Then my kids got a little bigger. Everyone told me that when they'd grown big enough, I'd get back to myself again, and they were right to an extent. I'd started finding ways to laugh that didn't include mocking cartoon characters and bonding over diaper explosions. I'd stretched my limbs, reached outside of my comfort zone and embraced a bit of the person I used to be. I had forgotten what it felt like to have your own interests and hobbies and I liked it. Internally, I felt like I was back and ready to kick ass and take names.
When I looked in the mirror, however, instead of this gorgeous, thin, 20-something, I saw a fluffy, wrinkled 30-something, staring back at me. I could slip back into my old sense of humor, my passions, my ambitions-- but three kids have morphed by body into something unrecognizable-- I would never get back my flat stomach, that beautiful skin and the natural beauty of youth.
I'd watch young girls go by, wearing styles I didn't recognize, listening to music I didn't know, by artists who were probably born after I graduated high school and I would get dejected. There's a point in your life where you look at yourself and at the younger generation and realize that your sense of what "cool" is, is no longer relevant. I tried some of the young, hip styles and I kinda just ended up feeling like... well, pretty much like someone who would say the phrase, "young, hip styles." My window of cool in the traditional sense was over and I was going to have to learn to accept that.
I knew, of course, that I couldn't just give up on my pursuit to reclaim my sense of style. Having a hard time defining yourself, lost woman? Embrace that blank slate and decide to write something amazing on it. You get to start fresh. How often do you get to do that?
When I was lost, I looked for a guide on how to find my way back into my style groove and I didn't find one. So for all of you mothers who gave themselves over so selflessly to their children and know don't know what the hell a "nay nay" is, this is for you:
Some helpful tips for finding your new, more sophisticated, sense of cool:
1. With fashion, like with anything else, if you don't know what you like, you have to try a bit of everything.
2. Dress for the body you have, not the body you wish you had.
3. Allow yourself to have imperfections.
Can't win 'em all.
Find those things you love about yourself and shout them out loud. For the things you don't, think of a reason, any reason, why you should like it. Be proud of your body because it does amazing things for you.
4. Find your perfect shade of red lipstick. And then rock it like a bad bitch.
5. Utilize your computer.
6. Take you time every day.
7. Selfies, selfies, selfies.
8. Do the things you love and don't care about what anyone else thinks.
9. Be nostalgic. But don't stay too long.
Allow yourself to take that trip back to songs you haven't heard in forever, and remember all things that you've always wanted to do. Allow your daydreams to filter through your grown-up brain and ask yourself if any of them are feasible. Make a plan to do the things you've always wanted to do. Daydream, but do it productively. Don't wish for the past, it's gone. Instead, bring the bits you loved from the past into your present mindset.
10. Find your tribe.
So I don't know if I qualify as cool or not, I'd like to think I do. I've gotten to a place where I feel pretty comfortable about myself and I'm happy being a square. I like me. And you will like you too, I promise. Just keep trying and never give up on yourself. You are worth the journey.