Thursday, 14 December 2017

Self Care in Unexpected Ways

When I first began reading blogs online it was the aspirational home decor type and true to the dual nature of my taste, they were either very colourful bohemian style blogs or simple, pared down, monochromatic style.  Then I drifted into personal style and fell into a wonderful blog community of personal style bloggers, an experience I will always treasure but one which was in many ways very overwhelming and eventually I had to retreat from it.  The appeal of interacting, forming friendships, belonging to a group and in addition to all of that having support and encouragement as I delved into a more radical exploration of my personal style than ever before was irresistible and I am certain that I am forever changed because of it.  But in my offline life I have never been so extroverted as the version of me I began to cultivate during that time and in combination with my more instinctive introversion and the fatigue of a CFS/ME as a constant in my life, what began as a pleasure became a stress.

Currently in the middle of what I usually call ‘a crash’, generally defined by most of my time spent in bed, dragging myself around to perform basic tasks if needed and a general feeling of exhaustion, aching and some degree of anxiety, I find myself returning to some of those popular internet home decor blogs I once followed.  I am also looking at images on Pinterest just for the pleasure of shapes, colours, textures and perhaps a dose of inspiration and aspiration.  I’m not immune to dreaming that I live in a home with lovely architecture and possess only lovely things no matter the cost.  What I am better inoculated against than I once was is believing those things would bring happiness.

I can justify all this gazing wistfully and appreciatively at images as a practice of refining my taste so that I can save money and continue to focus on minimalism by being very certain of my taste, of what I like and will not grow tired of and cast off.  Of course, I can justify just about anything.  It’s a skill.

Whether it’s studying personal style or home design, I’ve learned a few useful things over the years about myself and my taste.  Taste is intuitive, it’s not that I don’t know what I like, so much as that I like so many things it can be difficult for me to stick to one vision and yet I crave the peace and simplicity of certain styles and of sticking to one style.  There is no reason my style cannot be something unique of my own, a blend of everything I like, and yet without some degree of control over that, without understanding and refining that, I find myself overwhelmed by chaos.

Perhaps it’s because I am an introvert, or an INTJ or an HSP or because I live with chronic illness. Perhaps it is all of those things combined or none of them.  I don’t know, though I will happily explain to you over a cup of good coffee why it’s not because I am a Gemini, although much to my amusement, this particular aspect of myself probably actually fits my horoscope.  Perhaps it’s because I am human.  Whatever the reason, I periodically crave a little dash of excitement but mostly want peace and escape from chaos.   In my home I am seeking the balance between cosiness and simplicity.  On my person I am seeking the balance between self-expression and effortlessness.  It might seem, at first, that all this confusion means I need frequent change to thrive but I don’t think that’s correct.  A modern catchphrase that always irritates me is ‘switch it up’ although it could just be that I dislike catchphrases in general.

A pattern I have observed in myself is that every year as we move into winter, I increasingly crave neutral colours.  For some people a more bleak-looking season might call for more colour on the person and the home, a compensation for dreary surroundings.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t find it dreary or bleak most of the time.  I have an appreciation for the more subtle and muted tones of the winter landscape where I live and I’ve always liked soft browns and greys.  In summer, when the light is stronger and the landscape features brighter colours I too want to wear them.  Perhaps there is an element of preferring to fit with my environment.  I’ve always said I prefer to blend in rather than to stand out and it has nothing to do with a lack of self-confidence.   Perhaps it has more to do with seeking harmony.   My instinct tells me it's about quiet.

I am only making guesses.  What I do know is that I am continuously seeking refuge from over-stimulation.

So, lately I am enjoying images of scandi-design, a dash of French country, Parisian apartments, industrial-chic lofts and simple seaside cottages, and this is largely because of the neutral colour palettes.  I have learned to love neutral colours and to purchase long term items in the neutrals I love best, letting most colourful items be inexpensive and sometimes temporary.  I find that I can grow tired of just about any colour, feeling about colour the same way I do about music.  Music is lovely but I need silence more often. 

Recently I purchased a zipped fleece, something I’d been seeking for a while because a zipped fleece is both comfortable and practical.  Finding one in a warm colour was an enormous challenge and even though I did eventually find a coral colour it tends to seem a bit neon or perhaps even very neon.   I’ve had this fleece for about two months and am sick of it.  I feel guilt about the money spent as I now constantly think about selling it or donating it.  If it had been cream, brown or grey I would not be tired of it. 

A little over a year ago, when I was bedridden for six weeks due to a ruptured disc and living in pyjamas, my Mum decided to get me a new pair.  My immediate response was, ‘Something neutral please; I hate these pink ones I’m wearing.’  She bought a lovely soft grey and ivory mix and I finally had pyjamas that brought me peace and comfort.
This new understanding of how I react to colour and how my preferences work should help me make better purchasing decisions in the future.  I hope so.  It is possible that as time goes by I am becoming increasingly sensitive to over-stimulation and that now over-stimulation can come in the form of colour.  I don’t really know.  I only have guesses.

In the meantime I will immerse myself in images with the colours I find soothing because now is a time when I need soothing.  Self care comes in a variety of forms.  Sometimes it even includes the colour of one’s fleece.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh yes, I hear you, I hear you!
    I too struggle with too much coral in my wardrobe, and sometimes red. Even though they suit me so well. It feels like it shouts at me.
    I also struggle with my house decorating. We have a very colourful house with warm colours and dark woods. I often crave scandi neutrals but know that my family would cry out if I tried to change it.
    I have decorated a bathroom white which I can use for occasional relief.
    I know how you feel about blogging and pinterest.
    I'm so sorry you are in a crash!
    Sending quiet gentle hugs. Xo Jazzy Jack


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