamine and Ingenue.

When I first read about Ethereal (sometimes called Angelic) essence I knew right away that I had it and probably lot of it but I also knew it would still be part of a blend and I didn't know what the rest of my blend was.  I knew that many aspects of both Natural and Classic work for me but many also don't.  That's confusing!  I also knew that I was very attracted to Gamine style but that it was highly unlikely so I ignored it.  But then I learned about Ingenue essence and something about it seemed right.

Or was it?

I get mixed reactions from other people, some seeing something Gamine in me and some not, so far nobody seeing Ingenue that I know of.  And yet

Fast forward to my dabbling with the Style ID calculator I purchased from Rachel at Truth is Beauty blog, and I find myself persistently choosing Ingenue styles as something that I think works for me.  Other people shook their heads.  No, they said, not seeing Ingenue.  I was puzzled because I know I have been told my entire adult life that I look younger than I am.  Then some people began saying they saw Gamine.  Gamine!  I was amazed. I know there is a youthful vibe to me somehow.  I do get compliments when I add a few Ingenue features to my outfit. Is this because Ingenue is good or because it is similar to Gamine and that would be good?  I seem to add Ingenue elements instinctively and without hesitation, though admittedly not a lot of them.  People seem to like me with a pixie cut too, which is quite Gamine though in the end I am never comfortable with it.  I suspect there isn't enough Gamine, if there is some, for the pixie to feel really good.

Ingenue or Gamine...I don't think it's a significant essence but I can't yet shake the feeling that it's there and want to sort it out.

How Might I Mistake Gamine for Ingenue?  I think there are two main reasons for this possibility.  One is that while I know Gamine and Ingenue lines are very multi-directional and my need for flowing, elongation seems so strong there was that persistent youthfulness to account for so I turned to Ingenue because it has ornate detail in common with Ethereal.  Ingenue has ornate detail in the form of lacy collars and ruffles which are sometimes a bit much for me but other times work okay.    When I put my face next to those things something was reading as right.  But perhaps it's just a youthful vibe I am getting and Gamine does it better for me.  I ignored Gamine for awhile but now find it seems to work at least as well as Ingenue.

Gah!  Loose ends!  Well, that leaves me more to explore but I am still thinking it's Ingenue and that Ingenue is my missing 10%.

Thus, Ethereal (40%)  Natural (25%)  Classic (25%)  Ingenue (10%) 

  Gamine and Ingenue share youthfulness as key visual signifiers but they differ too.

Put into the context of people who identify and read as female, Gamine is tomboyish and Ingenue is girlish. Both can be very attractive and read as feminine.  Some people have both Gamine and Ingenue in their appearance too.  Gamine can be combined with other things though which make the final picture delightfully complex.  I know someone who I think might be a Dramatic, Romantic, Gamine combination.  It's a beautiful mixture.

There is a great comparison of Gamine and Ingenue essences and no judgement here.

Let's imagine both a Gamine and an Ingenue wearing short but formal dresses, something for a party or event.  The Gamine will need simple lines, not much embellishment, a trapeze style dress with a geometric pattern will look great.  The Ingenue needs her dress to be lacy, perhaps with some frills or a floral pattern.  She will benefit from an empire waist or can even have a little waist definition in the dress.  The Gamine can rock a pixie cut and some chunky accessories.  The Ingenue is better with longer, wavy hair and delicate accessories.   This is imagining pure, single essence types though and most people are a blend which will also influence the best looking outfit.  Swap their outfits and they will look awkward. If Gamine or Ingenue influences are strong in them they may have pretty good instincts for which one to use, unless they are tall.  This will confuse them.  Even more so if they are tall and over thirty years old.

I found this image on Pinterest and don't know who to credit for it.  It makes a good visual for the difference between the two essences and how they might dress, and there is a dose of Ethereal in these as well, particularly in the shimmer of the Gamine outfit and the floatiness of the Ingenue outfit.  Spell Check thinks floatiness is not a word so I feel compelled to use it often now.  I'm a rebel like that. 

In the case of taller and older women, western culture is more comfortable with Gamine looks than Ingenue.  It's okay to be youthful, even childlike but resemble a tomboy.  It's not so okay to resemble a little girl.  There are probably a variety of reasons for this but some might be the influence of feminism, women's experiences with being patronised, and discomfort around anything that suggest pedophilia.   Gamine doesn't quite work for me although I like it.

Here is another image I found on Pinterest and for which I don't know the original source.
The styles and celebrities represent two-type blends with Gamine on the top row and Ingenue on the bottom.

L-R  Gamine-Ethereal, Gamine-Romantic, Gamine-Dramatic, Gamine-Classic, Gamine-Ingenue, Gamine-Natural

L-R Ingenue-Ethereal, Ingenue-Romantic, Ingenue-Dramatic, Ingenue-Classic, Ingenue-Gamine, Ingenue-Natural

The Ingenue concept does make some people uncomfortable.  Some stylists and style experts think Ingenue style is inappropriate for an adult woman though I think this is based in some misunderstandings. I have even seen Gamine and Ingenue style blamed on mothers.  Good Grief!

 Some systems believe that the Ingenue child grows up to be Classic or Romantic. 
But why should it be so limited and rigid?  It shouldn't.  Perhaps some of the Ingenue disapproval comes from the idea that people have only one style ID rather than a blend.  Ingenue on it's own might be a little confusing, it's true, while Gamine isn't so confusing or disturbing because of the ideas we have around girlishness and boyishness.  But I believe few if any people are actually pure Gamine or Ingenue and when you believe that the concern becomes obviously silly.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Find Your Style ID

Parsing my Own Details and Tips To Help You Find Yours

I am aware that I am blitzing my blog with this Style ID topic at the moment.  There are a few reasons for that, some of them personal and connected to health.  The other reason is that I want to be able to offer what I have learned in how to work it out and use it, in case I have convinced anyone to try it after reading my blog.

Many self-assessment tools are only as good as your ability to self assess.  They involve a great deal of subjectivity  I like a system where I am free to explore and work it out for myself but there are clear supports and organisational methods that make this easier.  The frustration can be that it's not a foolproof system if that is what is wanted. You can read about my personal discoveries here or scroll though to find the headings that indicate tips for your own use.

 I Know What Really Doesn't Work for Me

Certain styles and trends never worked very well for me.  Some of these things were so bad I never bought them although they were trendy or although I liked them in theory, but most of the others I did try, sometimes repeatedly though generally unsuccessfully.  You will notice many of them feature visual or literal heaviness
  • plaid/tartan
  • button up shirts or button down shirts-man tailored collars near my face just don't work well.
  • blanket scarves
  • large floppy hats
  • jaunty caps
  • statement necklaces
  • sneakers
  • plain, straight skirts-short are even worse than long
  • jackets-blazer, denim or leather
  • v necklines (okay in some cases)
  • plunging necklines
  • turtlenecks/polo necks
  • thick ponchos
  • masculine style boots
  • heavy, substantial waterfall cardigans
  • heavy belts
  • hardware-buckles, large clasps, studs, grommets, visible zippers
  • thickly textured sweaters
  • skinny ribbed knits
  • geometric patterns and obvious straight lines
  • thick, chunky sandals
  • capri pants and shorts (very long capris that are not skinny/tight are okay but difficult to find)
  • cargo pants
  • stiff, thick and heavy fabric
  • clothing with no movement
  • outdoorsy clothing in general

Some of these things are unavoidable at times.  Most of us must sometimes adapt to situation-specific wardrobes that are outside our ideal look.

Here is something anyone can do, using Pinterest, to test a certain look.  

Make a secret Pinterest board and put some photos of your face on it.  Use photos that are straight-on views, even if that isn't your most flattering angle.  Straight on gives an accurate image of the proportions, lines, angles or curves of our faces.  Save images to this board in small groups or even singly.  This way the images are viewed right next to the picture(s) of your face.  This gives a pretty quick indicator and you will probably get a gut feeling about it.  Delete the images you reject and save the good ones to a different Pinterest board.  

It is really helpful to use images that have been organised and identified by style consultants, rather than try to guess on your own if something is Romantic or Dramatic etc.  There is some subjectivity to that but also some degree of it is based on repeating in clothing the lines that are in the face.  It's not always easy to identify those lines so it can work just to go with the 'this looks right' feeling and then keep refining it.

I have used this strategy to refine my understanding of why I chose the boards I did when using the style ID calculator and to further work on it to get to a place I think really works.

More About Me

Here is a Breakdown of what I see in myself or in what works on me.  There may be more I am not seeing.  Some may argue that I am seeing wrongly or that they see something else. That goes for any style choices we make.

  • elongation in body and face, ovals and S curves
  • something that suggests a regal or noble aura
  • non-sexy femininity
  • antique-looking detail is really good
  • detail like embroidery, lace and draping are really good
  • presence combined with some delicacy, best served by flowing lines, elongated draping
  • repeating the elongation of me in my clothing works well
  • Old world looks suit me (this is ethereal because it suggests agelessness)  
  • abstract, blended patterns look good on me
Conclusion: I could probably be costumed as LOTR elf or look appropriate in Renaissance dress

  • some youthfulness in appearance-when hair off face high forehead and proportionately smaller/pointier chin is more noticeable
  • I look slightly young for my age and have done so in all adulthood 
  • Some degree of non-sexy femininity which suits daintiness in accessories and detail
  • tend to look better with less makeup or no makeup
  • can look like child playing dress up or somehow weak in strong style lines
  • flattered by short softly flared skirts despite height
  • sometimes suit peter pan collars and puffed sleeves without looking silly
  • look like myself in upward gaze with innocent overtone
  • seem able to wear some cute, small florals or dots
Conclusion: something is there that sits comfortably with a dose of Ingenue in the styling but it's not strong

  • some degree of roundness in facial features though less noticeable-rounded edges look soft 
  • thick, soft, wavy hair-basically an estrogen signifier
  • look good in soft ruffles, lacy things or delicate detail
  • rich colours are romantic- my personal colouring is on the rich side of soft and warm
  • possibly makes me appear womanly enough that Ingenue is tempered
  • draped lines, some waist focus though not cinched is good
Conclusion: something about softness and femininity reads as appropriate in my look but this element is not strong in me in romantic form.

  • this type has a friendly face suited to a beaming grin- I don't think a beaming ear to ear grin is my most flattering look but I have a friendly smile  
  • Some of the lines in both Dramatic Natural and softened Natural types are similar to Ethereal and so they seem to suit me but the details of the Natural types get too heavy for my face.
  • Much of the Sarah Pacini stuff I am drawn to is Ethereal Natural-yay!-not that I have the ability to purchase it.
  • most natural patterns aren't great though softened paisley is good (relating to S curves perhaps)
Conclusion:  On its own and in some blends this look doesn't work for me but it does when softened and lightened because it looks like relaxed elegance then.

  • possibly there is balance within my elongated facial features that could add a touch of classic.  
  • many classic lines don't look bad with my face but aspects of classic don't work as they are too plain or sharp
  • my body is very balanced which makes classic clothing look somewhat right
  • Classic can read as a bit refined and regal, which is an aspect of Ethereal that seems to suit me as well
Conclusion: okay but I can do better.  Good in situations when dressing in a classic way is required.  As with Natural this is good when softened as long as it doesn't get too delicate and dainty overall.

Dramatic and Gamine  
  • the least effective though okay if blended with other essences
  • generally there are too many lines and angles and the clothing doesn't make a connection to my face.  
  • Dramatic-too strong
  • Gamine-too choppy; some people see some degree of Gamine cuteness in me and like pixie cuts on me
  • when clothing gets too sharp or bold I look weak or diminished 
Conclusion: Some degree of Gamine may be present but not worth pursuing.  I am never happy for long with a pixie cut as it feels wrong.  I think Ethereal adds the kind of drama that works for me rather than the lines/style generally referred to as Dramatic.

I'm Too Sexy for my Shirt...Or Not

You may have noticed I referred to non-sexy femininity more than once.  I have never aimed for a sexy look when getting dressed.  It doesn't particularly work on me and I am not bothered by that.  The stereo-typically sexy look isn't actually the only way to be sexually appealing.  However, I now understand better why I couldn't perform a come hither look if my life depended on it and the hairstyle and dress one would expect to accompany such a face don't work on me. 
This is a complex area to navigate.  People have strong feelings about femininity and sexuality.  There are different ways to express sexuality and different people are attracted to different things.  Expressing some Ingenue in your appearance does not mean styling yourself as Lolita nor that you will attract pedophiles.  

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Dealing With People Online and an Update on my Style ID Discoveries

Oh people.  They are wonderful and they are awful.  I spend a lot of time online when I am exhausted.  I have to keep my brain busy but sometimes I can't cope with reading books.  I end up exploring various forums because I am so interested in systems and in what people think but this also means I encounter a lot of opinionated people ready to tell everyone they are wrong.  I can even be that person sometimes though I try to be careful.  The most problematic thing about the internet is probably the fact that we don't have tone of voice, facial expression or body language to help us understand each other and those are so important.  Sometimes I am very wordy but at other times I am extremely brief.  Brief words can come across as angry or rejecting when they are not intended to.  Word choices matter and I am usually careful to express my opinions in a way that implies it is only an opinion and I know that.  Many people don't do that.

I have been spending some time exploring a personal style system with an accompanying blog and comments section that is very active.  It's interesting and fun but currently getting a bit tense as people are chiming in to say they think so and so has mistyped herself and couldn't possibly be a this or that and they see so and so as X not Y.  Feelings are getting hurt, backs are up.  I have experienced it myself though I put myself in a position to experience it.  I shared a photo.  And yes, one person has already chimed in to say she does not think I actually am a Romantic Ethereal Ingenue. 

You see, this category seems to be contentious.  Others are doubting it, thinking it's rare and that people are mistyping themselves.  Good Grief!  As if that matters!

 If you put on an outfit I am sure you can find  five people on the street who think you  look great and five who don't.  So what?

It seems the contention around the style ID Romantic Ethereal Ingenue is based on the fact that it is purely feminine.  It seems women are having a who is most feminine competition when that is not the spirit of the style ID calculator or that website at all.  All ways of being a woman are attractive and feminine.   So, women who are claiming a status as uber feminine are doubted, questioned, told by a stranger, "I don't see that in you" I see some of X or Y. 

Why did I put my photo on there and open myself up to that?  I don't know for sure.  I have a tendency to try things just to see what will happen.  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks though.  I know what I saw when I put my face next to photos of various styles of clothing and I know how I will use that information going forward. 

This is all subjective.  There is no blood test for your personal colour or your personal style.  I can't leave a comment this long on that forum so yes, I am venting a little on my own blog, but also putting this here in case anyone who reads that forum ends up here.  It could happen.  I will continue to explore what I think works for me in personal style and I will continue to write about it here.  I can't seem to not do that!

It does not matter what my style ID is and what anyone calls it or if I have identified it correctly so much as it is helpful to learn things, understand and apply what is learned.  My understanding about what suits me is that it is likely influenced by some style lines that could be called Ethereal, and maybe Ingenue.  It is also influenced by some Classic and Natural  but in what proportions?  That's just for me to experiment and find out.  I have done lots of experimenting.  I know what works and and what doesn't, what is okay or mediocre and what is fantastic.  It's trying to put it together into something cohesive and understandable that is my focus now and it's all about fun.  I remain someone who has a small wardrobe and not a lot of money to spend, as well as someone who has some significant fit challenges to cope with.

Rant over.  Happy Hump Day!

 An Update on my Discoveries:

I rather like playing with the style ID calculator tool.  I have tried it out in various ways, using different photos and trying out the two different suggested scoring systems.  One challenge when you do it repeatedly is that you eventually know exactly which ID each style board represents and it's probably better not to know.  Another challenge is that as you go along you choose a board that looks good next to your face but later could encounter things that look better than you expected something could.  Do you go back and change previous answers or leave them?   Different choices can lead to slightly different results in that way.

It's not rocket science.  It's a tool to help you figure some things out, see things you've maybe not seen before.  It gets you into a more accurate space than you may have been if you were confused about what suits you since we often have troubles seeing ourselves accurately.

Changing my technique for using the calculator usually didn't give me results of significant difference, a few percentage points here or there might change.  Though I did  find that the Romantic aspect of the Romantic, Ethereal Ingenue result didn't seem quite so appealing to me and I thought it must be a very small portion.  The fewer options I chose, when narrowing it down to just the ten best boards, actually eliminated the Romantic and gave me Natural instead which I confess I like more.

In the end though it won't change much for me.  It changes little about what I've learned or about how I will dress myself going forward.  For me, labels and categories are for making something clear, for gathering information that is useful.  Then I adapt it to make it work for me in a way I am comfortable with.

Boho redux was my response to many things that are boho style and also many recommendations from David Kibbe for Natural types being heavy and overwhelming looking on me.  What Ethereal and Ingenue might contribute to a Natural makes sense to me in terms of what I learned when I played around with boho and coming up with boho redux.

I think Ingenue style in some forms can be similar looking to Classic and I think that is why other people seem to want to debate whether I am Classic or not.  Classic is almost good, sometimes good but can look just a little plain and harsh.  Again, I've stated somewhere at some time, that a blend of Kibbe Soft Classic and Soft Natural seemed right for me but in Kibbe's system you don't do blends like that.  You are one of those categories or another and given my height he quite likely wouldn't put me in either one anyhow.

Putting other people on the internet with opinions aside, the great thing about playing with a style ID calculator is that you can discover things for yourself and aren't stuck with an 'expert' telling you what you are.  Somewhere there is the happy medium between an expert's help to understand things and the objective truth of your body and facial lines.  The Style ID calculator is my preferred way of learning what looks good on me, and it's less expensive than actually buying all of those clothes, plus less tiring than going to the store and trying them on.  

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