Wear Your Joy
Part 1, Lesson 1
My Wear Your Joy Story: Remembering Who I Wanted To Be
Many months after I became a mom, I was still pining after my pre-pregnancy clothes that were still hanging in my closet. It felt like my clothes were waiting for me to lose the weight. Eventually, I was feeling a deep sense of disappointment, every single day, when it came to getting dressed. I missed my old clothes, my old body, and I was fumbling with trying to clothe my new shape.
Before I knew it, I had a drawer full of funky tights that hadn’t seen the light of day in a year. The cute skirts and dresses I once adored and claimed as part of my creative style went MIA from my daily outfits. Part of what weighed heavily on my heart 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.
This happens to so many of us. For some, it’s gaining weight and not fitting into our beloved clothes. For some, it’s starting a new job that requires more ‘professional’ attire. For some, it’s a big life transition that somehow makes our clothes no longer feel like us. Either way, we lose bits of ourselves, not realizing that our clothes are one piece of the puzzle of being who we want to be.
How a pair of boots reminded me who I was
During this phase of feeling like I’d lost myself, I spotted a pair of gorgeous artisan embroi-dered cowgirl boots. They seemed to call out to me, “Hey Kelly Rae, THIS is who you are. WEAR YOUR JOY!” I not only bought those boots, and started my own personal Wear Your Joy practice, but 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.
This is the journal entry I wrote on June 13th, 2011:
These boots reached all the way through the you-don’t-need-another-pair-of-cowgirl-boots and the they-are-too-expensive and the who-do-you-think-you-are gremlins and traveled directly to a piece of me that said, YES. I love them. And more importantly, they affirm a few of the things I believe with my whole self:
* That taking chances + embracing adventure brings joy. These boots scream adventure.
* That we become more of ourselves when we purchase and surround ourselves only with things that we are absolutely in love with. This is true for house decor, clothing, and on and on.
* That what you loved as a child usually still rings true today and that play is oh
* That a YEE-HAW every now and again is totally necessary
* That freedom feels like the releasing of heart, of ideas, of dreams, of expression, of wearing artisan cowgirl boots.
* That you can still rock these boots while being a thirty something year old mom who barely has time to get dressed
That’s when I knew I was onto something
(me, in 2011 when I began the WYJ practice)
Something began to shift for me internally in a new way. I was reminded how nothing in this life is superficial, and that when our hearts speak, we gotta listen. We just never know where it will take us.
In this case, it took 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 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?
(me, in 2011 when I began the WYJ practice)
Before I knew it, I started 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.
My self talk started to move from “what do I want to look like?” to “how do I want to feel?”. And it also moved from “I’ll never lose the weight” to “I have big gratitude for this healthy body and how can I celebrate its creative spirit and expression today?”.
It’s not about putting together perfect outfits. It’s about wearing our joy.
(Print available here)
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. Ultimately, I was surprised by how fun it was.
I was also surprised at the undercurrent of what was really going on – how this all started with the purchase of a pair of cowgirl boots and how honoring that small whisper in myself gently led me back home to that place where inherent creativity and joy lived. This practice was taking me back to a place where I got to play again; a place built on conscious choices – and a place where I could remember WHO I was and wanted to be.
Reflect & Integrate
Take a few moments to answer the following questions in your journal. The goal? To engage your heart and begin to integrate all that you’re discovering.
Like the pair of cowgirl boots in my story, have you ever had or seen a piece of clothing or shoes that seem to call to you? If so, what was it? If not, what can you imagine it to be?
• What does it represent for you? For me, the boots reminded me of my sense of adventure. For you it might be something that speaks to your sense of peace and calm nature, or perhaps your whimsical side, or your sensual side. Really give this some thought as these are clues to what brings us joy, and what our spirit is welcoming us to unearth.
• When was the last time you truly got dressed up in joy? How old were you? What were you wearing? How did you feel? What can you remember about yourself when you regularly wore your joy? Who did you want to be? What essence were you embodying?
• How can you integrate pieces of that version of yourself into your current self? Remember, this is not about going back. It’s about moving forward with an up-leveled version of ourselves, and our joy. It’s about remembering who we want to be.
In addition to any activities suggested in today’s lesson, please be sure to carve out some time each day for the following exercises, especially number 1 and 2. They will help cultivate and nourish your joy-wearing practice. And, your heart will thank you!
1. Selfie Self Love
Each morning after you’ve put on your joyful outfit, I want you to take a Self-Love Selfie. Not only will this be a powerful practice of embracing where and who you are today with love and kindness, but it’s also a way to witness your visual transformation, one day at a time, as you continue to choose joy.
Important: When you take your Self-Love Selfie, I want you to look at yourself with utmost compassion and joy and quietly say to yourself these words by author Amy B “You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.
2. Conscious Clothing Choices
Each evening, before you go to bed, take some time to consciously choose your outfit for the following day. Include your whole outfit, including accessories, socks, and shoes. Make sure it’s an outfit that gives you joy. Don’t worry about doing it “right” – just choose your delight.
Important: Take your outfit out of the closet and put it in a place of honor. Perhaps you hang it on your bathroom door (or bedroom wall) where it can stand out in all of it’s sweet little joy-filled glory. Perhaps it’s carefully draped over a chair where you’ll see it first thing in the morning and get a little joy spark. Either way, put your outfit somewhere uncluttered, in a place of honor.
3. Journal Your Experience
Each day, take a few minutes to explore and engage your heart by journaling about your Wear Your Joy practice. How it feeling? What’s coming up for you? What are you noticing? What’s uncomfortable? What’s surprising? Write it all down as you move through the course.
My dear friend, Lacy Young, has recorded a guided meditation – one for each part of this course – that can be used to support your Wear Your Joy practice.
These meditations will help you know and connect with yourself on a deeper level so that you are inspired to honor yourself with joyful choices – not just in your clothes but in every area of your life.
You can listen to the meditation every single day or a few times per week – whatever feels loving and supportive to you.
You can find the meditation right over here on the main page for this part of the course.
Ways to connect and share!
Share Your Thoughts
I’d love to hear your thoughts, noticings and what comes up for you as you work through the content. Comments are a safe place to share your experience – the easy, the struggles, the transformations, the sticky parts, the joy. All welcome here!
Join the private + optional Facebook group!
While I won’t be active in the group, I’ve created a private and totally optional Facebook Group for those of you who want to connect on Facebook. Please follow the instruction below to join.
1. Send an email with subject line “JOIN THE WEAR YOUR JOY FB GROUP” to firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to include the email address linked to your Facebook account.
2. I will press the right buttons and you’ll receive an email from Facebook (be sure to check your spam/social/promotion folders!) with a link to the Facebook page where you can “request to join the group.” Please give me 48 hours to do my thing.