Yesterday I went girlie shopping with my gorgeous niece, Amelia. (Actually, it should be pointed out that I have two gorgeous nieces, Amelia and Phoebe, living nearby, as well as several others. They are all gorgeous). It was an unplanned trip, spur of the moment. Suffice it so say that I had been feeling fat, frumpy and forty for several weeks and I decided that I needed to break out of the rut with some advice from a kind but fashionable third party to stand between me and my inner critic. So off we went to town, with the brief to try on lots of clothes, regardless of price, to explore styles and colours and shapes, to challenge what I would normally choose for myself, i.e. the same old stuff.
I tried on this dress. Anything from Coast is usually a winner for me, its all so fabulous, but this was something else. Normally I would never dream of wearing anything with ruffles, especially around the neck. Too flouncy. Makes my boobs look enormous, and they are big enough already. Makes me look like Barbara Windsor. Etc. You know the routine.
This dress was different. Have you ever had the experience of putting something on and realising it makes you look exactly the way you'd always dreamed and hoped you might look in the best of all possible worlds? That's what this dress did for me. In that changing room, I experienced a kind of Annunciation - a 'This is who you really are' moment. It was, to quote Big, 'unbe-fucking-lieveable'.
There is a school of thought in psychology called Gestalt. It is very complicated and I don't understand most of it, but one of the ideas it posits is that we have inside us everything we need, that we are already whole, all we have to do is to get our 'stuff' out of the way, and access that wholeness. My counsellor always reminds me that I keep on about how everything will be better when I have more money/better clothes/the right haircut/get well/publish my novel/come to terms with my childhood/etc etc etc. You know the drill. Everything will always be alright when I am something else than I am right now.
The dress showed me what my counsellor was trying to say. It is a message from the Universe that says, 'you are already all those things you want to be. And you are beautiful.'
All I have to do is try to shout down my inner critic and hold onto that thought.
If you are wondering about the title of this post, it refers to a spell from a fascinating book, 'Embracing the Moon, a Witch's Guide to Ritual Spellcraft and Shadow Work' by Yasmine Galenorn. It uses the visualisation of a gown made of garnets to make one feel beautiful, and therefore to enhance self-esteem. It's a lovely idea. Next time you are feeling fat and frumpy, imagine yourself in a sparkling gown made of precious gems and see how you feel. Or maybe you will be lucky enough to find your garnet gown hanging on a hanger in House of Fraser, and, even if, like me, you can't afford it to buy it, you may have the wonderful realisation that what you are right now is enough.