From the archives of LifeArt Studio comes Creative Strategy # 182: When your creative juices get low, put on a funky hat.
I’m in St. Louis right now, having fun with eight women I have loved since I was born. We all traveled from kindergarten through high school graduation together, and we’ve been meeting every year since graduation to re-establish our bond. We eat, we shop, we tell stories way into the night, we counsel each other, we laugh and grieve with each other. And we are all just as amazed as others that we’ve maintained this unique friendship for over sixty years.
I was a little frustrated making the trip this year because I got a bad hair cut a week before the trip. My own stupid fault. Who lets a new (and way too young) hairdresser cut her hair right before she’s going to see her high school girlfriends? As my dad used to say, that was a bonehead move. I showed the stylist a picture of Raquel Welch in a sexy, long shag (I know, I’m dating myself.) and she gave me a Mia Farrow pixie cut right out of the sixties. I mean really, it’s almost a buzz cut. And it’s not a pretty sight!
My girlfriends have been very polite to me about this turn of events; they don’t want to make things worse by telling me the truth: bonehead move.
So yesterday we went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens. It was a beautiful, cool October day and we thoroughly enjoyed the contours, textures and colors of the gardens. We concluded our tour in the gift shop, of course, and I found a table of fun and funky felt hats. Now, I’m normally not a hat girl, but given the sad state of my coiffure, I saw a solution to my dilemma on this table. I tried only a couple before I came upon a rich teal one and knew right away this was my opportunity to experiment with a new look, given the fact that there was no place to go but up in the “looks” category. I asked the receptionist to remove the tag and wore it out of the of shop, and kept it on the rest of the day.
I told my friends, when you’re my age, you sometimes have to let go of being attractive and just shoot for eccentric. Judith said, “Well Lezlie, you don’t have far to go to make it to eccentric.”
The rest of the day I caught glimpses of myself in store windows and mirrors. I didn’t see the old Lezlie there, the one striving to look as good as possible, given the meager material she has to work with. Instead, I saw a carefree woman, slightly odd, maybe, and completely unconcerned about conventional approval. With the exception of one tiny six-year-old who said I scared her, I got lots of compliments on the hat, though some might have been out of pity. So I pulled my blue felt hat down tighter on my head and remembered a lesson I’ve learned a number of times: “when you are willing to no longer recognize yourself for who you used to be, something new will take shape in your life.”
And here’s the point: This hat was an exhilarating risk for me. Yes, I know it’s a small risk in the realm of risk-taking, but it had the effect of making me look different not just to myself, but to the world. And that’s a good way to get a new perspective, to delete one or two limiting beliefs in the mind, and to laugh at the small audacity of a felt hat.
So, Creative Strategy #182: put on a funky hat. Try it, and see what happens when you unleash your inner eccentric. Send pictures and I’ll share them!
Thanks so much for stopping by the LifeArt Studio. Have an funky and artful day today.
Photo credit: Linda Kirk Moffitt