Sunday, 14 May 2017

Finding myself through unlearning

I did it. I did something huuuuge. I gave a talk about my style to the Vancouver Guild of Fabric Arts. Deb, the head of their programming, invited me several months ago. I ignored the impending date for quite a while, but then SUDDENLY, out of the blue, it was just over a week away. GAAA! Like I always do, I freaked out like a true professional.

This talk was the first time I've done public speaking since I gave my talk called "Unlearning How to Paint" a few years ago. This was more like Unlearning How to Dress or Unlearning the Style Rules. I seem to be wasting a lot of time learning then unlearning things.

I had to hike the pant legs to show off these over-the-knee boots I'm crazy for.
I had to wear them again before/if it ever gets warm.

The talk was called Confessions of a Closet Diva and it featured several costume changes. I went into it dressed a bit like a sausage, piling on layers of outfits under my oversized drop-crotch jeans and an oversized blouse like someone who'd exceeded their luggage allowance at the airport and had to wear the excess.

Bit by bit I revealed the next layers, while Vancouver Barbara, who is also a member of the Guild, held a sheet in front of me as my lovely assistant. Judy, another member of the Guild whom I've featured on my street style blog, kindly provided impromptu game-show vocal stylings during these interludes. Let me just say - the audience was STELLAR!! Simply STELLAR!! I couldn't have hoped for a more safe and encouraging environment.


So there I was, stripping down in front of a room full of strangers, pretty much, just like those dreams you have where you're naked in public. In my case, the dream came true. Too bad we can't pick and choose which dreams we have come true and when. Heh.

Did I tell you I was asked a while ago to be in StyleLikeU's What's Underneath project, the one where you strip down to your undies in front of a camera while you're being questioned about your life by someone off screen? The sessions often end in tears. It would have been excellent exposure (heh) with hundreds of thousands if not millions of viewers, but, while I was truly honoured to be asked, I declined. Definitely, it could have been another dream come true though.


That's all I'll say about the talk (and stripping), except that the feedback I've received from the presentation so far has been extremely encouraging, with even suggestions that it was more like performance art and would maybe work for the Fringe Festival, which is like an off-off-Broadway-by-several-thousand-miles theatre festival of fringy works. I love fringe! And dingle balls too! That would be awesome. Of course my reaction presupposes that comparing my talk to performance art is a good thing. Heh.

So my mind is turning, turning. Every time I scare myself by doing a new thing, my mind starts hurtling into new territory. I'm afraid of what I'll want to unlearn next.

You may note the wrinkles around the crotchal area, rather accordion-looking. That particular instrument doesn't exactly evoke the genre or rhapsody one would prefer in that area.

And this last photo, I'll explain. As a member of the media, on May 13 I attended a big fundraiser event for Positive Living BC, which assists people who are HIV positive. There were about 100 actors/models in the show, including, happily, two of the people I styled with Su Bennett for the fashion show of My Sister's Closet's parent organization, Battered Women's Shelter Society, a couple of years ago (here): Stella Panagiotidis (IG here) and Marc Swiednicki. They were outstanding.

I arrived at the venue during cocktail hour at 7 p.m. and didn't leave until the show was over around 11:30. It was a long evening but bursting with talent, generosity, and caring. While I was walking home, I ran across this man whom I'd seen inside earlier. He was waiting for a taxi to take him home. This photo I took of him standing there without his shoes on sums up the whole evening, along with the exhaustion of accomplishment. Unfortunately, I didn't get his name.

I posted on the event on my street style culture blog, Culture Serf. You can see it here.


That's it for this week, sweet chickens.

No blog post these days is complete without linking up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style and her Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb and her #iwillwearwhatilike. I'll probably see you there.

Have you done anything scary lately? Like drink expired milk? Walk when the hand is flashing? Do tell. I usually respond to comments but I'm later (than usual) this time.


52 comments:

  1. oh do the FringE!!! It sounds like you have the genesis of a great show there. DO!!!! SUCH FUN!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I concede that as someone involved in adults voluntarily getting naked in public, and who has bee known to laugh off the odd wardrobe malfunction of my own, my opinion may be considered too much of an outlier. But six years ago I worked for a govt department, wore black, and baked cupcakes. So, anything is possible ;-) xo

      Delete
    2. Hahaha. It's a stretch of even my imagination to see you in black working in a government department. I know you are an ace chef so the cupcake part isn't hard to picture. But yes, thanks for the encouragement. Anything is possible!! xo

      Delete
  2. I can't even get into all the areas about this that are awesome----I'm with ya'!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Just like those dreams you have where you're naked in public." You have been invading my dreams! The one with your Prime Minister was completely wholesome! Srsly, big congrats to you, you are a priceless resource for all of us, and for that lucky audience. Please come to NYC and do this show, pls?? xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Justin was talking about your dream together the other day on the radio. Heh. Oh, how I would love to go to NYC, show or no show. I'll work harder, I mean, work funner! Thanks, Patti. xo

      Delete
  4. How brilliant of you to go for it. Go for new things is terrifying, but one comes out so much stronger.
    I want to travel alone, just mand my fears. I haven´t done anything about it yet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know you shall conquer that fear. You are a woman of the world! It calls to you. xox

      Delete
  5. A heartfelt congratulations for bravery, adventure and embracing the YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Here I am sitting in the Maiwa Loft at Granville Island for a class with the amazing Valerie Scruggs Goodwin. I am happy to report that here at the market I have had my first "OMG, she is too old to wear patterned tights." I figured I had dressed for success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. GO, VIV, GO!!! You are definitely onto something here. Hurrah to your patterned-leg frenzy. I raise a glass to your continuing success. You are going to have a blast, I guarantee. Live it up. Hahaha. Congratulations!

      Delete
  7. You are brave, my biggest fear is talking to a crowd. You're my hero! xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find it hard to imagine that you have a fear of talking to a crowd. I always see you as the life of the party and centre of attention, which is a very similar thing. As I demonstrated so well, coherence is not necessarily a prerequisite. xo

      Delete
  8. How wonderful to conquer your fears! Big congratulations and warmest hugs to you, dearest Melanie! Unlearning what we've learned and what doesn't benefit us any longer is one of the most important things we can do in life. Your unlearning skills are fantastic, and you continue inspire me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Natalia. I felt wonderfully empowered after the talk. And the audience was so very welcoming. This experience changed my vision, clearly, and altered my path. I'll do my best to keep unlearning. xox

      Delete
  9. You are such a Renaissance woman! I think you would be schpectacular at the Fringe! You are an inspiration! All the exclamation points!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Save me some exclamation points!!!! YEAAAH!!!!! Hahaha xox

      Delete
  10. Oh Melanie. I am so very proud of you. And I am proud to know you. Please promise me that you will never ever unlearn how to be absolutely adorable

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pffft. You haven't seen me when I'm bad, clearly. I'm feeling very chuffed at eating that fear for sure. Thanks, Connie. All the hugs. xox

      Delete
  11. Oh well done, Mel! It sounds fascinating and brilliant. Your outfits are fabulous, I love the grey coat and the lovely stripy shirt and the creased crotchal area voluminous pants.

    Oh, dreams about being naked...haven't had one since I was a child, but I used to have a recurring dream then that I was in assembly in primary school in my PJs I'd look down and see I wasn't wearing any PJ bottoms - OMG the horror!

    The fringe thing sounds wonderful - go for it!!

    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, yes, the no-bottoms-on dream. I've had that one too. So awful! Well, I need new challenges so I'll see what's next. Heeheehee. Thanks so much for your comment, Veronica.

      Delete
  12. I adore the pink satin pants Mel, regardless of the creased crotch area. Satin is a bitch for that but it doesn't stop me wearing it. Your performance sounded pretty awesome and hey, I can understand why you turned down the other gig!

    Anna x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, these pants are brutal for wrinkles. Too bad there's not a portable steamer, but I guess I'd have to take them off for that or Ouch. I really wanted to do the other gig, but just couldn't. xox

      Delete
  13. Bravo woman!

    You are a dragon slayer. You have no fear. You are my hero.

    I'm so impressed by how you manage to keep challenging yourself and rising to the occasion. In fact you are floating on a cloud of pink fairy dust and cotton candy above the occasion you are so tuned into your natural gifts.

    Don't stop now is all I can say.

    PS...that last photo is simply brilliant.

    bisous
    Suzanne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it's usually my fear that compels me to do such things. So not a dragon slayer I'm afraid; an ant slayer maybe. But I'll see where this takes me.
      That last photo is one of my all-time favourites. Everything about it - the bare feet, the taxi stand, the darkness, the colour. Timing. Thanks, Suzanne. xox

      Delete
  14. Hello Melanie. My name is Sister Fancy Pants. Thank you for taking the picture of me holding my heels. I am part of a volunteer group called the Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. We attend events like RED to help fundraise and promote non-profit organizations. Thank you for being there and talking about Positive Living BC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You guys are AWESOME. I saw your website too. Thank you so much for letting me take this photo after a long evening of fabulous entertainment, including you and your troupe. As I said in the previous comment, this is one of my favourite photos ever. xo

      Delete
  15. Congratulations on overcoming your fears and accepting the challenge head on, I''m sure you were a huge success.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jill. It was fun and scary. xo

      Delete
  16. Yes, Mel was a complete success. This is Deb, the program coordinator for VGFA, Vancouver Guild for Fibre Arts and I had the honour of inviting Mel to be our May speaker. I was taking a big leap because we usually have speakers who are experts in a wide variety of Fibre Arts. Mel is an expert in the joy and liberation of using textiles and other "props" to release your inner spirit. I wasn't sure how our group would respond. Well, I had to call time way after our usual allotted time for a speaker and people still wanted more.
    Plus, her openness and creativity and joy has impacted some of our members to release their own inner self and share it with others via an expanded freedom of self expression. She gave us the encouragement to make being age-seasoned fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've told you already, but a thousand thanks for taking a gamble on me and inviting me to speak to such a crowd of creative experts. It was an intimidating challenge for a bumbling farker like myself. I had no idea how I would be accepted. But, wow, you guys were the BEST!! Again, hugs to you all. I think this will lead to other things in my life. I'm thrilled that your group liked it. xox

      Delete
    2. That's "my" Melanie.... love her to bits. She is going somewhere. Getting a bigger and bigger public. Everybody loves her and appreciates her creativity.
      Greetje

      Delete
  17. Huge congrats darling on your successful talk!! I am sure you were absolutely amazing! I am inspired by your pushing yourself out of comfort zones ... as I am realizing I have become way to content in mine ... only to on some days feel as if the world is passing me by. What a beautiful thing ... each of us pushing ourselves can have a ripple effect on others. Thank you ever so much for your always authentic sharing of your self dear!!

    xoxo
    Tamera

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tamera, to observers of your blog and IG, you seem to be pushing your creative self all the time. And yes, it definitely has a ripple effect. I always come away from your blog feeling like it's time to make something. Thanks for this heartfelt comment. xox

      Delete
  18. I read this post yesterday but it has stayed with me all day yesterday and today. The idea of unlearning how to dress/unlearning style rules is so appealing because then the mind is open to new learnings, new ideas, new ways. For me, reading your blog allows me to see how this is done on a regular basis. Your ideas, the way you break style and fashion open and pull out the parts that mean something to you and then you put it back together in an artistic way. I have deep admiration for that because there's vulnerability involved and courage and openness. I would LOVE to see your presentation.

    - Sherry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bristle at rules for rules' sake. Everything is changing all the time and rules are just kind of stuck there from my viewpoint. I like to push them to move with me. It doesn't always work very well. Heh. Thanks for your insights, Sherry. I love reading your view of my process. Very cool. xox

      Delete
  19. Melanie,you have a beautiful personality and the most amazing body and everything you wear looks tasteful and posh.I often dream I am alone in the houses of people I know.Alone.Just about to find what they own,you know the interesting things.Then I wake up to go to the bathroom.I feel always good visiting your blog

    ReplyDelete
  20. Melanie gives Joy to the World. I do hope this was video-oed. If not, well, Encore! Encore! Or perhaps, Turnip Head could star in a flip book of sketches? I am so glad I know you. woo-wee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No video, Pao. Nope. Heh. But I feel sure I'll do it again and I'll have it videoed. Turnip Head is next to make her grand debut. I'm so glad I know you too. Yee-haw! xo

      Delete
  21. YAAAAAAAAY! I am SO happy the talk went well - I knew they would all respond positively to your energy. I love the second photo of you, which I imagine was your expression of relief after it was all over. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be so, so hard, and stress-inducing, but it's worth it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, you know I was fretting, right? Gaaa. I rehearsed only in my head and so saying it out loud with acting was quite a shock. Heh. But, as you said, oh so worth it. Thanks for your support, Shelley, always. xo

      Delete
  22. wouaaaa, I think it's a Great Compliment that your talk looks like a performance!, you're creating Art and talking about 'unlearning', doubled fabulousness. I love all that process of unlearning how to dress, so would enjoy to attend your talk!
    Travelling scares me, even visiting new places scares me. Anyway, I keep on doing all those things that scare me. I don't feel particularly brave, but I'm working on it!
    Obviously, you look fabulous, and I love your boots, and those silky pants, and your amazing black&white coat! Love everything indeed!
    besos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't feel particularly brave either, but there is a certain thrill that goes with the fear, as you know. I would LOVE for you to come to my talk. Who knows what the future holds. Always, thanks and thanks for your positive energy. xo

      Delete
  23. What a tremendous experience. And what a freeking good idea to do it like that: stripping!! Girl, you have so much creativity in you. And... you are such a unique, kind, caring and giving person. I wished I had 1/39th of your creativity.
    Greetje

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha, yeah, I was sooo worried about what underwear to wear. Spanx? A slip? But it needed to fit neatly under all my other layered outfits on top, pants over skirts, etc. Complicated. In the end I chose tights, spanxy shorts, and a camisole, but Vancouver Barbara held a sheet up so I didn't feel quite so vulnerable. Heh. You DO have tons of creativity, Greetje. We just channel it in different ways. xo

      Delete
  24. O my gosh, how I wish I could have seen your talk! I'll bet you were awesome and your outfits fabulous right down to the last sock.... the underneath it all series sounds fun, if pretty intimidating! I could name a whole host of sewing bloggers who would strip down to their (handmade) smalls for the internet's pleasure in a heartbeat, in fact, a lot of 'em already do! Not me, but :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn't mind stripping to my underwear so much if they weren't also asking me probing personal questions at the same time. I could only imagine, Tell us about your most humiliating date, or some such, and me wanting to crawl under a rock. No amount of underwear would have enough coverage in that case. Heh. But that's so funny that the sewing bloggers are so liberal in their sharing. Hahaha. Well done. I'm captivated by your outerwear, Carolyn. No need to go deeper. xo

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...