Tag Archives: image

Painted Nails, and all that Glitters isn’t Gold!

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Once upon a time I would never have described myself as a lover of Bling. Well I’m still not, not in the accepted sense of wearing lots of cheap glittery jewellery and tiny sparkly tops, anyway. But I do like a few sparkles: the odd one of my home-made bracelets, (that I wear in multiple bands on each wrist – a kind of signature feature which I make in many colours to match my ‘colour style’ of ‘summer’ plus some neutral ones in Autumn colours and, of course, black) made of Swarovski crystal beads, sparkly eye make-up courtesy of Barry M and, especially, sparkly nails. It often bemuses even me that I feel able to paint my nails so brightly, whilst the rest of me is still struggling to rise, phoenix-like out of the ashes of expectation, and blossom into the dramatic and creative persona hiding inside.

But thinking back over the years there has always been one particular aspect of my dress/style that I let stand out – to speak out for my inner extrovert – ha ha! In the 70s and 80s it was large drippy earrings. In the 90s it was drapy scarves. Since the 2000s it’s been my bracelets. Now – it’s gorgeous, brilliant, rainbow coloured nails (oh yes … and tattoos, I forget). (I don’t remember much about the 60s – we were too busy breaking down all conventions from miniskirts and hairstyles to music and the sexual revolution).

388 the Stardancer tattoo – my first and most loved – situated on inside of my left wrist

It seems that, ‘that hidden me’ has to peep out of the cracks somewhere; and those single decade-specific items are slowly adding up increasingly to more of the inner me being exposed – minus the drippy earrings. They died a death when the sheer weight of them left rather large jagged holes in my ears that will now only take a complete hoop earring, otherwise they just fall out. It doesn’t stop me hanging charms from one of them though – latterly a tiny goddess figure with a moonstone belly, now – wait for it (mad Stardancing Grandmother rises again) a tiny silver sonic screwdriver. Well, what else would a lifelong Doctor Who fan wear in this, the programmes 50th year? Anyway, it matches the silver Tardis on a chain around my neck, and the Gallifrey and Stardancer tattoos. Torn ears didn’t stop me getting second piercings either, that now have rainbow-coloured sparkly stars in them, and occasionally, a long drippy earring as well (yes two in the same hole)to counterbalance the charms dangling from the opposite silver hoop. Told you – mad grandmother rises again!

Going back to my bracelets; making my own from coloured glass beads and silver charms means that when I’m fed up with them I can un-make them and transform them into something else. Or when I have a new outfit I can make something that exactly matches the style or colour, and then re-use when that outfit has been discarded. Making them is also incredibly relaxing. I sort of go into a meditational state and time passes without noticing it. So double benefits.

Later: I attended my eldest daughter’s and son-in-law’s joint 40th party recently, wearing a fab new Italian vintage looking dress in anthracite and amethyst silk and lace, with sparkly violet nails and my hair curled into ringlets (that lasted all of 5 minutes due to the fact that it was raining – of course it was!) What struck me most at the party were two things – firstly the lack of colour with almost all the women being in some version of the ‘little black dress’ although, thankfully, my children have learnt from their mother who taught them about wearing colour when they were children insisting on them wearing colour-coordinated Clothkits (anyone out there remember them). The second thing, oh dear, was that all of the guests (other than my grandchildren) were middle aged. Er this was so wrong, wasn’t it – it looked and felt more like a party for my generation till I realised that I was part of the older generation, not the middle-aged one! Bump and down to earth I came. My generation was represented by myself, my son-in-law’s mum and dad, and a soon to retire colleague of my daughter’s … just four of us. Still I had fun catching up with some of my daughter’s friends that I knew from the 80’s when I ran the local youth club. Apparently I haven’t changed. That’s funny because they have … they look older!

 

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Age is just a number – isn’t it

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I got pretty irritated recently. Am I beginning to look my age after all, I’m wondering? Several times this week I have been the recipient of well-meaning but patronising younger people.

You know, the way the check out women talk to you – do you need help with the packing, shall I go a bit more slowly? I have no issues with the questions – they are very courteous requests. It’s the way they are said – with the dreaded ‘dearie’ or’ sweetie’ or’ love’ added at the end of each sentence. “Oh, isn’t that sweet,” I got when buying some craft items and the shop assistant commented on my ability to alter and restyle clothes, and make my own jewellery. Considering the shop was a craft shop – surely all her customers have this, or similar abilities. Argh! It makes me so mad.

Then there were the two marketing guys in a well known craft store trying to sell me something. They noticed the limp, the temporary stick (I have a hip injury at present and the stick, I admit, is a very groovy violet floral one) and immediately changed their attitude to simpering sympathy as if a) it must be age-related arthritis and b) I must therefore be on the way out and need help.

I was at a conference on Saturday full of vibrant, inspiring women from average age 50 to 70 though with some younger and older. We had a really inspiring talk and demo about colour styling. The woman who was talking seemed really in tune with modern older women’s desire to continue to look stylish, attractive, sexy. Then we had an equally inspiring talk by a younger woman who had undertaken a personal, physical challenge and walked the Great Wall of China for charity. Her experiences were something to be proud of, I quite agree. Then she spoilt it by suggesting the women in the room should also take on a challenge themselves, suggesting it would make them feel worthy and having achieved something.

I have two comments to make here. Firstly that many of the women in the room had already achieved so much in their lives, whether raising a family in the adverse conditions after the war or in the 70s, or having pursued exciting careers as teachers, solicitors, social workers and other similar professions. Many had travelled the world, organised events, changed careers, cared for elderly relatives or disabled children. Every woman in that room had already achieved great personal challenge .

Secondly – a question – why is personal challenge only seen in terms of physical challenge? Eg: sport, running races, trekking, climbing, jumping out of aircraft etc. Challenge comes in many forms – yes physical, but also intellectual, creative, even emotional. Any woman who has put up with a difficult marriage and finally found the courage to get out, or has put up with physical, verbal, financial abuse and bullying, they have already achieved greatness. After a lifetime of work with children young people and families I’m busy challenging myself to pursue a writing career, and last year I taught myself to paint in watercolours; this year I’m learning about the Qaballa and yoga. By the end of the conference, to make a point, I had volunteered to run next year’s regional conference. Another personal challenge. My topic – adding value to age – aimed at inspiring and empowering all older women to ‘not go quietly into the night’. I’m going to steer clear of ‘how to make a will’ or ‘plan your eco-funeral’ or ‘care for your arthritis in favour of singing, restyling yourself, dancing, eating delicious anti-aging foods, and other such positive activities.

A final – tongue in cheek – comment: I was delighted to be able to get into the cinema one evening and not only benefit from Orange Wednesday, but at a reduced pensioner rate too! Well I’m only human! I’ll take advantage of my age if it means a discount, any day; to hell with image then!