Let me tell you a sort of sad story about a twelve-year-old me.
I switched into a new school for seventh grade partially because I just wanted a change, but also because for the past couple of years I had been bullied pretty badly at my old school, and as Middle School began things only got worse. I’m not talking “Boys teased me for my skinny legs”; I’m talking about a genuinely miserable situation, more days than not. But I transferred, and as it turned out I really loved my new school: I developed some confidence over the interim summer and made new friends right away, and the creative, relaxed curriculum was much more up my alley than my previous school’s formal approach.
One of the most fun things about my new school: there were no uniforms, so for the first time in my life I could wear what I wanted, and the burst of confidence I felt about my new surroundings made me excited to experiment with style.
I still remember the outfit I chose for my the Community Service Committee introductory meeting, held at 8AM during the first week of school: a brown-and-white striped mock turtleneck, a short brown skirt, and white ribbed tights. I felt spectacular in it. I seriously thought it was the coolest thing I’d ever worn. And I sat in that Community Service meeting feeling excited, and hopeful about the year to come, and extra-special cool because I was at a “meeting,” which felt grown-up, and because I was drinking a Snapple Iced Tea, and that was the thing that year. We’re talking extreme sophistication.
Remember how, if you flipped over a Snapple and patted the bottom, the top would make a popping sound? Well, I thought I’d flip it over and pop it a bit, to enhance the whole “oh, just hangin’ here drinking a Snapple iced tea” vibe. And of course, because this is how things work, the moment I did that the entire glass Snapple bottle fell apart – I mean that literally, the thing fell apart - and iced tea poured out all over my brand-new outfit, soaking me from the waist down and completely destroying those pristine ribbed tights that I had been so proud of. I handled it OK and sort of laughed it off…but wow, did I ever wish that wasn’t something that had happened during my first week at a school where I wanted nothing more than to not be that dorky new girl.
What does this story have to do with this post?
One, something about the outfit I’m wearing here reminds me of that outfit, pre-Snapple-dousing. The colors, or maybe just how good I felt in it.
And two, after we took these pictures (Kendrick took them) up on the roof, we were just hanging out and chatting in the sun, and I thought to myself that…you know, lately I’m just so damn happy. Not in a blinders-on, rainbows-and-bluebirds, everything’s-so-perfect way…but in a real, full way, a way I don’t know that I’ve ever felt before. Sometimes I feel like I want to hit the pause button on the movie of my life, because it just feels so precarious, like at any moment something will break and all that happiness will come pouring out.
But you know, if there’s one thing that the past few years have taught me, it’s this: things sometimes get worse, and they sometimes get better, but they always change. There’s not a whole lot of use in worrying about making sure that things stay the same, because the fact is that they won’t.
But I’ve also learned something else: that the stuff that feels too insurmountable and too painful to handle almost never is.
And even if they don’t…you just roll on, pristine tights or no.
Switching gears, now.
For this post, I was presented with a little challenge: TJ Maxx asked me and four other bloggers to build a look centered around a cashmere ruana (it’s that shawl thing I’m wearing above; I had to look it up, too), using items found at one of their stores. And so for a hundred bucks even, I put together an outfit that’s everything I love about fall: October-forest colors, super-soft accessories, and layer after layer after layer.
And major bellbottoms.
These are kind of amazing, right? I couldn’t believe it when I spotted them: they’re the exact pair I’ve been coveting for over a year now…and they were $39. (My favorite cut for bellbottoms: a little loose through the leg, low-waisted, and with the biggest flare possible.)
This top, from Nicole Richie’s Winter Kate line, is the perfect thing to take me through the rest of this pregnancy…and I’m not exactly throwing it in the trash once the baby arrives (which should be any day now!). It‘s just gorgeous…especially paired with that to-die-for chain link necklace.
On me: Hat, blouse, ruana, and jeans from TJ Maxx (purchased with giftcard provided for challenge); necklace c/o Chloe & Isabel; no-name sunglasses.
If you’d like to check out how the other bloggers styled the ruana, you can click through using the button below. And be sure to vote for your favorite (either here or by commenting on this post below; both work!), because a vote automatically enters you to win a $100 TJ Maxx gift card (you can vote once a day between now and October 12 for extra chances to win).