The Multi Coloured Girl
When I was a kid I was loud and, what we in my hometown of Portsmouth like to refer to as, lairy. I didn’t just like attention, I loved it. Good or bad, positive or negative – it didn’t matter. This need to be seen carried on into my teens and early twenties and was reflected in every aspect of my life; the clothes I wore, the places I went and the ways I (mis) behaved. I was a party girl – a walking rainbow dipped in glitter. I went to festivals, club nights, and raves and stayed up for days, not wanting to miss a thing. I lived for parties and I hated to be alone. I was a fire twirling, dreadlock wearing, life loving hippy and I honestly thought that I would never change.
The Balloon Pops
Perhaps unsurprisingly eventually my party balloon popped and I came back down to earth with a bump. To my great surprise, I did change. Not just a little bit but a lot. The anxiety, depression and deep paranoia that I suffered in my mid-twenties left me a shell of a woman. The rainbow coloured life I once lived faded to grey. All of that joy and passion for life was gone and I was left to pick up the broken pieces of my former self. I no longer wanted to be seen, in fact, there were periods of time when I couldn’t speak a single sentence in public without turning a deeply unflattering shade of puce. I wanted to blend into the background and spent my life trying to avoid being noticed. Luckily for me I had a lot of help from the man I would eventually marry, and with infinite amounts of love and patience I started to see glimmers of my former self. Little hints that she was in there somewhere. My love of burlesque and vintage fashions developed and I swapped the rainbow clothes and glitter for red lipstick and wiggle dresses. Multi Coloured Girl Mark Two still wanted to party, as long as she was in bed by midnight.
The Invisible Woman
I have spent the last year of my life in Ecuador and much of that time was spent at home with my dog (but that’s another story). I dressed almost entirely in lycra and not a dash of make-up adorned my face as I became deeply preoccupied with the story and characters I was creating, to the point where they became my life. I have been back in England for about six weeks now and adapting isn’t easy. I was stood in a shoe shop waiting to be served the other day when I realised that I had become invisible. As not one, but two, young male shop assistants ignored me whilst they served the extremely attractive young woman with the cute smile and perky boobs I felt deflated. I looked at myself in my old T-shirt, grubby jeans and hiking boots and thought – what have I become? Do I want young men in shoe shops to fancy me? Definitely not, but equally I don’t want to feel as though people can’t even see me (so I guess that’s progress from the days of actively wanting to invisible). I felt really old and frumpy. It’s not about age, though, is it? You don’t have to be young to look and feel great. Take the women from Advanced Style for example.
We are told by the media that we should grow old gracefully. Words like elegant, chic, and stylish are bandied about and we are directed to suitable shades of pastel. Hemlines are lengthened and necklines raised, and you can NOT, for God’s sake, be caught showing the cardinal sin – bingo wings. The women of Advanced Style knock my socks off because they wear whatever the hell they please and refuse to apologise. I love them in all their bonkers, eccentric, glory. Who gets to say what we should wear at any age? Why is someone else allowed to decide what is correct or appropriate? I wouldn’t trade places with my younger self, but maybe I can learn more from her than I realise. I could do with a bit more naughtiness in my life, I’ve been a good girl for far too long. Now, excuse me – I’m off out to buy some glitter because you’re never too old to shine.