Lessons From A Rainbow Vest
Most of my adult life I’ve dressed conservatively. Nothing too out there. While I have a deep love of bright colours, I’ve never had the courage to leave the house dressed in them. My soul screams for wardrobe technicolour and yet mostly I come back to the same few boring old wardrobe staples: jeans and a plain jumper, or shorts and tee – in various shades of navy and black. You can take the girl out of Melbourne, but you can’t take the black from her wardrobe.
Recently, Emily Rooney (who you might remember from such Wave columns as Home Alchemy) purchased an incredibly bright and bold wooly rainbow vest as a very generous surprise gift. And it is SO me, if I’m brave enough to fully own who I really am.
Last month, Em and I flew to Melbourne to go to Hay House Writers Workshop, and I very intentionally packed my new rainbow vest. It was going to be a courageous move to show up as the biggest, boldest, best version of me. Famous Hay House writer version of me. Pretty confronting. Very uncomfortable.
And while I was expecting to feel a little squirmish in it, I wasn’t expecting the big insights into the way I show up in the world (or, rather, run and hide).
As someone who has craved being seen, wearing a rainbow vest shows me just how unwilling I am to stand up and allow myself to be visible. I’ve been great at hiding. And in this vest I could physically feel myself trying to shrink. Make up for the boldness of my clothes, by becoming meek. Part of me longs to be the star of the show, and in direct conflict with that part of me are so many other parts of me that want to just run and hide. Blend in. Be totally incognito. Wall flower material. Not take up space. Sadly, these other parts of me, generally come out on top.
It’s funny how sometimes the thing we desire the most, we hold ourselves back from.
Being the truest expression of yourself can be really uncomfortable. It’s not easy to be who you really are. And, in this modern world, it’s virtually impossible without mind chatter coming in an attempt to pull you back into line.
‘Who do you think you are? Attention seeking weirdo. Everyone is looking at you thinking ‘what a wanker!”
No wonder so many of us are creatively stifled, completely disconnected from joy or desperately seeking purpose and meaning.
With that in mind, I want to leave you with a question, or two.
What could you do to stretch and express your biggest, boldest, best self? What is your version of a rainbow vest? And are you brave enough to go public in it?