I make no apologies for being me

The past 12 months have been an amazing time for me. I've had so many new opportunities come along which I would previously never have imagined possible and then the latest adventure to South Africa really was the icing on the cake. New opportunities also meant meeting new people and that can be challenging too. Sometimes I wonder who might find it the most challenging - me or them? 

I come across as a real chatterbox, bubbly and a bit over the top, but scratch the surface and I can be quite shy really - it's all a big ruse. I used to be terribly awkward around strangers, but my job brings me into contact with strangers every day of the week and that forced me to step outside of my comfort zone many years ago. However, the role of Gallery Manager is like a coat I put on for work. I can talk forever about art, artists and the place I live, all within the workplace and I'm fine. But plonk me in the pub next door and I'm lost for something to say.

I think that dressing up as I do is a front, a ploy to take the focus off the real me and place it firmly on the outfit of the day. I can play the part of the flamboyant entrepreneur, ready to speak about what I've got on and where I found it. Wearing bright clothes is a great ice breaker too, saving people the effort of finding a safe subject to talk about. Some of us need a mask to hide behind and this is mine. That said, I wouldn't dress down in the hope of disappearing from sight, as these clothes do channel the peacock within. I love bright things, bold colours and unusual shoes. Today's bright things come mostly from Zara (the lounge suit and boots) and the sequinned jacket was from hubby for my birthday present and is from TK Maxx.

Being a peacock within a small community can make you appear to be a bit of a show-off, a court jester, you may look guilty of playing to the gallery all of the time. But as I've said before, I dress to please myself. My pleasure in my clothes is authentic, joyful and such a positive aspect of my life. When someone might raise their eyebrows at something I wear I always remember the talk my husband gave me many moons ago, the main point being, "Make no apology for being you". He too was the one to tell me I'm human Marmite and goodness, I just hate Marmite, so that caused us both to laugh like hell. 

Anyway, to get back to my point, I do know that some might find me challenging. I'm too in-your-face for some people. My first impression can leave many reeling, others could feel a little punch drunk and some, thank goodness, are pleased to have met a human whirlwind. My enthusiasm can be infectious and that's what I hope will make my readers come back for more. Or even come to seek me out on my little island home, which has happened too. Did I live up to their expectations? They never did say!

As you'll probably know, I'm a big self-help fan and am always on the look-out for a good read. My latest purchase Love For Imperfect Things has been a great help for me in assessing who I am in the grand scheme of things and if I'm good enough. The following recommendation was just the pointer I needed to make me want to buy the book and learn more - 

"The world could surely use a bit more love, a little more compassion and a little more wisdom. In Love for Imperfect Things, Haemin Sunim shows us how to cultivate all three, and to find beauty in the most imperfect of things - including your very own self" (Susan Cain, author of Quiet). 

My inner battle of not feeling good enough, comes from an unhappy childhood, of feeling unloved, which is a subject that Haemin broaches with great sensitivity. He treads lightly, offering wise words and simple suggestions as to how to move on and love oneself regardless of self doubt. It's a beautiful book reflecting his imperfect soul - no haughty preaching, just sympathetic guidance and kindness. The following quote of his has to be one of my favourites.

"If I like myself, it is easy for me to like people around me. But if I am unhappy with myself, it is easy to feel unhappy with those around me. May you become your own biggest fan!"

And so yes, I am my own biggest fan. I laugh loudly, sing loudly, dress loudly. But goodness, I'm big on love too. I hug big, I'm a loyal friend, I give genuine compliments to complete strangers, I love my family and I am a generous boss. I throw myself into both work and play with real gusto, with a complete passion for life, a genuine enthusiasm for the things that give me joy. I make no apologies for being me. I think being in my 60's has been very liberating, helping me to get over my insecurities and self doubts. I at last know who I am, am happy with who I am and am ready for whatever comes along next.

                                                                  Anna x

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