about eight years ago I was persuaded to go along with some friends to ‘get my colours done’. this is not me, at all. being swathed in different coloured scarves to be told enthusiastically by an over-made up harridan that “Madam is a Spring!”
and I thought I didn’t need any help with this. that I had it covered. that at the age of 30 something I knew what suited me. dressed up in my favourite outfit and went along in the full expectation that O.M.H. would take one look at me and say, “Well, of course, you have an eye for this sort of thing. Are you a colour consultant yourself, by any chance?” and I am not even joking.
which, of course, she didn’t. at the time I was wearing a smart-casual version of what I had worn for work for many years – a pastel coloured shirt, in the feminine-and-unthreatening tones deemed suitable for City wear by traditional shirtmakers. it looked very like this one, in fact.
pretty much everything else in my wardrobe was along the same lines. soft aqua, lilac, primrose (ha!). baby gro colours. and apparently, these are the last colours I should wear. I should be wearing clear, saturated colours, like those in the swatch above (which is actually one of those she gave me that day. dug it out to show you!)
colours with names like bright periwinkle and apple green. scarlet and peppermint. teal and ruby.
and couldn’t even ignore her opinion as a deluded saleswoman, because my bastard, darling friends sat around nodding and cheering and bloody agreeing with every word she said.
went home. stomped around for DAYS in complete rage. Poor Mr P got the brunt of it.
“so she is saying everything in my wardrobe is wrong? how can that be? what am I supposed to do, change everything I own? change everything I have been doing so far?”
well, um. yes.
and didn’t chuck out entire wardrobe (still have a few paler items sneaked away) but by and large, hate to admit it, but she was absolutely right. I look washed out in my previous, ‘safe’ pastels, and much more vibrant in contrasting clear colours. and you don’t just see the clothes, as I feared when I started wearing brighter colours. you see me, but in a more appropriate setting.
have been doing some more stomping in the last couple of days. all down to bloody, bloody Tommy Rosen and his completely fucking wonderful book, Recovery 2.0.* which you should definitely, without question, buy and read yourself.
but possibly, wear a crash helmet to do so. because even although I have been pretty immersed in recovery writings over the last year, reading it has been like nothing so much as being repeatedly hit over the head with a gold brick. and just because it is immensely valuable doesn’t mean it’s not painful.
I am half way through it so far and am definitely at the point of marching around the house having one sided conversations with myself. in the book he firstly defines addiction as ‘any behaviour you continue to do despite the fact that it brings negative consequences into your life.’ which reminded me of a phrase in one of Belle’s podcasts, when she described (I think!) addiction as ‘drawn to, even though…’
so. right there. no stages, no spectrum, no checklists. are there negative consequences? yes or no? are you continuing with the behaviour? yes or no?
and then he comes onto his central premise of why. why we adopt these behaviours. and I quote:
‘The challenge is, as addicts, we have developed a strong reflex to avoid pain, insecurity, discomfort and sadness. We look away by any means necessary. In the final analysis, addicts of any kind are primarily addicted to looking away.’
looking back through this blog: so, so many posts about dealing with pain, and fear, and discomfort. using alcohol to escape. and the reason I can’t just say “I’m done, now” with recovery is that using alcohol to evade those things is only one symptom of the evasion. lacking coping mechanisms for those things is what put me here. finding new ones is the journey ahead of me. and the book lays out suggestions and pathways for doing just that. which yes, would involve me in pretty much changing everything I have been doing so far to deal with pain and fear and discomfort.
would like to quote more of the book, about his personal recovery over the last twenty odd years, his realistic view of what we derive from our addictions, his struggles with a parallel addiction to gambling, and in particular his respectful yet unique approach to the 12 steps – but it really needs reading in its entirety to give you the full flavour of it. cannot urge you to buy it strongly enough. (and yes Clearlee I know you’ve read it already! thank you so much for the initial introduction to Tommy! haven’t finished it yet myself so no spoilers please 😉 )
but the thing is… I am feeling utterly swept off my feet by all this. had been dawdling along in a calm backwater of recovery and now I have to deal with this, this… flash flood?
I suppose that if we keep looking then we can keep finding new insights, new viewpoints to keep us moving forward. and I am both terrified and exhilarated at the prospect.
have a periwinkle coloured day, my friends! xx
* have removed link to Amazon.com as paranoid about it showing my account details somehow….also it’s not shipping from Amazon UK for another month so I did buy it on the US site…