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I had this grand plan yesterday that I was going to get a lot of things done, and I did get a fairly large number of them done, but then I got distracted by reading [livejournal.com profile] justthisfic's Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails, which I recced to friends as "trans Brendon," and she describes as "genderqueer fic." It made me cry, in a good way. It also meant that I was already in a space where the question of who you really are was on my mind when I started reading Style Statement.

Here's how the style statement exercises work: there are eight sections meant to represent different parts of your life. Each section has a series of inquiry questions. First are the "what works well for me" questions, followed by a "filter & interpret" section that asks you to look at what's "important and intriguing," "themes," and "words, images, or feelings." Then there's the "what does not work well for me" section, followed by the same filter and interpret questions. I did each of the eight sections on a sheet of paper.

Some of it wasn't surprising. My idea of home and stuff is light and uncluttered, which I knew.

Some of it amused me by how well it fit into an 80/20 split. My fashion and sensuality page is all about simple, soft, clean lines, kind of businessy (what's working in my wardrobe: polo shirts, v-necks, two of my skirts, new socks; what's not working in my wardrobe: jeans, scoop necks). But then for "Even though it's completely out of style or over the top I secretly love . . . because:" section, I said, "miniskirts, because I like my legs, like feeling them bare." In the "If money were no object I would go out today and shop for" section, I have "pants (not jeans), dress shirts (stretch, no-iron), skirts," and then sex toys. For "important/intriguing," I wrote down, "comfortable, businessy, sexy edge."

Some of it was surprising. I still have this high school idea of myself as smart, intellectual, rational, inflexible. When I looked at my spirit and learning, relationship and communication, and service and wealth pages, it's all about love and close relationships. Fandom and women showed up all over the place. My answer for "My purpose in life is:" was "to write, to be there for my closest friends, to be a good friend."

Once you've done each section, you write down all of the "outstanding words and themes" from each section, then narrow it down to "three to five words that have the strongest resonance and attraction for you," then write out synonyms for each of those words.

My five words: light, love, simple, stories, comfortable.

Love resonated so strongly with me, but it doesn't describe physical things, which your foundation word has to be able to do. The format for their definitions of foundation words is to describe the spirit, then the look and feel, and then they have a series of words in italics. In the profiles in the book, the creative edge word is the one that get the italics. I didn't really want to read all of the foundation word definitions, and none of the ones in the profiles felt right, so I started skimming the italicized words for one that included love. The italicized words for "Graceful" included love, compassion, kindness. I wrote "Graceful?" down as a synonym for love.

In the next step, you write down the three or four possible words in two identical columns: the left is your foundation word possibilities, the right is your creative edge word possibilities.

My four words: understated, graceful, simple, comfortable.

In the back of the book, they have a chart of the most common foundation words arranged in ways that similar words are near each other. Understated, graceful, simple, and comfortable make a C around natural.

Then you cross out anything that couldn't describe a material object or doesn't feel like it could be 80% of your life from the left column. Then you cross out any word that's still in the left column from the right column. Then you play around with combinations until you find the right one.

The only one I crossed out from the left column was comfortable, because it showed up all over my pages, especially in physical areas of my life, but their definition for it just didn't feel like 80% of my life. It's a good fit for the 20%, though, because "Comfortable is the consummate pleasure seeker. Physical comforts are paramount, and sensual gratification is a fundamental part of their lives." That sexy edge fits right in there.

I like the ideas of understated and simple, but their definitions just weren't right either.

I kept coming back to "graceful." I don't think of myself as graceful. But.
Grace/Graceful/Gracious

Spirit: Greek mythology tells of sister goddesses of joy, charm, and beauty called the three Graces. Graceful is poised and dignified and, at her best, is a giving, generous spirit who seeks to impart kindness and dignity. Love is her fuel; goodwill is her motivation and guide. Graceful prefers meaning and substance but will practice courtesy and compassion rather than forcing her views about a situation. Graceful has a sense of fit and propriety, a craving for balance and good form and proportion. She adores harmony and material and immaterial luxury - from finery to leisure. Rooted in feminine power, Graceful has a quiet and steady confidence. She endeavors to make everything special in the most considerate and ultimately charming ways, and she tends to make it all look effortless.

Look & Feel: Adroitness, agility, allure, attractiveness, balance, beauty, cleanliness, ease, elegance. The proper fit and hang. Flow, warmth, comfort, harmony. Shapeliness, smoothness, style, suppleness, symmetry.

attentive, benefaction, blessing, breeding, caritas, charity, compassion, consideration, cultivation, decency, dignity, divinity, etiquette, favor, finesse, finish, forgiveness, form, friendly, generosity, goodwill, invocation, kindness, love, mercy, poise, polish, prayer, propriety, tact, tastefulness, thanksgiving, royalty
It seems like too much, but they say, "This is not the time to be modest, act small, or fear grandiosity," and, "If you feel yourself shying away from words that seem 'too big' or 'too special,' then it's time to expand your perspective." It doesn't fit who I still think of myself as being, but it fits who I'm trying to be. It fits the part where love was the most important word that came out of all of the sections. It feels more right than "understated" or "simply." That brought me to this style statement:

Graceful Comfort

What's funny is that there's the part where it seems like too much, and then there's the part where it seems so boring. It reminds me of the intense training where I was fascinated with the interesting woman who worked with teenagers at the Model U.N., but really connected with the quiet urban planner. I've been thinking recently about how I don't think I'm that interesting or special. But then I think about my friends who don't think they're anything special when really they're amazing, which makes me think I'm special and amazing too and I just don't see it in myself. Maybe I'm just special and amazing in a quiet, comfortable way instead of in a flashy way.

They say the style statement is supposed to be your true self, and that it should work for you indefinitely, possibly for a lifetime. I don't know if I would have come to the same answer ten years ago. I wonder how much of that is that I've changed and how much of it is that I've allowed myself to be who I truly am rather than who I think I should be. I wonder if this will still work for me in ten years.

Here's where I ask you: Does Graceful Comfort sound like me?
rsadelle: (Default)
Please be forewarned that this post includes information that may be TMI of a sexual nature. If you're under 18 or whatever the age for such things is in your jurisdiction, you probably shouldn't read this. If you're related to me, you probably shouldn't read this. If you're over 18, you should think about whether or not you really want to know before you click on an lj-cut.

This is inspired by both [livejournal.com profile] norwich36's frank entry about vibrators and my own efforts to clean out my house.

Sex Toys )
rsadelle: (Default)
I work for a nonprofit, and my office is located in the family resource center, where we offer all kinds of useful services to clients. One of these useful services is our free table. People can bring in stuff they don't want/need anymore, and clients (and staff, of course) can take things off the table that they do want/need.

Every once in a while, someone comes in and drops off a whole bunch of clothes. This is what happened a couple of weeks ago. Normally our receptionist would sort through it. On this particular day, however, our receptionist was out sick and it was a quiet afternoon. So coworkers S and M (I swear I'm not making those initials up) were doing the sorting. It was late in the day, the boss was gone, and I was unmotivated, so I hung out and watched for a while. This is surprisingly fun. There was the skirt that looked like upholstery. There were the very nice shirts that still had tags on them. There was the red belt with hearts on it. After a while, I went back to my office to try to be a bit productive.

A few short minutes later, S yelled for me to come see what they'd found. I thought maybe a dead rat or a spider or some other type wildlife.

But no.

There, in the bottom of one of the boxes, on top of a black dress, was a large purple vibrator, a bottle of lube, and a blindfold. We then summoned coworkers C and J, and attempted to keep M's preteen son away from the box. The whole adventure caused great hilarity.

But it doesn't stop there! Our receptionist came back in two days later, when yet more clothes had come in. She was sorting through them and came across a very large spider. I, of course, laughed and told her what they'd come across two days before. Then M called in and was completely shocked to find out that I was the one to explain the vibrator discovery.

The oddest part of this tale is that my coworkers thought that the fact that the vibrator was huge and purple is the key to entertainment; I think the blindfold is what really makes the story.

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Ruth Sadelle Alderson

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