I do love my new casual lifestyle, this is a wonderful thing about Panama, or is it just me? It could be Me… I’ve spent most of my adult life as well as my childhood, around hairdressers and in Salons. The constant and never ending expectation from those who look to us (stylists) to always be on the cutting edge of fashion can be exhausting. I know the majority of my former colleagues in the beauty business thrive on and love this part of what it means to be a stylist, and I applaud you because that’s as it should be. But the novelty of this aspect of being a hairdresser wore off for me about…oh, I dont’ know…maybe 15 or so years ago? Maybe longer. The expectation to look a certain way and to care so much about that external persona lost it’s appeal for me as I matured and began to find meaning in things that just seemed more important to me. I spent many, many years caring incessantly about how I looked and what clothes I wore. What people thought of me and feeling as though in some important way that my external appearance defined me. I spent hours getting fills on my acrylic nails, panicking when I broke one and rushing into the manicurist to get it repaired, and I never left the house without my make up just right. I lived to shop and never had enough clothes in my closet. I just ‘had’ to have all the latest and most current clothes that were in style. I always had coordinated jewelry and just the right shoes to pull together my look and my hair was of the utmost concern to me each and every moment of every day. Oh man! I remember those days, and the time I spent looking in the mirror! Constantly aware of what others looked like and comparing myself, and putting a ton of energy into caring about what those around me thought of how I looked. It was exhausting when I think back on that period of my life. Of course, I was raised by a hairdresser so this was just the way of the world to me.
Don’t worry, I’m not completely letting myself go, not exactly. I mean, for now anyways, I’m still coloring my hair to keep all those gray roots from taking over. But I do plan to go cold turkey sometime in the near future and let that natural color go free. Maintaining my hair color is just something I’m really getting tired of dealing with. One thing I’ll never stop doing though is getting pedicures! I just really love getting my feet pampered and looking down at those pretty toes just makes me smile! I’m also making much more of an effort to get regular exercise and eating much healthier than I ever have in my entire life. I’m drinking lot’s of water and finding a balance in my life that was so hard to find before we made this move to Panama. So, I seriously don’t give a crap about weather or not my wardrobe is current or if my shoes and jewelry are coordinated. And here’s a shocking revelation, are you ready? I have not put one tiny bit of makeup on one time since I landed in Panama!! Whoa! Crazy, huh! But it’s true! I just don’t even think about it! And I feel so liberated by the freedom, I’m loving just being me. Me with no mascara, no foundation, no lipstick, no eye shadow Ahhhhh, it’s so freeing. And guess what…none of these people seem to care! Now, who knows what they say when I walk away…they could be saying,”That Holly, she would be so much prettier with a little makeup”, Hah! But here’s the great part….I don’t care! Nope! This new casual and more natural life that I’ve embraced is the most wonderful, liberating, and peaceful time of my life. My focus is on things that make my soul feel good. Learning new things, developing new relationships, building a new life with my best friend, experiencing new things on a daily basis that feed my soul, and mostly focusing on aspects of life that bring meaning and a genuine sense of a simple appreciation for what’s real to me.
Now, all this to say, I don’t miss all the fuss that went into being in the beauty business. I don’t mean , in any way to demean the virtues of being fashionable and caring about how you look. No, way. It’s great to take care of yourself and to want to express yourself by your particular sense of fashion. This is just where I happen to be in my own personal journey. I don’t regret having spent so much of my life in the pursuit of being in style and looking current and pulled together. It was good fun and just because I’m finding a new joy in my new, less fashion conscience , casual lifestyle in no way means I regret having gone through my earlier years being a fashionista. Life takes us down many different roads and I happened to be pleased with just where I am at the moment, just as pleased as I was in my early years as a stylist when my life revolved around Nordstrom’s department store and Vogue magazine and shoes, shoes and more shoes! It’s just good to discover another aspect of what makes me Me. And to open myself up to experiencing and appreciating a much different focus in my life now.
I have to reassure my stylist friends and former clients as well, that I have not completely fallen apart and let myself go. I do still care about how I look, I have spent some energy (not too much, but some) hunting down the hair products that will keep my crazy curly hair from being too out of control. And I have succeeded in finding a wonderful mousse that doesn’t make my hair feel crunchy and gives my natural curl lots of nice definition without drying it out. And I almost always make sure whatever I decide to wear that day is not what I wore the day before! Hah! I have an incredibly limited wardrobe at the moment because, as you know, we haven’t shipped our container here yet. So my wonderful ‘casual’ lifestyle is also one of necessity, I just don’t have the massive selection of outfits that I had before. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the ease with which I have adjusted to this and I suspect when I do have all those clothes I may be shocked at how much of it I just don’t want anymore. Ya, I really don’t miss being so focused on fashion. It was fun, but this no makeup and just not caring so much is liberating in so many ways.
Its interesting to me to think about what’s shifted for me in my sense of who I am and what’s important to me nowadays. And when I try to put into words what’s most important to me, what comes to mind first in my list of priorities and my knee-jerk answer is ‘People’. And connecting with new people here in my new life Boquete. The big motivation for me in learning to speak Spanish is to be able to communicate with my new neighbors and new Panamanian friends. So instead of spending all that time in the morning getting my makeup on and fixing my hair and trying to look a certain way, as well as thinking about how I look throughout my day, I’m using that time studying spanish or practicing speaking while I’m out and about and making every attempt to spend time with and getting to know new friends, both Panamanian and Expat friends. And these new friends are getting to see the ‘real’ Holly. Not the Holly who mostly wants you to see and know that she’s a fashionable person. I’ve said that I was excited to be able to ‘redefine’ who I am and just being as ‘real’ and as ‘genuine’ as I can be is one of the many things I’ve embraced in this new life of mine. Being ‘real’ and ‘genuine’ has been a desire of mine for some time, and not only since this move. But my approach to this way of being may have shifted a touch for me in that ‘simplicity’ has become a way of life for me living here. And with simplicity comes much less clutter and fewer distractions which is why I must be so happy and not at all missing the past. Ahhhhh! Life is good and I’m just where I belong.