Monday, June 25, 2012

the magic of dressing up

Bulk of my time is spent at home. I work at home 70-80% of the time (the other 20-30% is spent on fieldwork but in a day that only takes about 6-10 hours).

I rarely go out especially in the past few months because I'm managing my spending and I am also overhauling my social life in my quest for a community of true kindred creative spirits.

My most frequent occasions for going out are hardly worth dressing up for. Such as running errands to the bank, shopping in the supermarket, or hanging out at my parents' house. I do go out on weekly Artist Dates and Artist Walks (as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way) but I often dress comfortably when I do those because I walk a lot and I need to put on my Nike pair. It also sort of doubles as a physical exercise so I'm often in yoga pants, cotton shirt, and a plain ponytail. My Artist Dates also often bring me to places like hardware stores, thrift shops, farmer's markets, and book sales so it's really best to be comfy.

When I am just at home I usually dress in clean but old clothes. Sometimes I wear my PJs. Often my shirt does not really match my shorts.

But in the past few days I have gotten into dressing up at home even if I did not have plans of stepping out. Lately I have been feeling rather lackluster with all the financial puzzles in my life so I needed to make things a bit more festive and energetic. I did it by dressing up - wearing pretty clothes that make me feel real nice inside and out (and abundant) while also being comfortable. I put on a light makeup and I dress up my hair with nice pins or ribbons. I wanted to feel like I am ready to go anywhere and I also wanted to feel like I am going somewhere (and that I could afford to!). And believe me, it works! I felt my energy pick up and my senses sharpen. That was when I started to just paint and draw without too much deliberation on how ready or inspired or motivated I am. I started writing down ideas and plans and setting targets and goals. When I dressed myself up I felt that I simply had to Do and Act, or otherwise I will just be a pretty display in my own home. So I transformed how I looked and felt into something tangible -- a dozen baked cupcakes, a painting, a collage, a poem, an e-book draft, even a good sweep of a shelf for clutter-clearing. (By the way, I was dressed up but I remained barefooted as I moved about the house so it added an aspect of freedom and and openness to the whole mood.)

In the whole process my mind relaxed and had a chance to let the things that have been bothering me to simmer and sort itself out in peace.

Hence, when I finally sat down at either the beginning or end of the day to write in my journal, there were fresh perspectives that poured out because I stopped over-thinking and just started doing what I could. And dressing up helped. It's like putting on a costume and acting the part. I dressed up pretty and happy and abundant and behaved accordingly, boosting my own self-esteem and confidence and sparking my optimism.

How does dressing up change your mood?


  1. Dressing up makes me feel more cheerful and livelier! Especially when I put on a little makeup. I always feel like I am up to something great XD

    PS. Should Mogget also dress up? Like a bowtie or something. Like a dog or something.

  2. Dressing up makes me feel more self confident - which in turn creates a much more productive day. Although there is something to be said about being a bum for a day.

    #1) How'd you make those fashion models - they're incredible!
    #2) How does one go about finding friends that are true kindred creative spirits?

    1. Yes there is always space for pajama days!

      To answer your questions:
      #1) I used the iPad app called Paper. It's basically just like regular pen and paper except everything looks glossier and cleaner. I get to choose between a "pen" and a "brush". Then I take a screenshot of my drawing and that's what I upload.
      #2) As for finding friends that are true kindred creative spirits --- that is what I am trying to figure out now, like a treasure hunt of sorts. I believe this topic deserves its own post! I have been hungering for the company of such friends. I have some people in my life right now but most of them are tuned in to the me who is the career woman (not the me who is a writer on an artist). A few have potential to be creative friends but I'm still waiting how those turn out. Doesn't help that I am an introvert! :D