It all started when True was about 8 months old. I was in those awkward new mama throws of figuring out how to stay at home with him as much as I could while still running my business.
(True and Papa, 8mos old)
Life was joyful, but it was tight, full to the max. Barely enough sleep, and barely enough time to shower, let alone get dressed. I could sense that I was losing bits of myself to the experience of becoming a new mom – just in the small (but big over time) choices I would make. And getting dressed was one of those choices I let slip. Before I knew it I had a drawer full of funky tights that hadn’t seen the light of day in a year. Or all the cute skirts and dresses I once adored and claimed as part of my creative style went MIA from my daily outfits. Part of it was never losing the baby weight and not fitting into my clothes. And part of it was not showing up for myself every day in a way that felt intentional, and conscious despite the changes in my body.
And then one day, it all changed.
I fell in love with a pair of Old Gringo cowgirl boots
. And then I bought them. And then I wrote a love letter to them because I quickly realized that it wasn’t about the actual boots, but about what they represented to me. They were like a postcard from my former self, reminding me that I could still integrate joy into my wardrobe.
I wrote an entire post
about this, including the love letter I wrote back in 2011.
Fast forward a couple of years until just a few weeks ago when I bought another pair of cowgirl boots during a trip to Texas at a time when I was up against a personal growth edge (a good one). They were red
. And, for me, they were another postcard from some bigger version of myself, encouraging me to step into the next chapter with courage and moxie. I wrote more about that in this
And then I was onto something – something began to shift for me internally in a new way. I know it sounds crazy that it started with a pair of boots, but it did. I’m reminded how nothing in this life is superficial – but rather when our hearts speak, we gotta listen. We just never know where it will take us.
In this case, it’s taken me to something bigger – it’s not about boots or pairing together perfect outfits. It’s about wearing our joy.
I began to get excited about getting dressed in the morning. What jeans could I pair with these red boots? What skirt could I pull out of the depths of the closet that I haven’t seen in forever? What TIGHTS would look amazing with these boots?
For those of you who follow me on Instagram
, you know how this story goes. I began to take selfies of my daily outfits with my iPhone . I had no idea WHY I was doing it, but I just allowed myself the delight of answering the urge.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned these last many years as I made my way into a creative life, it is this: when we have an urge to do something, even if we don’t know WHY, it’s likely that it’s our intuition calling us – a little whisper nudging us in a direction that will lead to joy.
And that’s what happend. I began to enJOY the practice of getting dressed in the morning with intention. Do I love it? Great, then it goes on my skin. Do I not love it? Then it doesn’t go on my body. The self talk is moving from what do I want to look like to how do I want to feel? And it’s also moving from I’ll never lose the weight to I have big gratitude for this healthy body and how can I celebrate it’s creative spirit/expression today?
Sounds so simple, but I believe the energy translates. It’s not about putting together perfect outfits. It’s about wearing our joy.
About three weeks into documenting my daily outfits, I had one of my favorite human beings come over to my house. Her name is Lynx. I fell in love with her earlier this year (we were roommates in Bali – more about that here
) at a time when I was beginning to see myself more clearly inside the fog of a few life hurdles (around confidence, mainly). Lynx is a big part of my story this year. Since meeting her in Bali, she’s become a dear friend and is one of my studio mates at Soul Shine Studio. She’s a sacred, whole life
stylist and I just feel deeply seen by her. She inspires me to remember and to be
who I am. Our good friends are like that, I think. They’re sacred permission givers. So she came over and worked her professional magic and helped me create new outfits with clothes that I already had.
She gave me permission to follow my whim (despite the gremlins) to layer clothes on top of more clothes, to put purple tights with red boots, and to PLAY with my wardrobe just like I do with my paintings, which are also deeply layered and colorful.
It was a flurry of activity. Clothes everywhere. I loved it. And she helped me deepen the journey I was already on with capturing my daily outfits with my iPhone.
And so I kept going….creating time in the morning to embrace my new routine of being intentional and conscious about what I was choosing to wear.
Have you ever wondered why you’re drawn to certain things, and not others? This couch, not that one?
This sweater, not that one?
I have a theory.
Everything we find “beautiful” is actually a quiet whisper … calling us closer towards the life that is waiting for us.
That’s why surrounding yourself with beauty is never “shallow” or “superficial.” Quite the opposite >Whenever you make or are drawn to something beautiful, you are directly responding to the call of your heart.
Which is why it’s so crazy important that we get conscious about our choices: Do I even love this pair of shoes? Does my heart light up when I see that sweater? Or am I just unconsciously wearing clothes, picking out paint colors for walls, and choosing things that aren’t even me? Nothing is superficial. All of our choices matter.
Also, getting dressed shouldn’t be a daily opportunity to critique ourselves, or wishing we were 10 pounds smaller. It’s about being with our bodies and our selves today, in this skin, in this vessel. And choosing to dress ourselves up in joy. Today. Not when we lose more weight. Or grow out our hair. Or have enough money. Or or or.
Over on Instagram
, I’ve been calling it The Wear Your Joy Project
and I’m using #thewearyourjoyproject to document my outfits over there. Lots of folks have joined in. And I’d love if you joined us too. Now that Facebook
does hashtags, I think I’ll start posting some of these over there as well with the invitation for anyone to join in.
It’s not about having perfect photos (a cell phone will do) or about having perfect outfits. It’s about first honoring, and then wearing our joy.
So that’s where I’ve been, friends! I’m surprised how fun it’s been – how not a chore it’s been. I’ve also been surprised at the undercurrent of what’s really going on. How this all started with the purchase of a pair of cowgirl boots and how honoring that small whisper/piece of myself has gently led me back home in a way. Home to that place where inherent creativity and joy live. Where I get to play again. Where I can make conscious choices again.
In some ways it’s been a beautiful reintegration of my current life with my former non-mama life but also my old life as a kid where memories flood in of my taking risks and having fun with my clothes.
Do you remember those days when we wore jelly bracelets up our arms and wore mismatching converse sneakers and how much we loved our parachute pants? Did you know I was voted most likely to wear stripes with plaids in high school? Reintegration, friends. Remembering who we are and what lights us up.
Feel free to join in with me over on Insta
or your blogs or just in private.
I hope you’ll learn what I’m relearning: Style isn’t superficial. It’s the call of your heart, made visible — and wearable.
You in? I so hope so!
ps: I’ve tried to include links to specific clothes above. Honestly, I shop the sale racks at Anthropologie a lot, so a lot of the Anthro clothes aren’t available anymore – they’ve been in my closet for years, but I tried to link to specific products when I could. The phone cover you see in all of these photos is available for just about any cell phone model right over here
pps: Any and ALL mean-spirited comments will be deleted. Please keep it positive. If you disagree with where I shop, my outlook on life, or how I dress, please move on (respectfully).
Hi, I'm Kelly Rae Roberts!
Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my whispers and started playing with paint and everything changed. Now I’m a full-time artist, author and Possibilitarian, who helps women explore their creativity, nourish their souls and build a thriving creative business.
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