Don’t (please) look at me

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Not only am I an enigma to some, floating away as fast as I arrived, I am also a complete contradiction. To put it rather bluntly, I am simply an introvert who is trying to be an extrovert…or wait? Am I an extrovert who is dying to be an introvert?

No wonder people are generally left confused by my presence. I am obviously giving off some mixed signals here…

Trust me, even I can’t figure it out and I happen to be an overly self-aware individual. I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs to be heard, yet covering my ears like a small child, shaking their head, begging for silence. I crave the chaos and excitement of intense crowds yet I find utter peace and comfort in the solitary cocoon that represents my home.

Yet, even when I achieve that sweet yet savoury moment, I despise the silence.

This week has allowed me the opportunity to explore these contradictions in my personality through the eyes of the media. I have been faced with such extreme examples that it has been simply impossible for me to ignore their magnitude. And through all my shrewd yet dull observations, I am left pondering:

Why do I keep trying to be something that I am not?

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Resolutions for 2014

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A very special friend in my life has given me some (somewhat) unsolicited advice with intent to have me start 2014 off on the right foot. You know the type – the friend who will force you to face your inner-most demons completely out of the blue, usually over a bottle of wine, without any attempt to sugar-coat the truth, all in the name of friendship. A true gift. So, with utter nonchalance in tone, I have been advised ‘to simply suspend my disbelief’ for all the amazing things that are happening to me. ‘For they are all warranted and earned – you deserve it…’ And with that deadpan look only a true friend can give, the statement hit my core, whether I wanted to face my demons on that particular evening or not.

When I reflect back on 2013, it would seem that each time I have experienced a new event in this venture or overcome some strange challenge (that I never even imagined that I would have to face in the first place…), my reaction has always been one of awe and shock at my good fortune and dumb luck. Sheer happiness. Utter joy. Things that were once thought impossible, have become possible and I often struggle to figure out the ‘how’ while in the moment. As a result, my reflexes and instincts are becoming compromised. It’s as if everything in my mind is bright and acute with my peripheral moving in slow motion. I can’t seem to react in the same way. I’m able to both hear and see what is going on around me but not at the same time. It’s mildly surreal.

And this dissonance/happy state may be putting me at a business disadvantage.

For it is only when I have a quiet moment to sit back and process the events of the day (with a well-earned glass of wine) can I become objective. After some reflection, I begin to recall the feeling as though I am missing something but because I am on such an adrenaline high in the moment, my senses seem dull, weak and just white noise in the background. I’m simply overcome with gratitude to notice anything else. So, while I am trapped in this stunned and blind state, am I really asking all the right questions? Am I really being thorough in my analysis of the situation? Am I really protecting my interests and not allowing myself to be taken advantage of? Am I unnecessarily creating serious potholes in my path that may be making my road more bumpier than it really needs to be?

2014 will be an interesting year. I have no doubt I will continue to be amazed at the challenges, experiences and achievements which lay ahead.

But I think I need to work hard on not trying to understand the ‘how’ or ‘why’ of a situation and focus more on the ‘who’ and ‘what’ in a much more jaded fashion. The real way that I deal with everything else going on in my life…

Are you afraid of the dark?

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It’s a funny feeling moving forward without really knowing where you are going. While I wouldn’t say that I am afraid of the dark, I certainly recognize its subtle warning to tread lightly. But what is it out there that is stopping me? What force is causing me to react so tentatively yet luring me forward at the same time? What is really lurking out there just beyond my reach?

I have been watching the dense, dark forest representing my goal for a very long time, but always with a keen awareness of the firm grip holding me back whenever I would venture too close to its edge. But now, without warning, this grip has been released – whether by force or fate – and with a child-like sense of curiosity, I blindly wander in without any real path.

It’s eerily quiet. I am desperately trying to coax my eyes to adjust to the darkness, hoping to catch some light reflecting off the shadows. But my eyes fail me. I am trying to not trip on the exposed roots or hit my head on the low hanging branches – ducking and diving purely on instinct and luck. I can hear the ground beneath my feet, reminding me that I have entered this place willingly. But my attention is drawn to my heart beat pounding in my ears, growing louder and more pressing in its rhythm and intensity.

I am completely alone.

Time no longer exists in this strange place. I have nothing to gauge it against to know if I am gaining ground or falling behind. I look around, searching in a naïve attempt to find safety, only to find nothing of comfort. I must continue to move for if I stand still, the quiet evils of the darkness will most certainly consume me. Am I going in circles? Everything looks the same as before. It is only by chance that I stumble upon a tiny opening of safety and I realize that I have been holding my breath the entire time. I gratefully take this moment to re-establish my bearings and quietly bring myself back to the original sense of calm and curiosity that led me here in the first place. My heartbeat continues to pound in my ears. Something is drawing me forward and my feet move once again in an unknown direction, my body unable to stop. Why do I submit to this pull and not just resist? Aren’t I supposed to stay still when one is lost in the forest? Shouldn’t someone be trying to save me?

And then I realize that I couldn’t even find my way back to the beginning even if I wanted to. And nobody knows that I am here.

It is the most compelling and strangely exhilarating feeling I have ever had. I do not know how, if or when I will emerge from this dark place or in what state. The only thing I know for certain is that I am exactly where I must be.

And surrounded by all this darkness and uncertainty, I couldn’t be any happier.

It’s all the same to me

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I have pretty much covered all the basics for building the foundation in my little adventure in designing leggings for tall women. I happen to be at a stage where I am evaluating all the minor details that can make this great(!) scheme even greater. A minor stumbling block I seem to be hitting at this time (there is always something isn’t there?) is my ability to keep a steady focus in terms of business content across all my different media sources. And how does one truly separate the business from the personal in these highly public and often uncensored realms?

Especially when I happen to BE the brand…

Everything that I think and do is a direct reflection of what I hope to solve and achieve in this venture. I am the very definition of my ideal consumer – tall, long-legged and confident in her ability to use fashion as a means of communication. Add this to the fact that every awkward experience I have ever lived as a tall woman provides me with an example that I can draw upon when attempting to meet the needs of others just like me. This is my value proposition. Because I know that I am not alone in my long-legged clothing struggles. But how do I NOT let all my oddities and personal quirks slip out when my phone is literally attached to my hand and I have become conditioned to record every waking moment of my life for everyone to see in an attempt to gain more credibility (read – followers)?

Yet I like to think that these random insights into my own personal life offer a sense of authenticity to the brand that can be difficult to achieve otherwise. These experiences provide a human element to the mix that cannot be replicated or planned. But I can see how from any traditional business marketing perspective that this type of unplanned and random personal exposure could be seen as ultimately harming the brand; making it appear somehow not professional or too “homemade” or just plain silly and vapid.

So my question to you is – are these traditional marketing ideologies even relevant anymore?

A new-found respect for the fashion photographer

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My attention is always being pulled in the oddest of directions. And with a fashion show, one would expect that my attention would be squarely focused to the MASSIVE stage in the middle of the MASSIVE room but true to form, the obvious does not hold my interest for very long. I was particularly interested and drawn to the photographers situated at the end of the runway. For there they rest, silently waiting in the shadows for their prey; once the scripted pose is achieved, their furious snapping begins. And just as fast as it all starts – it ends – and they simultaneously drop their weapons as she floats away.

It was the same scenario for each person that graced the end of that stage. And oddly enough – I was completely mesmerized by the pattern. But don’t tell that to the designer presenting on stage. It will be our little secret…

I guess the stage show didn’t draw my attention like it should have because it all seemed to be rather contrived. Way too controlled despite the lively music. Not to mention the fact that EVERYTHING is beautiful at a distance. And I happen to be someone who genuinely appreciates fine details – which are next to impossible to observe in low lighting on a moving subject. But it was my observations of the photographers as they scrolled through their shots, clearly deleting the ones that were not worthy of the space, that offered me the sense of authenticity that I was seeking from the event. Their presence also provided me with an interesting and creative point of view with which to observe, because each photographer was vying to get a slightly different shot than the other, even though they were all presented with the exact same material to work with. I watched as some moved about the room, capturing different angles, all in the hopes of communicating the emotion that the designer was hoping to achieve; even if the model was unable to convey it clearly.

A fascinating evening indeed for very different reasons than one would ever imagine.

SEO woes = first world problem?

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As many of my loyal followers know, I am not a computery-type of person. I am creative. Tactile. Perceptive. I can correctly identify dozens of different shades of green in an instant. I’m mildly absurd in my ideas yet oddly clear in their execution – all while being rolled up into one deliciously tall, leggy package.

And there was a VERY good reason why computer science was NOT my major in university…

But I am learning. Slowly. Rather painfully actually. And in my never ending education towards legging dominance, I continue to research and test all these SEO tactics in the same manner as I have operated all along with this venture – by blindly falling into traps and having to wiggle myself out of curious jams. But these SEO errors are causing a serious issue for me and my venture as I am quickly learning how critical they are to achieving any sort of search position on Google. And it is WAY harder than I thought it would be to crack the top 10! And if Google can’t find me, nobody will…

Realizing this MAJOR flaw in running an e-commerce business, I have enlisted all the help that I can get – most important being an SEO evaluator. You know, to evaluate all the errors that I was completely unaware I was making in the first place… Quite a handy little gadget I must say. And I am pleased to report that I am currently correcting my last major error – but seem to have hit yet another snag.

Apparently my business name is simply too short for their liking.

Well, this is new. Because I have never been too short for anything in my life. Ever.

Sigh.

Context is kinda important…

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For the first time in my life, I cannot wait for summer to come to an end. In my ideal fantasy life, I see myself frolicking in a bikini on a hot sandy beach, living in some lovely tropical place, covered in nothing but sun, sand, with my perfume of choice being a mix of salt water and Hawaiian Tropic bronzing oil. I see lots of flowy, loose fabrics with the wind blowing through my hair…

Snap back to my real life, boxed in by four seasons with plenty of weather ups and downs, dreams of my leggings provide me with a similar sense of escape and excitement but in a much more marketable environment. Because really, who wants to wear skin tight leggings in the middle of an Ottawa heat wave? And as much as I love them, I look rather foolish in 30+ degree weather wearing them around the city in an attempt to gather market research and promote them to potential customers. This would inevitably attract the WRONG type of curious glance as I strut (read sweat) down the street. “Is she nuts?!” “Does she not realize how hot it is outside?!” Definitely not the reaction that I am going for in this marketing campaign…

So, while I rarely ever look forward to summer coming to an end, in this particular case, it cannot come too soon. And this morning was the first time where I could feel the crisp fall weather creeping around the corner. The air is starting to smell different. The days are starting to get shorter once again. Thoughts of cozy sweaters and stiletto ankle booties are swirling about my styling mind as we speak. And I now have the appropriate context with which to promote my leggings to others without looking a little crazy in the process.

Patience is clearly a virtue. But I think I have been patient enough.

Wanderlust

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I am becoming tired of having to pay for parking. Clearly I need to re-think my financial goals and buy a piece of land downtown, put up a parking meter and whistle my way off to prosperity. Alas, we all know that this is simply not in the cards for me but one can wistfully dream, no?! The consequence for my achieving a free parking space downtown is simply to park further away from my destination and enjoy a little walk in the sun – a real “first world problem” to be had. This particular evening was gorgeous and of course, I knew of a quiet, secret spot to park that I hadn’t used in many, many years.

On the way back from my hunter/gatherer journey for food, I had a moment that literally stopped me in my tracks. For it suddenly dawned on me that I was walking the exact same path that I had taken countless times a day – ten years ago – for the first time once again. It was surreal because absolutely nothing had changed in this little spot in the world. The cracks in the pavement were in exactly the same places. The fence was still crooked and rusted. The trees still encroached overhead, causing a mini umbrella of safety over my path. And I was carrying far more than I had thought I could for this distance. I was literally re-living a moment from my past.

While making all of these subtle observations of my surroundings, it became clear how much I have changed in all these years yet this little place has stayed exactly the same. Death and life; marriage and divorce; pain and personal growth; sudden job loss and opportunities; wealth and poverty; the absolute extremes to be felt in human experience. And all things that I had no idea would ever occur to me as I blindly walked into my future taking this little path for granted all of those years ago.

I still take my new paths now for granted in the same oblivious manner as before. I wonder how different I will be when I have the fortune to re-visit them once again. But you’d think I would have gotten some sort of GPS system by now to avoid a fork in the road…

The art of the selfie

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I would love to post my daily outfit selections to my followers. I spend considerable time (and money) on my wardrobe and genuinely enjoy the whole process of dressing, selecting and styling myself for the day. I feel that I am doing everyone a public service by taking great care to make myself look presentable in the morning.

As a result, I am always WAY too overdressed for an errand at Walmart. And that’s just the way I like it thank you very much 🙂

But this lack of documentation leaves me in a bit of a pickle because I have no idea how all these people are taking pictures of their outfits on a daily basis! I have tried everything from mirrors, balancing on stairs and makeshift tripods; all in an effort to get the full view yet I am always left disappointed with the results. As vain as it sounds, I would love the opportunity to participate but have not yet mastered the selfie enough to live up to my high standards. It always seems off kilter, never really giving the outfit that I so carefully selected that morning the justice that it so richly deserves. And I always seem to get a close-up of my chest – not exactly the message I wish to convey to the world…

I find that words cannot communicate these choices either as we are all naturally visual beings. Simply stating that I am wearing a fabulous black one shoulder Michael Kors dress from the Resort Collection 2012 today yields no emotion. No oohs and ahhs to be had and it takes considerable effort to read and imagine me floating down the street on nothing but a cloud of perfume and fluid fabric, pulling and hanging at all the right spots. Thank you internet for making me jaded and impatient.

Sigh.

Is there a technique that I am missing? Or is it just an accepted fact that selfies are simply bad photos?